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Dan Olmsted: Age of Autism Index

Evelyn Pringle Autism Related Articles

David Kirby on
Huffington Post

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

The Age of Autism: Homeschooled

By DAN OLMSTED

WASHINGTON, June 28 (UPI) -- Where are the unvaccinated homeschooled children with autism? Nowhere to be found, says a doctor who treats autistic children and is knowledgeable about the homeschooled world.

"It's largely nonexistent," Dr. Jeff Bradstreet told UPI's Age of Autism. "It's an extremely rare event."

Bradstreet treats autistic children at his medical practice in Palm Bay, Fla. He has a son whose autism he attributes to a vaccine reaction at 15 months. His daughter has been homeschooled, he describes himself as a "Christian family physician," and he knows many of the leaders in the homeschool movement.

"There was this whole subculture of folks who went into homeschooling so they would never have to vaccinate their kids," he said. "There's this whole cadre who were never vaccinated for religious reasons."

In that subset, he said, "unless they were massively exposed to mercury through lots of amalgams (mercury dental fillings in the mother) and/or big-time fish eating, I've not had a single case."

Bradstreet said his views do not constitute a persuasive argument that low vaccination rates are associated with low rates of autism, but it is worth studying.

"That's not yet science," he said. "It doesn't rise to the level of a powerful observation. It's a place to say, OK, well that's interesting, what does that tell us?"

About 2 million children are being homeschooled in the United States. The number of those unvaccinated is unclear, but judging by the school opt-out rates in some parts of the country where there is more concern about vaccinations, it could be 3 percent or more. For example, in Oregon's Lane County roughly 2,000 students out of a total of 51,000 have exemptions, about 4 percent.

Applying that ratio to the U.S. homeschooled population would equal 80,000 children. At the current autism rate of one in 166 children, several hundred would be expected to have autism.

Bradstreet said he has tried to persuade epidemiologists to study that subset of the homeschooled population, but they expressed doubts the results would apply to broader groups.

"I said I know I can tap into this community and find you large numbers of unvaccinated homeschooled, and we can do simple prevalence and incidence studies in them, and my gut reaction is that you're going to see no autism in this group."

He said every researcher he contacted refused to investigate, "because it would not have any power to change people's opinion -- you could never apply it to the next population." He said critics could assert that homeschoolers are a unique group and that parents might choose to homeschool a child "because they knew he was different," although neither would explain the lower autism prevalence.

He also said he thinks homeschoolers would be a better population to examine than a genetically and culturally isolated community such as the Amish.

"The purists would say that's too odd of a group," Bradstreet said, and added that he agrees. "You can't draw conclusions from that kind of population."

His comments referred to the series of reports in The Age of Autism on an apparent low prevalence of the condition among the Amish, most of whom are unvaccinated.

Monday, this column reported that a top official of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services told parents he will consider whether to launch a study of autism rates among the Amish or other unvaccinated populations. Such a study apparently has never been done.

Bradstreet said he thinks that no matter what unvaccinated population researchers study, "it would be a rare event" to find autism. His views fall into the distinct minority among scientists and medical experts, who say a link between vaccines and autism has been discredited. A panel of the prestigious Institute of Medicine -- part of the National Academy of Sciences -- said last year that research should now go to "promising" areas.

The vaccine theory centers on the hypothesis that a mercury-based preservative called thimerosal, used in an increasing number of childhood vaccinations in the 1990s, triggered a huge spike in diagnoses.

Bradstreet's linking of autism to mercury in fish and maternal dental fillings is also rejected by mainstream medical experts. The comments do, however, echo one aspect of UPI's reporting on the Amish.

A doctor in Virginia said he was treating six unvaccinated Amish children, four of whom had high levels of mercury in their bodies that he thinks triggered their autism. He suspects the exposure came from coal-fired power plants, which emit mercury as a byproduct.

Bradstreet said he realizes his views on vaccines, and his own son's autism, expose him to charges he is seeing what he wishes to see, but he argues that government researchers harbor a bigger conflict of interest because the government mandates vaccinations and vouches for their safety.

"The problem for them is even more than the problem for us," he said. "Many of us who are concerned about vaccines and the role they're playing in the immune system and autism are traditionally trained physicians who vaccinated our kids and are only reluctantly being forced, when it was thrown in our face, to say there's got to be something wrong with vaccines if it did this to my kid.

"So in that situation, even though we would be accused of being more biased, we are probably more objective because we were believers."

This ongoing series on the roots and rise of autism aims to interact with readers and welcomes comment, criticism and suggestions. E-mail: dolmsted@upi.com

Copyright 2005 by United Press International. All Rights Reserved.



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The "Power of Truth" March/Rally

Written by Dads Against Mercury
Monday, 27 June 2005

Let your voice be heard!
Dads Against Mercury is very proud to be a co-sponsor of the July 20 Rally on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. We encourage all dads, uncles, grandfathers, and family members to be there to support our kids. We’re also encouraging all our members to arrange in advance any meetings with their Congressional representatives. We’re looking forward to meeting all of you there!

The "Power of Truth" March/Rally
PARTIAL SPEAKER LIST:Zachary Barsamian, 5-year-old recovered childCongressman Dan BurtonAmy Carson, Co-Founder, Moms Against MercuryWendy Fournier, President, National Autism AssociationBoyd Haley, PhDDavid Kirby, Author of Evidence of HarmCongresswoman Carolyn MaloneyCongresswoman Diane WatsonCongressman Dave Weldon

WHERE? West Front Grassy Area Capitol Building, Washington, DC
Click on map to enlarge.



WHO? Organized and supported by Moms Against Mercury, National Autism Association, Safeminds, CoMed, A-Champ, Dads Against Mercury, Generation Rescue, NoMercury, NVIC, Unlocking Autism, Educate Before You Vaccinate

WHEN? Wednesday, July 20, 2005 8:30am March 9:30 Rally/Press Conference
Times may vary a little to support speaker schedules.

WHAT TO BRING? Personally designed signs, posters, etc. It does not have to be professionally made, just make one. The media loves pictures of children. Let's stay away from using any profane language. Anything else you want to express about what has happened to your child and this huge cover-up will be great. Feel free to say things about the pharmaceutical companies, CDC, FDA, IOM, politicians, bad reporting from the news network, etc. If you have urine/stool test which show high levels of mercury this is a great piece of information for the media. Please also remember this march/rally is about our children being poisoned by the mercury (Thimerosal) in their vaccines. You may want to reinforce your poster on the back so it will not flop. Sticks attached to the back of your poster will make it much easier to hold.Remember, you cannot take the banners or signs into any buildings.

WHAT TO WEAR? Wear comfortable, cool clothing. Rally T-Shirts are being designed and will be sold prior to the rally and at the rally. They can be purchased soon on the NAA web site. http://www.nationalautismassociation.org/

WHERE TO STAY? According to Moms Against Mercury, rooms have been blocked with special group rates at the following hotels:

Holiday Inn Capitol- http://www.holidayinncapitol.com/ (This hotel is very close to rally site)Because of the overwhelming response to the rally, this hotel is already completely booked for the evening of the 19th and 20th. You may try to see if other rooms open up, but it looks like we've booked this hotel solid!Room rate-$189.00Location: 550 C Street S.W., Washington, DC 20024Phone number: 202-479-4000Closest Metro Station: L'enfant Plaza

Henley Park Hotel- http://www.henleypark.com/ (Short Metro ride to rally site)Room rate-$169.00Location: 926 Massachusetts Avenue N.W., Washington, DC 20001Phone number: 202-414-0503 or 1-800-222-8474Closest Metro Station: Metro Center (can be accessed through the Grand HyattWashington)

Book rooms as soon as possible under the name of Moms Against Mercury Group to get those specified rates. It would be to everyone's advantage to try and get a couple of roommates to cut down on the cost of the room. Rooms are blocked for Tuesday the 19th and Wednesday the 20th for those who want to come in Tuesday night and stay the rally night.

Maps will be provided. Water will be available at the rally.

SPECIAL THANKS: We would like to extend special thanks to the fine people of Whole Foods, and PepsiCo for donating bottled water for rally/march attendees, and to our friends at Penske for loaning us a truck to get the water and other materials to the rally.

MERCURY FACT SHEET: Download the "Power of Truth" Mercury Fact Sheet (in .pdf format), print multiple copies and bring it to the rally to distribute.

REGISTRATION: If you are planning on attending the rally, please register at http://www.nationalautismassociation.org/rally.htm. Even if you have already sent emails to let us know you will attend, PLEASE still go to the NAA registration page and fill out the registration. We have emailed a few in this group and told them to go to this link. This will be the easiest way to keep up with the numbers. Even if you are only going to drive up that day please take the time to register. Much of the planning will involve the number of people attending. If you know anybody coming ask them to fill out this registration form.

A few of you emailed and said I am coming plus so many more. Please make sure each person in your group fills out the registration form or you can fill out the form and put the total number in your group. ALL RALLY/MARCH EMAILS FROM NOW ON WILL BE GENERATED FROM THIS DATABASE, SO IF YOU DON'T REGISTER WE WILL NOT KNOW TO SEND YOU AN EMAIL WITH RALLY/MARCH UPDATES. Okay, enough about the registration.

Dads Against Mercury will have water at the rally site. If you know it is going to be a really hot day you may want to pack a few extra bottles of water especially for those of you bringing children. The water may go fast and we do not want people getting too hot.

You may want to bring a beach towel so you can sit down on the lawn.The rally should be over around noon. You may want to make appointments in the afternoon to meet with your Congressman.
Children are welcomed and encouraged to attend.

