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Thimerosal is a mercury-based preservative that has been used for decades in the United States in multi-dose vials (vials containing more than one dose) of medicines and vaccines. There is no evidence of harm caused by the low doses of thimerosal in vaccines, except for minor reactions like redness and swelling at the injection site. However, in July 1999, the Public Health Service agencies, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and vaccine manufacturers agreed that thimerosal should be reduced or eliminated in vaccines as a precautionary measure.
Mercury is a naturally occurring element found in the earth's crust, air, soil, and water. Two types of mercury to which people may be exposed -- methylmercury and ethylmercury -- are very different.
Methylmercury is the type of mercury found in certain kinds of fish. At high exposure levels methylmercury can be toxic to people. In the United States, federal guidelines keep as much methylmercury as possible out of the environment and food, but over a lifetime, everyone is exposed to some methylmercury.
Thimerosal contains ethylmercury, which is cleared from the human body more quickly than methylmercury, and is therefore less likely to cause any harm.
Thimerosal is added to vials of vaccine that contain more than one dose (multi-dose vials) to prevent growth of germs, like bacteria and fungi. Introduction of bacteria and fungi has the potential to occur when a syringe needle enters a vial as a vaccine is being prepared for administration. Contamination by germs in a vaccine could cause severe local reactions, serious illness or death. In some vaccines, preservatives, including thimerosal, are added during the manufacturing process to prevent germ growth.
Thimerosal does not stay in the body a long time so it does not build up and reach harmful levels. When thimerosal enters the body, it breaks down to ethylmercury and thiosalicylate, which are readily eliminated.
Thimerosal use in medical products has a record of being very safe. Data from many studies show no evidence of harm caused by the low doses of thimerosal in vaccines.
The most common side-effects are minor reactions like redness and swelling at the injection site. Although rare, some people may be allergic to thimerosal.
Research does not show any link between thimerosal in vaccines and autism, a neurodevelopmental disorder. Many well conducted studies have concluded that thimerosal in vaccines does not contribute to the development of autism. Even after thimerosal was removed from almost all childhood vaccines, autism rates continued to increase, which is the opposite of what would be expected if thimerosal caused autism.
Measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccines do not and never did contain thimerosal. Varicella (chickenpox), inactivated polio (IPV), and pneumococcal conjugate vaccines have also never contained thimerosal.
Influenza (flu) vaccines are currently available in both thimerosal-containing (for multi-dose vaccine vials) and thimerosal-free versions.
For a complete list of vaccines and their thimerosal content level, see the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Thimerosal in Vaccines page. This chart[PDF - 182 KB] shows vaccine ingredients sorted by vaccine.
A new scientific study proves that the mercury-based compound used as vaccine preservative -- known as ‘thimerosal’ -- induces neural damage similar to that seen in autism patients.
According to the study, thimerosal-induced cellular damage caused concentration- and time-dependent mitochondrial damage, reduced oxidative-reduction activity, cellular degeneration, and cell death. Thimerosal at low concentrations induced significant cellular toxicity in human neuronal and fetal cells.
Thimerosal was found to be significantly more toxic than the other metal compounds examined.
Dr. Mercola's Comments:
I’m always pleased to see another study confirming what vaccine-safety advocates have tried to get across for so long—that the mercury-based preservative thimerosal is seriously bad news and should never be injected. I don’t know how much proof will be required take to get the truth to finally get through, but a mountain of evidence is apparently still not enough for some nay-sayers.
This latest study confirms that damage does occur in human neuronal and fetal cells, even at low concentrations.
As you’ve likely heard by now, rates of autism in the U.S. have increased nearly 60-fold since the late 1970s, rising right along with the increasing number of vaccinations added to the childhood vaccination schedule.
This oftentimes debilitating neurological disorder now affects about one in 150 U.S. children, but an article in the Daily Mail two years ago reported the rate of autism in Great Britain could be as high as 1 in 58.
Although autism may be apparent soon after birth, most autistic children experience at least several months, or even a year or more of normal development -- followed by regression, defined as loss of function or failure to progress.
Typically, by the age of three, at which time the child has received at least 24 of their scheduled vaccinations, symptoms of autism are fully apparent, affecting their communication and social skills, and impairing the child's ability to play, speak and relate to the world.
The Genetic Catch-All
Many have tried to debunk the autism-vaccine link, oftentimes blaming the disorder on genetic factors, but the connection refuses to go away. And for valid reasons.
So far, scientists have been able to link genetic defects to a mere one percent of autism cases. Although the other 99 percent are still unaccounted for, conventional media rarely underscore this fact, focusing instead on the minority link to genetic predisposition.
For example, last year the U.S. government concluded that childhood vaccines contributed to symptoms of autism in 9-year-old Hannah Poling. According to U.S. Division of Vaccine Injury Compensation, the shots "significantly aggravated an underlying mitochondrial disorder" and resulted in a brain disorder "with features of autism spectrum disorder."
Again, they finally conceded that those with genetic predispositions can develop autism when injected with thimerosal. But industry is still refusing to take any responsibility for having anything to do with the other 99 percent of autism cases, and our health officials are playing along, protecting the interests of industry, not that of your child.
And bear in mind, mercury is not the one and only potential danger hiding in vaccines. Aluminum is yet another neurotoxic poison used as an immune-suppressing adjuvant. (For more on that, please see this previous article, which covers that issue in greater detail.)
