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Mercury levels in newborns and infants after receipt of thimerosal-containing vaccines.
Pediatrics 2008; 121(2):e208-14Ped

Abstract

OBJECTIVES

Thimerosal is a mercurial preservative that was widely used in multidose vaccine vials in the United States and Europe until 2001 and continues to be used in many countries throughout the world. We conducted a pharmacokinetic study to assess blood levels and elimination of ethyl mercury after vaccination of infants with thimerosal-containing vaccines.

METHODS

Blood, stool, and urine samples were obtained before vaccination and 12 hours to 30 days after vaccination from 216 healthy children: 72 newborns (group 1), 72 infants aged 2 months (group 2), and 72 infants aged 6 months (group 3). Total mercury levels were measured by atomic absorption. Blood mercury pharmacokinetics were calculated by pooling the data on the group and were based on a 1-compartment first-order pharmacokinetics model.

RESULTS

For groups 1, 2, and 3, respectively, (1) mean +/- SD weights were 3.4 +/- 0.4, 5.1 +/- 0.6, and 7.7 +/- 1.1 kg; (2) maximal mean +/- SD blood mercury levels were 5.0 +/- 1.3, 3.6 +/- 1.5, and 2.8 +/- 0.9 ng/mL occurring at 0.5 to 1 day after vaccination; (3) maximal mean +/- SD stool mercury levels were 19.1 +/- 11.8, 37.0 +/- 27.4, and 44.3 +/- 23.9 ng/g occurring on day 5 after vaccination for all groups; and (4) urine mercury levels were mostly nondetectable. The blood mercury half-life was calculated to be 3.7 days and returned to prevaccination levels by day 30.

CONCLUSIONS

The blood half-life of intramuscular ethyl mercury from thimerosal in vaccines in infants is substantially shorter than that of oral methyl mercury in adults. Increased mercury levels were detected in stools after vaccination, suggesting that the gastrointestinal tract is involved in ethyl mercury elimination. Because of the differing pharmacokinetics of ethyl and methyl mercury, exposure guidelines based on oral methyl mercury in adults may not be accurate for risk assessments in children who receive thimerosal-containing vaccines.

Authors+Show Affiliations

Department of Microbiology/Immunology, Pediatrics, and Medicine, University of Rochester, Rochester, New York 14642, USA. michael_pichichero@urmc.rochester.eduNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info available

Pub Type(s)

Journal Article
Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

Language

eng

PubMed ID

18245396

Citation

Pichichero, Michael E., et al. "Mercury Levels in Newborns and Infants After Receipt of Thimerosal-containing Vaccines." Pediatrics, vol. 121, no. 2, 2008, pp. e208-14.
Pichichero ME, Gentile A, Giglio N, et al. Mercury levels in newborns and infants after receipt of thimerosal-containing vaccines. Pediatrics. 2008;121(2):e208-14.
Pichichero, M. E., Gentile, A., Giglio, N., Umido, V., Clarkson, T., Cernichiari, E., ... Treanor, J. (2008). Mercury levels in newborns and infants after receipt of thimerosal-containing vaccines. Pediatrics, 121(2), pp. e208-14. doi:10.1542/peds.2006-3363.
Pichichero ME, et al. Mercury Levels in Newborns and Infants After Receipt of Thimerosal-containing Vaccines. Pediatrics. 2008;121(2):e208-14. PubMed PMID: 18245396.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - Mercury levels in newborns and infants after receipt of thimerosal-containing vaccines. AU - Pichichero,Michael E, AU - Gentile,Angela, AU - Giglio,Norberto, AU - Umido,Veronica, AU - Clarkson,Thomas, AU - Cernichiari,Elsa, AU - Zareba,Grazyna, AU - Gotelli,Carlos, AU - Gotelli,Mariano, AU - Yan,Lihan, AU - Treanor,John, PY - 2008/2/5/pubmed PY - 2008/2/15/medline PY - 2008/2/5/entrez SP - e208 EP - 14 JF - Pediatrics JO - Pediatrics VL - 121 IS - 2 N2 - OBJECTIVES: Thimerosal is a mercurial preservative that was widely used in multidose vaccine vials in the United States and Europe until 2001 and continues to be used in many countries throughout the world. We conducted a pharmacokinetic study to assess blood levels and elimination of ethyl mercury after vaccination of infants with thimerosal-containing vaccines. METHODS: Blood, stool, and urine samples were obtained before vaccination and 12 hours to 30 days after vaccination from 216 healthy children: 72 newborns (group 1), 72 infants aged 2 months (group 2), and 72 infants aged 6 months (group 3). Total mercury levels were measured by atomic absorption. Blood mercury pharmacokinetics were calculated by pooling the data on the group and were based on a 1-compartment first-order pharmacokinetics model. RESULTS: For groups 1, 2, and 3, respectively, (1) mean +/- SD weights were 3.4 +/- 0.4, 5.1 +/- 0.6, and 7.7 +/- 1.1 kg; (2) maximal mean +/- SD blood mercury levels were 5.0 +/- 1.3, 3.6 +/- 1.5, and 2.8 +/- 0.9 ng/mL occurring at 0.5 to 1 day after vaccination; (3) maximal mean +/- SD stool mercury levels were 19.1 +/- 11.8, 37.0 +/- 27.4, and 44.3 +/- 23.9 ng/g occurring on day 5 after vaccination for all groups; and (4) urine mercury levels were mostly nondetectable. The blood mercury half-life was calculated to be 3.7 days and returned to prevaccination levels by day 30. CONCLUSIONS: The blood half-life of intramuscular ethyl mercury from thimerosal in vaccines in infants is substantially shorter than that of oral methyl mercury in adults. Increased mercury levels were detected in stools after vaccination, suggesting that the gastrointestinal tract is involved in ethyl mercury elimination. Because of the differing pharmacokinetics of ethyl and methyl mercury, exposure guidelines based on oral methyl mercury in adults may not be accurate for risk assessments in children who receive thimerosal-containing vaccines. SN - 1098-4275 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/18245396/Mercury_levels_in_newborns_and_infants_after_receipt_of_thimerosal_containing_vaccines_ L2 - http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/cgi/pmidlookup?view=long&pmid=18245396 DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -