Thalidomide  Mercury



By Anne Dachel 

There is recent news that after 50 years of silence the German pharmaceutical company, Gruenenthal, has apologized for the horrific damage caused by thalidomide, the morning sickness drug given to pregnant women in the late 1950s and early 60s. This got my attention immediately because of the obvious similarity of the use of mercury in vaccines.

Mainstream news sources gave the thalidomide story significant coverage.

New York Newsday: HERE

“Victims of thalidomide said on Saturday an apology from the German inventor of the drug that caused birth defects in thousands of babies around the world was too little too late.”

“The thalidomide scandal triggered a worldwide overhaul of drug-testing regimes and boosted the reputation of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which refused to approve the drug.

“Gruenenthal said it had acted to the best of its knowledge.”

Chicago Tribune: HERE

Los Angeles Times: HERE

Because its tests failed to detect hazards, many women took the medicine without knowing it could harm their babies, he said, and were left with “a heavy burden.” For almost 50 years, Grunenthal had not found a way to reach out to the victims “person to person,” Stock added.

The analogy is undeniable. How different is the mistaken belief that it’s safe to inject toxic mercury into human beings? How can one medical mistake be recognized while another is continually covered up.

The mercury-containing vaccine preservative thimerosal goes back 75 years. It was invented and tested Eli Lilly Pharmaceutical Company in 1930. The one study done on thimerosal was done by Eli Lilly on 22 adult patients suffering from meningitis. There was no chance for follow-up to observe long-term effects, as the test subjects died. Even if follow-up had been possible, damage to the developing brains of very young children would have remained an unknown.

The media is giving credit to the FDA for not approving thalidomide in this country, yet in the case of thimerosal, it was never tested or approved by the FDA, yet it’s still allowed in vaccines. Eli Lilly said it was safe back in the 1930s and the medical community just accepted it. After the creation of the FDA, its use was simply continued. This unconscionable oversight failure has yet to be recognized.

Several news sites are telling us that the thalidomide disaster led to better testing for drugs. Have these people forgotten about Vioxx and the endless stories about drug recalls? Vioxx was a drug that was originally approved by the FDA.

“Because its tests failed to detect hazards,” the company that made thalidomide claims that they acted in good faith. In the case of thimerosal, no one will ever be able to say that. The evidence is clear that both the company that manufactured thimerosal and the health officials that have allowed its use have been fully aware of the potential for damage from mercury use in vaccines. In the case of thimerosal, we’ll be asking: What did they know, when did they know it, and what did they do to cover it up?

The book, Age of Autism, HERE , by Dan Olmsted and Mark Blaxill, had this to say about the invention of thimeroal. (p. 149)

“Today, a toxic substance like ethylmercury (thimerosal) could not be used in a medical product without rigorous testing. Ensuring it’s safety would entail a process that would start in a test tube and progress to animals; only after passing through several stages could it win approval to be administered to humans. But before 1938, and the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, drugmakers were not required to demonstrate the safety of their products in this manner before they were allowed on the market. The act spent most of the decade tied up in Congress, ‘stalled and gutted by the brawny proprietary-medicine lobby…with help from friends in the newspaper industry, which had become addicted to advertising revenue from wonder drugs such as Paw-Paw Pills and Cherry Pectoral.’… Instead, thimerosal was tested only on twenty-two patients in an Indianapolis hospital. They did not appear to show overt or immediate signs of mercury poisoning even though most of the patients subsequently died.”

David Kirby wrote about Eli Lilly in his book, Evidence of Harm, HERE. (p. 207) Kirby described the discovery of 46 boxes of internal Eli Lilly documents. Kirby wrote about “a 70 year old paper trail of evidence that Eli Lilly knew about thimeroal’s dangers and had relied on bogus clinical data to maintain approval for the preservative.”

We’re told the documents “clearly demonstrate that Lilly’s thimerosal product was known as early as April 1930 to be dangerous…”

The thalidomide scandal triggered a worldwide overhaul of drug-testing regimes and boosted the reputation of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which refused to approve the drug….”

In June, 2000, a closed meeting was held at a remote site in northern Georgia called the Simpsonwood Conference Center. HERE Representatives from the CDC, the FDA, and the pharmaceutical industry held two days of discussion examining the possibility of a link between increased use of toxic mercury in vaccines and rise in neurological problems in children who had received those vaccines. Everything talked about at the meeting was to be kept secret.

Only through the Freedom of Information Act were people able to find out what was said. Simpsonwood transcript: HERE

The meeting wasn’t made public by the government and one of the attendees, Dr. David Johnson from Michigan was quoted saying,

“Forgive this personal comment, but I got called out at eight o’clock for an emergency call and my daughter-in-law delivered a son by c-section. Our first male in the line of the next generation and I do not want that grandson to get a Thimerosal containing vaccine until we know better what is going on. It will probably take a long time. In the meantime, and I know there are probably implications for this internationally, but in the meanwhile I think I want that grandson to only be given Thimerosal-free vaccines.”

Instead of honestly and thoroughly investigating the link between mercury-containing vaccines and neurological damage in our children, our U.S. health officials have produced a number of easily manipulated population studies, all tied to the vaccine makers, and all showing no harm from injecting humans with the second deadliest element on earth.

In February 2005, in an article in the LA Times, reporter Myron Levin wrote this about the use of thimerosal in a piece called, ’91 Memo Warned of Mercury in Shots HERE

“A memo from Merck & Co. shows that, nearly a decade before the first public disclosure, senior executives were concerned that infants were getting an elevated dose of mercury in vaccinations containing a widely used sterilizing agent.

“The March 1991 memo, obtained by The Times, said that 6-month-old children who received their shots on schedule would get a mercury dose up to 87 times higher than guidelines for the maximum daily consumption of mercury from fish.”

There is much more about what officials knew about and chose to ignore. In the end it’ll all come out as this nation wakes up to the disaster we will be living with from here on as the children with autism reach adulthood at the same time more and more kids are being diagnosed. America will have to try and survive with an ever-growing population of the chronically ill and disabled. I can’t imagine a worse future for us. Fifty years from now will there be anyone left to apologize to?


Anne Dachel is Media Editor for Age of Autism. Susubscribe to her site at