All this lopsided logic serves no one except Big Pharma, and their fingerprints are all over the so-called “evidence” proving that vaccines are safe.
The Cover-Up of Thimerosal Dangers
Four years ago, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. wrote a must-read Rolling Stone article exposing the truth about the drug industry's greed, and the secret gathering where a plan was hatched to cover up the dangers of thimerosal.
According to Kennedy’s account, in June of 2000, a group of top government scientists and health officials -- including high-level officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the top vaccine specialists from the World Health Organization (WHO), and representatives from every major vaccine manufacturer -- secretly gathered to discuss the use of thimerosal in childhood vaccines.
Data indicated that the toxic heavy metal appeared to be responsible for a drastic increase in autism and other neurological disorders among children.
However, rather than taking every precaution to protect public health, they spent the majority of the next two days plotting how to protect the industry’s bottom line by getting rid of the troubling data.
The CDC played their part in the cover-up by:
- Paying the Institutes of Medicine to produce a new study that would debunk the link between thimerosal and brain disorders
- Withholding unflattering findings by claiming the original data had been "lost" and could not be replicated
- Handing its massive database of vaccine records over to a private company, effectively pronouncing it off-limits to researchers and preventing dissemination of the data through the Freedom of Information Act
Although thimerosal was eventually removed from the majority of childhood vaccines in 2001, it’s still used in some multi-dose vials, and is present in nearly all seasonal flu vaccines.
And, thimerosal-containing vaccines already produced were not recalled, so children most likely continued to receive the tainted vaccines until stocks were depleted.
So, What Do We Know About Thimerosal?
Thimerosal (TMS), which is used in vaccines as a preservative, is 49.6 percent ethylmercury (eHg). It is already an established fact that exposure to mercury can cause immune, sensory, neurological, motor, and behavioral dysfunctions -- all similar to traits defining, or associated with autism.
The study above just puts yet another nail in the coffin.
Because of the ever increasing number of required childhood vaccines, thimerosal has become a major source of mercury in children. Within the first two years of life, a child may already have received a quantity of mercury that clearly exceeds safety guidelines.
Genetic predisposition and a number of other environmental factors, such as exposure to other toxins, and diet, are likely major contributing factors that determine whether a child will be able to manage the toxic insult, or develop a neurological disorder like autism.
Other Issues Compounding the Dangers of Thimerosal
The timing of vaccines is also an important factor. According to Dr. Russell Blaylock, multiple vaccines given close together over-stimulate your brain's immune system and, via the mechanism of "bystander injury," destroy brain cells.
He wrote an excellent, in-depth paper on this issue.
If you have not already read it, I highly recommend you give it a moment of your time as it is incredibly informative. In it he presents compelling evidence of the link between excessive vaccinations and neurodevelopmental disorders.
Your immune system is very complex. Naturally, the immune system of a baby is not the same as that of an adult, as it is not yet fully formed. Both animal and human studies have confirmed that immune reactions to vaccinations differ at different ages.
The rate of maturation of the immune system also differs considerably among babies and children, and when combined with variables such as other toxic exposures and diet, there’s no way of foretelling what effect a toxin like thimerosal will cause in ALL children.
For example, fluoroaluminum formed in fluoridated drinking water also interferes with immune function and can significantly compound the damage incurred from mercury, as can many insecticides and herbicides used around your home.
As for diet, there’s substantial evidence that omega-6 oils are powerful pro-inflammatories and cause immune suppression when consumed in large amounts. These oils include corn, safflower, sunflower, canola, peanut and soybean oils.
If you or your child eat a standard American diet, you’re consuming about 50 times more omega-6 fats than you need for health.
So it stands to reason that the average child is exposed to a number of substances both in their food and environment that can alter their immunity, hence making them more susceptible to vaccine complications.
Unfortunately, the standard childhood vaccination schedule ignores all these variables.
How Many Vaccinations are Too Many?
There seems to be no maximum number of vaccines that a child can be exposed to in sight. Think about it: in 1983, before the autism epidemic began, children received 10 vaccinations before attending school. Today they receive 24 vaccines before the age of 1, and 36 by the time they attend school. And that’s not including the recommended seasonal flu shot each year.
Like smoking and lung cancer, there’s enough proof today to call a complete halt to the present excessive vaccine program and ban any level of mercury in vaccines.
But just like the case of Big Tobacco, Big Pharma refuses to do what’s right and protect you and your children from unnecessary harm.
More Recent Evidence
There’s yet another recent study confirming the link between low-level mercury poisoning in children and diagnoses of autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
Published in the Journal of Neurological Sciences in September 2008, the study was the first prospective, blinded cohort study to examine children diagnosed with an ASD using urinary porphyrin profile analysis (UPPA) to assess the physiological effects of mercury toxicity. They also used glutathione analysis to assess the children’s susceptibility to mercury poisoning.
Children with severe ASDs had significantly higher levels of mercury intoxication in comparison to participants with mild ASDs.
It was also established that glutathione, a key biochemical in your body’s mercury detoxification pathway, was significantly lower in patients diagnosed with an ASD in comparison with the control group.
