Thimerosal is an organic compound that is 49.6% ethyl mercury by weight. Developed as an antiseptic and antibacterial product, pharmaceutical companies began to use thimerosal in vaccines in the 1930s for the intended purpose of preventing bacterial contamination due to repeated needle punctures into multi-dose vials of vaccine. Below are links to abstracts from over 190 research studies detailing the effects of including thimerosal in vaccines.

Annotated Version of Peer-Reviewed, Published Research Linking Autism, Mercury and Thimerosal

In February 2017, Children’s Health Defense collected 89 peer-reviewed published articles linking autism, mercury and thimerosal. Each of these article abstracts are presented here along with a short annotation in layman terms about what the researchers found and how the findings are linked to autism. The science continues to accumulate that mercury and thimerosal are potent drivers of the autism epidemic. Download PDF (36.4MB)

Also see:

Mercury (all sources) Research

Mercury-Thimerosal-Autism Research – 240+ studies (PDF 21.9MB)

James 2004 – Thimerosal Neurotoxicity is Associated with Glutathione Depletion: Protection with Glutathione Precursors

James 2009 – Cellular and mitochondrial glutathione redox imbalance in lymphoblastic cells derived from children with autism

Jan 2003 – Oxidation by Thimerosal Increases Calcium Levels in Renal Tubular Cells

Jin 2004-Thimerosal decreases TRPV1 activity by oxidation of extracellular sulfhydryl residues

Kaplin 1994 – Purified Reconstituted Inositol 1,4,5-Triphosphate Receptors

Karsen 2007 – Apparent vaccine-thimerosal induced hypersensitivity myelodysplastic syndrome and pancytopenia

Kempuraj 2010 – Mercury induces inflammatory mediator release from human mast cells

Kern 2012 – Evidence of parallels between mercury intoxication and the brain pathology in autism

Kern 2015 – Systematic Assessment of Research on Autism Spectrum Disorder and Mercury Reveals Conflicts of Interest and the Need for Transparency in Autism Research

Kern 2016 – The relationship between mercury and autism: A comprehensive review and discussion

Khan 2012 – Sex-dependent Changes in Cerebellar Thyroid Hormone-dependent Gene Expression Following Perinatal Exposure to Thimerosal in Rats

Kim 2002 – Thimerosal stimulates focal adhesion kinase and cytoskeletal changes by redox modulation

Kramer 2004 – Mercury exposure in protein A immunoadsorption

Lawton 2007 -Reduced tubulin tyrosination as an early marker of mercury toxicity in differentiating N2a cells

Lee 2006 – Thimerosal induces oxidative stress in HeLa S epithelial cells

Leventhal 2012 – Hypersensitivity Reactions to Vaccine Constituents: A Case Series and Review of the Literature

Li 2012 – Thimerosal-Induced Apoptosis in Mouse C2C12 Myoblast Cells Occurs through Suppression of the P13K/Akt/ Surviving Pathway

Li 2014 – Transcriptomic Analyses of Neurotoxic Effects in Mouse Brain After Intermittent Neonatal Administration of Thimerosal

Loison 2014 – Suppression by Thimerosal of Ex-Vivo CD4 T Cell Response to Influenza Vaccine and Induction of Apoptosis in Primary Memory T Cells

Loison 2014 – Thimerosal compromises human dendritic cell maturation, IL-12 production, chemokine release, and T-helper polarization

Madi 2004 – Being on the Track of Thimerosal

Magos 2001 – Review on the Toxicity of Ethylmercury, Including its Presence as a Preservative in Biological and Pharmaceutical Products

Marques 2008 – Principal component analysis and discrimination of variables associated with pre- and post-natal exposure to mercury

Marques 2009 – Prenatal and Postnatal Mercury Exposure, Breastfeeding and Neurodevelopment During the First 5 Years

Marques 2010 – Thimerosal exposure (from tetanus-diphtheria) during pregnancy and neurodevelopment of breastfed infants at 6 months

Marques 2014 – Perinatal multiple exposure to neurotoxic (lead, methylmercury, ethylmercury, and aluminum) substances and neurodevelopment at six and 24 months of age

Marques 2016 – Neurodevelopment of Amazonian children exposed to ethylmercury (from Thimerosal in vaccines) and methylmercury (from fish)

Matheson 1980 – Mercury toxicity (acrodynia) induced by long-term injection of gamma globulin

