The Only Safety Study Done on Thimerosal

Industrialist Eli Lilly was the President of the Corporation that bears his name from 1932 to 1948.

Industrialist Eli Lilly was the President of the Corporation that bears his name from 1932 to 1948.

Thimerosal was patented by Eli Lilly scientists in 1927. Eli Lilly, a corporation based in Indianapolis, Indiana, took the opportunity to perform an experiment on humans during a local epidemic. 144 people in Indianapolis had come down with bacterial meningitis infections of the brain. Eli Lilly took 22 of those people and exposed them to extremely high doses of thimerosal, a 1% solution.

The thimerosal doses they gave to these 22 people were killing animals in the laboratory. Yet Eli Lilly gave it to the subjects intravenously, and all 22 people died — most of them within a day. Based on this experiment, Eli Lilly stated that thimerosal had a very low order of toxicity for man.

This remains the only safety study ever done on thimerosal.