T-SHIRTS:
T-shirts can be pre-ordered now and NAA will start mailing them out at the end of next week. To order, go to the NAA's site. A parent is making and donating banners which will look like the t-shirts.
You can help us by telling everyone you know about the March/Rally and getting people to attend. For further information email contact@dadsagainstmercury.org

Mark July 20th on your calendar and come out and join us in honor of all our injured children . . . and get the word out!


Listen to this article Listen to this article | Posted by Becca




Monday, June 27, 2005

The Age of Autism: HHS eyes Amish study

By DAN OLMSTED

WASHINGTON, June 27 (UPI) -- A top U.S. health official is considering whether to launch studies of the Amish -- and perhaps other unvaccinated groups -- in response to United Press International's articles about a low prevalence of autism in that community, according to several people who spoke with him last week.

William F. Raub of the Department of Health and Human Services suggested this possibility at a private meeting at HHS headquarters in Washington, participants said. His comment adds to recent signs that some federal officials monitoring autism research and funding have not ruled out a possible vaccine link.

Raub is principal deputy secretary for the Office of Public Health Emergency Preparedness. He has held a number of key government posts, including acting counselor for science policy to HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt and deputy director of the National Institutes of Health.

His comments came after the group, mostly parents of autistic children, brought up UPI's series on the apparent low prevalence of autism among the U.S. Amish population. Most Amish parents do not vaccinate their children.

A full-scale epidemiological study of one or more unvaccinated populations could help determine whether there is a link between childhood vaccinations and autism. The parents who met with Raub think there is, while the medical establishment firmly rejects that theory.

The parents said Raub described UPI's findings as "interesting" and discussed several ways to launch a study. One alternative he described was for the National Institutes of Health to initiate a request for applications, known as an RFA, from researchers interested in the topic.

The parents emphasized that Raub made no commitment to such a study but said his attitude seemed open-minded and attentive during the two-hour meeting.

An HHS spokesman did not respond to UPI's request for an interview with Raub or confirm the parents' description of the meeting.

If such a study were done, it would apparently be the first to look at a specific group of unvaccinated individuals to determine the prevalence of autism. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta has reported the rate of autism spectrum disorders is now one in every 166 children born in the United States.

UPI's reporting turned up only a handful of autism cases among the Amish, and two doctors who treat thousands of Amish children said they were aware of only one case between them. That child had been vaccinated, as had three others identified by UPI. A minority of Amish parents have begun allowing their children to receive routine immunizations.

A doctor in Virginia said he was treating six Amish children with autism, none of them vaccinated. He attributed the disorder in four of the cases to environmental mercury pollution.

Even the idea of doing more research into a possible vaccine-autism connection has become controversial. Last year a panel of the prestigious Institute of Medicine -- part of the National Academy of Sciences -- said there is no link and recommended that future research go to more "promising" areas.

Yet there are signs some high government officials are withholding final judgment on the autism-vaccine argument, which centers on a mercury preservative called thimerosal that was used in an increasing number of childhood vaccines beginning in the early 1990s.

Dr. Julie Gerberding, the CDC's director, told Congress last year she is keeping an "open mind" about a possible link. She repeated that sentiment in an interview with NBC television this past spring, a year after the IOM called the case closed. The CDC recommends the childhood-immunization schedule, which states then adopt.

Meanwhile, participants in recent meetings have described some congressional committee staffers, state government officials and White House aides as remaining concerned about the issue.

"All over Capitol Hill, we encountered thoughtful, intelligent, compassionate people -- Republicans and Democrats -- who seem truly committed to getting the difficult answers that the American people deserve," author David Kirby wrote over the weekend on huffingtonpost.com. Kirby is the author of the new book "Evidence of Harm" about the vaccine-autism controversy.

"Call me naive," he added, "but I have great confidence in their integrity and resolve."

UPI welcomes comments on this column. E-mail: dolmsted@upi.com

Copyright 2005 by United Press International. All Rights Reserved.




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Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Vaccine Links To Autism?

Sharyl Attkisson
CBS News

(CBS)
Because Alex Donnelly is autistic, he can't communicate normally or lead a normal life.

Yet he has some amazing abilities. When asked what the capital cities of Turkmenistan and Venezuela are, he can answer "Ashkerbad" and "Caracas" accurately.

His father claims Alex wasn't autistic - until he got certain vaccinations containing a mercury preservative.

As kids got more and more vaccines over the years, more mercury came with them - in amounts way over safety limits. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has long claimed it's not the cause of autism or related disorders, and mercury is still in flu shots recommended for babies this fall, reports CBS News Correspondent Sharyl Attkisson.

A half dozen childhood vaccines still have mercury,but the shots most kids get have little to none, so flu shots this fall are the biggest outstanding issue.

Does the amount in a flu shot matter? The theory is yes. In genetically susceptible children, even small amounts of mercury can damage the brain and the mercury buildup is cumulative in those children who lack the ability to shed it.

The flu shot is particularly important because babies will get it twice the first year and then continue getting it once a year thereafter. There are 25 micrograms of mercury in a single flu shot. Compare that to the current safe levels of mercury most kids get in their cumulative vaccinations in 2004 which is something like .4 micrograms all together over several years.

Nobody makes the claim that all ADD and autism cases are caused by the mercury in vaccines. But many researchers believe it plays a large role in our epidemic of the 1990's.

But now, a landmark study by Dr. Mady Hornig, from the Mailman School Of Public Health, Columbia University, is adding to the mercury worries, as Attkisson finds out.

Hornig injected a strain of mice with genetic tissues similar to those found in children with mercury-laden vaccines equivalent to what kids got in the 1990's. The mice developed profound brain problems.

So what types of behavior did Hornig see in the mice, and how does that compare with what we call autism? Dr. Hornig answers, "All sorts of strange behaviors that were repetitive in nature, where animals would just keep repeating the same behavior in a very stereotyped fashion."

It wasn't just repetition -- the mice withdrew from their surroundings like autistic children. They resisted change and developed brain abnormalities affecting emotion and thinking, also like autistic children.

Alex's father, Jim Donnelly, says it only confirms what he's believed all along: most kids aren't harmed by mercury in vaccines; they shed it naturally, but some retain it, and it poisons their brains.

Says Donnelly, "When (Alex's) testing came back, he had mercury levels that were 20 times the EPA safety margin residing in his body. It was unbelievable."

Other scientists and the CDC dispute such a link. But if it's true, hundreds of thousands of American kids could be living with the fallout. And the results could be devastating to vaccine makers and federal health officials who have steadfastly defended the use of mercury, a potent neurotoxin, in childhood vaccines.

By Sharyl Attkisson©MMIV, CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.


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Friday, June 17, 2005

Autism + vaccines = tax dollars

By Evelyn Pringle
Online Journal Contributing Writer

June 17, 2005—We are on the verge of a welfare disaster in this country. Eighty percent of autistic children are under the age of 17. In a few short years, the states are going to be forced to provide support for an overwhelming number of disabled autistic adults.

“The costs will be in the trillions,” according to Ann Dachel.

Ann should know. She is a special education teacher, a member of the National Autism Association, and the mother of a boy with autism and a daughter who developed epilepsy after receiving a Hepatitis B vaccine.

Thimerosal is a mercury-based preservative that for many years was added to childhood vaccines to boost drug company profits. In the 1990s the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) added more and more thimerosal containing vaccines to the mandatory vaccine schedule without adding up the cumulative amounts of mercury that children were receiving from the vaccines.

Finally, in 1999, after watching the dramatic rise of autism and other neurological disorders, officials at the CDC and Food & Drug Administration (FDA) realized that a fully vaccinated infant was receiving up to 125 times what the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considered safe for mercury exposure.

Because half the officials involved were on the payrolls of the drug companies they were charged to regulate, they have never ordered the pharmaceutical industry to stop using thimerosal. In fact, the product is still used in some vaccines. Last year's flu vaccine had a mercury content eight times the EPA's safe limit and it was recommended for six-month-old babies and pregnant women.

The generation of children poisoned by vaccines during the 1990s is now reaching puberty and if the Bush administration is successful in blocking lawsuits against the vaccine makers that caused this epidemic of neurological disorders, taxpayers will be left holding the bag and a heavy bag it will be.

The theory of mercury toxicity and autism is not promoted by parents only. Its been verified by such esteemed biochemists as Andrew Hall Cutler, PhD, and Boyd Haley, the chemistry department chair at the University of Kentucky. A 2000 study by Sallie Bernard of Safe Minds, a nonprofit autism awareness organization, and her colleagues, titled "Autism: a novel form of mercury poisoning" documents about 100 matching symptoms.

The transcript of a closed meeting in 1999 that was leaked to the press, attended by officials from drug companies and the CDC and FDA, reveals how the 52 vaccine policymakers at the meeting discussed ways to deal with statistics showing that children given mercury in vaccines had a much higher rate of autism, attention deficit and other disorders.

On August 18, 2003, Dr Leonard G Horowitz, warned members of the congressional committee at a Government Reform Hearing on Vaccines as a Risk Factor For Autism, "the great and grave likelihood that disease prevention through vaccinations is violently backfiring—dramatically increasing mortality and morbidity especially among America's youngest citizens."

Horowitz cited the dangers of our nation's "most established, generally accepted, public health practice of vaccination, and its links to skyrocketing rates of autism and brain damage in children."

