Chairman Burton Requests Vaccine Recall

      Washington, DC - In an October 25, 2000 letter to HHS Secretary Donna
Shalala, Congressman Dan Burton (R-IN),  Chairman of the House Committee on
Government Reform, requested a recall of all vaccines containing
Thimerosal.  The mercury-based product Thimerosal is added to vaccines as a
preservative.  On July 18, 2000 the Committee conducted a hearing
entitled, "Mercury in Medicine: Are We Taking Unnecessary Risks?"  During
the hearing, the FDA admitted that children are being exposed to unsafe
levels of mercury through vaccines containing Thimerosal.  It was also
determined that symptoms of mercury poisoning mimic symptoms of autism -- a
disease that has reached epidemic levels in the United States.  However, the
FDA has chosen to allow pharmaceutical companies to merely phase out their
use of Thimerosal, leaving mercury-containing vaccines at public and private
health facilities.
      In his letter to Secretary Shalala, Chairman Burton stated:
      "We all know and accept that mercury is a neurotoxin, and yet the FDA
has failed to recall the 50 vaccines that contain Thimerosal...On their own
website, the FDA states, 'lead, cadmium, and mercury are examples of
elements that are toxic when present at relatively low levels'...  "Our
children are the future of this country.  As a Government we have a
responsibility to do everything within our power to protect them from harm,
including ensuring that vaccines are safe and effective.  Every day that
mercury-containing vaccines remain on the market is another day HHS is
putting 8,000 children at risk.  Given that Thimerosal-free vaccines are
available, and the known risk of mercury toxicity, to leave
Thimerosal-containing vaccines on the market is unconscionable."
      Testimony from the July 18, 2000 hearing is available at