Talk:Thiomersal/Archive 2

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Birth Defects?

A non-controvesial error: The article states, "The controversy over thimerosal deals with its possible connection in causing birth defects, notably autism, in children who have been injected with vaccines..." By definition of "birth defect", you can't cause a birth defect in someone who is already born, by injection with a vaccine or any other means.

I would just correct the article myself, but I don't know what to replace "birth defects" with. What, in general, is thimerosal alleged to cause? Is there anything besides autism? All I know is: It can't cause birth defects.


The problem with Quackwatch isn't just that it's a tendentious "journal" (i.e., a blog) written by someone who seems to be against something he didn't personally learn in medical school; it's also that it opens for others to make references to the even larger number of similar journals written by people with other agendas. This is someone who is on a rampage against accupuncture, chiropractic, homeopathy, nutritional therapy, etc. His entire argument against all of these therapies is that he personally is not convinced they work. It's fine that he wants to uncover cases of quackery, but his point of view clearly is that anything is quackery unless he personally is persuaded otherwise. There are lots of articles written trying to prove that it hasn't been proven that thimerosal contributes to autism; this one doesn't add to it. --Leifern 22:52, 2005 Apr 24 (UTC)

let begin with debunking a claim you made in your revert[1]. Now to continue you claim that he is against anything he didn't learn in medical school. Can you please show that he is against the majorit of anti-retrovials used against HIV? You next claim is that his arguments consist of him saying he doesn't think they work. If this is the case could you please explain why there appears to be a list of references at the base of the article?Geni 23:02, 24 Apr 2005 (UTC)
I overstated the case by saying he's against anything he didn't learn in medical school, but it seems pretty obvious that he's against anything that isn't taught in medical schools. Here's a typical quote: "Osteopathic physicians (DOs) are the legal equivalents and, in most cases, are the professional equivalents of medical doctors. Although most DOs offer competent care, the percentage involved in dubious practices appears to be higher than that of medical doctors. For this reason, before deciding whether to use the services of a DO it is useful to understand osteopathy's history and the practical significance of its philosophy.".. and from there he moves on to discuss osteopathy's "cultist roots." His articles about chiropractic include an account of his own visit to a chiropractic's office, and then he discusses the recommendations of that chiropractor with a chiropractor he "trusts." And so it goes. Page after page after page. --Leifern 23:06, 2005 Apr 24 (UTC)
err yes. And?Geni 23:29, 24 Apr 2005 (UTC)
It's a ridiculously biased source. And ironically, it inadvertenly encourages adoption of alternative medicine, because the wholesale rejection of anything unproven as quackery leaves the public more dumbfounded than before. But by all means, include it. It will only discredit your point of view. --Leifern 23:49, 2005 Apr 24 (UTC)


Secondary sources, such as newspapers, press releases, etc., are perfectly legitimate sources in Wikipedia. If you are going to excise such references here, you should make it your life's mission to do so in every article in Wikipedia. In this case they supplement the primary sources. Deleting them to promote your point of view violates policy and falls into the general pattern Geni has of dismissing anything he disagrees with (The US House of Representatives, other doctors, etc.) as unqualified to have an opinion worth mentioning. --Leifern 21:49, 2005 Apr 25 (UTC)

I replaced them with a link to the study. You will note that I left the veiw of Autism advocacy groups in the article. What exactly did I censor?Geni 22:12, 25 Apr 2005 (UTC)
You deleted several sentences and links that - coincidentally! - outlined facts and arguments that you don't agree with? I am baffled by this - I have never come across anyone so anxious to conceal something. --Leifern 23:29, 2005 Apr 25 (UTC)
That would be the quote from the abstract. Can you give a reason why that quote should be taken an not any other part of the abstract?

point by point then

“It's use has generally not be found to be necessary in single dose containers.”

This is why that flu vaccine still contains thimerosal

Removal of links not directly to the study. What is the point of these links? surely the study is by far the best source to link to since all the other links will simply be citing it?

Changed processed faster to significant differences. There were other differences between how the two compounds were processed

Removal of quote from abstract. That is not an effective summery of the study

Ripping out Americano centric comments goes without saying

Geni, it is entirely appropriate to include press releases, etc., to provide a fuller sense of the public reactions, etc. Not only that, but you are also deleting content that is relevant to the findings. If you persist in doing this, we'll need to take it to arbitration. You should feel free to edit for clarity and accuracy, but this habit of you have of deleting information that doesn't suit your opinion is getting intolerabe. --Leifern 18:37, May 1, 2005 (UTC)

but that is not the context they are in. They are in the context of provideing the source for information.Geni 19:02, 1 May 2005 (UTC)

Dispute resolution

I have entered this article on the page for active disputes. Aside from being annoyed about Geni's habit of deleting information that contradicts his/her opinion, I am baffled by it - who would want to censor information that is a) already in the public domain; and b) valuable for patients in order to make informed consent? If this were a medical doctor playing these kinds of games, he/she would lose his/her medical license. --Leifern 18:52, May 1, 2005 (UTC)

I linked to the orginal study (all 36 pages of it). Information doesn't come much more complete than that.Geni 19:06, 1 May 2005 (UTC)
I linked to the original study, too. But readers have the right to consult interpretation, commentary, etc. There is no good reason for deleting these references, though there are plenty of bad reasons for doing so. Would you mind explaining why you are such a big fan of thimerosal? --Leifern 21:49, May 1, 2005 (UTC)
false dilema logical fallacy.Geni 21:55, 1 May 2005 (UTC)
No. Your arguments are as sloppy as your spelling. A false dilemma is asserting that either A or B must be true when both can be false. Asking you why are such a big fan of thimerosal is, technically speaking, a circumstantial ad hominem. But it isn't even a fallacy, except I'm asking a negatively pregnant question. I can think of no reason to understand why you are trying so hard to whitewash a chemical compound, except that you have some unnatural love for it, and that's my way of getting the point across. It wouldn't be allowed in a court room, but it rather makes the point now. --Leifern 22:23, May 1, 2005 (UTC)

Could both of you lighten up on the reverts? Edit if you will, but flat out reversion just leaves us stuck in the same rut. Personal attacks aren't helpful either. If you want to get them out of your respective systems, here you go:

Geni: Why do you have an unnatural love of thimerosal, and why do you want to hurt children with it?
Leifern: Why do you have an unnatural hatred of thimerosal, and why do you want to hurt children with contaminated vaccines by not using it?

Can we accept that none of the editors here wants to poison children, whitewash the pharmaceutical industry, protect unethical scientists or shyster lawyers? Assume good faith, please! Remember that a difference of opinion does not constitute malicious intent. --TenOfAllTrades (talk/contrib) 22:53, 1 May 2005 (UTC)

Ehmm, actually, I never advocated risking using contaminated vaccines; the implication of "hating" thimerosal would be to only use single-dose vaccines. --Leifern 00:42, May 2, 2005 (UTC)
I would just like the two of you to stop reverting the article and stop taking shots at each other, okay? If you would prefer, I can come up with a different obnoxious loaded question for you, but I don't think it would be productive. I'm sure Geni thinks I'm misrepresenting his position, too; that's the point. --TenOfAllTrades (talk/contrib) 00:50, 2 May 2005 (UTC)

Disputed Burbacher links

These are the disputed links.

  1. This is the abstract of the Burbacher paper, and has a link to the PDF of the full paper.
  2. This is a PDF of two graphs from the Burbacher study, as annotated by Safe Minds.
  3. This is a report in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives on the Burbacher paper. It summarizes the results and conclusions.
  4. This is a report by a staff writer at a newspaper. It provides a similar summary as the previous link, but with added speculation and a 'scarier' subhead ("New report suggests that mercury-laced preservative may be more toxic than once thought").
  5. This is a copy of the press release issued by Safe Minds on the Burbacher study.

I'm willing to go out on a limb and suggest that if we're going to mention the Burbacher study, the first link (or an equivalent) is non-negotiable; it's the primary source and most accurate representation of what Burbacher said, because it is what Burbacher said.

I would also suggest that the second link is redundant—it's already in the Burbacher paper—and it is misleading—because it's two figures taken out of context without even their captions.

Links 3,4, and 5 are all summaries meant for popular consumption, and largely redundant with one another. I think we could be equally informative while still including only one of them. My personal preference is for 3, as it is the least speculative and written in what I perceive as the most neutral tone. I am uncomfortable with 5, as it is a press release from an organization with a clearly stated agenda on the issue. (Not that I object to Safe Minds receiving a mention in this article as a whole.) Moreover, it omits information that exists in the other two links.

What do people think? --TenOfAllTrades (talk/contrib) 23:16, 1 May 2005 (UTC)

Here's what I think: we shouldn't have more links than necessary, but it's better to have too many than too few references. Also, I think that it is not just acceptable but commendable to include public reactions to a released study, especially as it pertains to a controversy. In this case, Geni tried to delete comments made by Burbacher himself, and perfectly valid interpretations of the study's findings. Thanks for your efforts. --Leifern 00:37, May 2, 2005 (UTC)
Actually, the Safe Minds press release is already cited (from a different site) later in the article. I'm going to at least clip one of the references as redundant. --TenOfAllTrades (talk/contrib) 00:51, 2 May 2005 (UTC)
What is Safe Minds? I have looked at its website and found no names of anyone involved - only a PR company that's handling their press. Is this a front for attorneys? I have seen this organization sprayed through Wikipedia in recent weeks by Ombudsman and Leifern, who seem to be running a campaign to insert anti-vaccine opinions and attacks on doctors and scientists. I've also seen research wilfully distorted, with references to accurate material deleted. My own view is that this issue has reached a point - here, in autism epidemic refrigerator mother Bernard Rimland vaccine controversy and so forth - where any claim that is not sourced with a reference within the sentence should simply be deleted.
How about deleting all anonymous entries and edits? Disputing the veracity of a source because you have (unfounded) suspicions about the people amounts to an ad hominem attack. BTW, I can't recall having ever launched anything approaching an "attack" on doctors and scientists. --Leifern 18:13, May 20, 2005 (UTC), how would you take a suggestion to slow down a bit, to do some research before making repeated editing errors? Please, dig a little deeper to understand what Sallie Bernard, Lyn Redwood and Coalition for Safe Minds have been up against trying to convey some common sense to the medical community, for starters, or try finding a copy of Evidence of Harm, by David Kirby. Before being so harsh in your belated 'explanation' for your edits next time, take a look at this: [link removed] by Richard Smith, CEO of UnitedHealth Europe and former editor of the BMJ. Ombudsman 21:54, 20 May 2005 (UTC)
you know I love the smell of propaganda in the morning.Geni 22:12, 20 May 2005 (UTC)
Geni, I would suggest that you visit one of the many parents' groups that sincerely believe that their children were poisoned by vaccinations; get up on the stage and tell them that what they believe is nothing but propaganda, and the people whose professional help they seek are quacks. If you do, you will find that these parents are smarter, better informed, and more thoughtful than you give them credit for. Until then, I suggest you approach this subject with a bit - no, a lot - more humility. --Leifern 18:02, May 22, 2005 (UTC)
Could be tricky. The main fuss around here was NMR and we finaly appear to be winning that one. Personaly I fail to see what pointless gradstanding has to do with catogerising how information is presented.Geni 23:21, 22 May 2005 (UTC)
Winning? You think this is a matter of winning or losing? And who is "we" in this case? --Leifern 00:02, May 23, 2005 (UTC)
In the case on NMR yup. There is no rational case to be made that there is a link to autism so it is a simple battle of emotion vs logic. As for who "we" are well Leifern you seem to be at least vaguley familia with the antivac lit so surely by now you know we are the evil stoges in the pay of big phama/the goverment/the evil scientific establishment.Geni 00:16, 23 May 2005 (UTC)

Hey! You two are taking personal shots at each other again. Can you decide what specific point you're arguing about, and get back to that? --TenOfAllTrades (talk/contrib) 00:33, 23 May 2005 (UTC)

Bolus exposure

Reference to the significance of bolus concerns among some health care professionals is described below in the rapid response section of the BMJ:

"The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends a maximum daily exposure level for mercury of 0.1ug/kg. Every dose of DTP or DT contains 25ug of mercury ?so one needs to weigh 250kg (about 39 stones) to achieve minimum safety status for that amount of mercury. The 4 and 10 years old children are unlikely to weigh more than about 40 to 60kg so according to the EPA, they would be at a risk of receiving some 4 to 6 times (400 to 600%) the maximum acceptable recommended levels of mercury - directly into their bloodstreams - cited by the US EPA."[2]
True, but that's in the rapid response (e-letters) section of BMJ; it's not peer reviewed. Further, it's a rather selective interpretation of the EPA's recommendations. It's worth noting that the EPA guidelines cited (available in full here) are calculated based on consistent, daily exposure to those levels of mercury—to aggregate dose much higher than that seen in the vaccines. Mercury exposures were calculated based on mercury levels in hair samples of those studied, yielding doses that were averaged over weeks or months. Those recommendations also include a fudge factor of one order of magnitude; the actual dose believed to be the lower threshold for harm is about 1 ug/kg/d, each and every day.
The guideline itself isn't based on a daily exposure per se, but rather an average exposure over the growth period of the hair clipping. An individual who eats one badly contaminated fish every couple of weeks (a bolus dose, in other words) would show the same apparent mercury exposure as an individual one contaminated chunk of sushi every day at lunch.
I'm not saying that bolus exposure versus continuous exposure isn't a valid toxicological concern, however the data the EPA makes their recommendation from would just as readily support a limit of 0.7 ug/kg/week. The EPA threshold values are misused as a red herring in this case. --TenOfAllTrades (talk/contrib) 20:08, 30 May 2005 (UTC)

For the record vaccines tend to be injected intramuscularly not into the blood stream.Geni 01:15, 31 May 2005 (UTC)

I want to point out that the mercury in Thimerosal is ethymercury, which studies have indicated is safer than methylmercury (which is what the data is based on), and neither one is elemental mercury. So just calling them all "mercury" is misleading at best.

Totally disputed tag

Geni would apparently not prefer that the controversy about thimerosal be mentioned anywhere in Wikipedia. It falls into a pattern that is becoming all too familiar: he disputes everything he finds disagreeable as being false or biased; deletes whole sections if he disagrees with one word in it; asks for citations; disputes that the references provided are legitimate; deletes references if he feels there are too many; and then starts revert wars. On the thimerosal issue, I've repeatedly asked that if he's so confident that thimerosal is harmless that he wants to withhold information about the controversy, he should voluntarily inject himself with equivalent doses to what babies have gotten to prove his point. --Leifern 12:51, Jun 17, 2005 (UTC)

You know your not the first person who has tried that arguemnt. There was even a guy who put up a formal challange a while back. When a couple of people acceptted he suddenly went very quite. I can't of course keep track of all the rubish running around anti vac circles (I like to sleep from time to time) but I seem to recall the current set of arguments involve this claim that certain children have aq factor that makes then unualsy valnerable to thimerosal. No evidence of course but that seems to be quite a popular claim right now. In the light of this claim your challage is slightly irelivant (it's irrelvant anyway for other reasons but we can deal with them latter). Of course the answer is that I would be quite willing.Geni 13:20, 17 Jun 2005 (UTC)
There is ample evidence, of course, that thimerosal is very dangerous unless you are already convinced that only one view is true. I call such closed-mindedness deliberate ignorance. In any event if we assume that each injection of thimerosal is 62.5 mcg mercury within ethylmercury, and that the average child is 10 lbs (though he/she may be much less) and that you weight 150 lbs (also conservative), you should inject yourself with 937.5 mcg three times in the course of six months. We'll set aside the fact that infants have an underdeveloped immune and nervous system. --Leifern 13:52, Jun 17, 2005 (UTC)
you've overestimated my weight but no matter. Where do you suggest I get this stuff anyway it's not just the sort of thing that you walk into a shop and by. You have also failed to explain what exactly you hope to atchive if I take up this challange. Geni
The point is: It's easy for closed-minded, self-proclaimed scientists to declare that a known neurotoxin isn't dangerous; or for medical doctors to hide behind recommendations made by organizations; it's another thing when you're a parent with responsibility for your child's health. Doctors have not obtained informed consent from parents for vaccinations, and they have a right to be aware of the controversy. If you think parents should mindlessly subject their children to a hazard that is at best unknown, you - and all the docs - should take the same risk yourselves. Do you know, btw, how many doctors refuse to get flu vaccines? --Leifern 14:43, Jun 17, 2005 (UTC)
since when was thimerosal a known neurotoxin? None of the chemicaly safetly sheets I have seen have listed it as such (and they tend to pretty complete you should see the list for ethanol). Meanwhile may I suggest you read What_Wikipedia_is_not#Wikipedia_is_not_a_soapbox.Geni 16:16, 17 Jun 2005 (UTC)
For what it's worth, my scientific opinion is that thimerosal is likely a neurotoxin, and probably carries many of the same effects as methylmercury. If I had a bottle of pure thimerosal on my shelf, I definitely wouldn't drink it.
On the other hand, there is an old saying in toxicology—"the dose makes the poison." There are any number of compounds I could list that are harmless (or even beneficial) in low doses or at low concentrations but which are chronically or acutely harmful with higher exposures. I gargle with an alcohol-based mouthwash and fear no ill effecs; the situation would obviously be quite different if I drank the whole bottle every day.
From the studies I've seen here and elsewhere, there is an absence of conclusive evidence that thimerosal is neurotoxic at the concentrations used in vaccines. Some people have speculated that it might be, and there have been some hotly contested studies that draw that conclusion.
Most physicians have an honest, good-faith belief that the vaccinations they deliver do more good than harm. I expect that they would take great exception to the insulting suggestion that they are "hiding" behind the recommendations of the AMA, CDC, etc.; the vast majority of physicians take their Hippocratic oath very seriously. It's also worth noting that the sets "parents" and "doctors" or "scientists" are not mutually exclusive. --TenOfAllTrades(talk) 16:48, 17 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Geni, I suggest that you try really hard to distinguish between a talk page and the article itself. I am simply asking that the controversy be fully articulated (and referenced) in the article. You are asking that no mention be made of the controversy, because you (foolishly) believe you know the full truth - there shouldn't be a controversy and those who are stirring the pot are either morally or intellectually deficient, at least compared to you and the guy who writes quackwatch.

