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World Health Organization Fails In Its Effort To Defend Mercury In Vaccines Before United Nations


Mercury is the most poisonous, non-radioactive, naturally occurring substance on our planet. The World Health Organization (WHO) has stated that there is no safe level of mercury. In view of the significant health risks related to human mercury exposure, the Governing Council of UNEP agreed February 2009 on the need to develop a global legally binding instrument on mercury.  The objective of this treaty on mercury is to "to protect human health and the global environment from the release of mercury and its compounds by minimizing and, where feasible, ultimately eliminating global, anthropogenic mercury releases to air, water and land." On Friday, July 22, 2011, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) distributed a revised text for its comprehensive global treaty on mercury that included the ban of mercury from pharmaceuticals. However, the mercury-containg preservative Thimerosal is still used in many vaccines against diseases including flu, tetanus, hepatitis B, diphtheria and meningitis, alltogether about 300 million shots worldwide. In prepairing for the 3rd session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee to prepare a global legally binding instrument on Mercury (INC3) that was held in Nairobi, from 31 October to 4 November 2011, the World Health Organization was trying to fend off an effort to include the mercury derivative Thimerosal used in vaccines from being banned in a global treaty on mercury currently under negotiation.

INC4 meeting:
INC4 met June 27-July 2 in Uruguay, to negotiate a global treaty on mercury.  CoMeD and other nongovernmental organizations who participated strongly opposed the use of mercury in human medicines. More importantly, entire continents and many individual nations expressed their desire for mercury-free vaccines.

Moreover, CoMeD is putting intense pressure on the World Health Organization by actively assisting nations in banning Thimerosal-preserved vaccines. One of these nations, Chile, became the first developing country to stop this use of mercury in 2012.  

Cristina Girardi, a member of the Chamber of Deputies of Chile, addressed the opening session of INC4 gathering.  While speaking, she warned, "... to keep the mercury in vaccines is to endanger the vaccine program in a misguided effort to protect a known neurotoxin."

Rev. Lisa K. Sykes, CoMeD's President, brought the danger vaccine mercury represents to a historic level of understanding.  Rev. Sykes counseled, "The de facto, economic prioritization of mercury-free vaccines ... constitutes a double standard in vaccine safety.  This disparity must be corrected rapidly ... and preference ... must shift to mercury-free vaccines globally, if we hope to avoid accusations of discrimination ... in regard to global immunization policy."

Sykes also cited the support of the global United Methodist Church, representing 11.5 million, and the U.S. National Health Freedom Coalition, representing 20 million.  Both these groups support a ban on the use of mercury in vaccines and uphold the right of informed consent for all persons.

Bowing to pressure from the Coalition for Mercury-free Drugs (CoMeD, Inc.) and other organizations, the World Health Organization (WHO) revealed its 2004 guidelines on eliminating, reducing, and replacing Thimerosal in vaccines to public health officials worldwide before the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).  "This is a huge development," says CoMeD's Vice President, David Geier, while speaking at UNEP's INC4 meeting.

SOURCE: (Adapted from) Coalition for Mercury-Free Drugs (CoMeD)

Related information

UNEP: Reducing Risks from Mercury
UNEP: Negotiating Process for a global legally binding instrument on mercury
WHO: Key information submitted to INC4
Rev. Lisa K. Sykes speaks at INC4
U.S. House of Representatives' 2003 report: Mercury in Medicine - Taking Unnecessary Risks (the result of a 3-year investigation)

Related EVISA Resources

 EVISA Link database: Industrial use of mercury and its compounds
 EVISA Link database: Toxicity of inorganic mercury compounds
 EVISA Link database: Toxicity of organic mercury compounds
 EVISA Link database: All about thimerosal (thiomersal)

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last time modified: July 15, 2012


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