This public health professional by training, and independent investigator with expertise in medical sociology and infectious disease research, told Congress, "I have unfortunately, over the past two decades, grown accustomed to instances of poor decision-making, gross negligence, and downright cover-ups in safety oversight and pharmaceutical industry control in the vaccine arena," Horowitz said.

In 2002, the research team of David and Mark Geier released a study, based on tens of millions of doses of vaccines given to children in the US during the 1990s, that presented the first epidemiologic evidence that associated the increase in thimerosal from vaccines with neurodevelopmental disorders.

Professor Lynn Adams of Radford University, a speech-language pathologist who specializes in autism, says a 1999 study determined that the average child received 33 doses of 10 different vaccines by the age 5. She claims the multiple shots could "flip a genetic switch" in children predisposed to autism.

Lisa Blakemore-Brown, a psychologist in the UK, also maintains that thimerosal is the cause of autism, and suspects it is also the culprit involved in a wide variety of other health problems showing up in children these days.

According to Blakemore, the current autism epidemic did not occur earlier because children "were given single vaccines with single amounts of mercury,” she says, “but with the introduction of triple vaccines the amount of mercury contained within the preservative was multiplied and the cumulative effects are only just now being discovered by the public."

Parents Struggle With The Burden

Laura Bono is the mother of an autistic child and she wants the public to consider the latest research pointing to the mercury-vaccine link. For instance, researcher Mady Hornig recently announced the results of a study where mice were given thimerosal at the level of the childhood immunization schedule and began exhibiting autistic behavior.

Laura cites a study where toxicologist Dr Jill James, a former FDA researcher, found a problem with autistic children's methylation which made it difficult for their bodies to rid themselves of mercury. Laura notes the findings of Dr Richard Deth that, once in the body, thimerosal shuts down the detoxifying methylation process.

Laura reveals how her son Jackson experienced a four-month regression beginning days after receiving shots. He received HiB (with 25 mcg. of mercury), DT (with 25 mcg. of mercury), oral polio, and measles-mumps-rubella. All totaled, he received 50 mcg. of mercury, three dead viruses and four live viruses. The 50 mcg. of mercury was on top of the 75 mcg. of mercury he had already received in his first year of life through one DPT and two other DT shots. The 50 mcg. of mercury he received in one day was 44 times the EPA exposure limit. He would need to weigh 550 pounds on that day to process that much mercury. He weighed just 25 lbs. The total amount of mercury from 2 months old to 16 months was 139 times the recommended EPA exposure levels.

"My outgoing, social, verbal child was a shell of his old self," Laura said, "Jackson’s body was still here. But his personality—what made Jackson his smart, loving self—was gone. The sick body replaced the well one. The sleeping child was replaced by one who would awake startled after a few hours and not go back to sleep all night. The one who had a healthy appetite was replaced by one who became picky and whittled his foods down to one or two. The happy child was replaced by an unhappy one. The child who at one time didn’t miss a thing and was the life of the room became distant and preferred to be alone. The one who was developmentally ahead of the crowd began making strange noises and exhibiting odd behaviors. The child God gave us was gone," Laura said.

Andrian Prokofiew of New Jersey has a son who was developing normally until he acquired autism at 17 months after receiving 20 some vaccinations containing thimerasol. Within weeks of the last three vaccinations given in the same visit, "he lost all speech for 3 years, did not even look at me or know who I was. He screamed for two weeks, his ears turned red, his eyes dilated and he began to spin, flap his hands and bang his head," she said.

It took more than three years to find out what happened to him medically. Andrian says she was horrified to find out the pharmaceutical companies gave bonus dollars for each vaccine given.

"Words alone cannot express how devastating this disorder is for the family and child, emotionally as well as financially," she said.

Dr Allen Clark, a licensed physician for 30 years, has a son who developed severe neurodevelopmental symptoms (diagnosed as Asperger’s an autism spectrum disorder) at age 7½ after receiving a routine influenza vaccine containing 25 micrograms of Thimerosal, a dose which the EPA would calculate that would be safe only for a 550-pound adult. The doctor's son weighed only 50 pounds at the time he was vaccinated.

Nancy and Tim Hokkanen are parents of Andy Hokkanen, age 6. Andy was exposed to mercury before birth from his mother's tooth fillings, which are 50 percent mercury, and from RhoGam shots for Rh factor incompatibility. After birth Andy also received thimerosal from the mandated childhood vaccinations.

Tim's health insurance has covered much of the cost of behavioral therapy for Andy, but for about nine months they were on medical assistance, which picked up many co-pays. They estimate that their insurance company was billed about $100,000 for therapy so far.

Linda Weinmaster has a 13-year-old son who also met with mercury poisoning before birth in the form of a mercury-containing RhoGAM shot that Linda received during her 28th week of pregnancy, along with his childhood vaccines. He now suffers from a host of medical problems that require care.

Linda tell how her son's medications cost over $6,500 per month. Right now, insurance covers his meds less deductibles but not his vitamins which run about $300 per month.

A veteran of the United States Air Force, Kendra Pettengill is a widowed mother of a child with autism.

Kendra is annoyed that anyone would believe that there is not an epidemic of autism and could claim that it previously went undiagnosed. “The claim is better diagnosis,” she says, “as if parents, teachers, and doctors 10 or 20 years ago wouldn’t have noticed our spinning, rocking, flapping, head banging, self-biting, children who can’t speak and live in their own little worlds.”

“It is an insult, a slap in the face to parents to claim it is only better diagnostics that recognized our children,” Kendra notes, “A parent 10 years ago would have been just as terror stricken by their child’s condition as I was and would have demanded a reason just as I did.”

Kendra’s insurance company will not pay for her daughter’s medical therapy, the diet, or ABA therapy. In fact, once autism is diagnosed they can refuse to pay for a doctor's visit for the flu if your doctor checks the little autism box on your insurance sheet, Kendra says.

“Every organization I contacted denied me assistance, as they say my $30,000 a year income is too much to qualify,” Kendra said. “A good solid ABA program can cost more than that, per year,” she added.

“I have sold my house, spent my retirement, lost my medical insurance,” Kendra says, “all to save my child from a life of hopelessness.”

According to Kendra, her entire family is affected by her daughter‘s autism, “my parents even sold their house and moved by us to help out,” she said.

Bob Ashburn and his wife Jamie are from Ohio and they have two children with autism spectrum disorder.

Their son, Kyle, who is now 9, was the first to be diagnosed with autism. In many respects they say he was the perfect baby because he was so easy to get along with and yet there was something strange about him that they couldn’t pinpoint. They originally thought that Kyle might be deaf.

When he was about 15 months old, the family was eating at McDonalds when an alarm went off. Everyone in the place reacted to the noise except Kyle, he just kept sat there eating his french fries.

At first the Ashburns thought their daughter Kris, was just shy, and had strange habits, like regular hand washing and needing everything to be consistent. For instance, she needs to sit in the same seat in the car and needs to sleep with her same stuffed animals each night.

Kris is now 14 years old and is very artistically talented and has a great reading level. She can handle regular school but she really needs to have time to herself when she gets home and usually hides in either the bathroom or her bedroom for about an hour reading before she can face the world again.

The Ashburns worry about what kind of future their children will have, especially Kyle who has very few social skills and so many post-reactions to any interactions of a negative sort with people that they don’t know how he can live in society.

When Kyle and Kris get upset they become violent and hit their parents, so the Ashburns have had to change their entire lifestyles so that everything is as consistent as possible and that transitions are made with lots of preparation.

Nothing, not even a quick shopping trip for a carton of milk, they say, can be done on the spur of the moment without some sort of violent reaction from either one or both of the children.

Jennifer Thompson tells how for a period of time her autistic Zack developed obsessive-complusive disorder (OCD) type behaviors about his clothing. "He would only wear certain clothes. No long sleeved shirts, only long pants, and they had to be tucked in!. He would only wear shirts that had buttons. This was an obsession. You did not dare think you could make him do otherwise or he would go into an extreme meltdown. And I know most parents out there understand what a ‘meltdown’ is."

According to Laura Bono, "What is measurable is the financial toll that this medical crisis takes on families. After the vaccines at 16 months old, Jackson’s medical and therapy needs began taking every bit of money we had saved or ever would have saved."

"The total we have paid for Jackson’s medical, nutritional and private therapy expenses so far," she says, "is roughly $685,000 since August 1990. That is approximately $53,000 per year."

In addition to medical costs, most autistic children cannot be left alone and must be looked after and cared for non-stop every day of the year. Unless these kids and their families get the financial help that they deserve from the vaccine makers, the entire burden will eventually fall to the taxpayers and the cost will reportedly exceed $2 million dollars per child.

Maybe that will make people wake up and listen.

Evelyn Pringle is a columnist for Independent Media TV and an investigative journalist focused on exposing corruption.


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Thursday, June 16, 2005

Deadly immunity

By Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

When a study revealed that mercury in childhood vaccines may have caused autism in thousands of kids, the government rushed to conceal the data -- and to prevent parents from suing drug companies for their role in the epidemic

In June 2000, a group of top government scientists and health officials gathered for a meeting at the isolated Simpsonwood conference center in Norcross, Ga. Convened by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the meeting was held at this Methodist retreat center, nestled in wooded farmland next to the Chattahoochee River, to ensure complete secrecy. The agency had issued no public announcement of the session -- only private invitations to 52 attendees. There were high-level officials from the CDC and the Food and Drug Administration, the top vaccine specialist from the World Health Organization in Geneva, and representatives of every major vaccine manufacturer, including GlaxoSmithKline, Merck, Wyeth and Aventis Pasteur. All of the scientific data under discussion, CDC officials repeatedly reminded the participants, was strictly "embargoed." There would be no making photocopies of documents, no taking papers with them when they left.

