Horrifying Ingredient Found in Vaccines Could Make Some Stop


Guess what's floating around in vaccines? Cellophane. No, this isn't another of those "aborted fetal tissue, pig parts, space rocks" rants about how you're poisoning your kids and must be stupid if you don't know what's in them. But there are some freaky things in vaccines that are intentionally included. This one happens to be an accident though, or at least just poor processing.

Charred cellophane was found in some vaccines by Merck, and the FDA says it's the fault of the plant that makes the vaccines. It looks like this is hardly a surprise either, based on previous findings in past inspections. Yikes.

Apparently in 2008, the FDA had issued a formal warning letter about conditions at the West Point, Pennsylvania, plant. But since then, there have been issues with metal particles, cracks in vaccine vials, and Merck not following protocol and reporting adverse affects to the FDA in the proper time frame.

But back to the cellophane, they say that pieces of the shrink wrap that covers the glass vials weren't washed and removed during cleaning, and then were charred later during sterilization via heat. Apparently 12 reports have come in, four from Merck's own internal sample testing, and eight from consumers. Eek. And this is since 2009. Anyone else a little bothered that it's been noted for two years? I mean, I know things work slow, but still.

Anyway, this would affect Merck's Gardasil vax (because it needs more bad press, right?), Varivax (chicken pox), Pneumovax, Zostavax, MMR II, and Antivenin (used to treat black widow bites). Hoo boy. Merck says it's all good, though, and they don't know of any risks to people, but the FDA? Not agreeing! They say you can't rule it out. Anything floating in an injectable is obviously a concern, and doctors have been warned to look for ... floating brown particles in vials. Gross.

However, I'm not saying, "Don't vaccinate! Boogeyman in your vials!" but seriously, this bothers me. It's a hard enough choice for moms to decide where they stand when it comes to vaccines with the ingredients that are supposed to be in them. In my opinion, we could stand to really change ingredients to be healthier in the first place and cut out some of the things we know aren't good for people instead of insisting that such a limited amount will be fine. I know not all moms agree, but that's okay, I don't expect everyone to. Vaccines are a really tough, personal choice that everyone has to make up their own mind about. But hearing about things like this just makes our choice even harder. I know a little part of me worries with every vaccine my kids get, but I don't want to have to be worrying about floating, burned plastic.

Does this worry you?


Image via haukeland/Flickr

baby health, doctor visits, vaccines, in the news


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nonmember avatar JenInNC

"But back to the cellphone"?

momve... momversuswild

It always worries me to let my children receive a vaccination.  This certainly makes it worse.

tinyp... tinypossum

GAH! Articles like this are what make vaccines a "really tough personal choice". Vaccines are not unsafe. There are no "freaky things intentionally included". Vaccines are no less safe than anything else in our food or drug supply. These kind of manufacturing errors occur in every industry and stuff we don't want gets into our food and drug supply all the time. THAT'S WHY WE HAVE THE FDA.  Tylenol was tainted some years back with cyanide. The FDA made the manufacturers change how they packaged the drugs. Did we all run around like chickens with their heads off screaming Tylenol is maiming our kids and the FDA is in coohoots with the drug companies to do it? What about tainted spinach? Have we all stopped eating spinach because some of it got contaminated by E-coli? This hysteria about vaccines is ridiculous and is the single biggest threat we have to our public health. Have you heard about the measles and whooping cough epidemics lately?? Bloggers like you need to stop fanning the flames.  

happy... happymama2D

Hmmm ... interesting article ..... right on the heels of the one telling us we should definitely get the flu vaccine.  :)

k_hal... k_hall1784

I'm concerned, but not worried. I believe the benefit outweighs the risk when it comes to vaccinations.

Renee Randi Hawkins

Vaccines are a tough choice. Seriously though, the people defending the FDA LOL.  They are an inherently unethical organization. When someone works for both the company meant  to oversee a corporation and the corporation itself it isnt a huge leap to at least see that there is some ethical concerns.  I definitely think think there is ethics issues with the FDA, and that is a reason to think twice about recommendations because we really dont always know the motivating force behind them.

Jaimie Leader-Goodale

Tinypossum - please calm down. WHile I agree with you about the vaccinations etc, this particular blog post is NOT antivax at all.  It's a measured and neutral article about vaccines with a notification of what is reported to be in them.  A lot of moms do struggle with vaccine decisions, and there *ARE* poisons in vaccines.  Yes they are minimal, PROBABLY safe amounts, but they still are not healthy.  I feel the pros of the vaccine outweight the risk of the ingredient.  BUt when you attack everyone who even HINTS at not wanting vaccines even when that's not really what she said, you become just as alarmist and annoying as the anti-vaxers who scream about all the undocumented issues.  

Thank you for posting about the cellophane, it is good information to be aware of - and something to ask the dr when you go for the vaccine injections. Ask to see the bottle, as for the brand etc.  It's all about awareness.  I still think that people who choose not to vaccinate are creating a public risk and that they are effective, but given some of the ingredients I can understand it even if I don't agree.

Mommy... Mommy2Phenley

It doesn't worry me because we don't vaccinate. I don't find it too surprising that there is a contamination, that kind of thing happens. What would bother me is their reaction that it's no big deal. Companies should at least own up to any mistakes and make moves to fix it.

angev... angevil53

eh, i don't go downing vaxes everyday as part of my diet, it's probably fine to have them in the very limited supply that we do. that being said no one that's anti-vax would agree with someone that's pro-vax. i hope merck gets their you know what together.

RanaA... RanaAurora

JeninNC, thank you! Good catch. :)

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