Utterly Meaningless » Blog Archive » Hg AND AUTISM

    Filed at 7:00 pm under by dcobranchi

    That’s the chemical symbol for mercury.

    Mothering Magazine (don’t ask) has a short piece on mercury-free vaccines that allegedly aren’t:

    Many manufacturers voluntarily began producing supposed “mercury free” vaccines in 1999. Some product inserts currently claim that a “trace” amount of mercury still exists in the final product but that the amount has been greatly reduced. Others claim to be producing completely mercury free products.

    …It is the position of Dr. Haley as well as HAPI that if mercury can be detected in any vaccine using standard instrumentation, the content should be disclosed in the product insert and manufacturers should not be allowed to call the product “mercury free”.

    Sorry, but this one I know about.

    Modern analytical instrumentation can be ungodly sensitive. I don’t know what “standard instrumentation” is supposed to mean, but a good ICP-MS can easily get down to parts-per-billion (ppb) and even parts-per-trillion (ppt). To put that in perspective, 1 ppt is about one eye-dropper-full in 250,000,000 gallons. By that standard, nothing would be mercury free (or plutonium free for that matter). There has to be a de minimus standard.

    We’ve been down this road before. For many years we regulated carcinogens in food the same way that HAPI wants to regulate mercury. Eventually, the analytical chemists got to the point where literally everything was a carcinogen. The FDA then (wisely) adopted the current de minimus standard for foods.

    3 Responses to “Hg AND AUTISM”

    Comment by
    August 17th, 2004
    at 7:03 pm

    You know, for political reasons the allowable level of lead in drinking water was 0 ppt for a while. I think they actually accepted 3 ppt as a limit of detection.

    Comment by
    August 17th, 2004
    at 10:29 pm

    There’s a lot of controversy over the vaccine issue. It *is* rather weird that there seems to be a proliferation of children diagnosed with asperger’s syndrome lately though. It could just be the current pet psych term of a year, but I’d like to see some tracking data of confirmed diagnosis on it and more research on whether or not it’s caused by mercury.

    Comment by
    Daryl Cobranchi
    August 18th, 2004
    at 12:30 am

    Agreed– I’m reserving judgment on whether vaccines and autism are linked (although most research seems to indicate they’re not). I only wanted to point out the folly of requiring “zero” Hg concentration.