Protect Vaccination Efforts in Developing Countries

Target: Achim Steiner, Executive Director of the United Nations Environmental Program

Goal: Don’t outlaw thimerosal, a preservative in vaccinations that allow for inexpensive and effective transport of vaccines to developing countries

In early 2013, the United Nations Environmental Program will propose outlawing many products and procedures that release mercury into the environment. However, several advocacy groups are pushing to include thimerosal in the ban. Thimerosal is a preservative that keeps vaccines sterile while they are transported to developing countries and is consequently essential to the health of individuals living in these countries. Sign this petition to keep thimerosal legal.

Thimerosal is mercury based and is, therefore, a candidate for inclusion in the ban proposed by the UN Environmental Program. However, a mercury compound is essential in order to make multi-dose vials of vaccinations. Without a mercury compound, vaccines would have to be packaged in individuals vials, and would have to be kept colder while in transit. If thimerosal were banned, the cost of delivering vaccinations would skyrocket, and many poor families would not have access to lifesaving vaccines.

Thimerosal was banned for use in the United States because some believed it caused autism in children. At the time, there was no evidence that this was true, but since autism rates were on the rise, the American Academy of Pediatrics called for its removal from vaccinations. Since its ban in the early 2000’s, there has been a lot of research, and there is overwhelming evidence that thimerosal is not harmful.

Despite this overwhelming evidence, certain advocacy groups are calling for its removal from vaccinations delivered to developing countries. If it were to be removed, many children would suffer worldwide. Sign the petition below and urge the United Nations Environmental Program not to ban the use of thimerosal.


Dear Mr. Steiner,

Thimerosal is a mercury-based compound that is an important preservative in vaccinations. Thimerosal allows for inexpensive and efficient transport of lifesaving immunizations to developing countries. If thimerosal were to be removed from vaccinations, the cost of shipping and cooling the inoculations would increase, and disposing of the empty vials would be difficult and more harmful to the environment.

Certain advocacy groups are pushing for the removal of thimerosal from vaccinations delivered to developing countries. Thimerosal was removed from vaccinations in the United States because it was believed to cause autism. Since then, research has demonstrated that thimerosal is not harmful. Please do not remove thimerosal from vaccinations.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: UK Department for International Development via Fotopedia

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One Comment

  1. Jerry Koliha says:

    Mercury-containing vaccines prevent an estimated 1.4 million child deaths each year. Thiomersal (thimerosal in the US) has been shown to be benign, but faces a ban because of its mercury content, but this is “infinitesimally small” compared with industrial and natural mercury emission. (Source: New Scientist, 12/1/2013.)

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