Vol. XLIV No. 1

Mercury’s Toxic Process: How Bad Science and Bad Decisions Caused a Public Health Crisis

Abstract: Since 1998, ethylmercury, a vaccine preservative, has often been confused with methylmercury, a dangerous neurotoxin, by the government and public. This confusion has led to a decrease in vaccination rates and an increase in the spread of preventable disease. Despite significant efforts to educate the public on the inaccuracy of studies linking ethylmercury to autism, the public health agencies have been unsuccessful in demonstrating to the public that the substance is safe. This Note analyzes the actions taken by the public health agencies responding to public concerns about ethylmercury’s use in vaccines and recommends that the agencies undertake a comprehensive study of ethylmercury to determine its safety and resolve the growing public health crisis.

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