growing number of professionals in the health care field are reporting
that a relationship exists between the epidemic in neurodevelopmental
disorders of autism, attention deficit hyperactive disorder, and speech or
language delay all across the country, and the use of thimerosal, the
mercury-based preservative used in childhood vaccines.
Vaccines are the only
medicines that Americans are mandated to receive as a condition for
attendance in school and day care, and for some types of employment.
Parents who receive federal assistance are also required to show proof
that their children have been vaccinated.
While the mandate for which vaccines must be included on the vaccine
schedule is a state mandate, it is the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention (CDC) and its Advisory Committee that make the recommendations
to which the majority of states adhere when determining mandates. The
current epidemic actually began in the late 1980s when a large number of
new vaccines were added to the schedule.
The blame is at least partially attributable to the failure of government
officials to keep track of the cumulative amounts of mercury as they added
triple-dose-vaccines to the schedule and the amount of thimerosal was
multiplied by three.
Each new vaccine contained 25 micrograms of mercury and according to
Professor Lynn Adams, of Radford University, who specializes in autism, by
1999, a study determined that the average child received 33 doses of 10
different vaccines by the age 5.
Elected lawmakers first became aware of the problem in 1999 when the House
Committee on Government Reform initiated an investigation into the dangers
of mercury exposure. An alarm rang early about the exposure of children to
By October 25, 2000, Committee Chairman, Dan Burton (R-IN), was trying to
get the substance out of vaccines as quickly as possible and sent a letter
to the Department of Health and Human Services asking the director to get
the FDA to recall all vaccines with thimerosal.
"We all know and accept that mercury is a neurotoxin, and yet the FDA has
failed to recall the 50 vaccines that contain Thimerosal," Burton wrote.
"Every day that mercury-containing vaccines remain on the market is
another day HHS is putting 8,000 children at risk," he said.
"I implore you to conduct a full recall of these products," he wrote. “If
the only action ... is a gradual phase out, children will continue to be
put at risk every day," Burton warned. "These vaccines will continue to be
injected in children for years to come -- putting our nation's most
vulnerable population ... at risk for mercury poisoning," he added.
The Reform Committee soon discovered that regulatory agencies were still
allowing thimerosal to be used decades after the recognition that it was
harmful. The Committee was told that the Food and Drug Administration,
(FDA), uses a subjective barometer in determining when a product that has
known risks can remain on the market. According to the agency: at the
heart of all FDA’s product evaluation decisions is a judgment about
whether a new product’s benefits to users will outweigh its risks. No
regulated product is totally risk-free, so these judgments are important.
The FDA will allow a product to present more of a risk when its potential
benefit is great -- especially for products used to treat serious,
The argument that the known
risks of infectious diseases outweighs any potential risk of neurological
damage is one that has continuously been used by officials. The FDA claims
that any risk from thimerosal is theoretical because no proof of harm
However, after its review of scientific literature and listening to the
testimony of witnesses, the Committee found plenty of evidence to support
the fact that thimerosal posed a grave risk. "The possible risk for harm
from either low dose chronic or one time high level (bolus dose) exposure
to thimerosal is not ‘theoretical,’ but very real and documented in the
medical literature," the Committee said.
The Committee also discovered that regulatory agencies have never required
drug companies to conduct studies on the use of thimerosal. During a June
20, 2002, hearing, Burton questioned officials from the FDA and CDC and
said, "You mean to tell me that since 1929, we've been using Thimerosal
and the only test that you know of is from 1929, and every one of those
people had meningitis, and they all died?"
In his opening statement at a July 18, 2000, hearing, Burton said: "We
assume that the FDA would protect our children from exposure to any level
of mercury through drugs. But that hasn’t been the case. Thimerosal was
first marketed in 1930 and has become the most widely used preservative in
vaccines. It is present in over 50 licensed vaccines."
"The FDA recently acknowledged that in the first six months of life,
children get more mercury than is considered safe by the EPA," Burton
noted. "The truth is that sometimes kids go to their doctor’s office and
get four or five vaccines at the same time," he added.
"My grandson received vaccines for nine different diseases in one day,"
Burton said. "He may have been exposed to 62.5 micrograms of mercury in
one day through his vaccines."
"According to his weight, the maximum safe level of mercury he should be
exposed to in one day is 1.51 micrograms," Burton advised. "This is
forty-one times the amount at which harm can be caused."
In his opening remarks at a June 19, 2002, hearing, Burton described the
devastation of witnessing the correlation between vaccines and autism.
"My only grandson became autistic right before my eyes -- shortly after
receiving his federally recommended and state-mandated vaccines. Without a
full explanation of what was in the shots being given, my talkative,
playful, outgoing, healthy, grandson Christian was subjected to very high
levels of mercury through his vaccines. He also received the MMR vaccine.
Within a few days he was showing signs of autism."
People often wonder why regulatory officials would protect drug makers. In
large part, because the CDC and FDA policy decisions are made through
advisory panels whose members have financial relationships with the same
companies they are charged to regulate.
