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Aluminium in vaccines

(501 Posts)
bumbleymummy Sat 11-Aug-12 18:51:15

I thought this might do better with its own thread because the other one went off on a bit of a tangent.

On other threads it has been said that Aluminium is 'safe' in vaccines and that 'the dose makes the poison' .I'd just like to ask a few questions and maybe the people who have made those comments on the other threads will be able to answer them.

What is the 'dose that makes the poison' for Aluminium?

How much Aluminium is absorbed by the body from a vaccine?

We know that Aluminium is toxic and I found this from medscape 'if a significant load exceeds the body's excretory capacity, the excess is deposited in various tissues, including bone, brain, liver, heart, spleen, and muscle. This accumulation causes morbidity and mortality through various mechanisms.' So what is the excretory capacity for a child?

I've tried to find the answers to those questions myself.

Wrt what the toxic dose for Aluminium is I found this on the FDA website :

"Research indicates that patients with impaired kidney function, including premature neonates, who receive parenteral levels of aluminum at greater than 4 to 5 [micro]g/kg/day accumulate aluminum at levels associated with central nervous system and bone toxicity. Tissue loading may occur at even lower rates of administration."

I'm still looking for something that shows what the toxic dose for a healthy infant is. Does anyone else have a link?

Wrt how much Al is absorbed from vaccines. I've found this from medscape :

"In healthy subjects, only 0.3% of orally administered aluminum is absorbed via the GI tract and the kidneys effectively eliminate aluminum from the human body. It is only when the GI barrier is bypassed, such as intravenous infusion or in the presence of advanced renal dysfunction, that aluminum has the potential to accumulate. As an example, with intravenously infused aluminum, 40% is retained in adults and up to 75% is retained in neonates.[4]"

Obviously vaccines aren't given intravenously but they still bypass the GI tract so what percentage is retained? Anyone know?

I've also checked how much Al is in a dose of Pediacel (5 in 1) :

"Adsorbed on Aluminium Phosphate

1.5 mg (0.33 mg Aluminium)"

Does that mean there is 0.33mg (equivalent to 330 micrograms) in each dose?

If anyone has answers to these questions, please post them. I'm sure some of you must because you have posted that Aluminium is safe in vaccines. Links to any info are very much appreciated. TIA smile

bruffin Mon 13-Aug-12 21:49:54

yes but it appears to be just as a curiosity and not urgent.
All the links i have shown say that they feel that the aluminium used in vaccines is well within the safe parameters, that is all you really need to know!

bumbleymummy Mon 13-Aug-12 21:54:25

Well, seeing as they don't know what those 'safe parameters' are for intramuscular administration I'm not really sure how they can say that. Not sure where you got 'just as curiosity' from. Research costs money.

bruffin Mon 13-Aug-12 22:05:02

you know the safe parameters, that doesn't mean the experts who wrote the papers don't know.

bumbleymummy Mon 13-Aug-12 22:08:04

Well they said in that conference report that they didn't.

PigletJohn Mon 13-Aug-12 22:09:20

Bruffin, when you asked bumbley "Again why do you think there is a problem with aluminum in vaccines?

^What side effects do you thing they cause?^"

what was the answer? I can't find it.

It would be relevant because there might be some research into the effects, once we know what to look for.

bruffin Mon 13-Aug-12 22:15:36

Exactlly, I have asked and asked and got no reply confused

from the conference report

"More pharmacokinetic data are needed but
there is an apparent wide margin of safety with the use of
aluminum adjuvants and reported adverse events have been
mostly minor and of low incidence."

PigletJohn Mon 13-Aug-12 22:18:44

does "the body burden of aluminium" mean "the amount that is absorbed into the body" (i.e. excludes that which straight through and out the other end)?

bumbleymummy Mon 13-Aug-12 22:23:18

Bruffin, I did answer it. I said that I wanted to know how it has been proven to be safe. Shall I reword it to contain the word 'concern'? I am concerned that no one seems to be able to show how it has been proven to be safe. Better?

