Study Shows Ethylmercury Used in Vaccines Ends Up in the Brain of Primates;

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Environmental Journal Puts Happy Spin on Results Says National Autism Association (NAA)

Study Says Ethylmercury Is Most Toxic to Brain – Journal Paints Rosy Picture

Of Ominous Outcome

Apr 21, 2005, 01:00 ET from National Autism Association


  WASHINGTON, April 21 /PRNewswire/ -- A newly-released primate study
 published in Environmental Health Perspectives (EHP), a NIEHS publication, is
 getting fluffy reviews today. The NIH-funded study, conducted by Dr. Thomas
 Burbacher, a University of Washington researcher, found that Thimerosal, best
 known for its use as an ethylmercury-based preservative in infant vaccines and
 pregnancy shots, is actually more toxic to the brain than methylmercury
     MeHg has always been widely hailed as the greater of two evils, pushing
 ethylmercury out of the limelight as "most toxic." Burbacher's study, however,
 proves ethylmercury is more damaging because it crosses the blood-brain
 barrier at a quicker rate than MeHg. Once in the brain, ethylmercury converts
 to what's called "inorganic" mercury -- the more toxic form -- and is unable
 to be excreted.
     Regardless of the study's grim findings, EHP is presenting their
 interpretations of the findings in a positive tone, " ... injected Thimerosal
 reacted differently from methylmercury in that it cleared from the infant
 [blood] much more quickly."
     In the actual study, Burbacher states: "There was a much higher proportion
 of inorganic Hg [mercury] in the brain of Thimerosal infants than MeHg infants
 (up to 71% vs. 10%). Absolute inorganic Hg concentrations in the brains of the
 Thimerosal-exposed infants were approximately twice that of the MeHg infants."
     Several organizations that advocate on behalf of children with
 neurodevelopmental disorders are surprised that the powerful findings are
 trivialized by those appointed to protect America's health. NAA asks the media
 to investigate this discrepancy. "To minimize Thimerosal's damage to the brain
 is concerning to say the least," says Scott Bono, Durham, NC, parent and Board
 Member of NAA. "These primates are shown to have the most toxic form trapped
 in their brains -- how is that not the center of focus? To say that
 ethylmercury clears the blood faster and is therefore less toxic than MeHg is
 deceptive by omission, attempting to deflect attention from the alarming fact
 that ethylmercury makes its way to the brain much faster than MeHg and can be
 trapped there for years."
     Burbacher is a long-time researcher of the effects of mercury. Earlier
 work by Burbacher and colleagues on low-dose MeHg demonstrated that inorganic
 mercury was the principle cause of tissue changes and toxic effects in primate
 brains. "This latest study in primates shows what happened to our children,"
 says Jo Pike, Executive Director of NAA. "When people who can help turn a
 blind-eye to children injured by Thimerosal, it only adds to the heartache our
 children endure each and every day."
     To learn more about Dr. Burbacher's findings,
 visit or .
      Laura Bono, (919) 423-3749
      Rita Shreffler, (417) 725-6107
SOURCE  National Autism Association