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United Methodist Women explore mercury dangers

By Barbara Wheeler*
March 8, 2007 | NEW YORK (UMNS)

United Methodist Women are raising awareness about the use of mercury as a preservative in some vaccines and other drugs.



 Julie Taylor

Educating the faith community on the issue is the goal of "The Truth is Coming to Light," a conference set for June 6-7 at Simpsonwood Retreat Center near Atlanta. The event is sponsored by the Women's Division of the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries, the UMW's administrative arm.

In an effort to protect children from unhealthy toxins, the conference will explore the dangers of vaccines and other drugs that contain the mercury preservative Thimerosal.

After the event, two grassroots organizations, Moms Against Mercury and the Coalition for Mercury-free Drugs, will hold a rally in Atlanta at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, followed by a news conference.

"We are absolutely not opposed to vaccinating children," said Julie Taylor, a Women's Division executive. "We think vaccinations are important to the health and safety of children. But even a trace amount of mercury, a known neurotoxin, should not be injected into our bodies. If there is mercury in any medicine we are given, we should know about it."

The Women's Division supports informed consent whenever people receive vaccinations containing mercury and also advocates that mercury be removed from all medicines.

Last April, the division's board of directors called on the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to take action to protect children from drugs containing mercury. 

“If there is mercury in any medicine we are given, we should know about it.”
– Julie Taylor

United Methodist Women have a long legacy of advocacy for children - partly through its Campaign for Children. The campaign has focused on improving the lives of children in their communities, safety and well-being of children, and access to quality public education.

"The children and families that are affected by mercury poisoning are marginalized in their efforts to uncover the truth about this toxin," Taylor said. "They are individuals questioning large agencies of the government and pharmaceutical companies about the use of mercury.

"We hope members of United Methodist Women will come to this event to be informed and become a part of the effort to raise awareness about this issue in their communities."

To register by the April 1 deadline, contact Beverly Irving at (212) 870-3751 or e-mail birving@gbgm-umc.org. For information on the history of United Methodist Women's work with issues related to mercury poisoning and children's health, visit www.umwmission.org.

*Wheeler is an executive secretary for communications with the Women's Division.

News media contact: Linda Bloom, New York, (646) 369-3759 or newsdesk@umcom.org.

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