please don't create strawmen.Geni 01:19, 18 Jun 2005 (UTC)

I believe that medical doctors take their hippocratic oath seriously, and many if not most are also parents. Many of my friends, clients, and colleagues are medical doctors, and they are all conscientious people dedicated to their calling. But they're not infallible, and some of their practices will inevitably turn out to be wrong. That's not a poor reflection on their dedication, capability, or anything else they can help. It's a reflection on the state of the art. In the case of thimerosal, it's blindingly apparent that it's been used with little or no understanding of its effects, and now serious questions are being raised. Keep in mind that MDs by necessity rely on recommendations, findings, and guidelines developed by research organizations, institutions of public health, etc. Also keep in mind that MDs are not, by virtue of their education and training, scientists. --Leifern 18:33, Jun 17, 2005 (UTC)

serious questions? what would they be? Mostly I see rants. But perhaps the questions are lost in there somewhere.Geni 01:19, 18 Jun 2005 (UTC)

due to concerns about potential neurotoxic properties of the mercury based compound

Prove it. There are other posible reasons (lawers looking to bring lawsuits that kind of thing).Geni 01:13, 18 Jun 2005 (UTC)

conflict of interest

It is trivial to show that this conflict exists. Whether or not it effects their integrity is a different matter. It is however a fact that there is a conflict of interest (unless you are going to deny US court documents)Geni 01:15, 18 Jun 2005 (UTC)

History / original diagnosis of Autism

Hey, don't want to jump into a hornets nest here but this was on the main page:

This statement is incorrect since the first mentions of autism appearing in medical circles in 1911[3].

While it is technically correct, the word autism was coined in 1911 or 1912 by Eugen Bleuler, but it referred to a different disorder, Bleuler was referring to a form of schizophrenia (also his word :), not the developmental disorder we commonly refer to as Autism today. Autism was first used in the developmental disorder sense in 1938-1943 by Kanner.

Of course this doesn't imply that there is or isn't a link between the introduction of thimerosal and developmental Autism, it's just simple etymology --Fxer 07:39, Jun 18, 2005 (UTC)

you will note that I changed it in the version you just objected to. "This is untrue since the first medical descriptions of what we would now call autism date back to 18th century.[4]" My source backs this statement up. I supose if we wanted to do a really througher job we should dig through the old chinese records but I can't read chinese. Our own article List of persons with autism spectrum disorders goes back to the 18th century. would like any more evidence or are you satified with my current version?Geni 20:28, 18 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Leifern's deletion

The stament is a solid fact. Kennedy is wrong. If you don't like this being pointed out Wikinfo is thata way.Geni 11:13, 19 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Geni, I've already discovered that you have a great deal of difficulty distinguishing between "fact" and "Geni's opinion." Taking your statement at face value, let me point out that a) we frequently cite what people write without evaluating whether everything in it is accurate or not by way of editorial comment; b) Kennedy's sentence is in fact literally true even given your objections - he doesn't write that the condition didn't exist; he simply writes that it was "unknown." This could be said about any number of diseases that were "discovered" later. --Leifern 11:20, Jun 19, 2005 (UTC)
then you will have no objection to the current version. And the illness was not unknown Hugh Blair of Borgue was divorced due to it so the authorities at the time clearly thought something was wrong they just didn't call it autism.Geni 11:31, 19 Jun 2005 (UTC)
I'm afriad you reading of the sentance doesn help you since the name has been around in medical circles since 1911. Either way the stemnt is fase it just gives you two posible ways to prove it.Geni 11:39, 19 Jun 2005 (UTC)
But the diagnoses wasn't put into place before the date mentioned. Again, you have to differentiate between your interpretation of the statement and what it actually says. I know this is a very difficult mental task for you, but try. Also, Kennedy has never claimed to have scientific or medical credentials, so your comment simply is prejudicial. --Leifern 11:59, Jun 19, 2005 (UTC)
err yes it was. Just as rather a more general term "It is believed to have been first introduced around 1911 by noted Swiss psychiatrist Eugen Bleuler, who used the term to describe an individual's exclusion of the outside world and virtual withdrawal from social life." he describeing people so he is clear dianoseing it just as part of a wider set of symptoms. Incerdenty read Wikipedia:Vandalism.Geni 12:08, 19 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Your edits on this topic are entirely intended not to give the reader a complete overview of the controversy, but to discredit any opinion that differs from yours. You're an admin, so you should know better. In my opinion, which I'm entitled to, you vandalize these articles and deliberately attempt to deprive the public of things they should be aware of. That's vandalism, or possibly there should be a more derogatory term for it. --Leifern 12:21, Jun 19, 2005 (UTC)
I think the term you are looking for is POV pushing you might want to read Wikipedia:Vandalism. Of course I understand the idea that you case isn't all you think it is seems POV to you but most users learn in time (well ok irismaster didn't but that was a long time ago). Now I tend to feel there are a lot of things the public should be aware of. I don't think wikipedia is the place to do it since wikipedia is not a soapbox (sadly the various anon editors on george W bush don't seem to understand this but thats life.Geni 12:30, 19 Jun 2005 (UTC)


This page is now listed on RFC.Geni 16:26, 20 Jun 2005 (UTC)

'evening. I would like to respond to this RfC. But first I want to hear from both sides in this debate - what do you feel the problem is, and what is the solution? PS Can I also ask you to keep your summaries brief? It's not just me being lazy - it makes sure your points are made clearly. Dan100 (Talk) 20:28, Jun 21, 2005 (UTC)

the dispute on this page is related to the use of thimerosal in vaccines and claimed linked with autism. I feel that the problem is the Ombudsman and Leifern are using this article and a number of others articles as a soapbox to push their to push their POV (technicaly User:Leifern has admited to this [[5]]). If I knew what the solution was I would not have listed this on RFC.Geni 00:18, 22 Jun 2005 (UTC)
I have never deleted an argument or reference made by Geni; I am simply demanding that all arguments and counterarguments be presented fairly and objectively. Geni's practice is to delete sentences and sections he disagrees with rather than adding sentences that would illuminate his point of view. He has entered editorial comments next to sections, described allegations as "untrue" where they've been cited, and even reverted entire edits because he disagreed with one word. I'll confess to getting angry about it.
It probably illustrates the point rather well that Geni accuses me of technically admitting to using WP as a soapbox to push my own point of view. Anyone who bothers to read my user page will see that I make the exact opposite case there. His accusation is nothing short of willfull distortion that would give him a failing grade at any respectable university. --Leifern 00:00, Jun 24, 2005 (UTC)
ok then you want the dirrect quote. One of your aspirations on wikipedia was "Writing a coherent article about the downside of vaccination" that looks like using wikipedia as a soapbox to me.Geni 00:53, 24 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Is there any credible medical authority that would dispute there is a downside to vaccination (or for that matter any medical procedure?). As a matter of fact, I wrote the first draft of Vaccine controversy, that is prefaced by the widely accepted benefits of vaccination, and I structured the article in a way that allowed for arguments on both sides of the issue. --Leifern 09:43, Jun 24, 2005 (UTC)

After reading this whole thing...

Leifern you just come across as paranoid. From the start you throw around accusations that Geni is some how connected to drug companies. You have done nothing but attack him. It is interesting to see the process involved in making entries, but I have to say it just completely turns me off this entire site now.

Geni has been very calm and not taken part in the mud throwing. While I do not agree with him on everything, at least he has gone about this with integrity. While all the time attacking Geni for his alleged bias, Leifern seems intent to have her/his bias built in to this post. Leifern has thrown around all sorts of insults, and it seems to this reader at least that every criticism she throws, she commits herself.

Please this is a very important subject to get correct. Please look at the greater good. You have RESPOSIBILITY. Like the people who caused a rise is occurrences of Mumps and Measles across the World, lets not add to the dangers to Children’s health. Please everybody here, rather than letting unsubstantiated claims be allowed, let people like Leifern show is all how the Japan, UK, Denmark studies are incorrect. They should not be allowed to get away with "they are all corrupt and therefore we cannot trust scientific journals that are in bed with big pharma". Geni is correct, scientific review and methodologies are to be trusted. Just because we have people who do not understand or trust their methods being vocal does not mean that contributing to the self justifying parents syndrome we see around autism.

You have got to be kidding. Leifern has gone out of his/her way to strike a compromise in wording and presentation, answering each of Geni's challenges for citation and exactitude. While Geni has demonstrated great difficulty spelling and deletes completely neutral statements for no good reason. (The series of reasons offered seem distinctly after-the-fact to me.)
A) Please sign your entries. B) I don't know how to respond to the ad hominem attacks, except to ask the editor to more carefully read my edits. Neither Geni nor you actually know my opinion on whether thimerosal contributes to autism or not, and you may be surprised to know that I'm not sure. I just think that the public needs to know the scope of the controversy. I think this article should include a full exposition of both sides of the issue, organized and articulated in a way that people can make their own judgment about the veracity of one assertion or the other. "Geni is correct, scientific review and methodologies are to be trusted. Just because we have people who do not understand or trust their methods being vocal does not mean that contributing to the self justifying parents syndrome we see around autism." For example: "scientific review and methodologies are to be trusted" is a fallacy, appeal to authority. "Just because we have people who do not understand or trust their methods" is a an ad hominem and strawman. "Self justifying parents syndrome" is both offensive and a strawman. I should point out that I've actually consulted to pharmaceutical companies on outcomes research programs - I'm neither a foe of the pharmaceutical industry nor ignorant about the strengths and limitations of clinical trials and the scientific method. --Leifern 00:10, Jun 24, 2005 (UTC)
"public needs to know the scope of the controversy" err that sould like the soapbox thing again.Geni 00:58, 24 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Well, if I think that an encyclopedia should be a source of complete information, even about controversial subjects, then yes, then I am guilty as charged. Can I infer that you think the public should be kept in the dark about controversial subjects, that only people who describe themselves as geniuses should have access to information? --Leifern 01:46, Jun 24, 2005 (UTC)
Not sure how you get that as my position.Geni 01:55, 24 Jun 2005 (UTC)
You characterize "knowing the scope of the controversy" as a soapbox. --Leifern 09:28, Jun 24, 2005 (UTC)

totally shmotally

Is anybody really disputing the chemical formula, for instance? If not, then it's not totally disputed, just the toxicity. Gzuckier 01:52, 22 Jun 2005 (UTC)

however the nutrality and factual accracy is dissputed.Geni 11:51, 22 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Opinion, might help a bit

A large problem wih this article is the large dedication to the Vaccine controversy. Not the actual chemical. If I look at an article concerning Thimerosal. I expect to read a hell of alot of technical information and a very small bit about the controversey with a link to further discussion about the controversy at the bottom. So, In short, I think the article could use more TECHNICAL information and rewrite or move the controverse to vaccine controversy or its own link like. "Thimerosal Vaccine Controversy" Since thimerosal isn't the only controversy people have with vaccines. In which case, your expected to see biased points of views. Thusly Leifern can explain his information. Geni can explain his point of view (under advocates and sceptics). And all will be right with the world! yay! Jaynus _Izanagi 02:36, 22 Jun 2005 (UTC)

  • What you suggest might be the case for any ordinary chemical compound. A known neurotoxin, deliberately injected literally billions of times, in amounts far exceeding established safety limits, for a period encompassing most of the last century, falls into an entirely unique category. Nice try, and thanks for the feedback. Ombudsman 03:09, 22 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Easy on the hyperbole, there. Jaynus was offering a reasonable opinion, and it's not polite to jump all over him. For another, if claims are to be made with respect to thimerosal, it is important that we be precise.
  • Thimerosal is a neurotoxin under conditions of chronic exposure or at high levels. While it is valid to state that toxicity studies on thimerosal and its breakdown products are lacking, neurotoxic effects of thimerosal at levels present in vaccines have not been proven. (I suppose that's a big part of why there's such a debate on this page....) comment amended by addition of italic text. TenOfAllTrades(talk) 04:50, 22 Jun 2005 (UTC)
  • That thimerosal is injected in quantities exceeding established safety limits involves a great deal of interpretation. (See my notes above at Talk:Thimerosal#Bolus_exposure regarding the way the exposure limits for mercury were calculated.) There is also the argument that since vaccines use thimerosal in quantities permitted and regulated by the FDA, the amounts do not exceed "safety limits" (obviously, this is a tad disingenuous).
  • Thimerosal is neither mercury nor methylmercury, and statements about its safety based on those other two chemical species are misleading. That methylmercury standards have been used to derive limits for thimerosal use is troubling, but does not in itself directly lead to the conclusion that thimerosal is dangerous. To take an example, barium is a quite deadly heavy metal, but radiologists regularly administer barium sulphate as contrast agent for x-rays. This goes back to the first point I listed; drawing conclusions (positive or negative) about thimerosal based on even related compounds is a dangerous game.
Jaynus makes an important point, too. The controversy surrounding the MMR vaccine, thimerosal, and autism–and the articles Mark Geier, Bernard Rimland, Andrew Wakefield, autism epidemic and many more I'm forgetting–should not be reiterated on each and every related page. Watching the pitched battles, bad faith accusations, revert and edit wars, and all manner of unseemly behaviour is very draining; I've actually taken a break from the whole issue just because I couldn't take all the childish behaviour and holier-than-thou smugness. The arguments should be in one place, in all their glory. That place might be this article.
Editing for NPOV, factual detail, style, and so forth can be concentrated in one place without needless repetition. Other articles can have a paragraph or two of outline, with prominent reference to the main discussion article. There is no intent to whitewash the issue here, but it's a tremendous waste of effort to repeat the same arguments over and over on all the articles and talk pages. --TenOfAllTrades(talk) 04:14, 22 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Thimerosal is EXTREMELY Toxic

Thimerosal is EXTREMELY TOXIC. Go to Merck's website and read the MSDS on it. Click on the "T+" you'll see it says: Hazard symbol: T+ = Very toxic Criteria: Inhalation, swallowing, or absorption through the skin in very small amounts can cause considerable damage to health, and may sometimes be lethal. In the event of serious evidence of severe, possibly irreversible damage to health by single, repeated, or prolonged absorption.

Here is the web address:

look up ethanol sometime. Anyway small amounts is a subjective term. You need to inhale a fair bit of CO gas to die but it is generaly listed as very toxic.Geni 11:55, 22 Jun 2005 (UTC)
In the same source[6], ethanol is not listed as toxic; the only warning it gets is that it's flammable. Arsenic only gets the label "toxic." --Leifern 09:50, Jun 24, 2005 (UTC)
err so what? If the only risks for ethanol you put down of your sfately sheet are flamability your saftey officer is going to reject it. Of couse if you have ver been near a fire you have breathed in CO 11:48, 24 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Geni, I know you're not that stupid. The point is that an authority that even you would respect classifies Thimerosal as very toxic. And you were the one who encouraged us to look up ethanol. We did, and it turns out your argument fell flat. --Leifern 23:50, Jun 24, 2005 (UTC)
Being very toxic mean nothing the piosen is in the dose water is toxic in high enough levels (no I don't mean drowing it messes up the iron blanace in the body) mind you I only now of one case wehere someone manged to do this. Of course merck are not the only source for toxicity data .Geni 00:07, 25 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Lack of role of thimerosal in any immunological purpose

The only reason thimerosal is/was included in vaccines was to reduce contamination of multi-dose vials that are repeatedly punctured by syringe needles. There is no immunological benefit conveyed by thimerosal to the recipient. The purpose of a vaccine is to create immunity to disease, and this benefit can be realized completely without thimerosal.