The 'adverse events' that have been monitored seem to be localised reactions - that was discussed earlier, possibly on the other thread.

bumbleymummy Mon 13-Aug-12 22:24:53

Sorry, used the word 'concerned' there because a few people have asked what I am 'concerned' about previously. As of wanting to know how something has been determined 'safe' isn't good enough.

PigletJohn Mon 13-Aug-12 22:42:50

Do you mean that you are concerned that you have not seen adequate proof that aluminium is safe, to the same extent that you are concerned that you have not seen adequate proof that other things are safe, or do you mean that you are especially concerned about aluminium?

ElaineBenes Tue 14-Aug-12 01:50:59

Has aluminium in IV fluids been proven safe?

sashh Tue 14-Aug-12 06:26:20

That is an urban dictionary, not a physiology one.

Aluminium in a small dose cannot 'accumulate' - you need to add more aluminium for it to accumulate. And as far as anyone knows aluminium that is not elliminated does not cause any problems, it only causes problems if it is in the bloodstream.

bumbleymummy Sun 19-Aug-12 15:08:35

Sashh, the quote I posted about it accumulating comes from an article about Al toxicity linked to earlier.

The definition given was in relation to physiology. I'm not sure why you are arguing that it means it is completely removed anyway given that links to various studies have shown that Al does remain in muscles and various other tissues around the body. One particular study with monkeyst showed that there was still Al present in surrounding muscle tissue 12 months after vaccination. That was the longest time period they examined.

bumbleymummy Sun 19-Aug-12 16:42:02

I'm also not sure where you've got the idea that Aluminium that is not eliminated does not cause problems. Aluminium toxicity does actually cause plenty of problems as the article I linked to earlier shows.

JoTheHot Mon 20-Aug-12 10:14:02


I explained that: 'The US Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) estimated these levels for infants taking into account the amount of aluminum a child would eat as well as receive by injection of vaccines.'

You continue to insist that the ATSDR report says they calculate on the basis that the Al was eaten rather than injected. The report does not say this. If you still think it does please give the page and line numbers.

The calculations were based on 'Aluminum toxicokinetics regarding infant diet and vaccinations', which says 'The methodology blends intake values and uptake fractions with an aluminum retention function derived from a human injection study using radioactive 26Al'.

I'll repeat my earlier question. If a new building is put up at your childrens' school, do you refuse to let them in it until you've re-run the structural engineer's calculations? The sums on injected Al have been done by the people who are trained to do them. You are not trained to do them.

bumbleymummy Mon 20-Aug-12 10:31:45

Jo, I've read your link and the relevant sections from the ATSDR report. If you read the section about the MRLs they are on given for the oral intake. (towards the end of the paper) 

The conference report linked to earlier also references the ATSDR report and says:

"There seems to be abundant data concerning risk levels for ingested aluminum, but scant data about risk levels for injected aluminum. The oral mini- mum risk level, for example, appears to be in the range of 2–60 mg/kg of aluminum per day but there are no compara- ble data for injected aluminum."

It identifies it as an area of further research.

JoTheHot Mon 20-Aug-12 11:24:48

Bumble: Your initial point was that a greater proportion of injected Al may stay in the body, as compared with ingested Al, and that safety recommendations didn't allow for this. Do you now agree that you were wrong, and that safety recommendations do allow for this?

The fact that MRL's are expressed in terms of ingested Al is irrelevant. They are based on the amount of Al entering the body. Safety recommendations are similarly based on the amount of Al entering the body via the combined ingested/injected route and thus use the same units and are consistent and meaningful. Are you now suggesting that an atom of Al that enters via the gut is more dangerous than one that enters via the muscle?

