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November 10, 1999

Limiting Infant Exposure to Thimerosal in Vaccines and Other Sources of Mercury

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliation: Institute for Vaccine Safety, Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health, Baltimore, Md.

JAMA. 1999;282(18):1763-1766. doi:10.1001/jama.282.18.1763

In late June of this year, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) revealed that some infants who receive multiple doses of vaccines containing thimerosal could be exposed to total amounts of mercury that exceed some federal guidelines.1 Thimerosal is a mercury-containing preservative used in some Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib), diphtheria and tetanus toxoids with acellular pertussis (DTaP), hepatitis B, influenza, and other vaccines.2 Federal agencies, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), international agencies, and vaccine manufacturers have responded quickly to address the concern.1,3,5 However, more can be done to maintain public confidence in vaccines and to reduce childhood exposures to mercury from all sources.

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