Given the fact that mercury is a known powerful neurotoxin, that thimerosal is specifically suspected of causing many autism spectrum disorders, and that a simple solution to obviate its use is to stick with single dose vials, I believe it is disingenuous to speak of it providing a "benefit" to recipients. Intersofia 15:43, 22 July 2005 (UTC)

"Thimerosal provides no immunological benefit to the person receiving a vaccine." I am under the vague impression certain chemicals, perhaps Hg, can cause autoimmune diseases, so maybe it provides 'immunological detriment'. Something to research. I don't have anything more specific.GangofOne 21:12, 22 July 2005 (UTC)

I believe you are correct- not only does thimerosal provide no immunological benefit to recipients, Mercury is known to cause autoimmune diseases because by binding with natural proteins in the body, it triggers the immune to believe these vital proteins are now enemies. A search of Google for "Autoimmune mercury" quickly yields over 140,000 links... Intersofia 14:54, 12 August 2005 (UTC)

An appeal

I would really like to see those who want to put disputed info into this article to please list exactly what it they want in the article, and to list their references (in accordance with Wikipedia:Cite sources). Until this is done, it's very hard to make sense of who wants what here. Dan100 (Talk) 10:24, Jun 22, 2005 (UTC)

An interesting edit summery

"rational application of inductive null-A logic, the essense of scientific common sense, generally trumps adherence to any deductive medical algorithm"

You know I though the european constituion was bad. Perhaphs Ombudsman you would like to put forward how that argument is bassed on appeal to common sense rahter than appeal to emotion.Geni 01:09, 27 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Another suggestion

Sorry to butt in on your discussion - I don't know all the rules here yet. Maybe create a new article for the thimerosal controversy on another page or put the controversy info at the bottom? And I'm new here and don't know if I am allowed to butt in on your coversations or anything. I did some editing to the thimerosal page (the MSDS data info) and I think the controversy stuff should somewhere on this site. It is true there is a controversy - there's no denying it. I'm the one that butted in above about thimerosal is extremely toxic but I didn't know how to sign my name & date yet (clueless newbie, sorry)  :) Becca77 2 July 2005 09:53 (UTC)

my edits today

Just to head off some controversy since I know this has been a very hot page until recently, let me say that I am basically an agnostic on the controversy, so have attempted to be NPOV in general. Therefore my intentions were

  1. general slight cleanup and moving sentences around to paragraphs where they seemed to belong better
  2. link to the rationale for thimerosal use back in the 30s, i.e. the Australian vaccine disaster
  3. added the chunk about the vast and continuing emissions of mercury into the general environment while we focus on this one single exposure. (I didn't make this concept up, see my reference to Dr. Spiesel, but I thought it was relevant in the section regarding stakeholders).

Gzuckier 5 July 2005 15:44 (UTC)

Alternatives to Thimerosal

It would be nice to see information regarding alternatives Thimerosal, and why seventy years later, new discoveries haven't replaced its use. - Terris Linenbach

This is an interesting article in that regard: [[7]] The main point here is that anything that kills bacteria is also likely to be harmful to humans. The best solution is to use single-dose vials. Intersofia 15:10, 12 August 2005 (UTC)


Did not know how to hyperlink to the source of my edits or add subscript for reference on reference page. But reference is the last hyperlink at the bottom of the page with 1. Johnbushiii (talk) 16:02, 2 April 2008 (UTC)

The article is yet again a mess. It deserves the cleanup tag. --Leifern 16:50, 3 October 2005 (UTC)

I'd say it still does - there's FAR too many links, at the very least. Michael Ralston 11:57, 4 January 2006 (UTC)

The MSDS links, in the Toxicology section, appear to be broken. At least, all I see are blank pages. I've tried 4 different browsers all with the same result. Perhaps they should be replaced with links to: (for the highly toxic designation)
or (for both info on both T+ and N) Earthsound 21:56, 21 May 2006 (UTC)
The link to the MSDS under the Material Safety Data Sheet section is also not working. I found 18 results for Thimerosal at The 1st result for Eli Lilly and Company is here:
Oxford University's MSDS on thimerosal is available at
Also, according to that MSDS, some of the info listed in the chemical infobox is wrong. For example, the chemical name in the data sheet is "Mercurate(1-), ethyl[2-(mercapto-kappaS)benzoato(2-)-kappa0]-, sodium".
Some interesting studies and/or analyses on the subject:
TOXNET ( is a great resource, especially their HSDB.
Earthsound 22:56, 21 May 2006 (UTC) & again Earthsound 14:05, 26 May 2006 (UTC)
Well, it seems the current MSDS main link is working, but the symbol links aren't. *shrug* Earthsound 22:59, 21 May 2006 (UTC)

Trying to help

I have only edited a few articles, but I have dove into this one because it is so disorganized and hard to read. It is all over the place. There is no flow of information. I removed alot of redundant /irrelevant infomation. I hope this is ok. I know it can be reverted back to the old way if needed so I can't be doing too much damage :)

For instance, there was a long synopsis of the article Deadly Immunity. I changed it to a short summary and left the link to the original article for the reader to come up with their own conclusions. There were also criticisms of they Kennedy article, but without the long synopsis the criticisms were out of place so I bulleted the criticisms and provided the links.

Hope that is ok. This is kinda fun. Becca77 21:26, 6 November 2005 (UTC)

Oh boy

I really rearranged ALOT. Hope that is ok. Maybe I should work on some other articles for awhile? The thimerosal one still needs alot of organizing between sections 2-5. Becca77 01:04, 7 November 2005 (UTC)

Cleaned out lots, intending on putting some back - needs to be reorganized/condensed/rewriten Becca77 14:18, 8 November 2005 (UTC)

Need help with links

I'm still new at Wikipedia. Would like input. Does anyone think we should try to tame all the external links? Maybe change font size to 85%? Or add a news links section, opinions section, published studies section, etc? Or prune some out? It looks disorganized.

Wikipedia:Manual of Style Wikipedia:Guide to layout Becca77 01:23, 9 November 2005 (UTC)


Trying to read Wiki policy on external links. Wikipedia:External links Learning alot. I've noticed the studies cited in the "References" section of the article page could not have been used to create the text of the article. The references to the article text already have the outside links at the end of the sentences/paragraphs etc. These are good studies, however. I propose we change the section heading to "Published studies" instead of "References" and reduce the font, clean up the titles of article to make easier on the eyes.

I know there has to be someone watching this article :) What do you think? I want to start pruning but don't want to step on someones toes. I'll wait a day or so for someone to answer before I start to do anything. Becca77 14:19, 9 November 2005 (UTC)

Sorry about that; I've been watching from the shadows, applauding quietly. Keep up the good work! Perhaps "Bibliography" or "Further reading" for the additional material that's not actually referenced? TenOfAllTrades(talk) 15:14, 9 November 2005 (UTC)
Thanks :) I changed it to Further Reading. I have questions - what is the length of this article supposed to be? Is does Wikipedia have a specified length for their articles? How many links are appropriate? Becca77 19:27, 9 November 2005 (UTC)
There's no hard and fast rule on either issue. As long as the layout is comprehensible and sensible and the article doesn't descend into rambling, bickering or trivia, the length can continue to grow. If an article becomes unmanageably long, individual sections can be spun off into separate subarticles. (This happens frequently for country articles and long biographies, for example.) Generally we try to limit article size to somewhere in the range of thirty to sixty kB, but some grow beyond that. (If you want to break off subarticles, it's a good idea to discuss it first on the article's talk page.) I'll note that George W. Bush is about 90 kB long.
The number of external links is a bit of a judgement call. Wikipedia isn't meant to be a web directory, but informative external links can add to the value of an article. If an article has more than twenty or thirty entries in its 'External links' section, I'd be inclined to start pruning. Different people have different philosophies, however. TenOfAllTrades(talk) 20:41, 9 November 2005 (UTC)
I was hoping to balance out the POV of the links. Trying to make sure both sides are represented equally. If it isn't equal I think it will just be a matter of time before they are messy again. Right now there are 43 links in the external links section. That's not including any links to outside info in the article text. Should I take some out? Which ones? They are all pretty good links. Becca77 22:56, 9 November 2005 (UTC)
I think I'm pooped-out working on this one. I don't know if it's worthy of the clean up tag being removed yet, but I'm pretty much done. Someone else can take over :) Becca77 04:39, 10 November 2005 (UTC)

Edit/revert wars?

User Geni has repeatedly remove wholesale sections with little or no discussion or grouns except "NPOV" on this page and at least one other vaccine-related page. According to the edit comment by Leifern this is vandalism. Are this kind of edit/revert wars just a fact of Wikipedia which happens and the more persistent one wins, or are there more rational tools to resolve issues like this? Jkpjkp 08:25, 13 November 2005 (UTC)

Welcome to talk pages. This is our first line of resolving casual edit arguments (there are many layers and options). Wikilove dictates that when an article starts pushing a POV, we *should* try to talk about talk about it, and if possible, find language that everybody can agree upon. For example, the financial interest arguments that have been reverted portray lawsuit issues, and could be seen as POV pushing for portraying the issue as "big pharma" vs. "poor victims", rather than "opportunistic lawyers" vs. pharma, or whatever (as there are many POV's). So, the avenue to take for major edits (say, more than one or two words) would be to make the edit, and then explain the edit on a talk page. That way, a revert can be discussed, or the language can be approved, or improved.. Ronabop 13:24, 13 November 2005 (UTC)

Ethylmercury into the tissue, etc.

User:Geni seems to believe that it is POV to contend that "ethylmercury is introduced straight into the tissue of children with undeveloped immune and neurological system" and then reverts all edits with this sentence, including copy edits. The wholesale edit has been reported as vandalism, but I want to take issue with the view that the sentence is POV. It is true that ethylmercury is introduced straight into the tissue of young children with these vaccines, and it is true that these children have undeveloped immune and neurological systems. It is only POV if these are inconvenient facts. --Leifern 12:45, 13 November 2005 (UTC)

I note that your edits have had more substantial claims than that, but lets address that one sentence, for the sake of brevity. How is that statement different from "saline is introduced straight into the tissue of children with undeveloped immune and neurological system"? You seem to be implying that ethylmercury could or would have a substantial effect of some type on an "undeveloped immune and neurological system", which is not a NPOV AFAICT. Perhaps you could rephrase with something like: "ethylmercury is introduced straight into the tissue of children, and some advocates would argue that this has an effect on the immune and neurological systems of small children". In short, the sentence in question implies some form of causation.
A reader may draw that inference, but that doesn't mean the implication is made. --Leifern 15:42, 13 November 2005 (UTC)
Either way, if one passage seems POV to someone, it's hardly reasonable to repeatedly revert half a dozen changes. Reading Wikipedia:NPOV, the rational and wikipedia thing to do when seeing something which one thinks is POV, seems to be to try and rewrite the passage to be NPOV. Jkpjkp 19:15, 13 November 2005 (UTC)
In addition, edit conflicts are generally simpler to manage when only a few sentences are changed... some editors are touchy when they see large numbers of changes. Ronabop 13:46, 13 November 2005 (UTC)
Oh my God. Sorry, I didn't know this. I saw the clean up tag & totally gutted this article. Becca77Talk/Email 14:18, 13 November 2005 (UTC)
Hey, be bold! Looking over your edits, maybe an article on "Thimerosol (social commentary)" would be a good place to put all of that info? The info isn't lost that way. Cleanup can mean deletion, new articles, etc. Ronabop 14:32, 13 November 2005 (UTC)
I think what I did (or tried to do) was consolidate all the long stuff that went off topic & moved it into the links section. Also - I wanted to put in something about the the case in Texas where Judge Ward got the 2004 IOM internal transcript that showed the meeting was predetermined not find causality between vaccines and autism. And how Judge Ward ordered the vaccine manufacturers to produce all documents relating to payments made or stock ownership by the IOM panel for the Immunization & Saftey Review committee. But I cannot find any references to this in the mainstream news media. Becca77Talk/Email 14:52, 13 November 2005 (UTC)
No worries, Becca77. Sometimes Wikipedia articles need a good solid shaking out by a new editor. Information is all still in the article history for anyone that needs it.
Wikipedia articles have a nasty habit of creeping growth; editors will in passing add a sentence here and a paragraph there, sometimes to push a particular viewpoint but often just because they think the article needs the info. Eventually we end up with a jumbled mess, and someone needs to sort and trim. I'd say that the tempest in a teacup above is mostly between Geni and Leifern and doesn't really have much to do with your own work. TenOfAllTrades(talk) 15:03, 13 November 2005 (UTC)
I can't at short notice think of any problems with Becca77 edits.Geni 15:04, 13 November 2005 (UTC)

It seems to me that "straight into the tissue" sounds POV, it strikes me of having elements of hysterical speech (for the record, I am personally undecided on the controversy). For example, if saying someone was hit in the eye, the npov way to say it would be "hit in the eye" and NOT "hit right in the eye." The latter feels like it has an invisible exclamation point at the end of it. What's wrong with "into the tissue," or for that matter, simply "into children," or "injecting children with?" I mean, of COURSE its injected into their tissue - where else would it be injected, their clothing? The only reason I can think that the word "tissue" might be necessary is if the critics are concerned for some reason that it is injected into muscle or fat rather than into the bloodstream or digestive tract where some sort of metabolism of it would take place - I frankly doubt that that's the case, though - I doubt people critical of injecting mercury into children would be OK with it being administered IV... but if I'm wwrong on that point, then the word "tissue" might be needed. Also, then, the reason for that concern over IV, etc. should be explained. If that's not the issue (as I suspect), then its just there to trigger emotions. "Straight" shouldn't be needed in either case. Jafafa Hots 16:51, 25 January 2006 (UTC)

I should add, overall this article looks pretty good. I was expecting something along the lines of the bigfoot article - that one is scary! Jafafa Hots 17:00, 25 January 2006 (UTC)

There was a discussion earlier about what kind of injection it was, whether it was subcatenous, intramuscular, intravenous, etc. The term "tissue" was the compromise we ended up with. The phrase is in the context of the charges made by those who are critical of thimerosal, and "straight into" would be a reasonable paraphrasing of what they think. They usually express themselves even more strongly, but we are trying to capture the essence of their views, not the polemic flavor. --Leifern 17:56, 25 January 2006 (UTC)

Asserting views

Geni- first of all, you are making an assumption - that is not what Wiki is about. Second, casewatch/quackwatch and Steven Barnett are NOT creditble sources to use as references. StarBucks 17:58, 13 November 2005 (UTC)