The federal officials and industry representatives had assembled to discuss a disturbing new study that raised alarming questions about the safety of a host of common childhood vaccines administered to infants and young children. According to a CDC epidemiologist named Tom Verstraeten, who had analyzed the agency's massive database containing the medical records of 100,000 children, a mercury-based preservative in the vaccines -- thimerosal -- appeared to be responsible for a dramatic increase in autism and a host of other neurological disorders among children. "I was actually stunned by what I saw," Verstraeten told those assembled at Simpsonwood, citing the staggering number of earlier studies that indicate a link between thimerosal and speech delays, attention-deficit disorder, hyperactivity and autism. Since 1991, when the CDC and the FDA had recommended that three additional vaccines laced with the preservative be given to extremely young infants -- in one case, within hours of birth -- the estimated number of cases of autism had increased fifteenfold, from one in every 2,500 children to one in 166 children.

Even for scientists and doctors accustomed to confronting issues of life and death, the findings were frightening. "You can play with this all you want," Dr. Bill Weil, a consultant for the American Academy of Pediatrics, told the group. The results "are statistically significant." Dr. Richard Johnston, an immunologist and pediatrician from the University of Colorado whose grandson had been born early on the morning of the meeting's first day, was even more alarmed. "My gut feeling?" he said. "Forgive this personal comment -- I do not want my grandson to get a thimerosal-containing vaccine until we know better what is going on."

But instead of taking immediate steps to alert the public and rid the vaccine supply of thimerosal, the officials and executives at Simpsonwood spent most of the next two days discussing how to cover up the damaging data. According to transcripts obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, many at the meeting were concerned about how the damaging revelations about thimerosal would affect the vaccine industry's bottom line.

"We are in a bad position from the standpoint of defending any lawsuits," said Dr. Robert Brent, a pediatrician at the Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children in Delaware. "This will be a resource to our very busy plaintiff attorneys in this country." Dr. Bob Chen, head of vaccine safety for the CDC, expressed relief that "given the sensitivity of the information, we have been able to keep it out of the hands of, let's say, less responsible hands." Dr. John Clements, vaccines advisor at the World Health Organization, declared that "perhaps this study should not have been done at all." He added that "the research results have to be handled," warning that the study "will be taken by others and will be used in other ways beyond the control of this group."

In fact, the government has proved to be far more adept at handling the damage than at protecting children's health. The CDC paid the Institute of Medicine to conduct a new study to whitewash the risks of thimerosal, ordering researchers to "rule out" the chemical's link to autism. It withheld Verstraeten's findings, even though they had been slated for immediate publication, and told other scientists that his original data had been "lost" and could not be replicated. And to thwart the Freedom of Information Act, it handed its giant database of vaccine records over to a private company, declaring it off-limits to researchers. By the time Verstraeten finally published his study in 2003, he had gone to work for GlaxoSmithKline and reworked his data to bury the link between thimerosal and autism.

Vaccine manufacturers had already begun to phase thimerosal out of injections given to American infants -- but they continued to sell off their mercury-based supplies of vaccines until last year. The CDC and FDA gave them a hand, buying up the tainted vaccines for export to developing countries and allowing drug companies to continue using the preservative in some American vaccines -- including several pediatric flu shots as well as tetanus boosters routinely given to 11-year-olds.

The drug companies are also getting help from powerful lawmakers in Washington. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, who has received $873,000 in contributions from the pharmaceutical industry, has been working to immunize vaccine makers from liability in 4,200 lawsuits that have been filed by the parents of injured children. On five separate occasions, Frist has tried to seal all of the government's vaccine-related documents -- including the Simpsonwood transcripts -- and shield Eli Lilly, the developer of thimerosal, from subpoenas. In 2002, the day after Frist quietly slipped a rider known as the "Eli Lilly Protection Act" into a homeland security bill, the company contributed $10,000 to his campaign and bought 5,000 copies of his book on bioterrorism. Congress repealed the measure in 2003 -- but earlier this year, Frist slipped another provision into an anti-terrorism bill that would deny compensation to children suffering from vaccine-related brain disorders. "The lawsuits are of such magnitude that they could put vaccine producers out of business and limit our capacity to deal with a biological attack by terrorists," says Dean Rosen, health policy advisor to Frist.

Even many conservatives are shocked by the government's effort to cover up the dangers of thimerosal. Rep. Dan Burton, a Republican from Indiana, oversaw a three-year investigation of thimerosal after his grandson was diagnosed with autism. "Thimerosal used as a preservative in vaccines is directly related to the autism epidemic," his House Government Reform Committee concluded in its final report. "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, a known neurotoxin." The FDA and other public-health agencies failed to act, the committee added, out of "institutional malfeasance for self protection" and "misplaced protectionism of the pharmaceutical industry."

The story of how government health agencies colluded with Big Pharma to hide the risks of thimerosal from the public is a chilling case study of institutional arrogance, power and greed. I was drawn into the controversy only reluctantly. As an attorney and environmentalist who has spent years working on issues of mercury toxicity, I frequently met mothers of autistic children who were absolutely convinced that their kids had been injured by vaccines. Privately, I was skeptical. I doubted that autism could be blamed on a single source, and I certainly understood the government's need to reassure parents that vaccinations are safe; the eradication of deadly childhood diseases depends on it. I tended to agree with skeptics like Rep. Henry Waxman, a Democrat from California, who criticized his colleagues on the House Government Reform Committee for leaping to conclusions about autism and vaccinations. "Why should we scare people about immunization," Waxman pointed out at one hearing, "until we know the facts?"

It was only after reading the Simpsonwood transcripts, studying the leading scientific research and talking with many of the nation's preeminent authorities on mercury that I became convinced that the link between thimerosal and the epidemic of childhood neurological disorders is real. Five of my own children are members of the Thimerosal Generation -- those born between 1989 and 2003 -- who received heavy doses of mercury from vaccines. "The elementary grades are overwhelmed with children who have symptoms of neurological or immune-system damage," Patti White, a school nurse, told the House Government Reform Committee in 1999. "Vaccines are supposed to be making us healthier; however, in 25 years of nursing I have never seen so many damaged, sick kids. Something very, very wrong is happening to our children." More than 500,000 kids currently suffer from autism, and pediatricians diagnose more than 40,000 new cases every year. The disease was unknown until 1943, when it was identified and diagnosed among 11 children born in the months after thimerosal was first added to baby vaccines in 1931.

Some skeptics dispute that the rise in autism is caused by thimerosal-tainted vaccinations. They argue that the increase is a result of better diagnosis -- a theory that seems questionable at best, given that most of the new cases of autism are clustered within a single generation of children. "If the epidemic is truly an artifact of poor diagnosis," scoffs Dr. Boyd Haley, one of the world's authorities on mercury toxicity, "then where are all the 20-year-old autistics?" Other researchers point out that Americans are exposed to a greater cumulative "load" of mercury than ever before, from contaminated fish to dental fillings, and suggest that thimerosal in vaccines may be only part of a much larger problem. It's a concern that certainly deserves far more attention than it has received -- but it overlooks the fact that the mercury concentrations in vaccines dwarf other sources of exposure to our children.

What is most striking is the lengths to which many of the leading detectives have gone to ignore -- and cover up -- the evidence against thimerosal. From the very beginning, the scientific case against the mercury additive has been overwhelming. The preservative, which is used to stem fungi and bacterial growth in vaccines, contains ethylmercury, a potent neurotoxin. Truckloads of studies have shown that mercury tends to accumulate in the brains of primates and other animals after they are injected with vaccines -- and that the developing brains of infants are particularly susceptible. In 1977, a Russian study found that adults exposed to much lower concentrations of ethylmercury than those given to American children still suffered brain damage years later. Russia banned thimerosal from children's vaccines 20 years ago, and Denmark, Austria, Japan, Great Britain and all the Scandinavian countries have since followed suit.

"You couldn't even construct a study that shows thimerosal is safe," says Haley, who heads the chemistry department at the University of Kentucky. "It's just too darn toxic. If you inject thimerosal into an animal, its brain will sicken. If you apply it to living tissue, the cells die. If you put it in a petri dish, the culture dies. Knowing these things, it would be shocking if one could inject it into an infant without causing damage."

Internal documents reveal that Eli Lilly, which first developed thimerosal, knew from the start that its product could cause damage -- and even death -- in both animals and humans. In 1930, the company tested thimerosal by administering it to 22 patients with terminal meningitis, all of whom died within weeks of being injected -- a fact Lilly didn't bother to report in its study declaring thimerosal safe. In 1935, researchers at another vaccine manufacturer, Pittman-Moore, warned Lilly that its claims about thimerosal's safety "did not check with ours." Half the dogs Pittman injected with thimerosal-based vaccines became sick, leading researchers there to declare the preservative "unsatisfactory as a serum intended for use on dogs."

In the decades that followed, the evidence against thimerosal continued to mount. During the Second World War, when the Department of Defense used the preservative in vaccines on soldiers, it required Lilly to label it "poison." In 1967, a study in Applied Microbiology found that thimerosal killed mice when added to injected vaccines. Four years later, Lilly's own studies discerned that thimerosal was "toxic to tissue cells" in concentrations as low as one part per million -- 100 times weaker than the concentration in a typical vaccine. Even so, the company continued to promote thimerosal as "nontoxic" and also incorporated it into topical disinfectants. In 1977, 10 babies at a Toronto hospital died when an antiseptic preserved with thimerosal was dabbed onto their umbilical cords.

