(HealthDay News) – In response to the United Nations (UN) Environmental Program international treaty, which seeks to reduce mercury exposure from different sources, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has joined the World Health Organization (WHO) in urging the UN to reconsider their stance on thimerosal (ethyl mercury), a component used in multi-dose vaccine vials to prevent contamination. The AAP’s statement of endorsement of the WHO’s recommendation along with three related commentaries have been published online Dec. 17 in Pediatrics.
Noting that developing nations rely on multi-dose vials of vaccine which contain thimerosal, researchers from the AAP are urging the UN to drop the proposal banning thimerosal.
The authors note that thimerosal was removed from most vaccines given to young children in 1999 as a precautionary measure. Subsequent international studies have shown no evidence of harm and no indication of a link between thimerosal and autism. The authors report concern that banning thimerosal could reduce vaccination rates in developing countries. While the United States uses single-dose vials, this is less feasible in developing countries, with practical problems arising such as storage likely to impact use of single-dose vaccines.
“These countries have limited resources,” Paul Offit, MD, of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, said in a statement. “Children there are already under-vaccinated. If there’s a ban, we’ll be under-vaccinating them even more.”