Do you have evidence for either of your claims?Geni 19:46, 13 November 2005 (UTC)
Sure I can back up my "claims". As for my claim that you are asserting your own views see: Wikipedia:Neutral_point_of_view under the heading "Why should Wikipedia be unbiased?" and "What is the neutral point of view?" As for quackwatch/casewatch/Barrett see: [8][9][10][11][12][13][14][15][16]StarBucks 21:10, 13 November 2005 (UTC)
I've read it it provides no evidence for your claims. As for all your sites that recyle Tim Bolen claims see[17][18][19].Geni 22:10, 13 November 2005 (UTC)
You are saying that court documents are not evidence? Quackwatch & ratbags are equally unreliable. Racketeering & SLAPP lawsuits? And what about asserting your views? You assume the Geiers motivation is money. You cannot write that in a Wikipedia article. If I feel like it is POV then I am certain others do too. It needs rewritten. The quackwatch reference is ridiculous. Read the CJR (a reputable source) about "smear campaigns" [20]. StarBucks 13:17, 14 November 2005 (UTC)
since all those cases were defested I'm going for yes. Ah yes crj alexa rank of 53,584. I feel bringing up acuastions of smear campians in this case is ..ironic.Geni 17:08, 14 November 2005 (UTC)
I have read quite a few articles in quackwatch and casewatch, and they clearly are opinion pieces written by someone who a) believes that an MD degree (though no longer a license) confers upon the holder some authority that really shouldn't be questioned; b) uses sources selectively and anecdotal evidence when it's convenient; and c) knows very little about science. It's a blog that sometimes has useful information and other times is out to lunch. The fact that so few medical doctors are signing up with this guy sort of proves the point. The argument about Geier's financial interests is ridiculous, for the simple reason that it would condemn everyone who made a living by pursuing their passions suspect. I'm letting it stay, because any critical reader will see that the argument actually strengthens Geier's credibility rather than weakens it. --Leifern 14:19, 14 November 2005 (UTC)
I disagree. Quackwatch is an opinion site. It is not a mainstream organization or media outlet. It should go in the external links and keep the article references only from reliable sources.
-- StarBucks 00:37, 15 November 2005 (UTC)
Most medical doctors do not wish to get involved in conflicts where your oponets will have no scurpels in trying to neutralise you.Geni 17:08, 14 November 2005 (UTC)
I don;t know how I feel about the talk of financial interest. I think the whole money thing takes the article off topic. I thought the article is supposed to be about the chemical thimerosal and then leads in to the the controversy over the chemical itself. I know the thimerosal controvesry is suspected of being about money - but the whole issue of lawsuits and who is going to make money or who is trying to protect their money is so involved it could fill up a whole article itself.
Such causality is disputed by mainstream medical and scientific organizations as unproven at best and possibly disproven.
The above text taken from the article is POV because there are some mainstream medical & scientific organizations that do believe the theory is plausible. It is also redundant because the story about the FDA/CDC/IOM etc and their findings is directly below it.
name one.Geni 16:59, 14 November 2005 (UTC)
Geni, my watch list said you made a comment and I couldn't find it!! Anyway no one can make the assumption that there are not any mainstream medical or scientific organizations that don't find the theory plausible. Dr Bradstreet is a Harvard Certified Medical Education Instructor in autism, Dr Jane El-Dahr of the Tulane University Medical Center; Dr V.K. Singh of the Utah State University Biotechnology Center; the University of Michigan Department of Pharmacology; Dr Vas Aposhian of the University of Arizona; Dr Anne Connolly of the Washington University Hospital; Dr Walter Spitzer of McGill University; the Department of Pediatrics at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School; Dr Jim Adams of the University of Arizona; and Dr Jill James, a former FDA researcher, now with the University of Arkansas, Department of Pediatrics; Dr George Lucier retired from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences where he was Director of the Environmental Toxicology Program and Associate Director of the National Toxicology Program & also appointed the Chair of the Organizing Committee for the White House Workshop on Scientific Issues Relevant to Assessment of Health Effects from Exposure to Methylmercury, Dr Boyd Haley, who is a Professor and Chairman of the Department of Chemistry with a joint appointment in the College of Pharmacy at the University of Kentucky. Anyway- I am not trying to get in to a war or anything. But like Starbucks said, no one should find the article offensive. An encyclopedia article is not supposed to offend anyone, it should just state the facts. Anyhoo - that's just my .02 cents. Becca77Talk/Email 22:12, 14 November 2005 (UTC)
I believe the request was for "any mainstream medical or scientific organizations"... a selective grouping of individuals such as Jeff Bradstreet certainly does not a "mainstream medical or scientific organization" make. Ronabop 22:48, 14 November 2005 (UTC)
Oh, this is interesting, looks like your list mirrors, mostly word for word, an editorial found at [21] Ronabop 22:59, 14 November 2005 (UTC)
No need to be sarcastic Ronabop. Stick to the argument at hand. How many other facts are taken from news pieces - on both sides. StarBucks 00:37, 15 November 2005 (UTC)
This is the talk page. There are no rules against copying info to a talk page, just the article, no? Even so, it doesn't make it any less true. C'mon, guys. I am not trying to debate anyone on their beliefs. What I am saying is that it is a POV statement that doesn't belong in an encylopedia article. Becca77Talk/Email 23:22, 14 November 2005 (UTC)
so you can't find any organisations?Geni 12:27, 15 November 2005 (UTC)
OOPS! Too many colons. Didn't mean to indent that much. Becca77Talk/Email 23:25, 14 November 2005 (UTC)
From article:
The issue is further complicated by accusations of financial interest on either side of the issue.
That's true, so maybe we should just provide links as references and remove the rest (below):
Notably, critics of the use of thimerosal suspect that the establishment consisting of pharmaceutical companies [22] [23], the government [24] [25], and medical organizations have a strong interest in denying such a connection for fear of financial liability and widespread distrust in vaccinations in general. On the other hand, those who assert a connection between thimerosal and neurological disorders are routinely accused of being quacks, hysterics, and fearmongers [26] [27]who in some cases would have much to gain if lawsuits were successful (or likely to gain from their employment as expert witnesses)[28].
If the above info is going to stay it needs to be rewritten so that it is not offensive. Becca77Talk/Email 16:44, 14 November 2005 (UTC)

(Reset indent). First of all, Becca77, thanks for your efforts here. Should have said that before. Since one of the defenses against the accusations of a cover-up is "why in the world would anyone do that?" we do need to explain the suspicions of financial and other interests. And since we're supposed to be even-handed, accusations against the critics should also be noted. This is not a simple task, since shrill accusations often tend to reflect poorly on the accuser as well. --Leifern 00:17, 15 November 2005 (UTC)

Leifern, you are right. Some of it is about money. Take a look at today's the Hill [29] [30] [31]
I believe that the majority of people who believe that kids were injured by thimerosal want justice first and foremost; but that is just my POV. Regardless of who is right or wrong - being offensive is just bad karma. The disputed statement about expert witnesses - how can that be changed to be less offensive? Of course, expert witnesses get paid for testifying because it is their job - it shouldn't be portrayed as an evil thing. Fombonne wasn't made out to be a bad guy when he testified for Aventis Pasteur in their MMR case. And the other quote Such causality is disputed by mainstream medical and scientific organizations as unproven at best and possibly disproven bothers me a bit. Even Dr Fineberg of the IOM said that the epi studies "can never prove to the point of absolute certainty an absence of an association." So what to do?? How can one write this article? It is so complicated. Becca77Talk/Email 10:50, 15 November 2005 (UTC)
Hoever as a general rule expert witness are not ruled to be incompetant by the judge. Secondaly you appear to be comitting the argument from ignorance logical fallcy. It is of course imposible to prove a negative. At best we can show that the odds of X being the case are below a certian level.Geni 12:27, 15 November 2005 (UTC)
Geni, it is not impossible to prove a negative if the proper scientific studies are carried out. It would be impossible using epidemiology only. For example, it was not determined that asbestos and cigarette smoke cause cancer by using epidemiology. However, that isn't even the point. We are here because we all want to contribute to Wikipedia and should try to work together regardless of our own beliefs. Let's try to find a solution that everyone is comfortable with. You would like to include the reference to casewatch. I would like to reword it to be less offensive. What do you think of this paragraph (warning - rough draft):
There is concern on both sides of the debate in regards to motivating factors. Those who denounce thimerosal suspect that government agencies and pharmaceutical companies are denying a connection for fear of financial liability and the creation of mistrust in vaccinations. Those who deny a connection between thimerosal and neurological disorders are have charged thimerosal's critics as being medically and scientifically unqualified, emotionally distraught or interested in pursuing litigation.
And then add the references in after the appropriate text. Unless Leifern or Starbucks are still disputing the casewatch link. If Leifern feels strongly about keeping the terms "quacks, fearmongers, hysterics" I will concede.Becca77Talk/Email 14:14, 15 November 2005 (UTC)
It is never posible to a proe a negative under any condtions outside maths. your suggested text seems accceptable.Geni 14:28, 15 November 2005 (UTC)
I think Becca77's proposed paragraph is fine. As far as proof is concerned, we need to express ourselves carefully. Clinical trials and even large-scale longitudinal studies are notoriously difficult to measure (see the Framingham study) and will always be open to dispute. Geni's mantra that you can't prove a negative is a little confusing - you're dealing with the way hypotheses are phrased. For example, it is almost certainly false to say that "all autism is caused by thimerosal," for a number of reasons. But the statement "thimerosal in vaccines administered to young children is a contributing factor to neurological disorders" is a question worth researching. Those who advocate such a connection don't have the resources to prove this conclusively anytime soon, but they believe there is a preponderance of evidence to support the hypothesis and act as if it were true. I think it's false to say that they want "justice" - they want to a) prevent more children and adults from being exposed to harm; and b) research to be funded to find ways to mitigate and ideally reverse the effects they believe thimerosal has had on children. --Leifern 15:00, 15 November 2005 (UTC)
It is interesting to note that advocacy groups like Generation Rescue explicitly say that their children are mercury poisoned and, that many of the symptoms of mercury poisoning and autism are the same - but the implication is that autism, a psychological set of symptoms, may also be caused by other factors, not only mercury. BTW, congratulation to Becca77 for a great job. Intersofia 15:46, 15 November 2005 (UTC)
There's a couple of important things to note here. First, "autism" is not a clear-cut disorder, the way pneumonia is. It is defined as a fairly vague set of behavioral characteristics that manifest themselves in very different ways. An opthalmologist said that the diagnosis is a bit like saying someone's eyesight isn't very good - it's just too broad to be useful. So it's entirely possible - and in fact plausible - that autism is an umbrella term that describes several disorders with distinct etiologies. The Generation Rescue people have as their premise that what passes for "autism" these days is in fact symptoms of infantile mercury poisoning. Ergo, if you treat the mercury poisoning, the "autistic" traits go away. This isn't to say that *all* autism is a result of mercury poisoning, but that some significant portion is. They believe this is proven by the fact that a large number of children recover from their autistic symptoms when they are treated for mercury poisoning. This is what is called clinical experience, a well-known basis for medical decisions (or else why would doctors have residencies?) --Leifern 20:20, 15 November 2005 (UTC)
I changed the text.
Leifern, wasn't sure if you wanted to keep other wording in - if you do I am fine with changing it back.
Geni, I took out casewatch link - I didn't know if you all have come to an agreement on it or not. Can always be added back in. Becca77Talk/Email 16:06, 17 November 2005 (UTC)

Page Move Advisory

Good day.

The article at Dan Burton is being relocated to Dan Burton (U.S. Congressman). Please update the link on your Archived Talk page to reflect this move.

Summary of See also disagreement for RfC

This page on thimerosal exemplifies the ongoing dispute regarding the appropriate content of the See also section on a variety of vaccine and autism related topics, including but not limited to thimerosal, A-CHAMP, smallpox vaccine, autism epidemic, Dan Olmsted, Liz Birt, and controversies in autism (with long lists intact) and MMR vaccine, vaccination, Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, Mark Geier, Edward Yazbak, Thomas Verstraeten, etc. (after condensing).

The concern of many editors, including myself, JFW, Andrew73, and Geni is that the lists under See also are inserted by one user, User:Ombudsman, represent pages that he/she has created, typically have little direct relationship to the page topic, and represent only one POV. Rather than add an equal number of pages to the See also section in an attempt to maintain POV, we have condensed many of the sections into two lists created and largely maintained by Ombudsmanlist of vaccine topics and list of autism-related topics. These lists are comprehensive and contain all of the links which are being inserted plus topics which balance the POV. On several talk pages and edits, discussion has centered on a lack of Wikipedia guidelines governing the contents of the See also pages. Ombudsman has made it clear that resolution will not be forthcoming without outside comments as evidenced by the recent edit to Jeff Bradstreet "unless you can cite a mandates for turning vaccine article see also sections into a desert, or for similar gratuitous deletions, your campaign of suppression remains a disservice to the Wiki".

The Request for comments is this: on pages where a large number of tangential articles could be linked under See also, is it appropriate to condense them to linked comprehensive lists in order to maintain NPOV and readability? InvictaHOG 05:13, 2 January 2006 (UTC)


InvictaHOG has summarized the issue well, and I am in complete agreement. This is an issue mainly on pages that have been created/maintained by Ombudsman on topics that relate to vaccination, e.g. addition of these topics. The see also section ends up being a cluttered laundry list of some of Ombudsman's favored topics that only loosely relate to the article at hand. Furthermore, it serves as a vehicle for Ombudsman's anti-vaccination POV. Rather, a link to a list of vaccine topics is more streamlined, appropriate, and neutral. Andrew73 21:12, 2 January 2006 (UTC)

I have created and applied Template:Vaccines, which may help address the concern. --Arcadian 21:38, 2 January 2006 (UTC)
Excellent work and an appropriate compromise, IMHO! I'll take it as is, but would understand if Ombudsman et. al would prefer to replace pox party with something else more to their liking. List of vaccine topics could also be kept in the individual See also sections and removed from the box if people so desire. Great work! InvictaHOG 22:45, 2 January 2006 (UTC)
That's a promising start. Some of the categories might tend to grow to unwieldy sizes; in that case I might suggest creating sublists. (For example, in future it may be appropriate to create a List of vaccines and link to that rather than each individual vaccine. A similar approach might be reasonable if the template sprouts a large list of advocacy groups.) TenOfAllTrades(talk) 23:00, 2 January 2006 (UTC)
Thanks for the kind words. I don't have any objection to the proposed changes. --Arcadian 23:26, 2 January 2006 (UTC)
There has been a change to the template proposed at Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Vaccination critics. Further comment is encouraged. --Arcadian 16:02, 3 January 2006 (UTC)

I agree with InvictaHOG's assessment that Ombudsman has been using the "see also" section to create a Walled Garden, a series of articles closely interwoven to push a particular point of view. While Ombudsman consistently avoids talk pages (apart from for welcoming new users), he makes his views abundantly clear in angry edit summaries, frequently using woolly and undefined terms such as "salient" or "gratuitous" while the edits from the other user are usually supported by comments on talk pages.

Ombudsman uses "see also" to link articles that have no direct relationship apart from in Ombudsman's mind ("all are examples of the barbaric treatment western medicine has given alternative therapies" etc etc). Normally the "see also" section should not have such links, and I don't think articles written and/or patrolled by Ombudsman should form an exception to this accepted rule. JFW | T@lk 17:07, 3 January 2006 (UTC)

It is interesting that Invicta, who has decimated mostly very short, focused 'see also' link sections, always seems to describe them as long and irrelevant. At the same time, Invicta and allies have been ferociously suppressing even faithfully archived links, mostly to publications authored by article subjects, with little in the way of justification beyond an inconclusive RfC on the MMR vaccine talk page. Nowhere in the Wiki's policies does it say 'see also' links must be directly related to the existing content in an article. In fact, see also links should serve to help bridge pools of knowledge, rather than serving as politically correct blinds restricting the insights readers are allowed to peruse and pursue. 'Streamlined', as used above, comes across as little more than a code word for suppression. 'Condensed', as used by Invicta, similarly misrepresents the orchestrated campaign of decimation waged in the name of npov. Prior to the creation of the vaccines template, all other links were being deleted, regardless of relevancy, except a single link to list of vaccine topics. The real issue here, whether you admit it or not, is the nuisance deletion campaign, amounting to a virtual ban on vaccine article 'see also' sections, waged by Invicta, et al. Ombudsman 19:12, 4 January 2006 (UTC)
Whow! Ombudsman on a talkpage! You are not actually addressing the concern voiced by InvictaHOG and myself that you seem to be using "see also" as a way to create a Walled Garden. This RFC has little to do with the links, but the RFC on Talk:MMR vaccine was far from inconclusive - only John and Intersofia were really defending the use of Whale links. You yourself did not contribute to that discussion at all, which nigh disqualifies you from passing any verdict on it.
I think it is your complete lack of NPOV and an inability to collaborate on articles that is the nuisance here. You consistently misrepresent mainstream science, go at lengths to defend the views of people considered "quacks" (or worse) by the "medical establishment", almost always fail to mention criticism of these people from mainstream sources, and use various tricks to get your job done (e.g. creating categories such as Category:Medical controversies and then filling them with your choice pseudoscience).
Sadly we all suffer the nuisance of having to deal with your quirks. I'd rather not be edit warring over a mindnumbingly poor-quality external link, but your stubborn behaviour simply demands otherwise. JFW | T@lk 20:34, 4 January 2006 (UTC)

My observations:

  • A see also section should be short, not an exhaustive list of all topics remotely related to a subject. If a large number of WP articles might be of interest to a reader of this article then they should be summerised in another article (e.g. [Vaccine controversies], or [List of autism related concepts]) and that article should be included in relevant see also sections. The navigation box proposed above seems like another good solution. At this time, the see also section includes [autism], [autism epidemic], and [controversies in autism]. That seems a little rediculous. You should have only one of those three listed, probably [controversies in autism] because it seems most relevant.
  • It was mentioned above that the linked articles "and represent only one POV." Although I recognize that selective inclusion of links can create a subtle POV, all articles should represent NPOV. If the linked to articles represent one particular POV then perhaps the bigger problem is with those other articles. But you do have to pick your battles sometimes too.
  • Finally, I think that since inclusion of particular links in the see also section is controversial, a consensus should be reached on the talk page before any changes. At least until some common ground is found. If someone is modifying an article but refusing to discuss changes on a talk page then that brings into question whether they're making a sincere effort to work towards a NPOV.

