Have you seen this image going around? You need to know it is mistaken fearmongering, and the Vitamin K shot protects your baby from catastrophic bleeding.
There is only, at most,
0.05 millionths of a gram of aluminum
in the Vitamin K injections
given to newborns.
Most Americans are not fluent in the metric system, but at least are familiar with the size of a liter, from soft-drink packaging.
The measurement given is "100 mcg per liter". mcg is the abbreviation for microgram, or one millionth of a gram.
One single grain of sugar weighs about 625 mcg, or micrograms.
One liter of the Vitamin K preparation would have the equivalent of 1/6 of a grain of sugar's worth of aluminum.
Each Vitamin K vial is 0.5 milliliters (one thousandths of a liter), so it would take 2,000 vials to even get to 100 micrograms of aluminum.
But why is there even that tiny amount of aluminum in there?
Pediatrician and science communicator Dr. Vince Iannelli explains, in his excellent Vaxopedia article Does the Vitamin K Shot Contain 100mcg of Aluminum?
"Keep in mind that aluminum isn’t even listed as an ingredient of vitamin K. But according to FDA rules, “Applicants and manufacturers must use validated assay methods to determine the aluminum content in parenteral drug products.” ."
And like many other IV fluids, another ingredient of vitamin K, 5% dextrous hydrous (sugar water), does often contain some aluminum, about 17.3mcg/L. These small amounts of aluminum are present “because practically all materials used to manufacture containers for pharmaceuticals contain Al.” From aluminum oxide in glass components to aluminum used as catalysts to make plastics, it is hard to avoid aluminum. But as we have learned that premature babies could get total parenteral nutrition for prolonged periods of time and be exposed to too much aluminum, the FDA has taken steps to limit this exposure."
The label reads "aluminum". Is it elemental aluminum or something else?
It's something else. It's an ionic form (or an aluminum salt), because elemental aluminum isn't soluble. In living organisms, Al is present as its salt Al3+
The main concern is the evaluating amount of aluminum present (as Dr. Iannelli explained above), so that patients are not inadvertently overexposed to aluminum.
The Vitamin K injection protects your baby from potentially catastrophic bleeding in the brain and elsewhere
- Why every baby, and your baby needs a Vitamin K injection, from science writer Tara Haelle
- Why every baby needs a Vitamin K injection shortly after birth, from Australia's Mother and Baby Center
- Safety of aluminum in vaccines, from the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
- All about aluminum in vaccines, from the Vaccine Knowledge Project at Oxford University