Obesity among children and adolescents in the United States has tripled since 1980, and has become a major public health concern.
The purpose of this study was to evaluate the potential relationship between exposure to organic mercury from Thimerosal-containing hepatitis B vaccines and the children’s subsequent risk of an obesity diagnosis.
MATERIALS AND METHODS:
A hypothesis-testing, case-control study was undertaken to evaluate exposure to organic mercury from Thimerosal-containing hepatitis B vaccines, which were administered at specific intervals in the first 6 months of life, among cases diagnosed with childhood obesity and controls by examining automated medical records for children born from 1991 to 2000 who were continuously enrolled in the Vaccine Safety Datalink database.
This study found highly significant associations as follows. Cases diagnosed with obesity were significantly (P < 0.00001) more likely to have received greater exposure to organic mercury from Thimerosal-containing hepatitis B vaccines administered within the first month of life (odds ratio (OR) =1.511), first 2 months of life (OR = 1.486), and first 6 months of life (OR = 3.795) than the controls. Similar outcomes were observed when the overall data were separated by gender. In a dose-response manner, cases diagnosed with obesity were significantly more likely than controls to have received greater exposure to organic mercury from Thimerosal-containing hepatitis B vaccines, which were administered within the first 6 months of life (OR = 1.0375 per μg of mercury, P < 0.00001).
In a dose-response manner, the present study associates an increased organic mercury exposure from Thimerosal-containing hepatitis B vaccines with an increased risk of obesity diagnosis, and suggests that Thimerosal is an obesogen. The results are biologically plausible and future studies are needed to examine this phenomenon.
Source: N Am J Med Sci. 2016 Jul;8(7):297-306. doi: 10.4103/1947-2714.187148.