Iowa bands vaccine additive ... the rest of the states have to suffer the consequences
Vaccine additive banned in Iowa
Quad City Times/Rachelle Treiber | December 6 2005
Comment: While this is good news in Iowa, the rest of the country is still allowing the toxic additive in children's vaccines. This is a great, positive move there are still many more toxins in the vaccines that parents should be concerned about.
Just as Iowa records the season’s first official case of influenza, pediatricians are reminding parents that children younger than 2 years face nearly the same risks associated with the illness as adults older than 65.
But while some parents are leery of the pediatric flu vaccination — which can contain preservatives such as thimerosal, a mercury-based compound added to some vaccines — Iowans can rest easy.
Earlier this year, the state became the first in the nation to ban the use of preservatives in childhood vaccines.
In 1999, when it was discovered that immunized children had accidentally been exposed to mercury levels well over federal limits, the American Academy of Pediatrics called for thimerosal to be removed from vaccines as a precaution.
It was eliminated from nearly all vaccines except the one used for the flu.
Since the Iowa ban went in place during January, California has followed suit and more than 30 other states have similar bans under consideration. Illinois is among them.
In August, Gov. Rod Blagojevich approved the Mercury-Free Vaccine Act. As of next year, the percentage of mercury used in vaccines will be limited. As of 2008, no Illinois resident will be vaccinated with a product containing mercury.
“This was not an issue that we pushed. It was legislator-backed,” said Kevin Teale, communications director for the Iowa Department of Public Health.
Former Iowa Sen. Ken Veenstra, R-Orange City, oversaw an investigation that led to the ban.
Veenstra, who was chairman of the Senate Human Resources Committee, said at the time that he combed through all of the available scientific and biological data before backing the prohibition.
“After three years of review, I became convinced there was sufficient credible research to show a link between mercury and the increased incidences in autism,” he said. “Iowa’s 700 percent increase in autism that began in the 1990s, right after more and more vaccines were added to the children’s vaccine schedules, is solid evidence alone.”
Many parents and medical experts agree, arguing that mercury exposure is at the core of a number of serious medical disorders, ranging from childhood autism to Alzheimer’s disease. Much of their anger is aimed at thimerosal.
Other experts disagree, however.
The American Dental Association flatly denies that mercury-based fillings pose any risk to patients, and the Autism Society of America says there is no known cause for autism, but that it most likely is genetic.
Either way, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention still recommend that children 6 to 24 months of age be vaccinated against influenza.
They say that while mercury is a toxic substance known to be harmful to humans, especially pregnant women, infants and children, the vaccines on the market yield what is considered well below the acceptable level of mercury.
Public health experts say the decision to vaccinate your child against influenza should be taken very seriously.
“It is most dangerous for the little ones, those under 6 months, and since they cannot be vaccinated, we need to vaccinate those around them who could pass it to them,” said Roma Taylor, a registered nurse and clinical services coordinator for the Scott County Health Department.
Taylor said the department administers flu shots to youngsters through its Vaccine for Children program, which is available to those who are Medicaid-eligible, uninsured, underinsured or American Indian.
And those parents have not questioned whether their child’s vaccine contains thimerosal.
“We do have it available preservative-free, but no parents have specifically asked for it,” Taylor said. “We really haven’t had anyone question if the vaccinations had thimerosal or any other preservatives in them.”
Health experts said that until a ban is passed in Illinois, parents can request a preservative-free flu shot for their child, but the request must be made before the vaccine supply is ordered, which can be done as early as May.