Mercury Poisoning in Child Treated with Aqueous Merthiolate

Migdal 2010 – Responsiveness of human monocyte-derived cells to thimerosal and mercury derivatives

Miller 2005 – Thimerosal, micromercurialism and chronic fatigue syndrome

Minami 2007 – Effects of lipopolysaccharide and chelator on mercury content in the cerebrum of thimerosal-administered mice

Minami 2009 – Induction of metallothionein in mouse cerebellum and cerebrum with low-dose thimerosal injection

Minami 2009-Expression of metallothionein mRNAs on mouse cerebellum microglia cells by thimerosal and its metabolites

Muller 2001 – Inhibition of the human erythrocytic glutathione-S-transferase T1 (GST T1) by thimerosal

Mutkus 2005 – In Vitro Uptake of Glutamate in GLAST- and GLT-1-Transfected Mutant CHO-K1 Cells Is Inhibited by the Ethylmercury-Containing Preservative Thimerosal

Mutter 2006 – Comments on the Article “The Toxicology of Mercury and Its Chemical Compounds” by Clarkson and Magos

Nguyen 2007 – Thimerosal-Induced Limbal Stem Cell Failure: Report of a Case and Review of the Literature

Niehoff 2015 – Quantitative Bioimaging to Investigate the Uptake of Mercury Species in Drosophilia melanogaster

Nishio 1996 – Effects of Thimerosal, an Organic Sulfhydryl Modifying Agent, on Serotonin Transport Activity into Rabbit Blood Platelets

Ohno 2004 – Wide use of Merthiolate May Cause Mercury Poisoning in Mexico

Olczak 2009 – Neonatal administration of a vaccine preservative, thimerosal, produces lasting impairment of nociception and apparent activation of opioid system in rats

Olczak 2010 – Neonatal Administration of Thimerosal Causes Persistent Changes in Mu Opioid Receptors in the Rat Brain

Olczak 2011 – Persistent behavioral impairments and alternations of brain dopamine system after early postnatal administration of thimerosal in rats

Orct 2006 – Comparison of organic and inorganic mercury distribution of suckling rat

Park 2007 – Evaluation of Cytotoxicity Attributed to Thimerosal on Murine and Human Kidney Cells

Parran 2005 – Effects of Thimerosal on NGF Signal Transduction and Cell Death in Neuroblastoma Cells

Peltz 2009 – Calcium and Calmodulin Regulate Mercury-induced Phospholipase D Activation in Vascular Endothelial Cells

Pieper 2014 – Mechanisms of Hg species induced toxicity in cultured human astrocytes: genotoxicity and DNA-damage response

Pintado 1994 – Effect of thimerosal and other sulfhydryl reagents on calcium permeability in thymus lymphocytes

Pletz 2016 – Dose-response analysis indicating time-dependent neurotoxicity caused by organic and inorganic mercury–Implications for toxic effects in the developing brain

Qvarnstrom 2003 – Determination of Methylmercury, Ethylmercury, and Inorganic Mercury in Mouse Tissues, Following Administration of Thimerosal, by Species-Specific Isotope Dilution GD-Inductively Coupled Plasma-MS

Rampersad 2005 – Chemical compounds that target thiol-disulfide groups on mononuclear phagocytes inhibit immune mediated phagocytes of red blood cells

Rempel 2015 – A transcriptome-based classifier to identify developmental toxicants by stem cell testing: design, validation and optimization for histone deacetylase inhibitors

Risher 2002 – Organic mercury compounds: human exposure and its relevance to public health

Risher 2016 – Alkyl Mercury-Induced Toxicity: Multiple Mechanisms of Action

Rodrigues 2010 – Identification and distribution of mercury species in rat tissues following administration of thimerosal or methyl mercury

Rodrigues 2015 – Toxicological effects of thimerosal and ethyl mercury: Inhibition of the thioredoxin system and NADP-dependent dehydrogenases of the pentose phosphate pathway

Rohyans 1984 – Mercury toxicity following merthiolate ear irrigations

Rooney 2016 – Mercury Levels in Newborns and Infants After Receipt of Thimerosal-Containing Vaccines

Rosenblum 1992 – The Endothelium-Dependent Effects of Thimerosal on Mouse Dial Arterioles In Vivo: Evidence for Control Microvascular Events by EDRF as well as Prostaglandins

Sajich 1999 – Iatrogenic exposure to mercury after hepatitis B vaccination in preterm infants