The decisions of the 300 experts who sit on the FDA's 18 advisory
committees affect billions of dollars in sales. The panel members play a
crucial role in determining what drugs will be approved and participate in
just about every major decision related to industry regulation.
When it comes to vaccines, the large population in the USA transforms into
a lucrative customer base when our government makes vaccines mandatory and
keeps adding more and more to the list. Between 2003 and 2006, it was
predicted that the annual global market for vaccines would rise from $6
billion to $10 billion, by Mark Benjamin for United Press International
on July 21, 2003.
Investors follow the decisions made by the advisory panels closely. A
favorable vote by a committee can add hundreds of millions of dollars to a
company's stock value which also means the potential for corruption in the
panels is enormous.
In a July 18, 2000 hearing, Burton mentioned the problem. "We have a lot
of doctors who serve on Federal advisory committees who have serious
conflicts-of-interest problems. They’re allowed to vote on vaccines made
by companies that they get money from."
An analysis conducted by
of 159 FDA advisory committee meetings that took place between January 1,
1998, and June 30, 2000, revealed conflicts of interest were widespread:
* At 92% of the meetings, at least one member had a financial conflict of
* At least one committee member had a financial stake in the topic under
review at 146 of 159 advisory committee meetings.
* At 55% of meetings, half or more of the FDA advisers had conflicts of
* At the 102 meetings dealing with the fate of a specific drug, 33% of the
experts had a financial conflict.
Many parents are now refusing
to vaccinate their children because they believe there is an on-going
conspiracy by government officials and the pharmaceutical industry to
boost profits by mandating unnecessary vaccines, while at the same time,
denying their potential for harm. Congressman
this issue in a June 19, 2002 hearing:
Parents are increasingly
concerned that the Department may be inherently conflicted in its
multiple roles of promoting immunization, regulating manufacturers,
looking for adverse events, managing the vaccine injury compensation
program, and developing new vaccines. Families share my concern that
vaccine manufacturers have too much influence as well.
Burton also noted the need to
get honest about the current epidemic. "As representatives of the people,
we have a responsibility to ensure that our public health officials are
adequately and honestly addressing this epidemic and its possible links to
vaccine injury," he said.
In May 2003, the Reform Committee, released
that said the "FDA and the CDC failed in their duty to be vigilant as new
vaccines containing thimerosal were approved and added to the immunization
As an example, the report cited the Hepatitis B vaccine. "When the
Hepatitis B and Haemophilus Influenzae Type b vaccines were added to the
recommended schedule of childhood immunizations, the cumulative amount of
ethylmercury to which children were exposed nearly tripled." The report
identified thimerosal as the cause of the autism and chastised the FDA:
Thimerosal used as a
preservative in vaccines is directly related to the autism epidemic. This
epidemic in all probability may have been prevented or curtailed had the
FDA not been asleep at the switch regarding a lack of safety data
regarding injected thimerosal and the sharper eyes of infant exposure to
this known neurotoxin. The public health agencies failure to act is
indicative of institutional malfeasance for self protection and misplaced
protectionism of the pharmaceutical industry.
Many people have not yet
recognized the seriousness of the epidemic, largely because the majority
of people have not seen many autistic children due to the fact that
parents seldom take their affected children out in public because of the
difficulty in trying to control them in a strange environment.
However, the rising numbers in special education classes in the nation's
public school system provides a clear measurement of how widespread the
epidemic has become. State by state statistics for students with autism
from the Department of Education for the 12-year period between 1992-93
and 2003-04 are almost unbelievable. For instance, in Ohio in 1992-93,
there were only 22 cases of autism; by 2003-04 there were 5,146. In
Illinois, there were only 5 cases twelve years ago and 6,005 in 2003-04.
Wisconsin had 18 cases of autism in 1992-93 and the numbers rose to 3,259
The true reality of these statistics will register in the not too distant
future. "With eighty percent of autistic Americans under the age of 18,
the dramatic impact of this crisis will be felt by taxpayers in the coming
years when these autistic children become adults," says Anne McElroy
Dachel, Media Relations Coordinator for the National Autism Association.
Most vaccines on the immunization schedule now are said to be
thimerosal-free but some still do contain trace amounts. "An exception is
the flu shot, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
recommends for pregnant women and for infants 6 to 23 months old,” advises
Don Olmsted in
on November 19, 2005.
For 6 to 23-month-old infants, the schedule calls for two flu shots that
contain 12.5 micrograms of thimerosal each to be given a month apart.
“That total of is the same amount that was in vaccines some parents
believe triggered their child's autism," Olmsted advises. "And some of
them believe in utero exposure to mercury via the pregnant mother might be
the most dangerous exposure of all,” he said.
When deciding whether mercury-laced flu vaccines are safe for children,
parents had better think long and hard before rolling the dice.
Evelyn J. Pringle
is a columnist for Independent Media TV and an investigative columnist
focused on exposing corruption in government." She can be reached at:
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