Good luck to everyone Matt 01:44, 21 January 2006 (UTC)

Salon article

Salon is an online newsmagazine that publishes articles and rebuttals to these articles. There is nothing either contradictory or confusing about making reference to both the article and rebuttal; in fact, providing both is necessary for balance. I am reverting again. --Leifern 02:42, 5 January 2006 (UTC)

Providing neither is equally balanced, and cleaner. There is over a screenful of external links on this page, and I run at a large resolution. We should try to trim down the gross redundancy and excessive quantities of links, because there is little to be gained from the laundry list of links unless we want to scare people away from trying to understand the topic - which is hardly what an encyclopedia should be doing. Michael Ralston 09:52, 5 January 2006 (UTC)
I favor completeness over cleanliness any day. This is a controversial topic; people have a right to read the articles on either side. And what determines which links stay and which don't? Besides, the "accept" and "reject" lists are not that long. If you want to reduce the number of links, let's discuss criteria for exclusion and inclusion rather than making seemingly arbitrary deletions based on bogus rationale. --Leifern 11:37, 5 January 2006 (UTC)
Okay, let's start with the wikipedia policy of NOR, which also specifies what constitutes a "Reliable" source. Specifically, sources which are the opinions of individuals are not particularly reliable. For instance, editorials would thus not be so reliable. Michael Ralston 18:49, 5 January 2006 (UTC)
Okay. I've gone through it. was a broken link, I took out the links to blogs - as they're DEFINITELY not "reliable" by the WP:NOR criterion, and I took out a link to one editorial on the "reject" side to keep the lists equal length. I'd still like to lose the Salon articles, because I can't even view them - but this is a drastic improvement, I feel. Michael Ralston 19:03, 5 January 2006 (UTC)
Yet another note by me. Here's a policy I wish I'd seen earlier: Wikipedia:External_links and [32]. They seem to be confirming my intutition that we should, in fact, be trimming down the external links a bit. I'd also like to see some organization of the giant "Further Reading" list of links, possibly accompanied with trimming. As the policy states, POV external links should have the POV clearly indicated - some of the Further Reading links are definitely POV (, for instance), and should be labled as such. Michael Ralston 19:25, 5 January 2006 (UTC)
It says pretty clearly that Wikipedia is not a web directory, which is to say that it is not intended to be exhaustive. I can assure you that the links we have are nowhere near exhaustive of this issue. What we're left with are non-commercial sites that add substance to the issue; we should avoid a lot of redundancy, favor seminal texts that go beyond the brilliant prose criterion, and obviously not try to overwhelm the reader. But this needs to be balanced with the fact that this is a highly controversial issue with a lot more questions than answers. I don't think we should reduce just for the sake of reducing, though. --Leifern 19:42, 5 January 2006 (UTC)
The links may not be exhaustive, but I think they're exhausting. ;) I just don't think that they're all adding value. But for the Reject Theory/Accept Theory lists we have now (as in after my previous removal), I do think it's much better. I still think the Futher Reading section needs to be organized, at least, though. Michael Ralston 19:47, 5 January 2006 (UTC)

External Links/Further Reading

Okay. I'm pretty firmly convinced we need to do SOMETHING about the external links. I understand some users would prefer keeping the number high - but I'm strongly opposed to having much more than 6-7 links in a subheading. External Links proper is okay (now) - but Further Reading isn't. It needs SOME sort of organization, but at the moment I don't see any clear way to achieve that. Thoughts? Michael Ralston 01:48, 9 January 2006 (UTC)

In the short term, the best I can recommend is that we split all the "Further Reading" links into the "Reject theory" and "Accept theory" sections. When links are all lumped together into one section, advocates may think they're helping their cause by flooding the commons section with links supporting their position (as if it was a "vote"), but when links are segregated, advocates may pursue different strategies. --Arcadian 02:37, 9 January 2006 (UTC)
I have split the links as described above. No links were added or removed. --Arcadian 23:53, 28 January 2006 (UTC)

material out of place

"Thimerosol (social commentary)" as an article is, as suggested high above, a good idea.

It is clear that a proportion of the attacks on Thiomerosal are actualy nothing to do with it, but rather are anti-vaccinationist activity. I suggest tht much of that be abstracted into that article, teh article on vaccine safety since the ostensible allegation is that vaccines with THiormerosal in are safer if it is removed.

I think that'll leave a page abut a chemical that used to be used more than it is. Do we have a tag for {explode and then merge most of the fragments into several otehr articles} ? Vote: for Midgley 22:57, 1 February 2006 (UTC)

for: I'm inclined to agree with this. Michael Ralston 01:27, 2 February 2006 (UTC)

Deleting entire sections like this amounts to vandalism. Do this again, and I will report you and fight the battle. "Anti-vaccinists" are a figment of your imagination. --Leifern 00:27, 3 February 2006 (UTC)

No a good faith attempt to improve the article. Language such as "fight the battle" is unhelpful.Geni 00:38, 3 February 2006 (UTC)
You're kidding, right? --Leifern 01:15, 3 February 2006 (UTC)
No.Geni 01:47, 3 February 2006 (UTC)
Please revert your large, and frankly poorly considered edit, whcih a well as reduplicating the material that is now at an entirely suitable place - as linked in the article here - has also wiped out some improvement I made to text at the top of the page.
I also do not like your description of a careful, previously announced, supported edit without the loss of so much as a single word as "vandalism" and "if it happens one more time I shall report you". I suggest that you do whatever editing is necessary to make it as though you had never posted that...
I'd prefer you to undo your edit, we are both on line, so it won't need long...Midgley 01:58, 3 February 2006 (UTC)
I think it's an excellent idea, Midgely. It's common practice to break out article sections that grow too large into subarticles, leaving a short (a couple of paragraphs, give or take) summary in the main article. Might I suggest Thimerosal controversy as the name for the breakout article, to follow the naming convention established with vaccine controversy? TenOfAllTrades(talk)
I can see at least one editor who in theory would be better placed to make that very short summary...Midgley 02:42, 3 February 2006 (UTC)

I was right, it looks much better. The article which it sits quite well in is going to have to be turned into sub-articles I think, so it could be regarded as sitting there briefly, and then being an article in both trees - a fusion article or whatever. Midgley 02:42, 3 February 2006 (UTC)

I would be fine with a separate article called Thimerosal controversy. The current "fusion article" is a POV fork based on a hijacked premise. --Leifern 03:27, 3 February 2006 (UTC)

this does not sit well with the second batch of threats issued by Leifern. Is this really how wiki-regulars are expected to behave? ^^that is damnably rude, and there is no excuse for it.
We are I think agreed, ostensibly, that moving the coherent chunk of material I identified and moved to anti-vaccinationist into a separate article linked from both this and that article woudl be sensible. The summary would be short, but different for each article... May I suggest that you do it? I'm going to bed having just improved Chickenpox.

Midgley 03:34, 3 February 2006 (UTC)

No, what is rude is to try to bury information in a long, rambling article. Sure, I'll create a separate article on Thimerosal Controversy. --Leifern 03:36, 3 February 2006 (UTC)
But what you have just done is to paste it all back into this article. Or did you revert it removing subsequent edits? This is bad behaviour and poor editing. Was that a consensus or do you say one thing and then do exactly what you feel like? Midgley 03:38, 3 February 2006 (UTC)
Ehem, you'll see that the reorganization was just completed. You were the one who deleted the majority of an article, created a new one, and jammed it in their without anything approaching consensus. --Leifern 03:41, 3 February 2006 (UTC)

The controversy section was interfering with the remainder of the article. On fluorine we don't have 50 KB on the water fluorinidation controversy. Thank God. JFW | T@lk 11:46, 3 February 2006 (UTC)

As was apparent, I had no problems creating a separate article about the controversy. I have a huge problem creating one humungous article that is based on a false or at least debatable premise. --Leifern 13:32, 3 February 2006 (UTC)
But you had not done so... I did, boldly, and now we have better articles, including the big young one, and very visibly this one. It would not be misplaced for you to recognise that contribution, and recognise it is a reasonable application of WP canons. Midgley 18:17, 3 February 2006 (UTC)
Actually, what you did was a thinly veiled attempt at promoting your point of view by burying relevant information in an article that was biased - that is in contradiction with the canons, as you put it. I'll concede the outcome is fine though not vastly superior to what we had, but boldness has to include merit. --Leifern 19:05, 3 February 2006 (UTC)
What was "false or debatable" about that article? JFW | T@lk 09:46, 5 February 2006 (UTC)
Boldness conditional on merit? Where does WP policy say that? You view the material from one angle, I from another, both of us agree the outcome is "fine", one regards it as signifcantly better than the preceding situation. It appears we are both partly right, what is clear is that much of the heat - from Leifern - was unjustified, unhelpful, non-contributory to improvement. And now compounded by an assertion of bad faith. I've not asserted that of Leifern, although his RFD looks far more like pique than logic. Midgley 13:44, 5 February 2006 (UTC)


One reference seems to have been dealt with above here at

The timeline of a chemical would usually start with its first synthesis and introduction, and include several of its uses, that timeline is really part of Thimerosal controversy is it not? Why not put it in that article? Perhaps by way of the talk page over there, since it is controversial. Midgley 15:45, 1 March 2006 (UTC)

I have to agree - this article should deal strictly with the chemistry and uses of thimerosal and provide links to related articles, including the controversy, where the timeline belongs. --Leifern 18:13, 1 March 2006 (UTC)

What acvtually does this "2002 - The USA Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the USA Food and Drug Administration (FDA) state that the last remaining doses of some pediatric TCVs are administered to US children" mean? That from that date no more TCVs will be administered, or that some TCVs will continue? Midgley 21:27, 2 March 2006 (UTC)

Its simply means that the stocks were not recalled and destroyed. It was put in by people as a indication that profits came before reducing total toxic load in infants. Not POV sadly, but a fact of commercial life; all companies (even PCT's ) have to make similar commercial decisions (if not, then hey! - Oseltamivir for all my friends!). Now the good news: The stocks of this particular vaccine have -by now -all been exhausted! --Aspro 23:29, 9 March 2006 (UTC)
As a 'Time line' entry: it should really indicate that this date (2002) marks a decision - to wit: reduce the total amount environmental mercury load that comes from inoculations. Pragmatically, it is not banned outright, due to a lack of ways of dealing with bacterial contamination in some preparations.--Aspro 23:54, 9 March 2006 (UTC)
It doesn't effectively say that, the phrasing needs changing. I'd suggest you can mark when something stops being made, but the date that stocks run out is a bit fuzzier and less use. I think the section belongs in a different article though... Midgley 09:58, 10 March 2006 (UTC)
I think the section is OK here, because it is after all documenting the history, but it needs to be accurate. The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons have also just published a study that suggests that autism rates are going down now. It discuses whether this is due to the reduction of mercury in vaccines or some other cause. Rather than hog it to myself until I have time to digest it properly I'll put it here for everyone:Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons--Aspro 10:20, 21 March 2006 (UTC)

Is there any particular reason why the time line is in reverse chronological order? Do we do that anywhere else? For ease of management, I will be bold if I don't hear anything  :) Brian Sayrs 00:22, 3 April 2006 (UTC)

OK, updated. Brian Sayrs 21:22, 4 April 2006 (UTC)

Linkrot affecting timeline - first reference there is now absent from Yahoo. Needs re-referencing or something...Midgley 02:59, 4 April 2006 (UTC)

Changed to reflect that a new citation is necessary. Brian Sayrs 21:22, 4 April 2006 (UTC)

International Nonproprietary Name

In accordance with Wikipedia:Naming conventions (chemistry) and Wikiproject Drugs, I propose to move this page to the International Nonproprietary Name "thiomersal". If you have any concerns regarding this move, please discuss it on this page. -Techelf 11:49, 27 May 2006 (UTC)

In case it isn't obvious to anyone, I implemented that, since it was clearly the right and proper thing to do. The list of double redirects it threw up was more than any one man should have to contemplate, and the variability in quality of the articles they were contained in was such that I feel I've done my share now. Work remains to do on that... Midgley 16:24, 4 June 2006 (UTC)

Change title spelling to Thimerosal

help change the title spelling to Thimerosal. thanks.--Ross Miller

Why? --Dirk Beetstra T C 20:33, 24 August 2006 (UTC)
Agreed, the current title is nothing more than a red herring. Why? While thimerosal gets 1.1 million goofle hits, the current alternative gets less than 15% of that. Moreover, this article isn't the only place where, by simply renaming them, corporate medicine devotees have tried to hide significant Wiki medical articles from search engines. Ombudsman 20:42, 24 August 2006 (UTC)
As much as I agree with you about the preference for the "thimerosal" spelling, I don't think there's a conspiracy here. Apparently, this is the preferred "international" spelling. Andrew73 22:06, 24 August 2006 (UTC)
Pff .. again Google. I hoped that someone would tell me that thimerosal and thiomersal are the same compound, and since both are trivial, it would not make a difference. But there is something else at stake here? Maybe someone can explain that to me? --Dirk Beetstra T C 21:59, 24 August 2006 (UTC)
Yes both are exactly the same compound. We may as well push to change the title of the paracetamol article to "acetaminophen." Many more Google hits for the latter. Andrew73 23:03, 27 August 2006 (UTC)
In fact, the thimerosal article was eviscerated months ago, to the point that it has almost nothing in common with the reality that makes the topic (and search engine access) anything but trivial. Big pharma made a huge and horrific mistake in failing to quickly remove thimerosal from the market many years ago, and is now actually going to great lengths to prevent its removal from flu vaccines (and other vaccines given to infants and pregnant women), through lobbying and political influence peddling. The 2000 Simpsonwood CDC conference article is a good place to start, if you want an example of the extraordinary attempts that have been made to trivialize questions about the neurological damages frequently caused by this extremely neurotoxic poison.
Currently, rather than mentioning the Simpsonwood debacle, and even before the thimerosal article's introduction, there is instead a link to a long-festering pov article, an article that evidences a very sad attempt to further trivialize vital questions using anachronistic terminology. The preposterously pov article, originally contrived to replace a legitimate article about vaccine critics, is also linked inappropriately elsewhere, e.g., twice in the introduction to another new (and very pov) vaccine critic article.
In its current form, the thimerosal article or its spelling might well seem trivial, but that is simply the result of having serious questions eviscerated from the article. In reality, the article is little more than a pitiful example of how to pass off lies of omission as npov. The limits of assumption of good faith continue to be pushed beyond reasonable limits of recognition by inappropriate actions like changing the spelling of an article title. It is high time to correct the spelling to the common form Ombudsman 22:57, 27 August 2006 (UTC)
Dear Ross, this looks more like an answer, indeed. Still no solid reason to change the title, but now I understand that there is a big lag of medical information in the contents of the page. But feel free to add the data, I am here from a purely chemical point-of-view, so for me a short, unreasoned 'help' resulted in a 'why?'. There are Wikipedia-systems to request namechanges, and everybody can change the contents, if you edit and supply (preferentially peer-reviewed) references, I am sure the contents will come to where it should be. --Dirk Beetstra T C 23:28, 27 August 2006 (UTC)

the growing fiasco of retitled medical articles

Please feel free to add to the following list of articles retitled to obscure corporate medical disasters:

This looks like a POV list. Could each item be accompanied by a 'why', and maybe this list should be at a different place .. Medical Portal or something? --Dirk Beetstra T C 21:59, 24 August 2006 (UTC)
What is your point, that you don't think that the Wiki can bring articles on these serious subjects up to a reasonable standard of npov? Perhaps the matter ought to be discussed elsewhere as well, but it is equally essential that the context of the discussion is also addressed right here, on the discussion page where it belongs. Ombudsman 22:57, 27 August 2006 (UTC)
I am sorry, I totally don't get your point. What do you want with this list? And please, don't try to guess my thoughts. --Dirk Beetstra T C 23:19, 27 August 2006 (UTC)

Ombudsman's comments are misleading.Midgley 09:05, 22 November 2006 (UTC)


I think the article is pretty much a mess. Large parts of safety information should hardly be on this page, this is an encyclopedia, not an MSDS. I have done a first round of cleanup, but it needs more. Apparently there is pharmaceutical controversy about this compound, can somebody write a section on that (I'm not a pharmacist)? Furthermore, there is apparently a policy that names medicine (INN?), and apparently that name is then Thiomersal, in the edit that I have done now, I changed a couple of thimerosals into thiomersals. I would suggest, that further changes in name are discussed on the talk-page, and that we keep it at that first, until there is consensus here. Happy editing! --Dirk Beetstra T C 00:08, 28 August 2006 (UTC)

Given there is an article called Thiomersal controversy whch is on the thiomersal controversy, I suggest not writing it again in this article. If anyone really wants to could they revisit the extensive history, an perhaps look at some of the past, very poor quality versions opf an article under one title. Better not to. Midgley 15:49, 28 October 2006 (UTC)

"The actual amount of thimerosal present in vaccines currently listed on the childhood vaccination schedule, whether trace or otherwise, varies from nil to 0.01%[1]."