Secor 2011 – Novel Lipid-Soluble Thiol-Redox Antioxidant and Heavy Metal Chelator, N,N’bis(2-Mercaptoethyl)Isopthalamide (NBMI) and Phospholipase D-Specific Inhibitor, 5-Fluoro-2-Indolyl Des-Chlorohalopemide (FIPE) Attenuate Mercury-Induced Lipid Signaling Leading to Protection Against Cytotoxicity in Aortic Endothelial Cells

Sharpe 2012 – Thimerosal-Derived Ethylmercury is a Mitochondrial Toxin in Human Astrocytes: Possible Role of Fenton Chemistry in the Oxidation and Breakage of mtDNA

Sharpe 2013 – B-Lymphocytes from a Population of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Their Unaffected Siblings Exhibit Hypersensitivity to Thimerosal

Silbergeld 2008 – Mercury, vaccines, and autism, revisited

Skalny 2016 – Mercury as a possible link between maternal obesity and autism spectrum disorder

Stamogiannos 2016 – Screening Identifies Thimerosal as a Selective Inhibitor of Endoplasmic Reticulum Aminopeptidase 1

Sulkowski 2011 – Maternal Thimerosal Exposure Results in Aberrant Cerebellar Oxidative Stress, Thyroid Hormone Metabolism, and Motor Behavior in Rat Pups; Sex- and Strain-Dependent Effects

Suwalsky 2016 – Effects of Thimerosal on Lipid Bilayers and Human Erythrocytes: An In Vitro Study

Tosti – Systemic reactions due to thimerosal

Trumpler 2014 – In vitro study of thimerosal reactions in human whole blood and plasma surrogate samples

Uchida 1994 – Thimerosal Induces Toxic Reaction in Non-Sensitized Animals

Ueha-Ishibashi 2004 – Effect of thimerosal, a preservative in vaccines, on intracellular Ca2+ concentration of rat cerebellar neurons

Ueha-Ishibashi 2004 – Property of thimerosal-induced decrease in cellular content of glutathione in rat thymocytes: a flow cut-metric study with 5-chloromethulfluorescein diacetate

Van Horn 1977 – Effect of the ophthalmic preservative thimerosal on rabbit and human corneal endothelium

van’t Veen 2001 – Vaccines without Thimerosal: Why So Necessary, Why So Long Coming?

Waly 2004 – Activation of methionine synthase by insulin-like growth factor-1 and dopamine: a target for neurodevelopment toxins and thimerosal

Waly 2016 – Alternatively Spliced Methionine Synthase in SH-SY5Y Neuroblastoma Cells: Cobalamin and GSH Dependence and Inhibitory Effects of Neurotoxic Metals and Thimerosal

Westphal 2000 – Homozygous gene deletion of the glutathione S-transferases M1 and T1 are associated with thimerosal sensitization

Westphal 2003 – Thimerosal induces micronuclei in the cytochalasin B block micronucleus test with human lymphocytes

Wong 2005 – A generalized reaction to thimerosal from an influenza vaccine

Wu 2008 – Thiol-Modulated Mechanisms of the Cytotoxicity of Thimerosal and Inhibition of DNA Topoisomerase IIα

Wyrembek 2010 – Intermingled Modulatory and Neurotoxic Effects of Thimerosal and Mercuric Ions on Electrophysiological Responses to GABA and NMDA in Hippocampal Neurons

Ye 2012 – Cytoprotective effect of hyaluronic acid and hydroxypropyl methyl cellulose against DNA damage induced by thimerosal in Chang conjunctival cells

Yel 2005 – Thimerosal induces neuronal cell apoptosis by causing cytochrome c and apoptosis-inducing factor release from mitochondria

Young 2008 – Thimerosal exposure in infants and neurodevelopment disorders: An assessment of computerized medical records in the Vaccine Safety Datalink

Zareba 2007 – Thimerosal distribution and metabolism in neonatal mice: comparison with methyl mercury

Zieminska 2010 – Low molecular weight thiols reduce thimerosal neurotoxicity in vitro: Modulation by proteins

Zieminska 2013 – Select putative neurodevelopment toxins modify SNAP-25 expression in primary cultures of rat cerebellar granule cells

Zieminska 2016 – Select putative neurodevelopment toxins modify SNAP-25 expression in primary cultures of rat cerebellar granule cells