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Thursday, November 17, 2005

Some responses to Paul Offit


In response to an article by Paul Offit.

Mercury-autism link can’t be dismissed so easily
From Anne McElroy Dachel, media-relations coordinator, National Autism Association:
Dr. Paul Offit promotes the success of vaccines in eradicating diseases and lightly dismisses the growing controversy linking the mercury-based neurotoxin thimerosal to the epidemic of autism in the United States (“Vaccine history shows need to update VICP law,” Nov. 15). Nowhere, however, does Dr. Offit note the explosion in the rate of autism that directly coincides with the increase in mercury-containing vaccines in the childhood schedule.

In the past 20 years, autism has increased from 1 in 10,000 to 1 in every 166 children. Furthermore, one in every six schoolchildren now has a diagnosis of attention-deficit or some other learning problem. The best our federal health agencies can tell us is that it’s all due to “better diagnosing.”

Dr. Offit may think that science disproves any link between mercury use and neurological disorders, but our Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) can only point to easily flawed and manipulated population studies to “prove” mercury is safe when injected into babies. What about the government’s own testing of thimerosal?

Introduced by Eli Lilly in 1930, thimerosal was tested only once, on 22 adult patients suffering from meningitis. There was no chance for follow-up to observe long-term effects, as all of the patients in this “study” died. Even if follow-up had been possible, damage to the developing brains of very young children would have remained an unknown. Thimerosal was pronounced “safe” and later grandfathered in when the FDA was created.

The first 11 cases of autism ever documented, in 1943, were in children who were among the first to be vaccinated with mercury. The federal government has never conducted specific test on the neurotoxicity of thimerosal, although hundreds of published studies and documents attest to its extreme toxicity. Our CDC and FDA should be utterly embarrassed to make safety claims based on such a pathetic history of oversight. Our federal health agencies are also the ones whose members have over 700 conflict-of-interest waivers for direct financial ties to the vaccine makers.

The Hill article describes Dr. Offit as “the chief of infectious diseases at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia,” but it should be noted that he is also someone who’s been on the vaccine approval board of the CDC and is himself is a vaccine patent holder. In addition he is paid by Merck Pharmaceutical Corp. to promote vaccines. His conflicts should be noted in any article where he is cited as an expert.

Chippewa Falls, Wis.

Children need answers
From Liz Birt:
As a parent of a child who has documented measles vaccine in his gastrointestinal tract and his cerebral spinal fluid, as well as immune-system and metabolic disorders, I find Dr. Paul Offit’s recent article disturbing.

It is very difficult, as the parent of a child who has been injured from vaccines, to get a decent remedy from our system. To do away with the current “opt out” system would protect the vaccine manufacturers from liability associated with known problems from their products.

We must have a counterbalance in our system; if not, then those that are in power and have the most influence in Congress will be protected in spite of those who are suffering.

We are suffering today in this country with an epidemic of children with neurological disorders. This is not the luck of the cards. This increase is directly related to the increasing dose of mercury that was injected to our children.

The only study conducted to this date by the Centers for Disease Control not only serious has flaws but the raw data have been hidden from independent researchers who have no vested financial interest in the outcome.

Many, many children are suffering needlessly and deserve answers as to why suddenly they failed to progress, regressed and are so ill. This is inhumane.

Our country, our culture must do better; if not, then we are no better than animals. I am sorry, but this is the truth. Perhaps your editorial board can’t deal with it. Who knows? By now everyone has a child with autism.

Oakwood, Ill.

Posted by Becca

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