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Home > Health Conditions > Mercury in Vaccines

Mercury in Vaccines

News & Research:

  • Students chowing down tuna in dining halls are unaware of mercury exposure risks - Science Daily, 6/28/19 - "Researchers at UC Santa Cruz surveyed students outside of campus dining halls on their tuna consumption habits and knowledge of mercury exposure risks, and also measured the mercury levels in hair samples from the students. They found that hair mercury levels were closely correlated with how much tuna the students said they ate. And for some students, their hair mercury measurements were above what is considered a "level of concern." ... Nearly all fish contain some mercury, but tuna, especially the larger species, are known to accumulate relatively high levels of the toxic metal. Consumers are advised to eat no more than two to three servings per week of low-mercury fish (including skipjack and tongol tuna, often labeled "chunk light") or one serving per week of fish with higher levels of mercury (including albacore and yellow fin tuna) ... The researchers calculated that, to stay below the EPA reference dose, a 140-pound person could consume up to two meals per week of the lower-mercury tuna but less than one meal per week of the higher-mercury tuna"
  • Thimerosal in Vaccines: What Are the Facts? - Medscape, 12/29/12
  • Keep thimerosal in vaccines, pediatricians urge - nbcnews.com, 12/17/12
  • Prenatal mercury exposure may be linked to risk of ADHD-related behaviors; Fish consumption may be linked to lower risk - Science Daily, 10/8/12 - "Nonoccupational methylmercury exposure comes primarily from eating fish, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration have recommended pregnant women limit their total fish intake to no more than two, six-ounce servings per week. However, fish is also a source of nutrients, such as omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to benefit brain development, potentially confounding mercury-related risk estimates ... analyzed data from the New Bedford birth cohort, a group of infants born between 1993 and 1998, to investigate the association of peripartum maternal hair mercury levels (n=421) and prenatal fish intake (n=515) with ADHD-related behaviors at age 8 years ... In this population-based prospective cohort study, hair mercury levels were consistently associated with ADHD-related behaviors, including inattention and hyperactivity/impulsivity. We also found that higher prenatal fish consumption was protective for these behaviors"
  • Seasonal Influenza (Flu) - Q & A: Thimerosal in Seasonal Influenza Vaccine - CDC - "the majority of influenza vaccines distributed in the United States currently contain thimerosal as a preservative. However, some contain only trace amounts of thimerosal and are considered by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to be preservative-free. Manufacturers of preservative-free flu vaccine use thimerosal early in the manufacturing process. The thimerosal gets diluted as the vaccine goes through the steps in processing. By the end of the manufacturing process there is not enough thimerosal left in the vaccine to act as a preservative and the vaccine is labeled "preservative-free""
  • Thimerosal in Vaccines - National Institutes of Health
  • Mercury Levels in Commercial Fish and Shellfish - FDA
  • NNii : Immunization Science - National Network for Immunization Information - "Ethylmercury is much more rapidly excreted than methylmercury. Based upon the prevaccination blood levels in 6-months old infants, ethylmercury does not appear to accumulate after routine immunizations. Because samples also contained methylmercury, the measured blood levels may have overestimated the amount of ethylmercury present—but the levels were low in any case. Because 24-hour collections of stool were not tested, how much and how fast all of the administered ethylmercury is eliminated can not yet be estimated; it appears likely that most of the dose is rapidly excreted, however ... Because injected ethylmercury is much more rapidly excreted than methylmercury, exposure guidelines developed for the oral consumption of methylmercury were and are not accurate for the assessment of risk for infants who receive thimerosal-containing vaccines"
  • Cardiovascular Effects of Methylmercury Exposures - Medscape, 6/6/11
  • Flu shots recommended for more children - northwestern.edu, 10/1/08 - "The amount of mercury in the vaccine would be the same as eating a tuna fish sandwich"
  • An Option: Flu Vaccines Without Mercury-Based Thimerosal - U.S. News, 9/26/08 - "Certainly, the amount of mercury in a single flu shot is very small and most likely harmless. "It's equivalent to the amount in a small can of tuna fish,""
  • Vaccinations: Immunizations Do Not Cause Autism Spectrum Disorder . . .They Prevent Disease - Psychiatric Times, 9/1/08 - "the amounts of mercury from thimerosal preservative in other vaccines ranged from 12.5 to 25 μg per dose. By comparison, a can of tuna contains 11.5 μg of mercury"
  • Most flu shots contain mercury, but few know it - JSOnline, 11/13/07 - "A typical 0.5 milliliter flu shot contains 25 micrograms - or 50,000 parts per billion - of mercury"
  • A Little Tuna With My Mercury - A Mighty Appetite - Washington Post, 11/2006 - "A six-ounce portion of fish that has a mercury concentration of 1 ppm nets about 170 ug of mercury in a person weighing about 150 pounds"
  • Mercury in Vaccines Is at Safe Levels, Study Suggests - University of Rochester Medical Center, 12/2/02 - "”While mercury is known to be toxic in high amounts, scientists continue to debate the health effects of exposure to very low levels. Everyone on Earth has some mercury in the blood stream – the chemical is present naturally, from the belching of volcanoes, and is also present in power-plant emissions. Everyone who smokes cigarettes contributes a bit of mercury to the air we breathe. Mercury is found especially in seafood like swordfish and tuna; a tuna sandwich contains much more mercury than a typical vaccine dose"
  • The Truth About Thimerosal - WSJ.com, 12/5/02 - "A mom who eats a tuna fish sandwich probably passes along more mercury during breast-feeding than a kid gets in a vaccination"
  • Mercury in flu shot no danger - The Citizen, 3/2/05 - "That works out to 0.12 mcg of mercury per gram of tuna. A typical 6-oz (170 grams) can of light tuna would thus contain 20.4 mcg of mercury, on average ... That’s very close to the 25 mcg of mercury contained in the adult dose of the flu shot ... The bottom line: For most people, the risks and miseries of getting the flu far outweigh any risks that might be associated with mercury in the flu vaccine"


