Aluminum Deceptions and Academic Misconduct

Dr Paul Offit, who is the multimillionaire darling of BigPharma’s vaccine industry (and who has profited hugely from his alliances with said vaccine industry) has been allowed to take the pulpit over and over again on NPR, MPR and WPR in recent months (also PBS). He is one of the well-paid professional voices of the CDC (major promoters of universal, even forced, vaccinations), the American Academy of Pediatrics and BigPharma’s vaccine industry that has hundreds of new vaccines in the pipeline, which will never be medico-legally liable if they kill or injure the vacinee. (The profits of the industry have been institutionalized and the risks socialized.)

The following quotes are quite pertinent:

“It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!”
– Upton Sinclair, anti-imperialist American author. Sinclair’s 1903 novel Jungle (about the repulsive slaughterhouse practices in the meat-packing industry in Chicago) led to President Theodore Roosevelt’s pushing through the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906.

“No vaccine manufacturer shall be liable… for damages arising from a vaccine-related injury or death.”
– President Ronald Reagan, as he signed The National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act (NCVIA) of 1986, absolving drug companies from all medico-legal liability when children die or are disabled from vaccine injuries, thus reversing – 80 years later – many of the intentions of the original FDA legislation.

Offit repeatedly says that there are 12 studies that have proven that there is no link between vaccines and autism (or other illnesses that are well known to be vaccine-induced. He also challenges the parents of vaccine-injured or killed children and other vaccine skeptics to produce scientific evidence that supports their claims that establish that vaccines are not safe or even effective. Offit is probably totally unaware of the list of 99 peer-reviewed papers (read the abstracts and comments of the research 99 papers that refute his unscientific claims). These papers provide evidence for the connections.

Dr Offit could have some of his publications renounced and be fired from his job (not to mention having his medical degree withdrawn) if his situation was treated the same as Dr Andrew Wakefield was treated for his (5 times replicated) discovery that there was a connection between Glaxo’s MMR vaccine inoculations, chronic diarrhea from measles virus-strain-infested bowel lymphatic tissue rand severe regressive autism in a peer-reviewed publication in the Lancet that had a number of co-authors, one of which also had his license revoked and then, in a court of law later on, was exonerated of the same charges that Wakefield had been charged with and had his license to practice given back by the medical review board.

Wakefield lives in the US now and hasn’t had the money to sue Rupert Murdoch’s London news empire, GlaxoSmitthKline, Murdoch’s son (who was on Glaxo’s board of directors), the British Medical Journal (who allowed a mercenary journalist, or Brian Deer, who orchestrated the smear campaign for Murdoch against Wakefield (Deer was unaccountably allowed to write opinion articles for the BMJ!).

Anyway, Offit’ could be charged for the same offences as Wakefield, except that Wakefield was innocent and Offit is guilty.

So my point is that Offit should be viewed as a suspicious, industry-tainted “expert” that has considerable conflicts of interest (read about the vaccine-induced intussusceptions that occurred directly as a result of Offit’s rotavirus anti-diarrhea vaccine and the fact that inoculated infants shed vaccine-strain rotaviruses for weeks following inoculation, thus causing contagion among contacts that wouldn’t otherwise have occurred.

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An Objective Look at Vaccine Dangers

Dr Paul Offit is a well-known vaccine advocate and doctor at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), where he is director of the Vaccine Information Center.

In order to defend vaccines and vaccine safety claims, Dr. Offit must also defend the practice of injecting children with aluminum adjuvant, despite the almost complete absence of evidence for safety, and substantial evidence of harm. On the CHOP website (CHOP – Vaccines and Aluminum), Dr Offit states the following:

Aluminum and pregnancy

Aluminum quantities fluctuate naturally during normal cellular activity. It is found in all tissues and is also believed to play an important role in the development of a healthy fetus. This is supported by several findings:

  1. During healthy pregnancies the amount of aluminum in a woman’s blood increases.
  2. The amount of aluminum in the blood of the fetus increases between four and a half and six months gestation and again at eight months gestation.
  3. At delivery, the blood of full-term infants contains more aluminum than the mother’s, but it decreases shortly after delivery.
  4. The blood of premature infants has more aluminum than that of full-term infants.
  5. The concentrations of aluminum in brain tissue are high during gestation and highest immediately after birth.
  6. The breast milk of moms with premature infants contains more aluminum than that of moms who carried their babies to term.1

In these statements Dr Offit is asserting that aluminum is a nutrient, i.e. a mineral with healthful functions in the human body. This is absolutely false. Aluminum has no healthful function in the body. It is a toxin and a toxin only. The fact that aluminum concentrations increase in the blood and change in some tissues does not in any way mean or suggest that aluminum is doing good or necessary functions. It’s just moving around the body as all substances are known to do. Blood lead levels can also increase during pregnancy. Of course, this doesn’t mean that lead is a nutrient or has “an important role” in the development of a healthy fetus. The only role lead plays in a fetus, is causing brain damage. It is the same with aluminum.

