What is the role of thimerosal in the etiology of mercury toxicity?

Updated: Nov 05, 2018
  • Author: David A Olson, MD; Chief Editor: Tarakad S Ramachandran, MBBS, MBA, MPH, FAAN, FACP, FAHA, FRCP, FRCPC, FRS, LRCP, MRCP, MRCS  more...
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A very controversial source of organic mercury exposure is thimerosal, a preservative used in vaccines to prevent bacterial contamination. The most commonly used vaccines that contain thimerosal are for diphtheria-tetanus-whole cell pertussis (DTP), Haemophilus influenzae (HIB), and hepatitis B. However, no definite link between this small amount of mercury and any known disease has been found. Nonetheless, concerns over mercury content in vaccine have led to the increased availability of mercury-free vaccines. [37, 38, 39]

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