Apart from being rather wordy, a percentage is not an amount, actual or otherwise. Midgley 15:49, 28 October 2006 (UTC)

→The point that "no thimerosal as a preservative" is not the same as "no thimerosal" should not be lost - perhaps you can find a good way to restore that fact or suggest where it could go Tony Stein 07:13, 30 October 2006 (UTC)

→I agree though with ypur remark about the nature of the percentage - your recommendation as to how best to display the actual values would be appreciated Tony Stein 07:13, 30 October 2006 (UTC)

Just leave it that a trace may be found. The other tends toward editorialising. Midgley 21:12, 30 October 2006 (UTC)
Tendency to growth

I see it now has two copies of the list of places it is used. I don't think this is an improvement. Midgley 16:01, 28 October 2006 (UTC)

Quality of sources

Geni, at the risk of stating the obvious, quality of a source is not correlated with your level of agreement with it. Please reinstate the Salon link. --Leifern 18:33, 21 November 2006 (UTC)

There is some virtue in tending to use original - primary and secondary - sources in preference to magazines, in constructing an encyclopaedia. Midgley 09:04, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
Magazines and other periodicals are primary and secondary sources. --Leifern 13:13, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
I guess that depends if you agree with the periodical's point of view or not! While I disagree with the article, I did reinstate the link since the material in there is a source of information (albeit potentially biased/confounded) for many anti-thimerosal groups. Andrew73 15:58, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
This is a somewhat moot point in this specific case. The original text was published simultaneously in Rolling Stone magazine, and online in Both of these vehicles may be a little unusual for the type of material -- but there is no doubting the fact that they both represent the original text. Refer also Kennedy's site: Tony Stein 03:46, 26 November 2006 (UTC)

WHO accounts

Presumably it is a matter of record that the WHO receives contributions from the USA. It is not demonstrated though that some of those contributions are hypothecated to the provision of particular vaccines to particular places. Perhaps it should be if it is true, but possibly the exact channelling of funding from one nation state to one international organisation should be presented in an article about one of those entities, or if it is controversially related to thiomersal be presented in the perfectly suitable article on that - thiomersal controversy. Remarking that among the uses of thiomersal, some vaccines still contain it is probably useful, but it is odd that there is not one of them actually listed, given the degree of energy expended on the subject and the knowledge asserted by the contributor. "Which vaccines?" is surely a question that a reader would have in their mind, and deserves an answer. Only the cynical would think that there is no mention of actual specific preparations because if there were the alleged fact could be checked. But there is no shortage of cynics in WP. Midgley 09:15, 22 November 2006 (UTC)

Refs should go on the other article ?

I was going to add wikilinks for authors Mark_Geier and Robert_F._Kennedy_Jr. but then thought: shouldn't these ref's be on the T. controversy page?

Arguably. Certainly they should not be on this page. Midgley 02:32, 12 December 2006 (UTC)

Thiomersal and Autism

The entire section on thiomersal and autism should probably be removed. First, the proper place for that information would be under "Thiomersal controversy". Second, none of the relevant information is cited. The only citation included is with regard to arguably irrelevant political posturing. Third, the section was only recently added, and after much of that discussion has already been moved to "Thiomersal controversy" in the past. Fourth, the section has a distinct POV bias and is generally poorly written and organized for an encyclopedia. It contains many unattributed "facts", weasel words, and POV adjectives. And finally, it is just too big! It currently is using up at least half, if not more, of the entire article's content.

At the very least, the section should be considerably pared down and renamed. Maybe rename it "Thiomersal controversy" with a basic amount of background information regarding the various alleged problems with the use of thiomersal in vaccines, but leaving "Thiomersal controversy" as the main article for that information.

Unless I hear reasons from others why the section should be kept, and unless proper citations are added soon, I will either remove it or rename it and significantly pare it down. Moulding 22:25, 11 January 2007 (UTC)

To me it seems that that section indeed fits better into thiomersal controversy, what I do miss in this article is a clear pointer to that article. This article should have a one-paragraph section 'thiomersal controversy', with a {{main}} pointing there. For statements that need references, you can use the {{cn}} (or one of the varieties of that). Hope this helps. --Dirk Beetstra T C 22:37, 11 January 2007 (UTC)
The POV seems a tad slanted, and most of it duplicates controversy information. I do agree that a longer leader to the main article would be good.Ronabop 08:03, 16 January 2007 (UTC)

Thiomersal and Allergies

Someone wanted to say something there... but hasn't really succeeded. Thiomersal allergy is rarely if ever encountered in clincial practice - does soemone have a reference for the actual incidence of mercury compound allergy? (It is more likely to act as a hapten than in a covalent compound, I suspect - not that that part of the article is really about chemistry). Midgley 21:54, 30 March 2007 (UTC)

I threw together something with 3 cited sources; hope that suffices. Eubulides 20:10, 28 September 2007 (UTC)

Thiomersal and Alzheimer's Disease

What about the alleged link between thiomersal and Alzheimer's Disease? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Aebarschall (talkcontribs) 20:32, 26 September 2007 (UTC)

Move timeline to thiomersal controversy page?

Re this change (which got reverted): perhaps Thiomersal#Timeline should get moved to Thiomersal controversy? Regardless of the change most of the timeline's material is more appropriate there anyway. Eubulides 20:09, 28 September 2007 (UTC)

Some of it is inappropriate anywhere on Wikipedia, but the rest should probably go to thimerosal controversy. We already have plenty of POV forks on thimerosal, vaccines, and autism - let's use the ones we have. MastCell Talk 22:14, 28 September 2007 (UTC)
No one else has commented. My intent (when I get around to it) is to move the material in question to Thiomersal controversy. After doing that, I intend to remove duplicate material and improve the quality of sources. Eubulides 20:59, 1 October 2007 (UTC)
OK, I moved the material in this change and this change. Eubulides 22:01, 2 October 2007 (UTC)

Kharasch citation

The following statement has been awaiting citation since February 2007: "On June 27 1927, Morris S. Kharasch, a chemist at the University of Maryland and then at the University of Chicago, filed a patent application for thiomersal. Kharasch's research was funded through a fellowship provided by Eli Lilly and Company." I looked for a reliable source confirming all these details and could not find one. I removed the statement but this was reverted with the comment "please do not purge relevant, easily sourced content". I disagree that all this content is easily sourced; if I'm wrong, please prove me wrong by sourcing it. (Some of the details are easy, but all of them?) I also don't see how all those details are that important. The rest of the text (which is sourced) already firmly establishes that Eli Lilly originated and patented the compound. Eubulides (talk) 06:25, 17 January 2008 (UTC)

WP:PROVEIT clearly sides with your interpretation. a year is more than enough time for an editor to provide a reliable source. a month in my opinion is more than adequate time for a reliable source to be produced in response to a {{Fact}} tag. after that, the info needs to be tossed. i've run across far too many instances of clever vandals adding material that seems plausible, and that crap remaining in articles for months. it's deplorable. if this is to be an encyclopedia, then unsourced crap needs to be aggressively removed. apologies for the rant. Anastrophe (talk) 06:42, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
Generally, if someone accuses you of "purging easily sourced content" which they themselves cannot be bothered to source, you're on the right track. Given the track record of the editor making the accusation, you can be doubly sure you're on the right track. I agree with both comments above and have again removed the unsourced content. It can be readded when a source is produced. MastCell Talk 06:56, 17 January 2008 (UTC)

This change restored the text and cited the web site The Mercury Link Argument. But there are several problems with that citation. First, the cited source disagrees with the text: it says Kharasch filed for the patent on 1929-06-27, whereas the text says 1927-06-27. Second, the source does not support the text's claim that Kharasch's research was funded by Eli Lilly; it merely says Kharasch was a Lilly fellow. Third, the source is incorrect about several basic facts about autism: for example, it claims Kanner first described autism in the 1930s (wrong: it was 1943), and that Asperger was French (wrong: he was Austrian). There are several other errors in the source, which casts real doubt on the source's reliability, and it is almost certain that the source is mistaken about some of the Kharasch details. I'm going to revert the change for now; the text needs a better citation than this one. Eubulides (talk) 02:10, 20 January 2008 (UTC)

Agreed. On an unrelated note, User:Ombudsman is under indefinite ArbCom sanction as a result of tendentious editing and misbehavior on various medical articles; a few more edit summaries like these ([33], [34]) and I think Arbitration Enforcement would be appropriate. MastCell Talk 07:55, 20 January 2008 (UTC)

This change reinstated the Kharasch item and cited Dan Burton's "Mercury in Medicine Report" (PDF). But that source is not reliable either; for example, it gets the date of the patent application wrong, and it incorrectly places Kharasch at the University of Chicago at the time of his discovery. Instead of messing with that unreliable source, I cited the original patent with this change, removing details (like the Eli Lilly fellowship funding) that we still do not have a reliable source for. Eubulides (talk) 08:01, 24 January 2008 (UTC)

Babies Excrete Vaccine-mercury Quicker Than Originally Thought

For your consideration: Babies Excrete Vaccine-mercury Quicker Than Originally Thought, Study Shows[35] mentions this press release and this Pediatrics study doi:10.1542/peds.2006-3363. -- SEWilco (talk) 16:32, 4 February 2008 (UTC)

Thanks, that's been added to Thiomersal controversy. Eubulides (talk) 17:30, 4 February 2008 (UTC)

Georgia girl case

This change introduced misinformation to the article, so I will revert it. The girl was given many vaccines simultaneously, only some of which contained autism; the court did not rule that thiomersal caused the problem. Also, the court didn't rule; the case was conceded by the government. Also, the the change incorrectly summarizes what the government conceded.

This case is covered under Thiomersal controversy #Court cases and belongs there. It does not belong in Thiomersal's lead. Eubulides (talk) 21:57, 6 March 2008 (UTC)

Mukhtarova and Fluvirin

This change contains dubious material (for example, it claims that Mukhtarova "banned" thiomersal, a claim not supported by the source; I have the very strong impression that the editors adding this material have not read the source). More important, this stuff belongs in Thiomersal controversy, not here. Please discuss this in Talk:Thiomersal controversy before proceeding further with it. Thanks. Eubulides (talk) 16:27, 7 April 2008 (UTC)

Jpgordon deleted those two sentences and I added them back with references. What did the source say, then? Why did you not just fix the sentence, that "banned" word, or whatever was the problem, instead of removing it?
It's the responsibility of the editor who adds material to supply a proper source for it. A source like Mukhtarova 1977 (PMID 323108), which no editor has read, is not a verifiable source. Please see WP:MEDRS for what constitutes high-quality sources in medical articles. It is much better to use reliable recent reviews such as DeStefano 2007 (PMID 17928818) or Doja & Roberts 2006 (PMID 17168158) instead of going to ancient and nearly-unobtainable primary sources. Eubulides (talk) 19:39, 7 April 2008 (UTC)
Why did you remove the FDA link? What's your definition of word "controversy"? My dictionary says "public discussion and argument about sth that many people strongly disagree about". So are you disagreeing about that PDF? Why?
--Bork (talk) 18:08, 7 April 2008 (UTC)
The FDA link does not mention thiomersal. I don't see its relevance, either to Thiomersal or to Thiomersal controversy. Eubulides (talk) 19:39, 7 April 2008 (UTC)
You said a claim not supported by the source, that made me think you have read the source, but later you say no editor has read.
--Bork (talk) 20:00, 7 April 2008 (UTC)
A claim in Wikipedia cannot be supported by a source that no Wikipedia editor has read. This is basic, surely. Eubulides (talk) 21:09, 7 April 2008 (UTC)

Copyright violation in recent change

This change copied reams of text verbatim from Wagnitz 2008. I will revert it and log the problem on the IP address's talk page. Eubulides (talk) 15:57, 30 May 2008 (UTC)

Making a template for the chembox

Why not put all the chembox information into a template? There is a strong precedent for doing this, and it makes editing easier. II | (t - c) 23:05, 3 July 2008 (UTC)

I don't see the need. What other article needs the chembox info? Eubulides (talk) 00:33, 4 July 2008 (UTC)
Just makes it easier to edit the lead. There's no harm in the template. It's similar to standard modular programming practice. It seems to present more benefits than disadvantages -- you don't need to scroll through the chembox information every time you open the edit page. The question is: what are the benefits to having all this information in the article rather than the template? Gallium, zinc, copper, nickel, cobalt, and so on all do this. II 00:41, 4 July 2008 (UTC)
It seems to be a standard to do it with elements, not all chemical compounds (Category:Periodic table infobox templates has no analogous cat for non-elements in its parent cat). Please coordinate such a drastic change (there are several thousand chemicals pages!) with WP:CHEMS and WP:CHEM, which is presently considering how to improve the chemicals data. Externalized infobox data is one of the ideas being considered there, and opinion is leaning against it (see Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Chemicals#Chemical data in chemboxes). DMacks (talk) 15:21, 4 July 2008 (UTC)

Startingly inaccurate summary of Thompson et al. 2007

This edit, which I just now reverted, contained a startlingly inaccurate summary of Thompson et al. 2007 (PMID 17898097). That primary study concluded "Our study does not support a causal association between early exposure to mercury from thimerosal-containing vaccines and immune globulins and deficits in neuropsychological functioning at the age of 7 to 10 years." They tested a ton of things, and a few reported small positive and a few small negative effects. This is what you'd expect to find, statistically, if thiomersal did not affect neuropsychological functioning, which is why they concluded what they did. It is startlingly inaccurate to pick out one of the small-negative effects and report that as if it were all that the study found. Eubulides (talk) 16:59, 28 October 2008 (UTC)

This is not intended to represent a summary. The word summary is not used here. The entire report is linked for the reader. This is a direct quote from this recent report about evidence of risk. But to say the authors would consider that this risk of speech development finding is a small thing is an opinion and this is a quote. :TaylorHaug (talk) 22:40, 28 October 2008 (UTC)
Yes - it's a cherry-picked quote which completely misrepresents the authors' actual conclusions. Please don't do that. MastCell Talk 23:10, 28 October 2008 (UTC)
I see MastCell summarized what I was going to say far more succinctly than the comment I was drafting. But here it is anyway :-): The source in question, Thompson et al. 2007 (PMID 17898097), looked for dozens of possible associations between thiomersal and neuropsychological functioning, and the fact that it found a few associations with 95% probability can be ascribed completely to chance. As Thompson et al. wrote in their conclusion (p. 1291), "The overall pattern of results suggests that the significant associations may have been chance findings stemming from the large number of statistical tests that we performed." We should not take one of these quite-plausibly-chance results, and place it prominently into Thiomersal, as if it were a result more important than the what reliable secondary reviews say (in this case the reviews are Clarkson 2002 and Clarkson & Magos 2006). For more on this topic, please see WP:MEDRS #Respect secondary sources for details. Eubulides (talk) 23:21, 28 October 2008 (UTC)

It represents the author's statement and possibly doesn't reconcile with your opinion. But again it is a quote about evidence of risk. The authors wrote it and to delete it is improper. Cherry picking is an opinion and providing this quotation is informing.  :TaylorHaug (talk) 23:32, 28 October 2008 (UTC)

This comment does not respond to the point made above that the authors themselves wrote that the results suggested that the association may have been chance. Nor does it respond to the point about WP:MEDRS. This has nothing to do with our opinion on the subject: it has to do with accurately summarizing what reliable sources say. It may be helpful to take a look at the cited source, along with a lay summary, which I include for convenience below.
Thompson WW, Price C, Goodson B et al. (2007). "Early thimerosal exposure and neuropsychological outcomes at 7 to 10 years". N Engl J Med 357 (13): 1281–92. doi:10.1056/NEJMoa071434. PMID 17898097. Lay summaryNNii (2007). 
Eubulides (talk) 23:42, 28 October 2008 (UTC)

If the scientists in this report use the premise that only proof of no proof of risk is important here then there is no science here – only bias. If the authors look at all evidence and can explain, without guessing, why some evidence of risk may be faulty then fine, there is good science. But to claim that a suggestion, freely made by the scientists in this report that there is a possible adverse association, cannot be repeated in a public forum is nothing less than censure. :TaylorHaug (talk) 23:45, 28 October 2008 (UTC)

Thank you for the layperson summary link. I will read and respond. :TaylorHaug (talk) 23:50, 28 October 2008 (UTC)

I have read the layperson summary link. Again, there is a suggestion of possible harm, suggestion of risk, and a suggestion “that these findings should be explored separately to assess whether these were chance findings or not.” So again, this is important enough information that the authors made the above referenced statement and it should not be censured on Wikipedia. Please reconsider allowing it. Thank you. :TaylorHaug (talk) 00:06, 29 October 2008 (UTC)

The edit does not violate the guideline that “Individual primary sources should not be cited or juxtaposed so as to ‘debunk’ or contradict the conclusions.” The above authors’ quote in the edit contradicts their own conclusions no more than they do themselves. The only undue debunking here is to try to interpret the “small negative effects” for the reader. That is considered an opinion. Thank you. :TaylorHaug (talk) 03:59, 29 October 2008 (UTC)

