TortsProf Blog

Editor: Christopher J. Robinette
Widener Commonwealth Law School

Friday, May 26, 2006

Mercury: Bad in Teeth & Vaccines, Not Bad in Herbal Medicines?

From the essential Respectful Insolence, a post about the irony of alternative medicine practitioners defending the (rather high) levels of mercury and other heavy metals in certain Chinese herbal remedies whle simultaneously attacking mercury in dental fillings and (pre-2003) vaccines.  A sampling -- though you should just go read all of it:

This is actually not the first time I've heard this sort of excuse from boosters of Chinese and Indian herbal medicines, the claim that, even if there's mercury in them, it's "safe" because it's somehow different, rendered nontoxic by unspecified compounds in the herbal goodness in the remedies (either that, or that the laboratory results come from an evil conspiracy between big pharma, the government, and greedy doctors). Even more ironic, though, this is exactly the explanation as to why the mercury in amalgams is safe (it's bound up with the silver, tin, copper, and zinc in the amalgam). Try explaining that to anti-amalgam alties, and they'll have none of it.

It's worth noting that neither RI nor I are saying that mercury is yummy or good for you or your kids (though the evidence remains iffy to nonexistent on both vaccines and fillings).  It's just a goose/gander thing.

[My former firm was and may still be involved in vaccine/thimerosal defense. I was not.]

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