Chile Stops Use of Mercury in Vaccines

PR Newswire

Decision Comes as WHO Meets to Discuss Global Treaty on Mercury Use

WASHINGTON, April 3, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Chile has become the first developing country to stop the use of mercury in vaccines.

In meetings with the Coalition for Mercury-Free Drugs (CoMeD) held last week in Santiago, Chile, the current Vice President of the Chilean Senate, Alejandro Navarro Brain, committed to adopting legislation in the Senate that would prohibit the mercury-based preservative Thimerosal from vaccines.

Thimerosal, which is 49% mercury by weight, continues to be used as a preservative in vaccines and other drugs worldwide, despite the fact that it is a human neurotoxin and that safer, less toxic alternatives are readily available.

Chile’s decision comes as the World Health Organization (WHO) meets today in Geneva, Switzerland, to discuss a global, legally-binding treaty on mercury use. That meeting will examine alternative vaccine preservatives, as well as the economic, programmatic, and manufacturing implications of moving to single-dose, preservative-free vaccines.

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