In 1982, the FDA proposed a ban on over-the-counter products that contained thimerosal, and in 1991 the agency considered banning it from animal vaccines. But tragically, that same year, the CDC recommended that infants be injected with a series of mercury-laced vaccines. Newborns would be vaccinated for hepatitis B within 24 hours of birth, and 2-month-old infants would be immunized for haemophilus influenzae B and diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis.

The drug industry knew the additional vaccines posed a danger. The same year that the CDC approved the new vaccines, Dr. Maurice Hilleman, one of the fathers of Merck's vaccine programs, warned the company that 6-month-olds who were administered the shots would suffer dangerous exposure to mercury. He recommended that thimerosal be discontinued, "especially when used on infants and children," noting that the industry knew of nontoxic alternatives. "The best way to go," he added, "is to switch to dispensing the actual vaccines without adding preservatives."

For Merck and other drug companies, however, the obstacle was money. Thimerosal enables the pharmaceutical industry to package vaccines in vials that contain multiple doses, which require additional protection because they are more easily contaminated by multiple needle entries. The larger vials cost half as much to produce as smaller, single-dose vials, making it cheaper for international agencies to distribute them to impoverished regions at risk of epidemics. Faced with this "cost consideration," Merck ignored Hilleman's warnings, and government officials continued to push more and more thimerosal-based vaccines for children. Before 1989, American preschoolers received 11 vaccinations -- for polio, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis and measles-mumps-rubella. A decade later, thanks to federal recommendations, children were receiving a total of 22 immunizations by the time they reached first grade.

As the number of vaccines increased, the rate of autism among children exploded. During the 1990s, 40 million children were injected with thimerosal-based vaccines, receiving unprecedented levels of mercury during a period critical for brain development. Despite the well-documented dangers of thimerosal, it appears that no one bothered to add up the cumulative dose of mercury that children would receive from the mandated vaccines. "What took the FDA so long to do the calculations?" Peter Patriarca, director of viral products for the agency, asked in an e-mail to the CDC in 1999. "Why didn't CDC and the advisory bodies do these calculations when they rapidly expanded the childhood immunization schedule?"

But by that time, the damage was done. At two months, when the infant brain is still at a critical stage of development, infants routinely received three inoculations that contained a total of 62.5 micrograms of ethylmercury -- a level 99 times greater than the EPA's limit for daily exposure to methylmercury, a related neurotoxin. Although the vaccine industry insists that ethylmercury poses little danger because it breaks down rapidly and is removed by the body, several studies -- including one published in April by the National Institutes of Health -- suggest that ethylmercury is actually more toxic to developing brains and stays in the brain longer than methylmercury.

Officials responsible for childhood immunizations insist that the additional vaccines were necessary to protect infants from disease and that thimerosal is still essential in developing nations, which, they often claim, cannot afford the single-dose vials that don't require a preservative. Dr. Paul Offit, one of CDC's top vaccine advisors, told me, "I think if we really have an influenza pandemic -- and certainly we will in the next 20 years, because we always do -- there's no way on God's earth that we immunize 280 million people with single-dose vials. There has to be multidose vials."

But while public-health officials may have been well-intentioned, many of those on the CDC advisory committee who backed the additional vaccines had close ties to the industry. Dr. Sam Katz, the committee's chair, was a paid consultant for most of the major vaccine makers and was part of a team that developed the measles vaccine and brought it to licensure in 1963. Dr. Neal Halsey, another committee member, worked as a researcher for the vaccine companies and received honoraria from Abbott Labs for his research on the hepatitis B vaccine.

Indeed, in the tight circle of scientists who work on vaccines, such conflicts of interest are common. Rep. Burton says that the CDC "routinely allows scientists with blatant conflicts of interest to serve on intellectual advisory committees that make recommendations on new vaccines," even though they have "interests in the products and companies for which they are supposed to be providing unbiased oversight." The House Government Reform Committee discovered that four of the eight CDC advisors who approved guidelines for a rotavirus vaccine "had financial ties to the pharmaceutical companies that were developing different versions of the vaccine."

Offit, who shares a patent on one of the vaccines, acknowledged to me that he "would make money" if his vote eventually leads to a marketable product. But he dismissed my suggestion that a scientist's direct financial stake in CDC approval might bias his judgment. "It provides no conflict for me," he insists. "I have simply been informed by the process, not corrupted by it. When I sat around that table, my sole intent was trying to make recommendations that best benefited the children in this country. It's offensive to say that physicians and public-health people are in the pocket of industry and thus are making decisions that they know are unsafe for children. It's just not the way it works."

Other vaccine scientists and regulators gave me similar assurances. Like Offit, they view themselves as enlightened guardians of children's health, proud of their "partnerships" with pharmaceutical companies, immune to the seductions of personal profit, besieged by irrational activists whose anti-vaccine campaigns are endangering children's health. They are often resentful of questioning. "Science," says Offit, "is best left to scientists."

Still, some government officials were alarmed by the apparent conflicts of interest. In his e-mail to CDC administrators in 1999, Paul Patriarca of the FDA blasted federal regulators for failing to adequately scrutinize the danger posed by the added baby vaccines. "I'm not sure there will be an easy way out of the potential perception that the FDA, CDC and immunization-policy bodies may have been asleep at the switch re: thimerosal until now," Patriarca wrote. The close ties between regulatory officials and the pharmaceutical industry, he added, "will also raise questions about various advisory bodies regarding aggressive recommendations for use" of thimerosal in child vaccines.

If federal regulators and government scientists failed to grasp the potential risks of thimerosal over the years, no one could claim ignorance after the secret meeting at Simpsonwood. But rather than conduct more studies to test the link to autism and other forms of brain damage, the CDC placed politics over science. The agency turned its database on childhood vaccines -- which had been developed largely at taxpayer expense -- over to a private agency, America's Health Insurance Plans, ensuring that it could not be used for additional research. It also instructed the Institute of Medicine, an advisory organization that is part of the National Academy of Sciences, to produce a study debunking the link between thimerosal and brain disorders. The CDC "wants us to declare, well, that these things are pretty safe," Dr. Marie McCormick, who chaired the IOM's Immunization Safety Review Committee, told her fellow researchers when they first met in January 2001. "We are not ever going to come down that [autism] is a true side effect" of thimerosal exposure. According to transcripts of the meeting, the committee's chief staffer, Kathleen Stratton, predicted that the IOM would conclude that the evidence was "inadequate to accept or reject a causal relation" between thimerosal and autism. That, she added, was the result "Walt wants" -- a reference to Dr. Walter Orenstein, director of the National Immunization Program for the CDC.

For those who had devoted their lives to promoting vaccination, the revelations about thimerosal threatened to undermine everything they had worked for. "We've got a dragon by the tail here," said Dr. Michael Kaback, another committee member. "The more negative that [our] presentation is, the less likely people are to use vaccination, immunization -- and we know what the results of that will be. We are kind of caught in a trap. How we work our way out of the trap, I think is the charge."

Even in public, federal officials made it clear that their primary goal in studying thimerosal was to dispel doubts about vaccines. "Four current studies are taking place to rule out the proposed link between autism and thimerosal," Dr. Gordon Douglas, then-director of strategic planning for vaccine research at the National Institutes of Health, assured a Princeton University gathering in May 2001. "In order to undo the harmful effects of research claiming to link the [measles] vaccine to an elevated risk of autism, we need to conduct and publicize additional studies to assure parents of safety." Douglas formerly served as president of vaccinations for Merck, where he ignored warnings about thimerosal's risks.

In May of last year, the Institute of Medicine issued its final report. Its conclusion: There is no proven link between autism and thimerosal in vaccines. Rather than reviewing the large body of literature describing the toxicity of thimerosal, the report relied on four disastrously flawed epidemiological studies examining European countries, where children received much smaller doses of thimerosal than American kids. It also cited a new version of the Verstraeten study, published in the journal Pediatrics, that had been reworked to reduce the link between thimerosal and autism. The new study included children too young to have been diagnosed with autism and overlooked others who showed signs of the disease. The IOM declared the case closed and -- in a startling position for a scientific body -- recommended that no further research be conducted.

The report may have satisfied the CDC, but it convinced no one. Rep. David Weldon, a Republican physician from Florida who serves on the House Government Reform Committee, attacked the Institute of Medicine, saying it relied on a handful of studies that were "fatally flawed" by "poor design" and failed to represent "all the available scientific and medical research." CDC officials are not interested in an honest search for the truth, Weldon told me, because "an association between vaccines and autism would force them to admit that their policies irreparably damaged thousands of children. Who would want to make that conclusion about themselves?"

Under pressure from Congress and parents, the Institute of Medicine convened another panel to address continuing concerns about the Vaccine Safety Datalink data-sharing program. In February, the new panel, composed of different scientists, criticized the way the VSD had been used to study vaccine safety, and urged the CDC to make its vaccine database available to the public.

So far, though, only two scientists have managed to gain access. Dr. Mark Geier, president of the Genetics Center of America, and his son, David, spent a year battling to obtain the medical records from the CDC. Since August 2002, when members of Congress pressured the agency to turn over the data, the Geiers have completed six studies that demonstrate a powerful correlation between thimerosal and neurological damage in children. One study, which compares the cumulative dose of mercury received by children born between 1981 and 1985 with those born between 1990 and 1996, found a "very significant relationship" between autism and vaccines. Another study of educational performance found that kids who received higher doses of thimerosal in vaccines were nearly three times as likely to be diagnosed with autism and more than three times as likely to suffer from speech disorders and mental retardation. Another soon-to-be-published study shows that autism rates are in decline following the recent elimination of thimerosal from most vaccines.