I’d like to point out, though, that although this study shows a relationship between lower glutathione levels and greater severity of autism, mercury is not the only toxin that can affect glutathione levels. There’s a plethora of toxins in your daily environment that contribute to your toxic load, so any number of toxins may be contributing to the problem.
As always, I want to remind and encourage you to continue to educate yourself and your family on the issues surrounding vaccinations of all kinds. There are so many problems; no one article can possibly cover them all.
For example, if you missed my special report on squalene – yet another dangerous vaccine ingredient – please read it now. You can also search my site as I’ve written countless articles on all aspects of the vaccine issue.
I also recommend you familiarize yourself with the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) web site. As a leader for vaccine safety, the NVIC offers information on everything from laws to informed consent to late-breaking vaccine news.
What is thiomersal?
Thiomersal (also known as thimerosal, mercurothiolate and sodium 2-ethylmercuriothio-benzoate) is a mercury-containing compound used to prevent bacterial and fungal growth in some vaccines during storage, and especially during use of opened multi-dose vials. It has also been used during vaccine production both to inactivate certain organisms and toxins and to maintain a sterile production line. Thiomersal has been used since the 1930s in the manufacture of some vaccines and other medical products.
Do all vaccines contain thiomersal?
Many licensed vaccines do not contain thiomersal. Such vaccines include vaccines in single-dose presentation or vaccines for which thiomersal would interfere with vaccine efficacy such as live vaccines including MMR, oral and inactivated polio, yellow fever, and BCG vaccine. These vaccines, however, when in multi-dose presentations, have to be discarded at the end of the immunization session. Other vaccines may contain trace amounts of thiomersal (<0.5 µg per dose), if the preservative has been used in the production process, but has not been added to the final product. A third group of vaccines have thiomersal added in varying concentrations (10 to 50 µg per dose) as a preservative to prevent contamination with microorganisms when formulated in multi-dose vials. Such vaccines include vaccines against diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (DTP), diphtheria and tetanus toxoids (DT), tetanus toxoid (TT), hepatitis B, Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib), and influenza.
Can vaccines be made thiomersal free?
Any change in the formulation of a licensed vaccine, including changes to the thiomersal content, may have an impact on the quality, safety and efficacy of vaccines and further trials are likely to be required before the reformulated product can be licensed. Replacing thiomersal with a different inactivating agent and/or preservative during the production process and/or in the final product, will require a new licensing process with a series of preclinical and clinical trials to ensure the quality, safety and efficacy of the vaccine. For vaccines used in multi-dose formulations thiomersal offers better protection from contamination than other preservatives such as 2-phenoxy ethanol.
Can vaccines be supplied in single-dose vials?
Vaccines could be supplied in single-dose vials, but this option requires a significant increase in production capacity and has a high cost. Single-dose vials require significantly larger cold storage space as well as increased transport needs. This is currently not feasible for the majority of countries. For some vaccines, it is more cost effective to use multi-dose vials. However if thiomersal is used as the inactivating agent in the production process, and is not added as a preservative, this will only result in traces of thiomersal in the final product, both in single and multi-dose presentations.
What is the recommendation of the GACVS on the safety of thiomersal-containing vaccines?
Upon review of the current epidemiologic evidence and phamacokinetic profile of thiomersal, the Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety concluded that there is currently no evidence of mercury toxicity in infants, children, or adults exposed to thiomersal in vaccines. It also concluded that there is no reason to change current immunization practices with thiomersal-containing vaccines on the grounds of safety. The safety of thiomersal-containing vaccines is reviewed at regular intervals. In the meantime, the available evidence warrants the recommendation that current WHO immunization policy with respect to thiomersal-containing vaccines should not be changed.
Is thiomersal the same as methyl mercury?
No, there are several forms of mercury occurring in the environment, however by far the most common organic mercury compound is methyl mercury. The main hazard for methyl mercury is its ability to accumulate in the body and to remain there for a long time. The exposure to this naturally-occurring compound and its toxic effects on humans have been well studied. As most humans are exposed to mercury in some form, WHO and some national regulatory authorities defined safe levels for exposure to mercury and the values reflect exposure mainly to methyl mercury. Thiomersal contains a different form of mercury i.e. ethyl mercury which does not accumulate and is metabolized and removed from the body much faster than is methyl mercury.
Why are some countries withdrawing thiomersal if there is no risk?
Some national public health authorities are striving to replace thiomersal-containing vaccines as a precautionary measure. There is currently no evidence of toxicity from mercury contained in vaccines. There are only a few tested, efficacious and safe alternatives to thiomersal-containing vaccines. Current production capacity for such vaccines is limited and insufficient to cover global needs.
You have probably seen your nurse insert a syringe into a large vial, extract some liquid, and then leave a substantial amount of vaccine in the original container. If you've witnessed this seemingly benign procedure, you've seen how vaccine manufacturers are saving money at the expense of public health. In order to store larger amounts of vaccine at a lower cost, companies began offering "multi-dose units" while adding preservatives to prevent contaminations. That way doctors can open and close a vaccine container, inviting germs into the once-sterile solution, while assuring the public that those contaminants are quickly killed by the preservative.
Sound familiar? It's the same story of corporate America's love affair with preservatives. It saves them money, while posing an undue risk to your health. But like many toxic preservatives found in food, a vaccine preservative kills more than just bacteria and fungi; it can lead to extensive neurological damage in your children, and has even been implicated in autism.