  • Association of Seafood Consumption, Brain Mercury Level, and APOE ε4 Status With Brain Neuropathology in Older Adults - JAMA. 2016 Feb 2;315(5):489-497 - "In cross-sectional analyses, moderate seafood consumption was correlated with lesser Alzheimer disease neuropathology. Although seafood consumption was also correlated with higher brain levels of mercury, these levels were not correlated with brain neuropathology"
  • Seafood consumption and blood mercury concentrations in adults aged >=20 y, 2007-2010 - Am J Clin Nutr. 2014 Feb 12 - "seafood can also contain methyl mercury-a neurotoxin ... In adults consuming seafood, the blood mercury concentration increased as the frequency of seafood consumption increased (P < 0.001). In 2007-2010, 4.6% ± 0.39% of adults had blood mercury concentrations ≥5.8 μg/L. Results of the logistic regression on blood mercury concentrations ≥5.8 μg/L showed no association with shrimp (P = 0.21) or crab (P = 0.48) consumption and a highly significant positive association with consumption of high-mercury fish (adjusted OR per unit monthly consumption: 4.58; 95% CI: 2.44, 8.62; P < 0.001), tuna (adjusted OR: 1.14; 95% CI: 1.10, 1.17; P < 0.001), salmon (adjusted OR: 1.14; 95% CI: 1.09, 1.20; P < 0.001), and other seafood (adjusted OR: 1.12; 95% CI: 1.08, 1.15; P < 0.001)" - Note:  From studies I've read over the years, most high quality fish oil supplements use a process that removes nearly all of the mercury.
  • Blood concentration of methylmercury in relation to food consumption - Public Health Nutr. 2010 Jun 8:1-10 - "Mean (range) blood MeHg concentration was 4.6 (0.21-22) mug/l among men and 2.8 (<0.15-20) mug/l among women. Fish had the strongest positive association with MeHg (P for linear trend <0.001 among both men and women). Among men, positive associations were also observed for fruit vegetables, wheat and wine. Among women, positive associations were observed for root vegetables, legumes, potato and game, but adjustment for fish consumption attenuated these trends. CONCLUSIONS: The study shows that, besides fish, MeHg may have other dietary sources that should be taken into account in risk assessment studies" - Note:  It's something to think about if you're worried about the mercury in the flu vaccine, you're getting mercury in just about everything else also.