Phil B.FontanarosaMD, Deputy EditorIndividualAuthorStephen J.LurieMD, PhD, Contributing EditorIndividualAuthor
To the Editor: The editorial by Dr Halsey1 presents a positive picture of the events surrounding
the new recommendations for vaccines containing thimerosal; in my view, what
happened was nothing less than a public health disaster.
All events unfolded from the more or less accidental discovery that
some infants might receive more mercury than is thought to be safe by the
Environmental Protection Agency, although not in excess of that allowed by
the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.2
Those guidelines are designed to provide at least a 10-fold margin of safety.
In other words, the permissible amounts are well below those thought to be
Plotkin SA. Preventing Harm From Thimerosal in Vaccines. JAMA. 2000;283(16):2104-2105. doi:10.1001/jama.283.16.2101