Thimerosal is the preservative of choice for vaccine manufacturers. First introduced by Eli Lilly and Company in the late 1920s and early 1930s, the company began selling it as a preservative in vaccines in the 1940s. Thimerosal contains 49.6 percent mercury by weight and is metabolized or degraded into ethylmercury and thiosalicylate. Mercury, or more precisely, ethylmercury, is the principle agent that kills contaminants. Unfortunately, mercury also kills much more than that.
The Department of Defense classifies mercury as a hazardous material that could cause death if swallowed, inhaled or absorbed through the skin. Studies indicate that mercury tends to accumulate in the brains of primates and other animals after they are injected with vaccines. Mercury poisoning has been linked to cardiovascular disease, autism, seizures, mental retardation, hyperactivity, dyslexia and many other nervous system conditions. That's why the FDA rigorously limits exposure to mercury in foods and drugs. Some common sources of mercury include dental amalgam fillings, various vaccines and certain fish contaminated by polluted ocean waters.
The toxicity of mercury has never been in question. The real question is precisely how much mercury-laced thimerosal is toxic, and what are the possible consequences for our children at low doses?
Eli Lilly and Co. supposedly answered this question for us back in 1930. Concluding thimerosal to be of "a very low order of toxicity . . . for man," the company hired its own doctors to perform thimerosal experiments in Indianapolis City Hospital on meningitis patients during a severe outbreak in 1929. This 60-year-old evidence was still quoted on the company's brochures as recently as 1990. Andrew Waters, who is involved in a lawsuit against Eli Lilly, claims that most critical studies on the toxicity of thimerosal were suppressed by the company until now.
That might explain why thimerosal was eliminated in many countries 20 years ago. In 1977, a Russian study found that adults exposed to ethylmercury, the form of mercury in thimerosal, suffered brain damage years later. Studies on thimerosal poisoning also describe tubular necrosis and nervous system injury, including obtundation, coma and death. As a result of these findings, Russia banned thimerosal from children's vaccines in 1980. Denmark, Austria, Japan, Great Britain and all the Scandinavian countries have also banned the preservative.
Eli Lilly stuck to its "scientific" facts, but the truth began slipping between the cracks in 1999. After the number of immunizations rose to 12 to 15 per child, the public finally became privy to the possible dangers of thimerosal. One 1999 study revealed that some infants, due to a genetic or developmental factor, lack the ability to eliminate mercury. Trace amounts of mercury in these infants, when accumulated over several vaccines, could pose a severe health risk. Some vaccines, such as vaccines for hepatitis B, contained as much as 12.5 micrograms of mercury per dose. That's more than 100 times the EPA's upper limit standard when administered to infants.
Hepatitis B vaccines aren't the only immunizations under suspicion. According to Burton Goldberg in Alternative Medicine, scientists are finding stronger and stronger links between thimerosal and neurological damage. One report by Dr. Vijendra Singh of the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Michigan found a higher incidence of measles, mumps and rubella vaccine (MMR) antibodies in autistic children.
The National Vaccine Information Center in Vienna, Virginia, has noted a strong association between the MMR vaccine and autistic features. Reporting similar findings, the Encephalitis Support Group in England claims that children who became autistic after the MMR vaccine started showing autistic symptoms as early as 30 days after vaccination. The diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus vaccine (DPT) given at two, four and six months has triggered autistic symptoms, as well.
When the FDA finally formally released this information in 1999, the news came too little too late for some parents. The damage had already been done.
Autism affects 500,000 to 1.5 million Americans and has grown at an annual rate of 10 to 17 percent since the late 1980s. California found a 273 percent increase in autism between 1987 and 1998. Maryland reported a 513 percent increase in autism between 1993 and 1998 and several dozen other states reported similar findings. Some scientists say the estimated number of cases of autism has increased 15-fold –1,500 percent – since 1991, when the number of childhood vaccinations doubled. Whereas one in every 2,500 children was diagnosed with autism before 1991, one in 166 children now have the disease.
This increase in reported autism cases eerily parallels the increase in the number and frequency of thimerosal-containing vaccinations administered to infants. As of today, children are given as many as 21 immunizations in the first 15 months of life. After a number of scientists and concerned activists noticed the correlation, an investigation was launched to get to the heart of the matter.
In June 2000, federal officials and industry representatives were assembled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to discuss the disturbing evidence. According to Tom Verstraeten, an epidemiologist who had analyzed the data on the CDC's database, thimerosal appeared to be responsible for a dramatic increase in autism and other neurological disorders. Verstraeten told those at the meeting that a number of earlier studies indicate a link between thimerosal and speech delays, attention-deficit disorder, hyperactivity and autism.
Verstraeten offered no possible cause for this correlation, but held that the statistical evidence linking vaccines and neurological disorders was strong. Dr. Bill Weil, a consultant for the American Academy of Pediatrics, and Dr. Richard Johnston, an immunologist and pediatrician from the University of Colorado, presented similar concerns to the group. However, given no causal relationship, the CDC and industry representatives were quick to discredit the evidence.
