Can you trust that everything you’re exposed to is safe? A new study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, “Exposure to Mercury and Aluminum in Early Life: Developmental Vulnerability as a Modifying Factor in Neurologic and Immunologic Effects” by Jose G. Dorea, finds that there is an imminent need to define safe levels of exposure to mercury and aluminum. At present, there is no level of exposure deemed to be unsafe for humans or animals, despite the fact that these elements are known toxins and that they are active agents in products like fungicides. This lack of control is particularly alarming when we consider that both mercury and aluminum are present in a number vaccines administered to infants and young children.
Dorea examined a wide breath of scientific research to inform his belief that a set exposure limit is needed. He found that exposure to Thimerosal, a mercury-containing compound in vaccines, is still widely prevalent in low-income countries and is exposed to infants and young children via the following vaccines:
- Influenza type b-Hib
- Meningococcal Meningitis
Children can also be exposed to Thimerosal in the womb, as pregnant mothers are immunized with a range of Thimerosal-containing vaccines. Studies have found that when the body is exposed to mercury, particularly in the brain, its toxicity is long lasting; the body has difficulty eliminating mercury from its system. This is especially true for infants.
Additionally, individuals in the early stage of life are experiencing rapid organ development and significant changes to body function, which means that the body is particularly vulnerable to toxins at this time. Dorea finds that even determining vaccine dosage based on an infant’s weight can put the infant at risk for toxicity that affects development and function.
Unfortunately, specific studies that monitor mercury exposure in a way that’s comparable to vaccine schedules in humans are very recent and sparse; Dorea identifies these studies as a critical need for the field. However, animal studies have demonstrated the presence of significant cognitive impairments after exposure to Thimerosal-containing vaccines, and multi-variate studies conducted on human data that controlled for other factors known to influence neurodevelopment also found a negative interaction between mercury exposure and neurodevelopment. A report by Gallagher and Goodman also found a significant association between exposure to Thimerosal-containing vaccines and developmental disabilities in children in the U.S. between the ages of 1 and 9. Research has also found that when patch tests are conducted, children are more sensitive to Thimerosal than adults.
Ultimately, Dorea and organizations like the Children’s Medical Safety Research Institute argue that a set limit for mercury and aluminum exposure is necessary for individuals in the early stage of life because observational and cohort studies demonstrate that interactions of Thimerosal mirror that of low-level mercury toxicity. Additionally, the body is in a unique stage of development at this time, which makes it difficult to determine how varying amounts of vaccines and toxic elements will affect the body. What’s more, while research demonstrates that exposure to both mercury and aluminum can be toxic, little research has been conducted on the synergistic effect of these elements in early life.