Letter - IOM Scrutinizes Link Between Vaccines, Neurological Problems
There are subpopulations within the United States, as well as in nations in Latin America and the Caribbean, who are routinely exposed to levels of elemental mercury orders of magnitude greater than those from pediatric vaccines, dental amalgam, or eating fish. Their exposures result from their use of elemental mercury for magico-religious and ethnomedical purposes.
If the adverse health effects suspected of emanating from thimerosal pediatric preservative are in fact due to their mercury content, then it would seem likely that individuals conceived, gestated, born and raised in atmospheres laden with mercury vapor would be at least as liable to suffer from these same adverse health effects.
It is not clear whether they do (or do not), because almost no health studies of these ritualistic health exposures have been done.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is going to investigate the health effects arising from these exposures in New York City, as well as in another city (most likely Miami or Chicago), at the end of this year or at the beginning of 2002. Contact Carol Rubin, DVM, of the CDC's National Center for Environmental Health at 404-498-1373 for details.
The Mercury Poisoning Project has a Web site devoted to this issue at http://www.mercurypoisoningproject.org or, alternatively, at http://www.geocities.com/awendroff.
A recent article in Pediatrics by Goldman and Shannon (2001;108(1):197-205) concluded that "Pediatricians need to be aware of traditional folk uses of mercury like in Santeria or in ethnic remedies ... Public health agencies, community organizations, pediatricians, and other child health providers should work together to identify the diverse cultural practices that may lead to mercury exposure." [p.203]
Arnold Wendroff, PhD