Consequently, the CDC paid the Institute of Medicine (IOM) to conduct another study on thimerosal. According to Robert F. Kennedy Jr., this study was fixed in order to "whitewash" previous findings. In its 2001 report, the IOM's Immunization Safety Review Committee did conclude that the link between thimerosal and neurodevelopmental disorders was biologically plausible, though the evidence neither proved nor negated it. The Committee stated that phasing out thimerosal from vaccines was “a prudent measure in support of the public health goal to reduce mercury exposure of infants and children as much as possible.” However, these findings offered no imperative. The data presented at the 2000 meeting was withheld from publication and the link between thimerosal and autism remained "inconclusive."
But what does "inconclusive" mean? Well, that depends on who you talk to. According to the FDA, these "inconclusive" findings negate the risk of a causal relationship between thimerosal and autism. Even Tom Verstraeten, one of the presenters of epidemiological evidence at the CDC meeting, seemingly changed his tune a bit. In 2000, Verstraeten vigorously campaigned against thimerosal based upon his "inconclusive" correlation, but after he was hired by GlaxoSmithKline, the doctor changed his position. The same evidence from 2000, in Verstraeten's eyes, became "neutral" in 2003. After criticism for this apparent flip-flop, Verstaeten wrote a letter to the editor of Pediatrics in 2004 backing the CDC's actions and his own research methods.
Without an imperative to eradicate thimerosal immediately, vaccine manufacturers like Merck & Co. seemingly took their time in reducing thimerosal levels in vaccines. After a large public outcry in 1999, Merck & Co. began decreasing or eliminating the amount of thimerosal in its vaccines. In September 1999, Merck announced that its new line of vaccines were preservative-free, but still continued to distribute the remainder of thimerosal-preserved vaccines until 2001. Only after a congressional inquiry in 2002 did they stop distributing their stockpile. Rep. Dave Weldon, R-Fla., called Merck's actions "misleading."
While officials at the Center for Disease Control claim evidence is lacking to support the possible risks of thimerosal, Dr. Mark Geier, a Maryland geneticist and vaccinologist, along with his son and research partner David Geier, says the CDC has chosen to ignore the science. According to Dr. Geier, more than 5,000 articles have been published that question the safety of thimerosal in vaccines.
The Geiers analyzed the data and determined that the more thimerosal a child receives, the greater his or her chances are of being autistic. The CDC says the Geiers misused information from a CDC database that was not intended to help prove theories. Given no real causal mechanism linking thimerosal and autism, the game seems to have become one of slanting the data to suit the needs of government and industrial interests. Even Verstraeten has admitted that these "inconclusive" findings certainly don't rule out the possibility of finding a link in the future.
Given the dearth of health organizations owning up to the dangers of thimerosal, many parents followed their gut instincts and took legal action against vaccine manufacturers. More than 4,200 families have filed lawsuits claiming thimerosal caused injuries to their children. These lawsuits often have two goals: First, to seek reparations for the loss of consortium (basically meaning that an autistic child creates emotional and psychological burdens on their family life), and second, to ensure that these companies exercise more concern for public health and less concern for their own bottom line.
The lawsuits are slow in producing results. The first constraint on these lawsuits is the National Childhood Vaccine Act of 1986. This act stipulates that victims cannot seek redress in the courts without first filing a claim for recovery in the federal Vaccine Court. The statute of limitations for this is within three years of "the first symptom or manifestation of onset or of the significant aggravation of a [vaccine-related] injury."
In the cases of many thimerosal victims, the link between autism and vaccines didn't appear until six years after the first vaccine was administered. While this statute has stopped some claims against vaccine manufacturers, including such big firms as Aventis, GlaxoSmithKline, Merck and Johnson & Johnson, many judges are now allowing suits against Eli Lilly, the maker of thimerosal, to stand. While the Vaccine Act shields vaccine manufacturers, one judge reasons that the legislation does not protect the production of thimerosal because it is a "component."
The burden of proof in court is also extremely problematic for most of these suits. Given the supposed lack of scientific data, lawyers are hard-pressed to prove the link between thimerosal and autism. In what seems like an underhanded move, the CDC sold its data to a private company, ensuring that lawyers could not access it under the Freedom of Information Act.
In the past five years, Congress has also aided vaccine manufacturers, supposedly for "security" reasons. In 2002, a mysterious piggyback on the 2002 Homeland Security bill freed drug companies of liability in lawsuits regarding thimerosal. Called the "Eli Lilly Protection Act" by outraged parents and activists, the then-House Majority Leader Dick Armey told CBS News he snuck the amendment in to keep vaccine-makers from going out of business. Armey claimed it was a matter of national security. "We need their vaccines if the country is attacked with germ weapons."
Ironically, foreign biological terrorism hasn't been a big problem for American citizens, but those whose lives (and the lives of their children) have been affected if not ruined by the harmful effects of thimerisol would undoubtedly say these potentially harmful vaccines are indeed a problem. Armey's piggyback bill was repealed in 2003, but that didn't stop lawmakers from continuing to protect the vaccine industry.
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist is no stranger to the thimerosal debate, having received $873,000 in contributions from the pharmaceutical industry and $10,000 from Eli Lilly. Frist's position allowed him to attempt to help the industry from the inside, according to Kennedy. Kennedy reports that on five occasions, Frist tried to seal the government's vaccine-related documents and shield Eli Lilly from subpoenas. Frist also introduced a provision in the 2005 Senate Bill S-3 called the "Protecting America in the War on Terror Act," that would effectively insulate the pharmaceutical industry from liability for thimerosal poisoning. Pharmaceutical manufacturers, including Merck, GlaxoSmithKline, Aventis, Weyeth and Eli Lilly, can basically get off scot-free for their actions, even as more and more evidence suggests that top company officials were aware of the possible dangers and did nothing.