  • WP:MEDRS is not talking about the conclusions of the primary source itself; it is talking about the conclusions of reliable secondary sources, which in this case are the cited sources Clarkson 2002 (PMID 11834460) and Clarkson & Magos 2006 (PMID 16973445).
  • Again, what Thompson et al. 2007 (PMID 17898097) did was study dozens of variables, and then report each variable whose results differed from chance at the 1-in-20 confidence level. One should expect some variables to differ from chance at that level (that's how randomness works; sometimes you get "lucky"). It would be reasonable to do further studies in this area, but scientists are always saying "further study is needed"; that's a polite way of saying "we don't have results; perhaps someone else can figure it out". There is certainly no reason to cite this particular result (quite possibly due to chance) out of one primary study (when we have multiple reviews on the same subject).
  • I'm afraid that highlighting this dubious "result" (quite possibly a statistical fluke) here would be a clear WP:WEIGHT violation. Even mentioning it in Thiomersal controversy, without also mentioning the context of the study, would be a WP:WEIGHT violation. It would be OK, I suppose, to talk about this result, along with the context, in Thiomersal controversy. You might consider proposing changed wordings along those lines in Talk:Thiomersal controversy, as that article already summarizes the study in question.
Eubulides (talk) 04:06, 29 October 2008 (UTC)

In other words, it is ok to for the primary authors to publish statements regarding suggestions of risk everywhere (including I suppose on this discussion page) but we have to censure it here for fear it might contradict the interpretation of persons other than the authors? Thank you. :TaylorHaug (talk) 04:14, 29 October 2008 (UTC)

No, that is an inaccurate paraphrase. The primary authors conclude that their study "does not support a causal association". I sense we're not making progress here. Feel free to have WP:THELASTWORD, though. Eubulides (talk) 04:28, 29 October 2008 (UTC)

Neither does their study establish safety. And yet that is the implication without the quote in the edit. Thank you. :TaylorHaug (talk) 04:40, 29 October 2008 (UTC)

Weight problem: ng/mL detail

  • This edit introduced vaguely scary material that is presented out of context and provides a WP:WEIGHT issue. The edit inserts the text "Levels of mercury were measured at over 2 nanograms of mercury per ml in the blood samples of infants for several days after vaccinations". However, the cited source, Pichichero et al. 2008 (PMID 18245396) nowhere makes that point. Evidently this is the Wikipedia editor eyeballing Figure 1, part A (p. 212 of the source), and turning the graph into text.
  • That sort of interpretation was done by the authors of the study, and we should be relying on the authors' interpretation of the data and not doing our own. For example, the authors write "The low levels of mercury detected in this study suggests relatively low risk for toxicity from this exposure." This would be suitable interpretation here.
  • Furthermore, this is just a primary study, and as per WP:MEDRS we should not be cherry-picking details out of it in order to undermine the reliable reviews already cited on this very topic; here the reviews are Clarkson 2002 (PMID 11834460) and Clarkson & Magos 2006 (PMID 16973445). In their conclusion Pichichero et al. 2008 agree with the basic point made by the reviews that a new risk assessment is needed for thiomersal, and that the 1990s assessments were too pessimistic. We should not attempt to undermine the authors' own conclusions, much less argue with the reviews.
  • For now I have reverted the edit. I suggest discussing potentially-controversial edits like these on the talk page first, to avoid future problems like this.

Eubulides (talk) 05:50, 29 October 2008 (UTC)

• This is data. It is not opinion. To call this edit of publishing raw data an interpretation really has no scientific basis and can only serve as a censure basis.

• If the removed data statement misinterpreted the graphical representation of the data then that would be basis for its removal. That is not the case here.

• Concern that readers might misinterpret the authors’ raw data gives no basis for removing the data statement unless the data is censured as bad data. That is not the case here.

• Failure to reconcile with secondary studies does not apply since secondary studies do not change raw data.

• The act of removing this data statement flies in the face publishing raw data in the first place and raises a question as to the application of good scientific principles in this Wikipedia forum.

• This is to request that you please reconsider your action and replace the edit statement. Thank you. :TaylorHaug (talk) 12:04, 29 October 2008 (UTC)

WP requires secondary sources and we must not require our readers to be experts enough to interpret raw data themselves. By adding loose data without context or published explanation, we leave it to the lay readers to misinterpret the data even if we do report it faithfully and not taken out of context. We are actually required (WP:RS, especially the "Primary, secondary, and tertiary sources" section) to include published expert interpretation. Readers could go to look up the original and context if they know they need to, but the WP article definitely needs to be viable on its own. Quotemining and taking things out of context in ways that either change or obscure what they actually means, especially when there are WP:RS that do interpret it, does a pretty big dis-service to our readers and our cited sources. DMacks (talk) 13:12, 29 October 2008 (UTC)

Response to above comment are in brackets.

WP requires secondary sources and we must not require our readers to be experts enough to interpret raw data themselves. [Data does not require interpretation – it is just additional information]

By adding loose data [Loose data?? This data is the basis of the paper]

without context or published explanation, we leave it to the lay readers to misinterpret the data even if we do report it faithfully and not taken out of context [How does one misinterpret 2 nanograms of mercury per ml of blood?].

We are actually required (WP:RS, especially the "Primary, secondary, and tertiary sources" section) to include published expert interpretation [So include it but don’t censure the actual data.]

Readers could go to look up the original and context if they know they need to, [agreed, it appears that they may well have to]

but the WP article definitely needs to be viable [numerous wikipedia sites give data from the author]

on its own. Quotemining [disagree with this opinion]

and taking things out of context in ways that either change or obscure what they actually means,[disagree with this opinion]

especially when there are WP:RS that do interpret it [Why invite edits and then immediately remove edits just as soon as any new information is proposed for the reader. Just plug in the WP:RS that “do interpret it.” So none of us have to think… “In fact there will be no thought, as we understand it now.” Orwell, 1984]

does a pretty big dis-service to our readers and our cited sources TaylorHaug (talk) 00:49, 30 October 2008 (UTC)

I have to admit I stopped somewhere around your assertion that "data does not require interpretation". Although the Orwell reference sealed the deal. Look, Wikipedia is not the place to reinterpret the primary dataset - see WP:NOR for more. These data have been published in the peer-reviewed medical literature. They were interpreted by the authors, and subsequently by other expert bodies. You're choosing the factoids that best suit your agenda and presenting them devoid of context, which makes the article less accurate and less informative to the reader. Your edits should flow from the sources. You're trying to shoehorn the sources to fit your agenda, which is the root of the disagreement here. MastCell Talk 03:11, 30 October 2008 (UTC)

Response is in brackets:

Look, Wikipedia is not the place to reinterpret the primary dataset - see WP:NOR for more. [THERE IS NO INTERPRETATION HERE, JUST INSERTION OF DATA FOR THE READER.]

These data have been published in the peer-reviewed medical literature. They were interpreted by the authors, and subsequently by other expert bodies. You're choosing the factoids that best suit your agenda and presenting them devoid of context, which makes the article less accurate and less informative to the reader. [THERE IS NO ABSENCE OF CONTEXT, JUST INSERTION OF DATA FOR THE READER. THE INCORRECT PREMISE THAT THE READER CANNOT BE RELIED UPON TO INTERPRET THE DATA IS THE BASIS FOR THE ORWELL REFERENCE.]

Your edits should flow from the sources. [THERE IS FLOW FROM THE SOURCE TO THE READER.]



Reinterpreting the data set to determine that certain measures are more important is original research. Citing a conclusion flatly contradicted by the source veers away from responsible and productive editing.
Additionally, we should not require our readers to know what are normal or safe concentrations. Presenting the information as over 2 ng/mL ... after several days smacks of fear-mongering. - Eldereft (cont.) 15:48, 30 October 2008 (UTC)


Reinterpreting the data set to determine that certain measures are more important is original research. [ABSOLUTELY NO ORIGINAL RESEARCH IS DONE HERE. ONLY ORIGINAL DATA BEING SUPPRESSED.]Citing a conclusion[ORIGINAL DATA IS NOT A CONCLUSION] flatly contradicted [DATA IS NOT CONTRADICTING ITSELF] by the source veers away from responsible and productive editing [RESPONSIBLE AND PRODUCTIVE EDITING WOULD ALLOW PUBLISHING ORIGINAL DATA]. Additionally, we should not require our readers to know what are normal or safe concentrations [THERE IS NO SUCH REQUIREMENT. THIS IS INFORMATION FOR THE READER. CERTAINLY EPA RFDS CAN BE MENTIONED HERE FOR READER GUIDANCE.]. Presenting the information as over 2 ng/mL ... after several days smacks of fear-mongering.[THIS STATEMENT IS AN OPINION ON NUMBERS. IF THE ORIGINAL RESEARCH IS NOT CENSURED THEN WHY CENSURE THE DATA. ONE SHOULD NOT DISALLOW THE READERS RIGHT TO GLIMPSE BEYOND THE ANONYMOUS FILTERING GOING HERE - Eldereft (cont.) 15:48, 30 October 2008 (UTC) TaylorHaug (talk) 19:15, 30 October 2008 (UTC)

  • Please go back and read WP:RS #Primary, secondary, and tertiary sources and WP:MEDRS #Definitions. The above ALL-CAPS comments do not overturn long-established Wikipedia policies and guidelines in this area. I'm afraid that the edit that started this thread is an example of misuse of a primary source as described in the guidelines.
  • If we're going to insert misleading quotes, how about this one: let's insert a misleading quote from Gutiérrez & Leon 2000 (PMID 10853002) showing that a dental assistant who tried to commit suicide by injecting herself intraveneously with 135 grams of pure mercury failed because the injection resulted in an "absence of clinical toxicity" (wow! but it's true! and that is an accurate quote!). This will help our readership to "understand" that mercury is "safe" in the bloodstream.
  • Seriously, though, Wikipedia is not supposed to be about cherry-picking misleading factoids from primary sources; it is supposed to be about what the best and most reliable sources say on the overall topic.
Eubulides (talk) 06:12, 31 October 2008 (UTC)

Please note the response in brackets.

Please go back and read WP:RS #Primary, secondary, and tertiary sources and WP:MEDRS #Definitions.

[“Primary sources can be reliable in some situations, but not in others…” The primary source here is data. It is the basis for the conclusion given in the site. Thus far, there is no dispute about reliability.]

The above ALL-CAPS comments do not overturn long-established Wikipedia policies and guidelines in this area. I'm afraid that the edit that started this thread is an example of misuse of a primary source as described in the guidelines.

[Disagree. This is data. Without data meaning is lost. “By 2050—earlier, probably—all real knowledge of Oldspeak will have disappeared. The whole literature of the past will have been destroyed. Chaucer, Shakespeare, Milton, Byron—they'll exist only in Newspeak versions, not merely changed into something different, but actually contradictory of what they used to be.” Orwell, 1984, ]

If we're going to insert misleading quotes, how about this one: let's insert a misleading quote from Gutiérrez & Leon 2000 (PMID 10853002) showing that a dental assistant who tried to commit suicide by injecting herself intraveneously with 135 grams of pure mercury failed because the injection resulted in an "absence of clinical toxicity" (wow! but it's true! and that is an accurate quote!). This will help our readership to "understand" that mercury is "safe" in the bloodstream.

[Disagree. This edit is providing data with no similar accompanying text. However, one could put in the following. “There is one reported human dermal exposure when a 48-year-old chemistry professor inadvertently spilled drops (0.4-0.5 mL) of dimethylmercury from her pipette into her latex gloves. Penetration of dimethylmercury through the gloves occurred instantaneously. Mercury hair level was elevated to almost 1,100 ppm, with a half life of 74.6 days. Five months after exposure, the woman experienced severe neurotoxicity and died 9 months later (Blayney et al., 1997; Nierenberg et al., 1998).” Secondary source: Human Health Criteria, Methylmercury Fish Tissue Criterion,Draft Implementation Guidance, January 2001; EPA-823-R-01-001,p 2-1. See That should help the reader to understand that mercury is unsafe in the bloodstream. And it is a secondary source.]

Seriously, though, Wikipedia is not supposed to be about cherry-picking misleading factoids from primary sources; it is supposed to be about what the best and most reliable sources say on the overall topic.

[Presenting data to the reader is not cherry picking “factoids.”] TaylorHaug (talk) 12:34, 31 October 2008 (UTC)

The bottom line that I got from that comment is that there are lots and lots of misleading factoids that one could select from all sorts of sources, including the misleading factoid about dimethylmercury. On that we certainly agree. Please feel free to have WP:THELASTWORD. Eubulides (talk) 17:42, 31 October 2008 (UTC)
Since anyone disagreeing with TaylorHaug is apparently presumed to be in the employ of the Thought Police, I don't see a lot of room for progress. I'm open to new lines of reasoning or to dispute resolution should TaylorHaug wish to pursue it; otherwise I have nothing to add. MastCell Talk 20:47, 31 October 2008 (UTC)

mg vs μg

This edit by changed "187.5 mg of ethylmercury" to "187.5 micrograms of ethylmercury", noting "This must me a misprint - 187 milligrams of mercury would cause permanent brain damage or death." Thanks for catching this. The "187.5 mg" misprint was in the cited source, Baker 2008 (PMID 18172138), which copied the units incorrectly from its source, Ball et al. 2001 (PMID 11331700). I made this further edit to cite Ball et al. for the correct units, in case this comes up later. Thanks again for catching this error. Eubulides (talk) 18:07, 6 November 2008 (UTC)

Probably worth contacting the editor of the journal(s) as well; this should be corrected in the source. I'll try to get around to this, or anyone else can. MastCell Talk 18:57, 6 November 2008 (UTC)
While I/we are at it, the Baker 2008 article also calls Dan Burton a Democrat... sigh. MastCell Talk 19:02, 6 November 2008 (UTC)


The lack of evidence for these claims is too big of an issue to leave it as a half sentence addressed at the bottom of the paragraph. The section is very misleading as it is. Primarily, the use of the word 'some' out of context, is quite the weasel word. The article used "some" as in "some people still think the world is flat" and this paragraph is using it more in a context of "some people drive cars to work". The sentence is best taken out all together. The rest of my changes were reverted without explanation so I'm just going to revert them back. —Preceding unsigned comment added by CaptainManacles (talkcontribs) 14:34, 13 November 2008 (UTC)

  • The edit you installed contains several assertions that are not supported by a reliable source. In contrast, the existing text, which was milder, was directly supported by the cited source (Sugarman 2007, PMID 17898095). Please take the time to read the source, which is a reliable one, and then take a look at the wording and see whether it describes the source accurately. Or, if you can find a better source, please cite it.
  • In the meantime, Wikipedia must stick with what reliable sources say, even if the truth is elsewhere; that is a core policy of the encyclopedia (see WP:V). For more on this subject, please see WP:MEDRS, which is a guideline for what constitutes reliable sources for medical information. Also, I suggest taking a look at WP:NPOV for suggestions as to how to word things neutrally.
  • In the meantime I applied this change, which reorders the text to put the lack-of-evidence point earlier, while removing the recently-added (but unsourced) claims. Hope this helps.
Eubulides (talk) 18:00, 13 November 2008 (UTC)

Affluent countries

A recent edit removed the word "rich" in front of "countries" with the edit summary "seeing as most of them are now bankrupt, this is misleading". When this was replaced by "affluent" (which is what the cited source actually said), the same editor inserted quotes around the words affluent countries with the edit summary "source and flaw verified, adjective put in quotes so as not to mislead readers, please do not edit war".

From the point of view of vaccines, the point is that richer countries such as the U.S. and western Europe can afford to use the more-expensive vaccines that are thiomersal free, whereas poorer countries like (say) Kenya understandably cannot. This is an important point, supported by a reliable source, and deserves to be made in this article.

There is no dispute among reliable sources that the U.S., the European Union, and a few other places are wealthy, whereas almost all of Africa and a good deal of the rest of the world are not. The recent economic downturn has not materially changed this: if anything, it is hurting poorer countries more than richer ones. Furthermore, even if the U.S. were bankrupt, that would not mean that it is not affluent: it is possible to be both bankrupt and affluent at the same time.