These statements by Dr Offit are deceptive and unscientific. Dr Offit is deceiving those that are not well educated in nutrition or medicine. This behavior by Dr Offit is shameful.

What is actually happening with aluminum blood levels during pregnancy is that aluminum is being mobilized from the bone. The bone is storage site for aluminum, just as it is for lead. Toxic metals in bone tend to cause less damage than other places, like the brain. During pregnancy, minerals are drawn out of bones to be used by the developing fetus. This is well known. Consequently, any toxic metals stored in the bone are released as well. Aluminum is stored in the bones and therefore is released by bone de-mineralization. The same thing happens with lead (which is also stored in bone).

Consider this case report, for example, of a pregnant woman that experienced a 3-fold rise in blood lead levels, caused by lead being mobilized from the bone. The same thing happens with aluminum. It’s ridiculous to say that this means aluminum, or lead “plays an important role” in the fetus.

We report the case of an adult female who had last been exposed to lead 7 years earlier but now presented with symptoms and findings of acute lead poisoning which we treated with chelation therapy. In the absence of an acute lead exposure, her increased lead levels were likely due to increased mobilization and redistribution from mineralized tissues during and after a recent pregnancy.2

Increases in blood levels during pregnancy does not mean that aluminum is “playing an important role in the development of a healthy fetus”.

The Illogic

Dr Offit seems to think that the following observations are evidence that aluminum is a nutrient with beneficial, healthful functions in a fetus:

  1. The blood of premature infants has more aluminum than that of full-term infants.
  2. The breast milk of moms with premature infants contains more aluminum than that of moms who carried their babies to term.

In view of the well known and proven toxic effects of aluminum, it’s exactly the opposite. Higher levels in preemies is not a sign the aluminum is doing good, but rather that it’s causing harm. Aluminum is likely a cause of preterm births. A preterm infant is not a healthy infant. Preterm birth is a definite sign of poor health.

High lead levels are also observed to be associated with preterm births.3

Offit’s preposterous illogic implies that lead should be considered a nutrient.

The National Academies does not consider aluminum to be an essential mineral.4

But it Gets Worse

To support these wrong and irresponsible statements, Dr Offit references a well-known but old (1986) paper on aluminum health effects, by Ganrot.5 In this paper, Ganrot contradicts Dr Offit’s assertion that aluminum “has an important role in the development of a healthy fetus.” Ganrot states:

Aluminum(Al) is present in very small amounts in living organisms but is abundant in the environment. In no case has Al been shown to have a definite biological function. B Taken together, this suggests that Aluminum possesses properties incompatible with fundamental life processes. Despite this, Al has generally been regarded as virtually biologicaly inert and the interest shown for its biochemistry and metabolism has been very limited. However, during recent years, an increasing number of toxic effects have been established. (emphasis added)

By listing the Ganrot paper as a supporting reference, Dr Offit is mischaracterizing Ganrot. At academic institutions, this type of mischaracterization could be considered academic misconduct, as egregious as plagiarism, cheating or falsifying data.

Twisting the Science

In 2003, Dr Offit (with another author) had published a paper in the journal Pediatrics seeking to dispel concerns about toxic vaccine ingredients and contaminants.6

Dr Offit’s paper has a section on aluminum, which states:

For determining the quantity of aluminum below which safety is likely, data were generated in mice that were inoculated orally with various quantities of aluminum lactate.42 No adverse reactions were observed when mice were fed quantities of aluminum as high as 62 mg/kg/day. The half-life of elimination of aluminum from the body is approximately 24 hours.41 Therefore, the burden of aluminum to which infants are exposed in food 36 – 40 and vaccines (Table 3) is clearly less than the guideline established by the ATSDR and far less than that found to be safe in experimental animals. 41,42” (Emphasis added)

The reference used for the emphasized statement was reference #42, by Golub et al.7

The Golub paper is very important for vaccine advocates in their defense of aluminum, because it is used as the basis for establishing a safe level of intake. But as we shall see, it’s a very poor experiment to use for this purpose. And Dr Offit mischaracterizes it.

An Uncontrolled Study

The Golub paper describes a 6-week feeding study in mice. Three groups of mice received the following dosages of aluminum salts:

“Control” (CON) : 3mg/kg/day
Low (LO) : 62mg/kg/day
High (HI) : 130mg/kg/day

Notice that even the “control” group received aluminum. How much aluminum is 3/mg/kg/day? Is it enough to possibly cause toxic effects and thereby conceal evidence of aluminum toxicity at higher dosages?

