From the February 8, 2005 edition of the LA Times comes an expose story showing that Merck & Company, the vaccine producer knew in 1991 that their vaccines had a dangerously high rate of mercury. According to the report a March 1991 memo, discovered by The LA Times showed that the 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.
The memo written by Dr. Maurice R. Hilleman, an internationally renowned vaccinologist, stated, "When viewed in this way, the mercury load appears rather large." According to the story, it was in 1999 that Federal health officials disclosed for the first time that many infants were being exposed to mercury above health guidelines through routine vaccinations. The memo showed that the knowledge of this problem was known years earlier.
The text of the memo also stated, The key issue is whether thimerosal, in the amount given with the vaccine, does or does not constitute a safety hazard. However, perception of hazard may be equally important." This information adds to the seriousness of more than 4,200 claims that have been filed in a special federal tribunal under the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, by parents claiming that their children suffered autism or other neurodevelopmental disorders from mercury in vaccines.
Presently many drug makers claim that thimerosal has been voluntarily reduced from their vaccines. However, only two states have laws on this issue. In September of 2004, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed legislation prohibiting vaccines with more than trace amounts of thimerosal from being given to babies and pregnant women. Iowa is the only other state that has a similar law.