News of Oak Park’s recent advisory referendum has reached New Jersey, and congratulations to the citizens of the village for passing it. Why the controversy disputing an individual’s right to know about the mercury content in their vaccines?

Some argue the amount of mercury in the vaccines is harmless or negligible. Toxicology journals document the toxicity of mercury to every cell in the human body, even in “trace” amounts. Another variable, widely overlooked, is the accumulation occurring through repeated exposure when adhering to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommended vaccination schedule.

The Illinois Department of Public Health distributed guidelines for the proper disposal of mercury-containing H1N1 influenza vaccines. According to the department, “Unused or expired H1N1 vaccines are considered hazardous if they contain mercury (such as thimerosal) or cresol-based preservatives.” Multi-dose influenza vaccine and pre-filled syringes containing mercury are classified as “hazardous.” The required disposal involves hazardous waste containers and management through an approved site.

What happens if there is a mercury-containing vaccine spill in Oak Park’s drug stores or grocery markets? Would a white-suited hazmat team be called in similar to a gas company meter-mercury spill?

There are good reasons why Illinois’ 2006 mercury-free vaccine act passed, although it remains unenforced. Knowing what our experts know about exposure to mercury through vaccination, it is a travesty that vaccine manufacturers are exempt from complying with the Illinois law. At the very least, the individual has the right to full disclosure and informed consent — the benchmark of any scientific or medical practice.

Maureen Drummond
Co-founder and co-director, New Jersey Coalition for Vaccination Choice
Former 15-year Oak Park resident

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