A secret memo leaked to the Los Angeles Times reportedly implicates one vaccine manufacturer, Merck & Co., for knowing that thimerosal could pose serious threats to infants. Allegedly, Dr. Maurice Hilleman, one of Merck's top scientists, warned the president of Merck of a possible threat as early as 1991. Dr. Hilleman told executives that six-month-old children receiving regular immunizations frequently received mercury doses 87 times higher than guidelines for the maximum consumption of mercury. Given today's more prudent mercury standards, those thimerosal doses would be 400 times that of safe levels. Dr. Hilleman recommended in the memo that thimerosal be discontinued.
Not only do government and industry officials seem to be trying to downplay the possible harms of thimerosal; the media is also denying the issue coverage. Just recently, ABC flip-flopped on whether it will air interviews with Robert Kennedy Jr., a leading critic of thimerosal. ABC has been accused of suppressing the interviews because of its ties to the pharmaceutical industry.
Along with the enormous amount of controversy surrounding this issue, the five-year-old plea for "more research" may have finally produced some results. Burton Goldberg notes that a defect in the myelinization process (insulation of nerve fibers) could explain mercury's propensity to cause autism and neurological damage. This may also account for the frequent development of epilepsy in older autistic children.
Scientists are also working on biological links that support the strong correlations. Researchers at Northeastern University, working with scientists from the University of Nebraska, Tufts and Johns Hopkins University, may have recently found the mechanism by which thimerosal interferes with brain activity. If these researchers are right, vaccine manufacturers could do little to keep the damaging effects of thimerosal hidden.
Pharmacy professor Richard Deth and colleagues found that exposure to thimerosal potently interrupts growth factor signaling, causing adverse effects on the transfer of carbon atoms. These carbon atoms play a significant role in regulating normal DNA function and gene expression and are critical to proper neurological development. Additionally, the scientists recently obtained more insight into the mechanism by which thimerosal interferes with folate-dependent methylation. The mechanism inhibits the biosynthesis of the active form of vitamin B12 (methylcobalamin), a vitamin now being administered to autistic children.
Now all childhood vaccines have at least one mercury-free version, and I urge parents to ask for those versions if they choose to vaccinate their children. Injecting mercury into children, especially infants whose immune systems are still underdeveloped (hepatitis B shots are typically given at birth, before the immune system has developed), can be an assault to the immune system.
What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Autoimmune Disorders by Stephen B Edelson MD, page 65
In 1999 studies began to surface showing that multi-dose vial vaccines, such as the MMR and hepatitis B vaccines, contained enough thimerosal to expose vaccinated children to 62.5 ug of mercury per visit to the pediatrician. This is one hundred times the dose considered safe by the Federal Environmental Protection Guidelines for infants! Worse yet, some infants will receive doses even higher; because thimerosal tends to settle in the vial. If it is not shaken up before being drawn, the first dose will contain low concentrations of mercury and the last dose will contain enormously high concentrations. If your baby is the unlucky one that gets the last dose, serious brain injury can result…
Health And Nutrition Secrets by Russell L Blaylock MD, page 166
Thousands of families say they can demonstrate with videotapes and photos that their children were normal prior to being vaccinated, reacted badly to the vaccines, and became autistic shortly thereafter. The number of vaccines given before age two has risen from 3 in 1940, when autism occurred in perhaps one case per 10,000 births, to 22 different vaccines given before the age of two in the year 2000.
Building Wellness with DMG by Roger V Kendall PhD, page 104
We know that certain forms of mercury, such as methylmercury and phenylmercury, are highly lipid soluble, which makes the brain especially susceptible to mercury accumulation. These forms of mercury are found in vaccines as the preservative thimerosal. Once in the brain, it tends to attach itself to protein structures, especially to the cell membrane, where it can disrupt membrane functions.23 By binding to the cell membrane, mercury changes the membrane's fluid-like quality, making it stiffer and causing the cell to age faster.24 The brain is unique in that neurons depend on special microscopic tube-like structures within the cell, appropriately called neurotubules, for their function. These neurotubules are manufactured by the cell from a substance called tubulin. We know that mercury interacts with tubulin causing it to unravel. Studies in rats have shown that doses of mercury corresponding to those seen in humans can cause a 75 percent increase in tubulin inhibition.
Health And Nutrition Secrets by Russell L Blaylock MD, page 53
In the case of the susceptible newborn infant and toddler, multiple exposures to mercury-containing and multiple antigen vaccines are highly suspect in the causation of multiple organ injury (Bernard et al. 2000). The GI tract, the liver, the pancreas, the kidneys, the immune system, and the brain are major sites of mercury absorption. Researchers have clearly shown a chronic inflammatory bowel disease due to vaccine strain measles in a subset of children with autism (Thompson et al. 1995; Wakefield et al. 1995, 1999, 2000a,b; Kawashima et al. 2000; Pardi et al. 2000; Uhlmann et al. 2002).