As the federal government worked to prevent scientists from studying vaccines, others have stepped in to study the link to autism. In April, reporter Dan Olmsted of UPI undertook one of the more interesting studies himself. Searching for children who had not been exposed to mercury in vaccines -- the kind of population that scientists typically use as a "control" in experiments -- Olmsted scoured the Amish of Lancaster County, Penn., who refuse to immunize their infants. Given the national rate of autism, Olmsted calculated that there should be 130 autistics among the Amish. He found only four. One had been exposed to high levels of mercury from a power plant. The other three -- including one child adopted from outside the Amish community -- had received their vaccines.

At the state level, many officials have also conducted in-depth reviews of thimerosal. While the Institute of Medicine was busy whitewashing the risks, the Iowa Legislature was carefully combing through all of the available scientific and biological data. "After three years of review, I became convinced there was sufficient credible research to show a link between mercury and the increased incidences in autism," state Sen. Ken Veenstra, a Republican who oversaw the investigation, told the magazine Byronchild earlier this year. "The fact that Iowa's 700 percent increase in autism began in the 1990s, right after more and more vaccines were added to the children's vaccine schedules, is solid evidence alone." Last year, Iowa became the first state to ban mercury in vaccines, followed by California. Similar bans are now under consideration in 32 other states.

But instead of following suit, the FDA continues to allow manufacturers to include thimerosal in scores of over-the-counter medications as well as steroids and injected collagen. Even more alarming, the government continues to ship vaccines preserved with thimerosal to developing countries -- some of which are now experiencing a sudden explosion in autism rates. In China, where the disease was virtually unknown prior to the introduction of thimerosal by U.S. drug manufacturers in 1999, news reports indicate that there are now more than 1.8 million autistics. Although reliable numbers are hard to come by, autistic disorders also appear to be soaring in India, Argentina, Nicaragua and other developing countries that are now using thimerosal-laced vaccines. The World Health Organization continues to insist thimerosal is safe, but it promises to keep the possibility that it is linked to neurological disorders "under review."

I devoted time to study this issue because I believe that this is a moral crisis that must be addressed. If, as the evidence suggests, our public-health authorities knowingly allowed the pharmaceutical industry to poison an entire generation of American children, their actions arguably constitute one of the biggest scandals in the annals of American medicine. "The CDC is guilty of incompetence and gross negligence," says Mark Blaxill, vice president of Safe Minds, a nonprofit organization concerned about the role of mercury in medicines. "The damage caused by vaccine exposure is massive. It's bigger than asbestos, bigger than tobacco, bigger than anything you've ever seen." It's hard to calculate the damage to our country -- and to the international efforts to eradicate epidemic diseases -- if Third World nations come to believe that America's most heralded foreign-aid initiative is poisoning their children. It's not difficult to predict how this scenario will be interpreted by America's enemies abroad. The scientists and researchers -- many of them sincere, even idealistic -- who are participating in efforts to hide the science on thimerosal claim that they are trying to advance the lofty goal of protecting children in developing nations from disease pandemics. They are badly misguided. Their failure to come clean on thimerosal will come back horribly to haunt our country and the world's poorest populations.

This story was corrected on June 17, on June 22, on June 24, on July 1 and on July 21 after its original publication.

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About the writer
Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is senior attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council, chief prosecuting attorney for Riverkeeper and president of Waterkeeper Alliance. He is the co-author of "The Riverkeepers."


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Thursday, June 09, 2005

The Age of Autism: One in 15,000 Amish

By Dan Olmsted
UNITED PRESS INTERNATIONAL

Washington, DC, Jun. 8 (UPI) The autism rate for U.S. children is 1 in 166, according to the federal government. The autism rate for the Amish around Middlefield, Ohio, is 1 in 15,000, according to Dr. Heng Wang.

He means that literally: Of 15,000 Amish who live near Middlefield, Wang is aware of just one who has autism. If that figure is anywhere near correct, the autism rate in that community is astonishingly low.

Wang is the medical director, and a physician and researcher, at the DDC Clinic for Special Needs Children, created three years ago to treat the Amish in northeastern Ohio.

"I take care of all the children with special needs," he said, putting him in a unique position to observe autism. The one case Wang has identified is a 12-year-old boy.

Like stitchwork in an Amish quilt, Wang's comments extend a pattern first identified by United Press International in the Pennsylvania Dutch country around Lancaster, Pa.

-- A Lancaster doctor who has treated thousands of Amish for nearly a quarter-century said he had never seen any autism. "We're right in the heart of Amish country and seeing none -- and that's just the way it is," that doctor said last month.

-- An Amish-Mennonite mother with an adopted autistic child said she was aware of only two other children with the disorder. "It is so much more rare among our people," she said.

-- UPI also found scant evidence of autism among the Amish in Indiana and Kentucky, two other states with sizable Amish settlements.

Ohio, with the nation's largest Amish population, appears no different. Asked if he thinks the autism rate among the Amish is low, Wang said: "I would agree with that. In this country, the Amish have less autism. Why? That's a very interesting topic. I think people need to look into it to do more research. This is something we could learn from."

Wang said the Amish boy's autism is of "unknown etiology," meaning the cause is undetermined. In response to a question, he checked the medical chart and said the boy had received routine childhood immunizations.

The Amish have a religious exemption from immunizations, and traditionally only a minority has allowed children to receive the shots. That number has been increasing, however, and Wang said most Amish parents in the area he serves do vaccinate their children, although that varies greatly by community.

The question arose because in Pennsylvania the Amish-Mennonite mother described what she said was a vaccine link to the cases. She suspects that her adopted daughter, who received immunizations both in China and again after arriving in the Unites States, became autistic because of the shots. She said a second child with autism in the community had "a clear vaccine reaction" and lapsed into autism.

Some parents and a minority of medical professionals think a mercury-based preservative in vaccines -- or in some cases the vaccines themselves -- triggered a huge increase in autism cases in the 1990s, leading to the 1-in-166 rate cited by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 1999 manufacturers began phasing out that preservative, called thimerosal, at the CDC's request.

Most mainstream medical experts and federal health authorities say a link between thimerosal and autism has been discredited, although the director of the CDC told Congress she is keeping an open mind about the possibility.

Wang said he did not want to offer an opinion about whether the Ohio boy's vaccinations might be linked to his autism.

(A Virginia doctor told UPI he is treating six other Amish children with autism, none of them vaccinated. In four of the six cases he suspects their autism was triggered by mercury toxicity due to environmental pollution.)

Middlefield's DDC Clinic -- the initials stand for Das Deutsch Center -- opened in 2002 as a collaboration between the Amish and non-Amish communities to aid children with rare genetic and metabolic disorders.

The Amish are prone to genetic disorders because of their isolated gene pool. The clinic has identified 37 genetic diseases among its patients and formed partnerships with 10 research groups and several medical centers.

"The Clinic evolved from the desire of Northeast Ohio Amish families to find answers for their children with genetic disorders," the clinic's Web site explains. "These disorders require attention and research beyond that provided by conventional medicine."

The Amish hope "any research obtained from their efforts has the potential to benefit special needs children throughout the world. This is their gift to us."
That gift, it now appears, could also hold clues to autism.
--
This series on the roots and rise of autism aims to be interactive with readers and will take note of comments, criticism and suggestions. E-mail: dolmsted@upi.com


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Wednesday, June 08, 2005

One-Third Of US Scientists Admit Wrongdoing

By Maura Lerner

One in three U.S. scientists admitted in an anonymous survey that they committed scientific misconduct in the previous three years, according to a report by a team of Minnesota researchers.

While falsifying research is uncommon, the survey found that 33 percent of scientists admitted breaking rules, large and small, that are supposed to ensure the honesty of their work, the authors report in the British journal Nature.

The types of misbehavior range from claiming credit for someone else's work, to changing results because of pressure from the sponsor.

"Our findings suggest that U.S. scientists engage in a range of behaviors extending far beyond falsification, fabrication and plagiarism that can damage the integrity of science," the authors write in a commentary piece in tomorrow's journal.

The survey, which was led by Brian Martinson of the HealthPartners Research Foundation in Bloomington, questioned more than 3,200 scientists around the country about a long list of questionable actions. They range from outright fraud to improper relationships with research subjects.

Among the findings: 15 percent said they had changed the design, methods or results of a study in response to pressure from a financial sponsor.

Fewer than 1 percent admitted to "falsifying or cooking research data." Slightly more, 1.4 percent, said they had potentially improper relationships with students or subjects.

But significantly more -- 12.5 percent -- said they had overlooked others scientists' use of flawed data or questionable interpretations. And 7 percent admitted ignoring "minor" rules for protecting human subjects. Six percent said that they failed to report data that contradicted their previous work.

Martinson, a sociologist, said the fact that a third of those surveyed admitted to one of the top ten violations suggests the problem doesn't lie with a few "bad apples."

Scientists, he said, are "one of the hardest-working groups of people that I know." But he said there may be something about their working environment -- the mountains of rules, the pressure to compete for grants and produce results -- that ends up compromising their ethics.

"There's been this kind of idea that scientists... are super-humans or something, that they're immune from these kinds of pressure," he said. "But scientists are human."

He said this is the first survey of its kind, so it is not known whether the misbehavior is more common now than in the past.