It turns out that 3mg/kg/day aluminum is a very substantial amount. For example, the European Food Safety Authority has established a maximum tolerable intake of aluminum at 0.14mg/kg/day (2mg/kg/week). So the so-called “control” group in the Golub study received a dosage of aluminum about 21 times higher than the maximum tolerable intake as defined by the European Union Food Safety Authority.

Average daily intake of aluminum for adults to be about 0.10–0.12 mg Al/kg/day. So the so-called “control” group in the Golub study received a dosage of aluminum about 25-30 times higher than an average American.8

Its not reasonable or honest to call this a “control” group. In reality, this study was uncontrolled. And that makes all the results unreliable. In biomedical research, using proper controls is critical, because outcomes are determined by comparing exposed groups with controls. If the controls are also exposed, the observed effect is reduced or disappears entirely. Even though its really there.

The lack of a control group in this study is a fatal flaw if one wishes to use the results to establish a safe aluminum intake level. It is not reasonable to use an uncontrolled study for the purpose of establishing a safe level of exposure for the public.

The Mischaracterization

In the Golub study, 11 signs of toxicity were monitored: irritability, respiratory discharge, eye discharge, fur loss, abnormal paw placement, abnormal gait, hind limb splaying, hind limb dragging, opisthotonos, paralysis, and seizures.

And what did Golub find? Golub found that the Low aluminum group (receiving 62mg/kg/day) suffered fur loss. Golub states:

After the first week of Al exposure, mice began to show a localized loss of fur on the tip of the snout that was identified by veterinarians as a low level sign of poor condition in the colony. This condition was reported more frequently in the LO and HI Al groups than in the controls.

Additionally, Golub found that the LO group mice (consuming 62mg/kg/day) had a “cyclic pattern of food intake”, a known sign of toxicity. Golub states:

LO mice did not show as clear a cycling pattern but did have somewhat higher intake than controls on days 21-24, 33-36 and 36-39 and lower intake on days 24-27 (p=0.04-0.05 at these times).

Food intake…followed a cyclic pattern similar to that seen in rodents eating diets deficient in a specific nutrient (2) or adulterated with a poison (17).

So Golub clearly identifies the cyclic food intake as an adverse, toxic effect, even though it was not among the 11 signs listed.

And these adverse effects were observed even though the controls also received substantial amounts of aluminum:

Golub observed two adverse effects in the 62mg/kg/day group: fur loss and cyclic food intake. This contradicts Offit’s false statement: “No adverse reactions were observed when mice were fed quantities of aluminum as high as 62 mg/kg/day.” Dr Offit’s statement is blatantly false and mischaracterizes the findings of the Golub study.

Other papers defending vaccine safety (Keith and Mitkus) have made the same error (or deception). The problems with papers by Keith and Mitkus, and of using Golub as a basis for the safety of aluminum in vaccines (there is much more to this) is explained here: “A More Rigorous Defense of Al Adjuvant and Why it is Wrong.”

  1. The CHOP full statement about aluminum is here: “CHOP/Offit Statement on Aluminum.” []
  2. Lead Poisoning in an Adult: Lead Mobilization by Pregnancy?” NCBI, June 2007. []
  3. See pages 15-16 of “Environmental contaminant exposures and preterm birth: A comprehensive review.” []
  4. This report, from the National Academy of Sciences does not list aluminum as an essential mineral. []
  5. Metabolism and Possible Health Effects of Aluminum,” NCBI, 1986. []
  6. Paul A. Offit and Rita K. Jew, “Addressing Parents’ Concerns: Do Vaccines Contain Harmful Preservatives, Adjuvants, Additives, or Residuals?Pediatrics, December 2003. []
  7. Effects of Aluminum Ingestion on Spontaneous Motor Activity in Mice,” NCBI, May-June 1999. []
  8. Based on the FDA’s 1993 Total Diet Study dietary exposure model and the 1987–1988 U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Nationwide Food 90 Consumption Survey, the authors estimated daily aluminum intakes of:

    0.10 mg Al/kg/day for 6–11-month-old infants;
    0.30–0.35 mg Al/kg/day for 2–6-year-old children;
    0.11 mg Al/kg/day for 10-year old children;
    0.15–0.18 mg Al/kg/day for 14–16-year-old males and females; and
    0.10–0.12 mg Al/kg/day for adult (25–30- and 70+-year-old) males and females. []

Dr Gary G. Kohls is a retired physician from Duluth, MN. Dr Kohls has been actively involved in peace, justice and nonviolence issues for much of his adult life and, since he retirement, has written a weekly column for the Duluth Reader. His Duty to Warn columns mostly deal with the dangers of American fascism, corporatism, militarism, racism and other movements that threaten American democracy. He can be reached at: gkohls@cpinternet.com.

Read other articles by Gary.