At any rate, Thiomersal is not the right place to be disputing economic questions such as whether the U.S. is bankrupt, or for inserting snarky quote marks around commonly used phrases like "affluent countries". These quote marks serve only to make an editorial point by a Wikipedia editor and thus do not conform to the WP:NPOV policy of Wikipedia. Please don't attempt to edit-war this sort of change into this article. Eubulides (talk) 17:54, 27 July 2009 (UTC)

True, this is not the place to be disputing how sloppy sources characterize sundry countries. I suggest the adjective be removed altogether. Meanwhile, let's wait for more input. Thanks. Gwen Gale (talk) 17:57, 27 July 2009 (UTC)
How about "richer" instead of "affluent"? That'd be fine (and easier for readers to grok). Eubulides (talk) 17:59, 27 July 2009 (UTC)
As I said earlier, richer is highly misleading. Please wait for more input. Gwen Gale (talk) 18:00, 27 July 2009 (UTC)
Do any reliable sources support the claim that the countries that have removed thiomersal from vaccines are not affluent (or "richer") countries? Eubulides (talk) 18:07, 27 July 2009 (UTC)
The text did not say richer, it said rich. Gwen Gale (talk) 18:14, 27 July 2009 (UTC)
Let's not quibble about which adjective is being used. The current text says "affluent", which is what the source says. Do any reliable sources support the claim that the countries that have removed thiomersal from vaccines are not affluent countries? (It's OK if these other sources use a similar adjective such as "rich" or "wealthy".) Eubulides (talk) 18:19, 27 July 2009 (UTC)
Please wait for input from other editors. Gwen Gale (talk) 18:22, 27 July 2009 (UTC)

Third Opinion: Unless there is clear evidence that the countries phasing out thiomersal are not, in fact, affluent (and this seems unlikely to me), I can see no reason to keep the quote marks. On the other hand, I don't think it's essential that the adjective be used in the lead, so long as the point about the ability to afford alternatives is made elsewhere in the text - perhaps in the History section. Would that be an acceptable compromise? Anaxial (talk) 19:41, 27 July 2009 (UTC)

Affluent outside the lead and not in quotes is ok with me. Gwen Gale (talk) 19:43, 27 July 2009 (UTC)
OK, done. Thanks for the third opinion and for the followup. Eubulides (talk) 19:57, 27 July 2009 (UTC)

No Thiomersal Link to Autism? Please Read Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.'s Thimerosal Scandal Report!

Hello. I note that in your article you reference eight studies, all funded by big pharmaceutical industry concerns, that "conclude" there is no causative link between thiomersal and autism. Perhaps you are not aware of the hundreds of independent, peer-reviewed scientific studies that definitely link thiomersal and autism. My advice is to read the [36] with an open mind. Regards.Mista411 (talk) 18:16, 9 October 2009 (UTC)

The current Thiomersal article fairly reflects mainstream scientific and medical opinion on the topic. Kennedy's opinion piece is not supported by the science; coverage of it would be appropriate for the political side of the controversy (the Thiomersal controversy article should include notable attacks on big pharma and thiomersal, regardless of whether they are well-informed) but would be inappropriate here. The following source is much more up-to-date, accurate, and balanced on the politics than Kennedy's old opinion piece: Gross L (2009). "A broken trust: lessons from the vaccine–autism wars". PLoS Biol 7 (5): e1000114. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1000114. PMC 2682483. PMID 19478850.  Eubulides (talk) 18:32, 9 October 2009 (UTC)

Only one side to the "story"

This wiki is indeed very biased, as previously stated all the "research" that is reffered to in the wiki are funded by big pharma. Also, most seem to be more summaries and claims than anything solid, they don't seem to give you much in the way of specifications for experiments conducted or anything like that. That's not exactly good research.. More like press releases.

I recommend this paper, research conducted by "the other side" so to spek:

It might be called biased too as far as the persons behind it is concerned, but the difference is that this seems solid science as far as I can tell and goes to great lengths describing the experiments done rather than just making claims without backing them up. In short: this is actually a research document, not a press-release statement CLAIMING to be based on one. (talk) 00:00, 28 October 2009 (UTC)

The guideline on medical sources says that Wikipedia articles should cite reviews and other secondary sources, not individual primary studies such as the one suggested above. That study is coauthored by David Geier, a source that is well-known to be unreliable in this area. The Wikipedia policy on neutrality does not require that both sides of the story be covered equally; otherwise, flat-earthers would get equal time to the mainstream view that the world is round. Instead, policy requires that alternate views be covered roughly in proportion to the weight given them by reliable sources. Eubulides (talk) 00:31, 28 October 2009 (UTC)

Then could you please define what actually constitutes reliable sources on this subject, who decides that, (YOU? I don't think so) and amongst WHOM it is "well known" that he is unreliable? What makes the research conducted by the very users of Thiomersal, who has a financial stake in it's use, more reliable that it's dedicated critics who don't have a financial stake in it's continued use?

Until you can actually answer those, don't give me some bullshit about "well-known to be unreliable" or nonsense comparisons to flat-earthers, as you said yourself: "alternate views be covered roughly in proportion to the weight given them by reliable sources." so as such, you better be able to define just what a reliable source is and WHY it is reliable first: If a reliable source is to be based in science, which is a fair standard, then you have no reason to reject the document.

Further, the difference between "flat-earthers" and this is that flat-earthers make no attempts at real science and are easily disproven, while this document is solid research. Thus, it deserves to be heard on basis of it's scientific content, and accepted or rejected on those terms, not your own opinions of it's authors. (talk) 18:14, 28 October 2009 (UTC)

Please refer to WP:MEDRS, WP:RS, WP:NPOV with special attention paid to WP:UNDUE and WP:GEVAL.Yobol (talk) 18:50, 28 October 2009 (UTC)
And in the particular case of Geier, it's not my opinion, it's the opinion of reliable sources that Geier practices junk science. Please see the sources cited in Mark Geier #Controversial studies. Wikipedia articles should not give equal time to junk science. Eubulides (talk) 22:40, 28 October 2009 (UTC)

Ah, now that's good scientific practice - AAP claim he's wrong in one study.. (AAP isn't even a research organisation for god's sake, it's an interest organisation for pediatrics!)

And so you "conclude" (obviously not in the literal meaning of the word as that implies logical thinking) that he can never be allowed another review or chance... You're not exactly a scientist yourself, are you?

But allright then.. I can show you more research, I have quite a bit. Is THIS impartial enough for you?

Or are all those universities part of the same "conspiracy" as the Geier's?

(Or maybe your standard of being deemed reliable requires that one "concludes" that Thiomersal must be harmless.)

On which, I might add, I have no own opinion.. Thiomersal might be completely harmless or it might be downright deadly, I just rather not see one-sided and bought "research" with little to no real experiments and if so usually based on methylmercury instead of the compound in question: Cause THAT truly constitutes "junk-science".

So yes, this wiki IS one-sided.

And if you're trying to say that wikipedia's policy on neutrality actually is to not be neutral at all but engage in one-sided "tobacco science"..

Then fine, no need to even argue then, if that's the way it is then that's the way it is, no big deal except that there goes all and any reliability whatsoever on any "controversial" issues where big financial interests are involved. (talk) 23:03, 28 October 2009 (UTC)

The article you show is already cited in the Thiomersal controversy article, where it is most appropriate. Please review WP:talk; if you have specific suggestions to improve the article, please bring them up and discuss them. Simply saying the article isn't "neutral" doesn't help us improve the article, and continued accusations could be interpreted as soapboxing which is severely frowned upon. I would encourage you, again to review the WP:undue and WP:GEVAL portions of our policy on neutral points of view. Thiomersal as a cause of autism is not supported in the mainstream scientific literature, and suggestions that it does do not belong on this article. Cheers.Yobol (talk) 23:14, 28 October 2009 (UTC)

Can't you simply say on what grounds this research is rejected (now that we can rule out that the Geier's are the problem) why those universites aren't to be viewed as "mainstream" instead of simply referring to (your interpretation of) some rules?

I just want to know so that this isn't a case of you deciding what's mainstream research (and can be allowed in the article) and what's not according to some undisclosed arbitary standard. It's really a simple questions: Are you actually calling those universities unreliable, biased or not mainstream.. And if so, on what grounds?

And as for the autism - I'm not demanding and never has demanded that the article says something akin to "Thiomersal causes autism"..

Infact, it hasn't been conclusively proven, but that's not even the point. Only that this wiki's text shouldn't be exclusively based on "one side" of all available research without any real reason.

All in all - it seems pretty obvious though, I'm never going to get a real answer and this whole discussion is as such quite pointless.

PS. "not convincingly proven" is weasel language (not convincing to WHOM and WHY?) Such a term suggest that opinion would matter which it doesn't, and is unscientific.

The scientific term is "has not been proven" (as I changed it to but that quickly got reverted..) or "has not been conclusively proven". (talk) 01:28, 29 October 2009 (UTC)

Any further comments should probably be directed at the Thiomersal controversy talk page. You will note what the scientific consensus on thiomersal is on the Thiomersal controversy article page with clear documentation. Again, if you have problems with the wording in this or other articles that conform to the reliable sources, then I would suggest you present your own sources (which conform to our guideline on medically related sources) that would allow for alternative wording. I disagree wholeheartedly that "no convincing evidence" is in any way weasel language. Yobol (talk) 02:44, 29 October 2009 (UTC)
I'll be the second (at least) editor to point out that this phrase is the exact one the cited ref uses. DMacks (talk) 02:47, 29 October 2009 (UTC)

Topical antiseptic

I am surprised that this article doesn't mention that thimerosal was widely used for many years as a topical antiseptic for minor injuries. I believe it was in an alcohol/acetone solution, with an orange dye added (possibly Rhodamine?) to mark the area of application. I'll let someone more knowledgeable than I make the addition to the article, though.
--Tex (talk) 13:17, 8 February 2009 (UTC)

Do you mean merbromin? --Rifleman 82 (talk) 15:18, 8 February 2009 (UTC)
Actually, both merbromin and thimerosal were used for this purpose. Merbromin is otherwise known as "mercurochrome". I still have an original, red Eli Lilly Merthiolate dropper bottle in my medicine cabinet, although I refilled it with a non-mercury formula in the early 2000s after Merthiolate was withdrawn from the market It was packaged in this way expressly for use as a topical antiseptic. —QuicksilverT @ 17:16, 26 May 2009 (UTC)
It would be nice to add to the article the fact that it really, really hurt when applied to minor cuts, but I can't find any reliable sources. Grundle2600 (talk) 18:36, 3 January 2010 (UTC)


"Thiomersal is very toxic by inhalation, ingestion, and in contact with skin (EC hazard symbol T+), with a danger of cumulative effects. It is also very toxic to aquatic organisms and may cause long-term adverse effects in aquatic environments (EC hazard symbol N).[8] In the body, it is metabolized or degraded to ethylmercury (C2H5Hg+) and thiosalicylate.[2]

Few studies of the toxicity of thiomersal in humans have been performed."

It seems inappropriate to say that the substance is very toxic, but also to say that few studies have been performed. I personally do not have the knowledge/information necessary to make the appropriate edit. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:48, 1 January 2010 (UTC)

There's no question that thiomersal can kill humans. It's just that we haven't done a lot of scientific studies about exactly how it kills humans (I hope the reasons for this are obvious). I added some text to try to clarify this. Eubulides (talk) 21:27, 1 January 2010 (UTC)

It's ethyl mercury, not just mercury

It's ethyl mercury, not just mercury. If it's going to be included in the introduction copy it must be included correctly or not included it at all.--KJRehberg (talk) 14:29, 23 April 2010 (UTC)

The thiomersal molecule contains mercury atoms. You are correct that the Hg atoms are part of an ethylmercury group, but it would be incorrect to say that the ethylmercury part of the molecule accounts for 49.55% of its mass, because the HgC2H5 group weighs more than just the Hg atom alone.
I typed its formula, C9H9HgNaO2S, into ChemDraw and the Analysis Window calculated a mass percentage for mercury of 49.55%.
See for details.
Ben (talk) 15:47, 23 April 2010 (UTC)
This incorrectly implies that the mercury in the mercury molecule is directly as poisonous in ethylmercury as it is in methylmercury, which it most certainly is not. We should all know that elements are wholly different substances when they are as part of a molecule. This is a classic junk science technique and should not be in Wikipedia. I have edited the article to remove unclear and misleading mention of free mercury as 49% of the mass of Thiomersal when it is actually part of a molecule. This misleads people into thinking they are injesting free mercury. --KJRehberg (talk) 19:40, 26 April 2010 (UTC)
In chemistry, people frequently refer to elements in compounds by percentage mass. But it is not really necessary to mention it in this article, anyone who is interested can work it out.
Ben (talk) 19:51, 26 April 2010 (UTC)
Chemists are usually quite matter of fact about these percentages... elemental analysis is a routine method to determine the % weight of almost any element, and that number can be compared with the theoretical to determine its purity. Especially for inorganic compounds, the grades are given by percentages of the heavy metal being no less than xx.x %. See for example, --Rifleman 82 (talk) 20:03, 26 April 2010 (UTC)

Use in mascara

I was refered to this article from mercury where thiomersal is said to be used in mascara (it appears to be in present use, first US ban 2008 in one state) but this is not mentioned in this article. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:24, 11 June 2010 (UTC)


I'm chucking the bit about "all the crazy treatments" parents use. Aside from being clearly POV, the source is a NYT article that contains a lot of "anecdotal" examples, but no verifiable facts or incidences. If you can't cite anything concrete, then settle for the MSDS. Ubiquitousnewt (talk) 17:04, 1 February 2011 (UTC)Ubiquitousnewt

It's a WP:RS for that collection of examples (not primary-source for examples or saying examples are true, but saying that there are examples), and it appears supplemented by a NEJM ref. The point seems to be that "people say X, even though research says Y", which is exactly how WP:NPOV says articles should write about contentious topics. The people-say-X might be a bunch of nonsense, but it's clearly notable enough nonsense that a major newspaper wrote about it. DMacks (talk) 17:05, 1 February 2011 (UTC)
Use of dangerous treatments for "mercury poisoning" with chelation agents is well documented (are we really saying NEJM isn't reliable?). I have therefore reverted the deletion. Yobol (talk) 17:31, 1 February 2011 (UTC)

AB 2943 (California’s Mercury-Free Act)

California’s Mercury-Free Act took effect on July 1, 2006. I didn't find it mentioned in the Thiomersal article. — Preceding unsigned comment added by PeterKnaggs (talkcontribs) 17:39, 27 September 2011 (UTC)

Does the act mention Thiomersal? Shot info (talk) 10:06, 30 September 2011 (UTC)

Few studies of the toxicity of thiomersal in humans have been performed.

Article fact check. How can this be, yet (quote from Thiomersal controversy article, "the current scientific consensus is that no convincing scientific evidence supports these claims"?

Also troubling is the article quote, "The mechanisms of toxic action are unknown." Billions of newborns have been injected with trace amounts of this mercury type, so how can this be? Could someone who knows explain please if this is true? Basic common sense says if you say its safe you've tested on humans for toxicity beyond stats measuring populations. -- (talk) 01:26, 17 November 2011 (UTC)

I don't think you're reading the article for meaning; you're looking for quotes you can pull out of context to make a point. If you're serious, re-read the parts of the article you're quoting, as they answer your questions. And what's wrong with "stats measuring populations"? Do you have a problem with the entire field of epidemiology? MastCell Talk 05:48, 17 November 2011 (UTC)

What about the red flag drug tests for this mercury compound? The article should reference studies like the mice thirmersal study removed from the article's external links. Maybe the link should be in the toxic section. Here's a cell study on thirmersal and the immune system and it rings alarm bells. Thimerosal induces micronuclei in the cytochalasin B block micronucleus test with human lymphocytes. WHAT WOULD BE YOUR REASONS FOR BLOCKING THESE STUDIES FROM THE ARTICLE AND IN THE OTHER HAND SAYING THERE ARE FEW STUDIES? -- (talk) 19:07, 17 November 2011 (UTC)

Er, the reason is that we try to give the reader an overview of the entire medical literature and expert opinion, rather than picking out a study or two that support our preconceived notions and presenting them in isolation. MastCell Talk 19:19, 17 November 2011 (UTC)

A study or two, there's several. If it wasn't deadly it wouldn't be used. It is precisely because it's not safe that trace amounts of mercury is inserted into the vaccine to wipe any form of life in the vaccine, so the vaccine can be mass produced. Here's another study on thimerosal that it induces damage and death to cultured human neurons and brain stem cells. -- (talk) 22:34, 17 November 2011 (UTC)

This fact check confirms that little is known. The source is Health Canada and the quote is "little is actually known about ethylmercury metabolism in humans, including whether it has the same potency as a NEUROTOXIN, whether the blood concentration is ever significant and even whether it crosses the blood-brain barrier. It is presumed that the majority of ethylmercury metabolized from thimerosal is rapidly excreted in the stool." Quote, "firmest conclusion to be drawn from these pharmacokinetic studies is that methylmercury and ethylmercury are handled very differently in the body and that safety limits regarding methylmercury cannot simply be extrapolated to ethylmercury." (talk) 22:46, 17 November 2011 (UTC)

IP199, you seem to be good at selective quotation, and ignoring the context and other parts you may find uncomfortable. You also seem to lack a basic understanding of the dose-response relationship expressed by Paracelsus - sometimes called the father of toxicology - who wrote:
  • "All things are poison, and nothing is without poison; only the dose permits something not to be poisonous."
Or, more commonly
That is to say, substances considered toxic are harmless in small doses, and conversely an ordinarily harmless substance can be deadly if over-consumed.
Brangifer (talk) 01:24, 18 November 2011 (UTC)