Amer J Perinatol 2007; 24(7): 387-400
DOI: 10.1055/s-2007-982074
Copyright © 2007 by Thieme Medical Publishers, Inc., 333 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10001, USA.

Exposure to Mercury during the First Six Months via Human Milk and Vaccines: Modifying Risk Factors

José G. Dórea1
  • 1Faculty of Health Sciences, Universidade de Brasília, Brasília, Brazil
Further Information

Publication History

Publication Date:
12 June 2007 (eFirst)


Breastfeeding is the best natural protection infants have against morbidity and mortality, and the development of safe and effective vaccines has made it possible to immunize children against infectious disease. Both of these mechanisms for ensuring good health in children may be compromised by contact with mercury (Hg). Maternal exposure to environmental Hg during pregnancy can predispose nursing children to neurodevelopmental disorders. Despite the World Health Organization assurance that thimerosal-preserved vaccines are safe to use in infants, the United States, the European Union, and dozens of other countries have eliminated thimerosal as a vaccine preservative and stopped the immunization of children with such vaccines. Because of the increase in environmental pollution and the need to produce cheap and safe vaccines, there is a need to address the uncertainty of vaccine-ethylmercury risk of toxicity and Hg exposure during breastfeeding.


José G Dórea, M.D. 

C.P. 04322, Universidade de Brasilia

70919-970 Brasilia, DF, Brazil