Aluminum in Vaccines
I just read an interesting article in Mothering Magazine about aluminum in our children’s vaccines. In the past 10 years there has been a lot of discussion about the additive of thimerosal in vaccines. Thimerosal is a form of mercury and there was a lot of speculation about whether the mercury in vaccines was a contributing factor of the increase of autism in children. There have since been several studies showing that there isn’t a connection between the two but as a precaution thimerosal has been removed from most vaccines. In the article I read it mentioned that Merck (pharmaceutical company) was aware that the mercury in vaccines was well above the recommended amount (87 times!) and that a research doctor sent a memo to the president of his division stating his concerns.
Now there is a new concern about aluminum in vaccines. Aluminum can be toxic in large amounts. The American Academy of Pediatrics says that toxicity can cause neurologic damage and can be harmful for those with kidney disease. The shocking thing to me is that vaccine makers have done no studies to show that the amount of aluminum given to infants is safe or harmful. It is alarming to me that aluminum (a known potential toxin) is considered safe until proven harmful rather than the other way around.
30 mcg of aluminum per day for a 12 pound 2 month old baby is considered a safe amount. Some vaccines have 7 to 25 times the recommended amount. For example, the Hepatitis B vaccine has 250 mcg of aluminum. The Pediarix vaccine, which is a combination vaccine of DTap, Hepatitis B, and Polio, has 850 mcg of aluminum. It is a little scary to me that my baby could get that much aluminum at one time when it is unknown how babies process an abundance of aluminum.
What can you do about it? You can ask your pediatrician to use the vaccines that have a smaller amount of aluminum in it. There is a Hib vaccine that does not have aluminum in it but you would need to find out what kind your doctor uses. You can also ask your doctor how much aluminum is in the DTaP vaccine. There are several choices that contain different amounts. Another alternative would be to limit the number of vaccines your child receives per visit and go back for a special “shot only” visit. You may want to find a copy of this article and print it off for your doctor to read and get his/her input.
I have chosen to do delay vaccines with Graham for different reasons. I decided to wait to give him the Hepatitis B vaccine until we are done with all our other shots. Hepatitis B is contracted through sexual contact, IV drug use, and the mother. I know I don’t have it and I seriously doubt that Graham will be doing any sexual activities or drug use anytime soon. I decided to space out vaccines to allow his immune system not to get overloaded. One of my concerns about the doubling, tripling, and quadrupling of vaccines is that if my baby does have a bad reaction I wouldn’t know which one was the culprit. After reading this article though, I am going to show it to our pediatrician and continue to space out the vaccines.
The pediatrician who wrote the article, Dr. Robert Sears has written a book called The Vaccine Book which recommends a delayed vaccine schedule.