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Aluminum in Vaccines: Should Parents Worry?

Aluminum is an ingredient in many vaccines including the vaccines that prevent hepatitis A, hepatitis B, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis, Haemophilus influenzae type b, human papillomavirus, and pneumococcus. The addition of the element enhances the response of the immune system to the vaccine, reducing the need for booster shots. Aluminum is also the most common metal found in nature, present in drinking water, the air, and food.

Some parents needlessly worry about the aluminum present in vaccines. The symptoms of aluminum poisoning include bone problems (osteomalacia) and anemia as well as neurologic issues including memory loss, fatigue, depression, behavioral changes, and learning impairment. However, the amount of aluminum added to vaccines is insignificant compared to the exposure to the metal in day to day living.

Following the recommended vaccine schedule, babies between birth and six months old are exposed to between four and six milligrams of aluminum. In comparison, an exclusively breastfed baby is exposed to ten milligrams of the metal. A baby fed cow’s milk formula is exposed to 40 milligrams and a baby fed soy milk formula 120 milligrams. The average adult consumes seven to nine milligrams of aluminum each day.

Can aluminum be dangerous in large amounts? Like everything else in life, yes. However, the amount of aluminum present in vaccines is insignificant and increases the efficiency of the vaccine. Parents do no need to worry about the aluminum present in some vaccines.

Aluminum in Vaccines

References

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Aluminum in vaccines: What you should know: http://www.chop.edu/export/download/pdfs/articles/vaccine-education-center/aluminum.pdf
Clear answers & smart advice about your baby’s shots: http://www.immunize.org/catg.d/p2068.pdf

Image Credits

Aluminum in Vaccines: http://www.vaccinews.net/

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Written by Heather Johnson

Heather is a writer, librarian, linguist, wife, and mother who loves her husband, children, dogs, and cats. She has a bachelor's degree in English with a minor in creative writing and master's degrees in library and information science and English studies with a concentration in linguistics.

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