Copyright 2005 Star Tribune


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Monday, June 06, 2005

The Age of Autism: Amish ways

By DAN OLMSTED

WASHINGTON, June 6 (UPI) -- Part 2 of 2. This column in recent weeks has focused on two related questions: Is the prevalence of autism lower among the Amish, and, if so, how do they differ from the rest of us?

Neither question can be definitively answered by our unscientific and anecdotal inquiries. A more comprehensive study would require the efforts of epidemiologists and probably a government agency, and we will look at that prospect in future columns.

First, though, it is worth summarizing what our initial inquiries have suggested:

-- With the Amish population in the United States approaching 100,000, there should be several hundred identifiably autistic Amish.

-- We so far have located fewer than 10.

-- There no doubt could be more, but a number of people in positions to know -- doctors, health workers, an Amish-Mennonite mother of an adopted autistic child -- say they have observed the prevalence is indeed low.

-- A low prevalence could indicate the Amish have avoided some factor that is triggering autism in the rest of the population.

If autism is not nearly so common among the Amish, one or more of several factors could be at work:

-- Their isolated gene pool could be protecting them in some unrecognized way.

-- Something affecting the rest of the population is not affecting them. Candidates could include vaccines -- the Amish have a religious exemption from the mandatory U.S. immunization schedule and only a small minority vaccinates its children; environmental pollutants; something in the food chain that the Amish avoid or some wildcard factor not yet on the table.

It is well-known the Amish are isolated from modern life -- they do not drive, watch TV or use telephones, for example, but in other ways, we found, their isolation can be overstated.

They do see doctors, though not at the drop of a broad-brim hat. One of the most compelling bits of data comes from a family doctor in Lancaster County, Pa., who told us he has seen thousands of Amish for nearly a quarter-century but has never seen autism.

Like many health-conscious Americans, the Amish also use lots of nutritional supplements, we learned. In the last column we talked with Dick Warner, who is in the water-purification and natural-health business and has worked with thousands of Amish around the country. He also said he has seen no autism.

"I think a lot of it has to do with the health of the birthing mothers," Warner said. "The Amish traditionally take a lot of supplements, especially when they are pregnant."

An Amish dining table typically will have a Lazy Susan in the middle, from which everyone takes supplements, he said.

"Also, it's the kind of diet that they have," Warner added. "They don't buy store-bought meat," and it is not the center of the meal. Their farm-raised animals are not vaccinated or given growth hormones, he added. "I think there's something there -- they don't ingest the environmental toxins that are in our food chain."

Though he has seen no autism, Warner said he has observed some learning disabilities among the Amish, "but they were correctibles." In those cases, he said, the children tested high for heavy metal in their system, especially mercury. They improved dramatically through a process called chelation, he added.

Chelation uses oral medication or creams spread on the body to remove metals. Coincidentally or not, some parents of autistic children champion chelation as having improved and in some cases reversed autism -- although such results have not been scientifically validated.

"I've found that metal poisoning has a lot to do with attention-deficit problems not just amongst the Amish but amongst our own people, too," Warner said. "You've got to chelate the minerals out of them."

That converges with the view of a Virginia doctor we spoke with who said he was treating six Amish children with autism; four of the six had very high levels of mercury, he said.

The child with whom he tried chelation has improved, he said. He blamed the mercury exposure on coal-fired plants near their homes.

If anything has emerged from this excursion into the Amish world, it is how often the metals-mercury issue has arisen; two of the first three cases we identified were attributed by the Amish-Mennonite mother to vaccine reactions. A minority of doctors and parents blames a mercury preservative in vaccines called thimerosal for triggering an autism epidemic. The mainstream medical community says that has been discredited; thimerosal was phased out of U.S. childhood vaccines starting in 1999.

Warner seemed to sum up the alternative view when he said, "Mercury is a bad, bad guy."

In the next column we will post some reader comments on the Amish-autism angle. Some have found it intriguing, while others say it is irritatingly irrelevant.

This series on the roots and rise of autism aims to be interactive with readers and welcomes comment, criticism and suggestions. E-mail: dolmsted@upi.com

Copyright 2005 by United Press International. All Rights Reserved.



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Friday, June 03, 2005

Startling study on toxins' harm

WSU findings show that disorders can be passed on without genetic mutations

By TOM PAULSON
SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER REPORTER

It's just a study involving a few rats with fertility problems in Pullman, but the findings could lead to fundamental changes in how we look at environmental toxins, cancer, heritable diseases, genetics and the basics of evolutionary biology.

If a pregnant woman is exposed to a pesticide at the wrong time, the study suggests, her children, grandchildren and the rest of her descendants could inherit the damage and diseases caused by the toxin -- even if it doesn't involve a genetic mutation.

"As so often happens in science, we just stumbled onto this," said Dr. Michael Skinner, director of the center for reproductive biology at Washington State University.

Skinner's team at WSU and colleagues from several other universities report in today's Science magazine on what they believe is the first demonstration and explanation of how a toxin-induced disorder in a pregnant female can be passed on to children and succeeding generations without changes in her genetic code, or DNA.

"We were quite surprised ... we've been sitting on this for a few years," said Skinner, who is expected to present his findings today at a scientific meeting in San Diego.

The report in Science, entitled "Epigenetic Transgenerational Actions of Endocrine Disruptors and Male Fertility," also sounds like an attempt to avoid attention. That's unlikely to work. The findings prompt serious and, in some cases, disturbing questions about a number of basic assumptions in biology.

The standard view of heritable disease is that for any disorder or disease to be inherited, a gene must go bad (mutate) and that gene must get passed on to the offspring.

What Skinner and his colleagues did is show that exposing a pregnant rat to high doses of a class of pesticides known as "endocrine disruptors" causes an inherited reproductive disorder in male rats that is passed on without any genetic mutation.

It's not genetic change; it's an "epigenetic" change. Epigenetics is a relatively new field of science that refers to modifying DNA without mutations in the genes.

"It's not a change in the DNA sequence," Skinner explained. "It's a chemical modification of the DNA."

Scientists have known for years about these changes to DNA that can modify genes' behavior without directly altering them.

One form of epigenetic change is natural. Every cell in the body contains the entire genetic code. But brain cells must use only the genes needed in the brain, for example, and kidney cells should activate only the genes needed for renal function.

Cells commonly switch on and off gene behavior by attaching small molecules known as methyl groups to specific sections of DNA. The attachment and detachment of methyl groups is also an important process in fetal development of the male testes and female ovaries -- which is where Skinner got started on this.

But the common wisdom has been that any artificially induced epigenetic modifications will remain as an isolated change in an individual. Because no genes get altered, the changes cannot be passed on.

"We showed that they can be," Skinner said.

The experiment got its start four years ago by accident. His lab was studying testes development in fetal rats, using a fungicide used in vineyards (vinclozin) and a common pesticide (methoxychlor) to disrupt the process. A researcher inadvertently allowed two of the exposed rats to breed, so the scientists figured they'd just see what happened.

The male in the breeding pair was born with a low sperm count and other disorders because of the mother's exposure to toxins. No surprise. But the male offspring of the pair also had these problems, as did the next two generations of male rats.

"I couldn't explain it," Skinner. This wasn't supposed to happen.

The scientists didn't tell anyone about their finding and continued, for the next two years, to confirm that it was real and to find an explanation. Eventually, they documented that a toxin-induced attachment of methyl groups to DNA in the mother rat was being passed on to offspring.

"In human terms, this would mean if your great grandmother was exposed to an environmental toxin at a critical point in her pregnancy, you may have inherited the disease," Skinner said.

While the study was focused on a heritable disorder of reproduction in rats, he said there's every reason to believe this can happen for other diseases -- such as cancer.

"There has been this speculation that the increased rates of some cancers may be due to environmental factors, but they've never been able to describe a mechanism to explain this," Skinner said.

The findings also suggest a reconsideration of one of the basic tenets of evolutionary biology -- that evolution proceeds by random genetic change.

The standard view is that the environment has no direct influence, except in how it may favor or discriminate against the creatures with the latest genetic mutations.

The WSU study, Skinner said, suggests the possibility that environmental factors such as toxins may also directly cause heritable changes in creatures. "Epigenetics may be just as important as genetics in evolution," he said.

P-I reporter Tom Paulson can be reached at 206-448-8318 or tompaulson@seattlepi.com


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Thursday, June 02, 2005

The Age of Autism: A glimpse of the Amish

By DAN OLMSTED

WASHINGTON, June 2 (UPI) -- Part 1 of 2. Recently, a man named Dick Warner got in touch with us. He has been following this column's search for Amish people with autism and said he might have something to contribute.

Warner lives in Cochranton, Pa., but his business -- water purification and natural health -- takes him into Amish households around the nation.

"I've been working with Amish people since 1980," he said. "Since early '99 I have been in a high concentration of health work with the Amish. I just came back from a trip where I visited the 89th Amish community I've been invited to.

"So I've been in all the styles of Amish that there are. They invite me to sleep in their homes. They feed me. I pray with them. I know their traditions. I'm going to an Amish wedding tonight in southern Illinois and next Thursday I have another wedding.

"I have seen so much in an intimate way with the Amish, and boy, did it pique my interest when I looked at your research."

That research has centered on the Amish to try to determine whether an isolated population in the United States has the same prevalence of autism as the "English," as the Amish call the rest of us. The idea: Because Amish ways are so different -- from what they eat to how they spend their time to the fact that most do not vaccinate their children -- they might offer clues to autism.

