• picture
  • picture
PRI's Environmental News Magazine

Health Update

Air Date: Week of May 19, 2000

Anna Solomon-Greenbaum reports on a new study that looks at the potential downside of a vaccine that’s given to newborns.

Transcript

SOLOMON-GREENBAUM: All newborns in the U.S. receive a hepatitis-B vaccine, usually within the first few days of life. And up until recently, all those vaccines contained thimerosal, a preservative derived from mercury. A study recently published in the Journal of Pediatrics shows that after getting this shot, premature infants had more than three times the level of mercury in their system compared to normal weight babies. Since mercury is a neurotoxin, the researchers worried about its effects on preemies, who are at a greater risk for neurological disorders. And an advance release of the study started controversy. Thimerosal was used in many U.S. hospitals from 1986 until 1999, when manufacturers decided to remove it from their hepatitis-B vaccines, at least for newborns. Although they're being phased out here, sales of hepatitis-B vaccines with the mercury-derived preservative are expected to continue overseas. And that's this week's Living on Earth health update. I'm Anna Solomon-Greenbaum.

 

 

Living on Earth wants to hear from you!

P.O. Box 990007
Prudential Station
Boston, MA, USA 02199
Telephone: 1-617-287-4121
E-mail: comments@loe.org

Donate to Living on Earth!
Living on Earth is an independent media program and relies entirely on contributions from listeners and institutions supporting public service. Please donate now to preserve an independent environmental voice.

Newsletter
Living on Earth offers a weekly delivery of the show's rundown to your mailbox. Sign up for our newsletter today!

Major funding for Living on Earth is provided by the National Science Foundation.

Committed to healthy food, healthy people, a healthy planet, and healthy business.

Innovating to make the world a better, more sustainable place to live.

Kendeda Fund, furthering the values that contribute to a healthy planet.

The Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment: Committed to protecting and improving the health of the global environment.

Contribute to Living on Earth and receive, as our gift to you, an archival print of one of Mark Seth Lender's extraordinary hummingbird photographs. Follow the link to see Mark's current collection of photographs.