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Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Mercury-based preservative in vaccines may be putting infants at poisoning risk

amNewYork Staff Writer

Manhattan attorney Bob Krakow is convinced that his five year-old son Alex has neurological problems because of a flu shot he got when he was two years old.

Alex was born perfectly healthy. He was brimming with personality, bright-eyed and talkative with a joyful smile, Krakow told amNewYork. But soon after getting vaccinated for the flu, Alex began to descend into "a downward spiral." He stopped talking, his eyes wandered aimlessly and he wouldn’t respond to his name when called.

Krakow believes his son's condition was caused by heavy metal poisoning from thimerosal, a mercury-based preservative used by the pharmaceutical industry to prevent bacteria from contaminating a wide variety of vaccines and immunizations.

"There is no question in my mind that mercury in vaccines causes neurological disorders in children," Krakow told amNewYork. That belief puts him at odds with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which both insist that there is not enough evidence to support a link between mercury exposure from vaccines and neurological problems such as autism and attention deficit disorder.

"No harmful effects have been reported from thimerosal at doses used in vaccines, except for minor reactions like redness and swelling at the injection site," according to the CDC's Web site.

The CDC and FDA might not agree, but there is "a growing body of evidence" that supports Krakow's point of view, said David Kirby, author of "Evidence of Harm; Mercury in Vaccines and the Autism Epidemic: A Medical Controversy," which is due out next month.

"Proof is a very loaded word," Kirby told amNewYork. "There are people who would argue vehemently that there is proof that mercury in vaccines harms kids and others that would argue just as intensely that there is proof that it does not. But the bottom line is there is a growing body of evidence showing that it does harm. And that evidence is compelling enough to warrant urgent research."

The fact that Alex improved so dramatically after receiving treatments, with a pricetag upwards of $60,000, to remove mercury from his body is proof enough for Krakow.

"When I smile at him, he smiles back at me, and I couldn't say that two years ago," he said.

The New York State Legislature is considering a bill that would ban the use of vaccines containing the mercury based chemical and would be the third state, behind Iowa and California, to do so. The American Academy of Pediatrics, the U.S. Public Health Service and the American Academy of Family Practice have all called on the industry to stop using the potent neurotoxin. The bill in New York’s Senate is sponsored by Sen. Dean Skelos, a Long Island Republican. An identical bill in the Assembly is sponsored by Assemblyman Harvey Weisenberg, a Long Beach Democrat.

Posted by Becca

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