That is, it is important to know whether their autism rate is notably different. So far, there is evidence of fewer than 10 Amish with autism; there should be several hundred if the disorder occurs among them at the same 166-1 prevalence as children born in the rest of the population. The Amish have big families, and they should also have autism.

The problem is the same thing that makes the Amish worth looking at makes them more difficult to reach. They don't mingle with or marry into the wider population. They don't have phones or cars.

Still, several people who should know have told me they see little or no autism -- way less than you'd expect. One is an Amish-Mennonite woman from Lancaster County, Pa. She has an autistic daughter, but that child was adopted from China. She said she is aware of two more Amish children with autism; in one case, she said, the disorder was clearly associated with a vaccination given at 15 months. (Most medical experts dismiss a link between autism and vaccines, which contained a mercury-based preservative until a phase-out began in 1999.)

A family doctor in Lancaster who has treated thousands of Amish over a quarter-century said he has never seen an Amish person with autism. A pediatrician and geneticist in Virginia told me he was treating six Amish children with autism, none vaccinated. Four of the six had high levels of mercury that he believes came from coal-fired power plants, which emit mercury as a byproduct. He suspects that caused their autism.

My research among the Amish so far does not point a finger at any one cause, but if a much lower prevalence holds up under more scrutiny, it might suggest that something "environmental" -- in the broad sense of coming from outside the body rather than from a solely genetic or metabolic disorder -- could be the decisive trigger in a huge increase in autism cases.

Warner was offering an up-close glimpse. I asked him what he had observed.

"I've got to tell you, I have never seen an autistic Amish child -- not one," he said. "I would know it. I have a strong medical background. I know what autistic people are like. I have friends who have autistic children."

Warner said he has seen Amish with learning disabilities and mental illness and even helped two families get treatment for someone with schizophrenia.

I asked Warner how many Amish people he has met. "Tens of thousands," he said, though he acknowledged the total is "not even 60 percent" of the national Amish population, which is approaching 100,000.

Those who think the Amish autism rate is not a good test case make two main arguments: They are there, just not visible. Or, they are not there, but some genetic difference is protecting them from autism.

The genetic issue is beyond our ken -- although you would think if government health authorities considered it plausible, they would be doing urgent, well-publicized research. People like Warner make it harder to accept the first argument, that hundreds of autistic Amish are some kind of "hidden horde."

"They're so intimate with me, you couldn't imagine," Warner said. "They're talking about their bowels, their periods, their sex life. They trust me just like I'm a confidant, and I am."

Autism, he said, is not something they could or would hide from him. He invited me to come with him and meet Amish elders around the country and said he could provide entree into their world. Perhaps the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would be interested in taking him up on that.

In the second part of this interview, we'll hear Warner's observations about how the Amish differ from the rest of us -- and how they don't.

This ongoing series on the roots and rise of autism aims to be interactive with readers and welcomes comment, criticism and suggestions. E-mail: dolmsted@upi.com

Copyright 2005 by United Press International. All Rights Reserved.




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Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Vaccines Did & Do Cause Autism

By Evelyn Pringle

On Feb 9, 2004, the National Autism Association issued a press release that reported on one of the larger studies under review based on the Center for Disease Control's Vaccine Safety Datalink. Under independent investigation, the Association reported, of the CDC's data children were found to be 27-times more likely to develop autism after exposure to three thimerosal-containing vaccines (TCVs), than those who receive thimerosal-free versions.

Let that sink in. Twenty-seven times more likely to develop autism. Then consider that our government regulatory agencies had this information for years and deliberately kept it hidden from the public. This failure to warn the public was not due to negligence or laziness, it was a deliberate cover-up and it continues today.

How do we know they had it for years? Because the staff for Rep Dan Burton (R-Ill) obtained an FDA internal e-mail written on June 29, 1999, by former FDA scientist Peter Patriarca, that offered a "pros and cons" assessment of the dishonest statement about Thimerosal in vaccines that the FDA was about to release, and described the questions that could be raised upon its release:

(1) FDA being `asleep at the switch' for decades, by allowing a potentially hazardous compound to remain in many childhood vaccines, and not forcing manufacturers to exclude it from new products.
(2) various advisory bodies aggressive recommendations for use.
(3) the dose of ethyl mercury was not generated by `rocket science': conversion of the % of thimerosal to actual ug [micrograms] of mercury involves 9th grade algebra.
(4) What took the FDA so long to do the calculations?
(5) Why didn't CDC and the advisory bodies do these calculations while rapidly expanding the childhood immunization schedule?

The FDA knew.

In 1997, Congress passed the FDA Modernization Act, which required the FDA to review all drugs that contained mercury and determine their adverse effects on humans. For many years, Thimerosal, a mercury-based preservative, was added to childhood vaccines in multi-dose bottles, basically to increase profits for vaccine makers.
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Thimerosal is nearly 50% mercury, which is a known to be extremely harmful to fetuses, infants and children. Beginning in 1987 and throughout the 1990s, it became the main source of mercury in infants and toddlers when the number of vaccines added to the national vaccine schedule nearly tripled.

In 2000, the FDA determined that a twelve-to-fourteen month old child, receiving vaccines required under the Immunization Schedule, often received four to six shots during one doctor visit. Consequently over time, the child would be injected with as much as 40 times the amount of mercury considered safe.

The corresponding increase in autism is concrete evidence of the link between autism and vaccines. Twenty years ago, autism only affected one in 10,000 children. The Autism Autoimmunity Project reports that the disorder strikes 1 in 150 (or 1 in 68 families) today.

During the 1990s, as some 40 million children were vaccinated, drug company profits soared and there's no doubt that the companies knew about the dangers of Thimerosal and put profits over the health of a whole generation of children.

The LA Times obtained a 1991 internal memo from the drug company, Merck, that proves the company knew then that Thimerosal in vaccines posed a serious health threat. The memo noted that 6-month-old children who received their shots on schedule would get a mercury dose up to 87 times higher than guidelines for the maximum daily consumption of mercury from fish.

As the vaccines increased, autism rates skyrocketed and the numbers don't lie. State by state statistics based on data by the Department of Education, show that the increase in the number of children aged 6-21 with autism between 1992-93 and 2003-04, is astronomical:
- In Ohio there were 22 cases of autism in 1992-93, and in 2003-04 there were 5146;
- In Illinois, there were only 5 cases in 1992-1993, while there were 6005 in 2003-04;
- Mississippi had no cases of autism in 1992-1993, but had 622 in 2003-04;
- Wisconsin had 18 cases in 1992-93 and 3259 in 2003-04.

In addition to autism, Thimerosal has now been linked to a host of developmental disorders including Attention Deficit Disorder, and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and ironically, the pharmaceutical industry is now making money hand over fist off drugs prescribed to treat children with these disorders.

The drug companies can pay doctors, researchers and reporters to write a million articles and reports that say there is no connection between Thimerosal and autism, but that won't change the truth. Thimerosal is the culprit and a million false denials won't change that fact.

Plenty of experts with nothing to gain say so. When asked to what degree of scientific certainty can we prove that current epidemic of autism was caused by the mercury-based preservative, Thimerosal, in childhood vaccines? Dr David Ayoub, MD, said "I can state that the certainty of the science supporting mercury as a major cause of autism is probably more overpowering than the science behind any other disease process that I studied dating back to medical school."

In May 2003 the AAP stated, "All routinely recommended infant vaccines currently sold in the U.S. are free of thimerosal as a preservative and have been for more than two years." Yet because the FDA maintained it did not have enough evidence to justify a recall of thimerosal vaccines distributed prior to the introduction of thimerosal-free versions and so they were allowed to remain on the market until they became outdated. That means that poisonous vaccines were still administered until November 2002.

"Because the FDA chose not to recall thimerosal-containing vaccines in 1999," the April 2003, House Committee on Government Reform report concludes, "in addition to all of those already injured, 8,000 children a day continued to be placed at risk for overdose for at least an additional two years." Parents need to know that flu vaccines currently recommended for infants and pregnant women still contain Thimerosal to this very day.

The CDC and FDA policy decisions about matter such as approving vaccines for inclusion on the immunization schedule are made by physician advisory boards whose members very often have strong financial relationships with the very same pharmaceutical companies that they are supposed to regulate.

For example, during a congressional hearing on potential conflicts of interests at the FDA, it was revealed that 60% of the advisory members who voted to approve the poisonous rotavirus vaccine had financial ties to the drug companies manufacturing the vaccine. The committee also found that 50% of the CDC members were tied to the rotavirus makers.

The public needs to rise up and demand accountability from the officials in charge of all regulatory agencies involved in concealing information that could have saved many families from the devastation of these ill-administered vaccines.

In order to enroll in public schools and day care, children must comply with mandatory vaccine schedule, which includes vaccines that have not undergone the scientific testing necessary to guarantee their safety, and have the potential to harm millions of children.

If families are expected to trust the government's vaccine approval process, they have a right to demand that the vaccines are approved based on scientific research, without the undue influence of money passed out to politicians, scientists, and the heads of the regulatory agencies, by the pharmaceutical industry.

The children who were affected by this cover-up will require care and support for a lifetime. The lives of many of these children are destroyed. The costs for their care, left to their families, will reportedly exceed $2 million per child.

The drug companies and the government officials involved in this vaccine marketing scheme and the subsequent cover-up of the damage it caused need to be criminally charged and made to pay for their crimes.

*************

Evelyn Pringle
epringle05@yahoo.com

(Evelyn Pringle is a columnist for Independent Media TV and an investigative journalist focused on exposing corruption in government)


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