Could you explain how the fact that you have a quote from someone who would like to see more research on injected Al justifies your attempts to redo calculations already done by people better qualified than yourself? Or are you retreating from your OP (a challenge to substantiate safety guidelines), to a much weaker position of 'I'm concerned about Al because I've found a quote from someone who's concerned about Al'?

bruffin Mon 20-Aug-12 11:45:29

"Aluminium toxicity does actually cause plenty of problems as the article I linked to earlier shows. "
But it is extremely rare and tends to be in those with renal failure, patients who have been on intravenous drips and occupational exposure. All long exposures not an occasional jab.
If aluminium in vaccines in such a problem why is aluminium toxicity so rare. What side effects are you expecting other than a sore arm.

bumbleymummy Mon 20-Aug-12 11:47:28

No. Why would I agree that when the studies to base that on haven't been done?

It's quite clear that you haven't read the ATSDR report otherwise you would know what I'm talking about. Your comments about it simply being 'expressed' in terms of ingested Al make no sense at all and you will realise that once you've read it. The MRLs don't exist for injected Al because there isn't enough info for them to base them on. It says that in the report.

The conference report was something that bruffin linked to. It was attended by vaccinologists, immunologists, experts on metals, pathologists, rheumatologists, and other interested parties. They are the ones who acknowledged that info about injected Al is limited and that they don't know enough about the toxicology and pharmokinetics of Al adjuvants and specifically the processing of Al by infants and children. They are the ones who have suggested further research in this area.

bruffin Mon 20-Aug-12 11:55:33

From the link i gave
What we do know

1. We want vaccines to be safe and effective.
*2. There is a 70-year history of safe and effective use of
aluminum salts in vaccines which continue to save millions
of lives annually.*
*3. Minor reactions have occurred but there have been few
serious reactions.*
4. Aluminum-containing vaccines injected SQ appear to
produce more severe local reactions than after IM injection.
5. There is not a consistent relationship between aluminum
content and the rate of severe local reactions following
IM injection.
*6. More data is needed on the toxicopharmacology of aluminum
exposures by the IM route; however, there appears
to be little potential for toxicity with vaccine-level
exposures to aluminum.*
7. There is no obvious substitute for aluminum as an adjuvant
in many vaccines.
8. Roles of aluminum adjuvants:
• to bring the antigen into contact with the immune system
and influence the type of immunity produced, as
well as the quality of the immune response (magnitude
or duration), the affinity, isotype and the specificity;
• to decrease the toxicity of certain antigens such as
pertussis; and
• to provide solubility to some vaccines components.
9. The term MMF should be reserved to identify the recently
recognized histologic entity found primarily in
10. The MMF lesions contain aluminum hydroxide crystals;
the histologic entity is likely caused by aluminumcontaining
11. The relationship between the focal MMF lesions in
the injected muscle and the systemic symptoms of
some patients who have the lesion remains to be

and again
*More pharmacokinetic data are needed but
there is an apparent wide margin of safety with the use of
aluminum adjuvants and reported adverse events have been
mostly minor and of low incidence.*

bruffin Mon 20-Aug-12 11:57:41

meant to highlight
More pharmacokinetic data are needed but
there is an apparent wide margin of safety with the use of
aluminum adjuvants and reported adverse events have been
mostly minor and of low incidence

bumbleymummy Mon 20-Aug-12 12:08:25

And again, adverse events have focussed on localised reactions.

bruffin Mon 20-Aug-12 12:21:13

Because there are no other reactions!
Repeat again - they are the experts, they now what aluminium toxicity symptoms are. Why are we not seeing huge numbers of aluminium toxic cases? What symptoms do you in your superior expertise think they are missing out?

bumbleymummy Mon 20-Aug-12 12:30:47

Do you know how Al toxicity is diagnosed? In any case, I'm not trying to jump to 'vaccines cause Al toxicity', I just asked a few questions about what a toxic dose of injected Al is, how much/ how long it remains in the body etc (see 1st post) and from all the digging it turns out that they don't actually know yet. I'm not trying to draw any conclusions because basically, there is nothing to draw conclusions from - the research hasn't been done yet. I'm glad they're doing it or at least planning to do it although you think it would have been something that someone thought to look into before injecting into millions of children but hey ho!

bumbleymummy Mon 20-Aug-12 12:31:49

Also, how do you know there are no other reactions - long term or otherwise if you only look in one specific area for a few weeks.

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