Are mercury-free vaccines really safer?

I hate to sound like a pessimist, but whenever a product is promoted as being free of some harmful ingredient, I am always suspicious that whatever is used as replacement is just as bad if not worse.

We’ve seen it with sugar-free drinks sweetened with aspartame, which turned out to be toxic to the brain. We’ve seen it cholesterol-free foods that turned out to be loaded with sugar and harmful trans-fats, and the list goes on. Could mercury-free vaccines be one more link in this chain?

This might sound like blasphemy to you, after all what could be worse than mercury? But how sure are you? Certainly no one put mercury in vaccines without a reason. The reason, as it turns out, is that mercury is a very good preservative (nothing can live in it) and, considering the alternatives, it is not especially toxic.

Aluminum hydroxide is one of the mercury replacements being used today. Aluminum, as you may know, is a substance already linked to Parkinson’s disease, ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease), and Alzheimer’s.

Not only that, but there is a frightening precedent to this. Aluminum hydroxide was the preservative in an anthrax vaccine given to the US military prior to deployment in the first Gulf War. When soldiers returned home some developed a complex illness characterized by weakened immunity, extreme fatigue, loss of mental acuity, low-grade fevers, and more.

This illness was given the improper name Gulf War Syndrome. Early on there was even speculation that some mysterious desert bug might have caused it – that is, until it became apparent that troops who had been prepared for deployment to the Gulf but never spent a single day in the desert were coming down with the disease in equal numbers. Clearly desert bugs or the Persian Gulf had nothing to do with it!

What did all these people have in common? One thing is sure: they all received the same anthrax vaccine laced with aluminum hydroxide! Although no cause and effect has ever been proven, this association looks compelling to me.

Recently a group of researchers injected mice with the same anthrax vaccine given to US troops to see if any harm came of it. Twenty weeks after being injected, the mice were shown to have anxiety, memory loss and allergic skin reactions. I am not sure what an anxious mouse looks like, but this sounds very frightening to me. When the poor mice were then killed and autopsied, researchers found a sharp increase in brain cell death compared to other mice that had not been vaccinated, with most of the dead cells found in the part of the brain that controls movement.

I don’t know what to conclude about this one. Judge for yourselves and let me know if you have a good solution. In the past I felt I could recommend a reduced vaccination schedule but, personally, I wouldn’t willingly take a single vaccine with aluminum in it (or mercury for that matter).

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Also read (if this page doesn’t open, go to and search for vaccines “New Vaccine Preservative Proves Harmful” March 28, 2006).

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