Disease Prevention And Treatment by Life Extension Foundation, page 153
Studies of autistic children have frequently shown very high levels of mercury, with no other source but vaccines found for the exposure. These levels are equal to those seen in adults during toxic industrial exposures. Several autism clinics have found dramatic improvements in the behavior and social interactions in children from whom the mercury was chelated. Results depended on how soon the mercury was removed following exposure, but permanent damage can be caused if the metal is not chelated soon enough. Still, even in cases of severe damage, because of the infant brain's tremendous reparative ability, improvements are possible. The problem of autism involves numerous body systems including the gastrointestinal, immune and nervous systems; as a result we see numerous infections and magnified effects of malnutrition. Intrepid workers in the shadows, that is outside the medial establishment, have worked many miracles with these children using a multidisciplinary scientific approach completely ignored by the orthodoxy. Some children have even experienced a return to complete physiological normalcy.
Health And Nutrition Secrets by Russell L Blaylock MD, page 166
Mercury and autism mercury toxicity is a suspected cause of a steep rise—a tenfold increase between 1984 and 1994—in diagnosed cases of autism in children around the world, according to some scientists. Specifically, the culprit is thimerosal, a mercury-based compound used as a preservative in vaccines commonly administered to babies and infants. thimerosal-free vaccines are available. If you have a child who will be receiving vaccinations, ask for and make sure thimerosal-free vaccines are used. Kelp, with its essential minerals (especially calcium and magnesium), helps remove unwanted metal deposits.
Prescription For Dietary Wellness by Phyllis A Balch, page 198
The pertussis vaccine (DPT) may cause 45,000 cases of autism per year in America, affecting 15 cases out of 10,000 vaccinations; also caused by the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine (MMR) that causes mental impairment, gastrointestinal damage, and increased mortality in 6-12 months from impaired immunity; 9 out of 10 cases were not breast-fed; eating dairy products caused parasites in the autistic (take Vermex; contact Dr. Nelson in Mexico for control of parasites in children with autism). There are now over 500,000 victims of autism residing in the United States, in 1994. The pertussis vaccination is not used in Sweden, which has virtually 0 cases of autism, as does Holland. This mental illness afflicts environmentally and socially non-reactive persons, ofwithdrawn personality; with inability to speak, violenttantrums, insomnia, actions such as bolting across aroad with no regard for the dire consequences. May be caused infant antibiotic use in ear infections with subsequent yeast overgrowth, by cumulative genetic Brain damage, Vitamin deficiencies, or milk and additives allergies. Immune disorders in autism include white blood cellneutrophil Myeloperoxidase enzyme deficiency for insufficient hypochlorite ions to kill yeast - genetic type from Chromosome 17 mutation or biotinidase deficiency, or acquired type from lead poisoning, Folic acid or B-l 2 deficiency, infection or leukemias…
Anti-Aging Manual by Joseph B Marion, page 450
Multiple vaccinations, especially in newborns, are another major source of childhood mercury exposure because of the mercury-containing thimerosal preservative. Over twenty-two vaccinations are now recommended for children before the age of two!
Health And Nutrition Secrets by Russell L Blaylock MD, page 64
In addition, there is some anecdotal evidence that autism may be tied to diet. One theory is that, in very rare cases, a child's immune system could be weakened by the measles-mumps-rubella vaccination (MMR), which is usually administered before a child turns 2. As a result of this weakening, the theory goes, the child's digestive system is unable to break down certain food proteins, leading to abnormal brain development. Proponents of this theory believe that putting the child on a diet that eliminates certain foods, such as wheat and dairy products, could in certain cases reverse the course of the disease. This theory remains speculative, however, and research needs to be done to determine its validity. In fact, a 2001 report issued by an Institute of Medicine committee examining studies about the health effects of the MMR vaccine in young children suggests that there is no proven link between the vaccine and autism. The committee recommends that there be no change in immunization practices that require children to be immunized during early childhood.
The Immune Advantage by Ellen Mazo and Keith Berndtson MD, page 292
Rather than calling for an all-out immediate ban on thimerosal-containing vaccines, they suggested that parents continue to have their children vaccinated with mercury-contaminated vaccines until new stocks of uncontaminated vaccine could be made available. Here are two doctors' unions that had to be beat over the head with an overwhelming amount of data that mercury-contaminated vaccines were harming children far worse than the actual diseases against which the vaccine was intended to protect them, only to have them suggest that parents continue to harm their children just to satisfy their vaccination obsession. Are you surprised to discover that recent investigations have found that several doctor-members of vaccine boards were either receiving grants from vaccine manufacturers or held stock in the companies? They were willing to sacrifice the health of millions of children just to fill their pockets with cash. These people should be looking through bars, not serving on boards.
Health And Nutrition Secrets by Russell L Blaylock MD, page 167
Vaccines may afflict 45,000 cases of autism per year in America, which afflicts 15 victims in every 10.000 births: there are now 5 00,000 of these victims in the U.S. In Sweden not using the pertussis vaccine, there is virtually no autism (and likewise in Holland).
