As early as July 1935, Lilly was warned by the Director of Biological Laboratories at thePitman-Moore Company that Lilly’s claims about thimerosal’s safety “did not check with ours.”Pitman warned that half the dogs it had injected with thimerosal-containing vaccines becamesick and concluded, “[T]himerosal is unsatisfactory as a serum intended for use on dogs.”
When thimerosal was used by the army in the 1940s and 1950s (in vaccines), Lilly was requiredby the Defense Department to label the preservative “Poison.”
It was well established by the1940s in peer-reviewed scientific and medical literature that injecting thimerosal into sensitiveindividuals could cause serious injury.
In May of 1967, a study published in Applied Microbiology found that Lilly’s thimerosal killedmice when it was added to injectable vaccines.
Four years later, in 1971, Lilly’s own testsfound that thimerosal was “toxic to tissue cells” in concentrations of less than 1 in 1,000,000.
Typical vaccine concentrations are 1 in 10,000, one hundred times the levels that Lilly knew to
Letter of July 22, 1935 from Director, Biological Laboratories of Pitman-Moore Company to W.A. Jamieson,Director, Biological Division, Eli Lilly & Company. Subcommittee on Human Rights and Wellness, GovernmentReform Committee. Mercury in Medicine Report, Washington, D.C. Congressional Record, May 21, 2003: E1011-30.
Internal Lilly Memo from J. F. Crooks, September 24, 1942, on file with author.
Ellis FA. The sensitizing factor in merthiolate. J Allergy 1947;18:212-13. (
“…it may be dangerous to inject aserum containing merthiolate into a patient sensitive to merthiolate.”
Warkany J, Hubbard DM.Acrodynia and Mercury. J Pediatr 1953;42:365-386. (
Thimerosal-containing vaccines cause acrodynia [mercury poisoning] in infants and young children.)
Engley FB. Mercurials as disinfectants. Soap and ChemicalSpecialties 1956;200-5, 223-5.
(Thimerosal was more toxic than other mercurials in medical/scientific use such asmercurochrome, phenylmercuric nitrate, mercuric chloride, mercresin, and mercuric cyanide.)
DavissonEO, Powell HM, MacFarlane JO, Godgson R, Stone RL, Culberston CG. The preservation of poliomyelitis vaccinewith stabilized merthiolate. J Lab Clin Med 1956;47:8-19.
(Thimerosal broke down into toxic ethyl mercury.)
E. A. Nelson and R. Y. Gottshall, “Enhanced Toxicity for Mice of Pertussis Vaccines When Preserved withMerthiolate,” Applied Microbiology, May 1967, p. 590-593
(“Pertussis vaccines preserved with 0.01% Merthiolate
are more toxic for mice than unpreserved vaccines prepared from the same parent concentrate and containing thesame number of organisms. … An increase in mortality was observed when Merthiolate was injected separately,before or after an unpreserved saline suspension of pertussis vaccine.”)
Eli Lilly memo from J.W. Smith to Dr. M. Michael Sigel. September 7, 1971. Document on file with author.
(J.W. Smith, Ph.D., the head of the Biological Regulatory Requirements Department, stated that “merthiolate must be in the concentration of less than 1/1,000,000 in order not to be toxic to the tissue cells.”)
Thimerosal Scandal Page 3 of 66 June 22, 2005