Mercury in Vaccines Leaves Blood Fast
Study Shows Ethyl Mercury in Thimerosal Leaves Blood Quickly
WebMD News Archive
"Just because it came out of the blood doesn't mean it is excreted from
the body. It could have gone to the brain," Burbacher tells WebMD.
"Although total mercury levels in the blood are lower following thimerosal
exposure [than following methyl mercury exposure], mercury in the blood from
thimerosal has an easier time getting to the brain than methyl
Pichichero agrees with Burbacher on this but he says the current findings
are relevant to thimerosal risk.
"There is a direct
relationship between the amount of mercury in the blood -- and how long it
stays in the blood -- and the ability of mercury to get into the brain to
produce developmental problems," he says. "We did not prove there was
not deposition of mercury in other parts of the body, but we prove that the
half-life of ethyl mercury from thimerosal is low, excretion is high, and the
kidneys -- an organ very sensitive to the effects of mercury -- were not
Sallie Bernard is co-founder and executive director of SafeMinds, an
organization that advocates "sensible action for ending mercury-induced
Bernard says the Pichichero study is valuable because it makes it clear that
the body handles ethyl mercury very differently from the way it
handlesÂ methyl mercury.
"That is why we need real safety studies to look at the effects of ethyl
mercury," Bernard tells WebMD. "We need not look at blood levels and
excretion times, but at what goes on in the brain and what any ethyl
mercury-induced changes in the brain are doing to children."
The Pichichero study appears in the February online edition of the journal