Anti-Aging Manual by Joseph B Marion, page 600
Many symptoms of autism are similar to those of mercury poisoning. Immune dysfunction, visual disturbances, and motor dysfunction are seen in both. Treating autistic children for removal of mercury and other heavy metals has shown significant improvement in their autistic symptoms. Most autistic individuals have poor liver detoxification, low antioxidant levels, and low levels of glutathione. Vaccines are effective, but the production and use of vaccines should proceed more cautiously. Currently manufactured vaccines still contain harmful substances like mercury. The link between vaccines and autism is far stronger than the medical community is willing to admit, and more research in this area should be an urgent priority.
Building Wellness with DMG by Roger V Kendall PhD, page 105
Studies indicate that autism may be the result of adverse reactions to childhood vaccinations. Dr. Alan Cohen, an environmental physician from Connecticut, notes that high levels of autism and attention deficit disorder (ADD) did not occur until the mandatory use of childhood vaccinations, and suggests that there may be a connection between certain vaccines and the onset of these conditions.
Complete Encyclopedia Of Natural Healing by Gary Null PhD, page 46
Almost from the inception of vaccination programs, manufacturers added a mercury preservative called thimerosal to vaccines. The practice continued until recently, and was stopped only because of the outcry from thousands of concerned parents and numerous experts in the field. The American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Family Practice did not warn parents or pediatricians that the mercury was dangerous until they were forced to. That mercury was toxic to cells had been known for over sixty years, but manufacturers apparently were more worried about lawsuits…
Health And Nutrition Secrets by Russell L Blaylock MD, page 165
In fact, a 2001 report issued by an Institute of Medicine committee examining studies about the health effects of the MMR vaccine in young children suggests that there is no proven link between the vaccine and autism. The committee recommends that there be no change in immunization practices that require children to be immunized during early childhood. Another disorder affecting the brain, Alzheimer's disease, may also have an immune connection. Alzheimer's is a degenerative disease that slowly attacks nerve cells in the brain. It eventually results in the loss of all memory and mental functioning. Scientists are currently investigating the role that the immune system plays in producing an overabundance of the amino acid glutamate, a powerful nerve-cell killer. Another immune connection that researchers are investigating is the idea that Alzheimer's might be triggered, in part, by a virus.
The Immune Advantage by Ellen Mazo and Keith Berndtson MD, page 292
In the past 10 years, the number of autistic children has risen between 200 and 500 per cent in every state in the U.S. This sharp increase in autism followed the introduction of MMR vaccine in 1975. Representative Dan Burton's healthy grandson was given injections for 9 diseases in one day. These injections were followed by autism.
A Physicians Guide To Natural Health Products That Work By James Howenstine MD, page 267
"Probably 20% of American children, one in five, suffers from a "development disability'," according to Harris Coulter, Ph.D., Founder and Director of the Center for Empirical Medicine, in Washington, D.C. "This is a stupefying figure and we have inflicted it on ourselves. 'Development disabilities' are nearly always generated by encephalitis. And the primary cause of encephalitis in the U.S. and other industrialized countries is the childhood vaccination program. To be specific, a large proportion of the millions of U.S. children and adults suffering from autism, seizures, mental retardation, hyperactivity, dyslexia, and other branches of the hydra-headed entity called 'development disabilities' owe their disorders to one of the vaccines against childhood diseases."
Alternative Medicine by Burton Goldberg, page 1101
Martin noted that the increased incidence of chronic fatigue syndrome, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, autism, and other behavior-linked illnesses "may be an inadvertent consequence of stealth virus vaccine contaminants."
AIDS And Ebola by Leonard Horowitz, page 493
Just for perspective if we go back to 1971 up to 1980, we see that California consistently added 100 to 200 new cases a year; but in the year 2002, California added 3,577 new cases. Since 1980, the documented start of California's autism epidemic, the number of new cases has steadily increased. If we break down those statistics it means that from 1994 to 1995, California only added on average 2 new autistic children a day into its system. In 2001, it was a rate of 8 new autistic children added a day; in 2002, it jumped up to 10 children a day. mercury-containing vaccines are still in use today, including the most recently recommended addition to the childhood immunization schedule, 2 shots of flu vaccine for infants, bringing the total number of vaccines up to 41 in California that a child will receive before the age of two. It will take a few years to start seeing the effect of the phasing out of the mercury-containing preservative thimerosal from childhood vaccines on this autism epidemic. Many symptoms of autism are similar to those of mercury poisoning. Immune dysfunction, visual disturbances, and motor dysfunction are seen in both. Treating autistic children for removal of mercury and other heavy metals has shown significant improvement in their autistic symptoms. Most autistic individuals have poor liver detoxification, low antioxidant levels, and low levels of glutathione.
Building Wellness with DMG by Roger V Kendall PhD, page 105
Since the 1990s, there has been a tenfold or 1000-percent increase in autism, an increase which has been linked by some researchers to the organic mercury preservative commonly found in baby vaccines. A greatly increased incidence of juvenile diabetes has been correlated to specific vaccination sequences and to the number of vaccines given. In some Australian Aboriginal communities, every second child died shortly after vaccination.
The Natural Way to Heal by Walter Last, page 309
The best current estimates are that autism occurs in 40 to 67 children per 10,000 live births. This means that the prevalence of autism has increased 1,000 percent in the last decade. According to the latest figures just released in January 2003 by the California Department of Developmental Services, California experienced an astounding 31 percent increase in the number of new children…
Building Wellness with DMG by Roger V Kendall PhD, page 104