Thursday, May 11, 2006

Thimerosal Logic?

From Health Sciences Institute (HSI)

In several e-Alerts I've told you about the controversy concerning thimerosal use. The medical mainstream, backed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), maintains that there's no link between thimerosal and the sharp rise in autism over the past 15 years.

Here are a few highlights of the controversy:
The mercury exposure to children through vaccines has dramatically increased since the early 90s. During the same period, the rate of autism in the U.S. jumped from 1 in 10,000 children to 1 in 150, according to CDC research.

A 2003 study published in the Journal of the American Association of Physicians and Surgeons examined extensive CDC data on vaccines in children. The conclusion: Children who receive just three vaccines containing the mercury-based preservative thimerosal are 27-times more likely to develop autism, compared to children who get vaccinations containing no thimerosal.

More than three years ago, William Campbell Douglass II, M.D., warned of the danger of multiple vaccines coupled with the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine. In his Daily Dose e-letter he wrote: "The mercury in thimerosal mounts a two-pronged attack: it impairs brain development and, at the same time, damages the child's immune system and gastrointestinal tract. So these vaccines cause the initial damage to the immune system. Then, because the damaged immune system cannot cope with three live viruses at once, the triple vaccine triggers autism."

Enigma wrapped in a riddle

A recent article in the Los Angeles Times features the newest twist in the debate over thimerosal's link to autism.

This coming July, a new California law will take effect, limiting the thimerosal content in vaccines for pregnant women and children under the age of three. The Times notes that other states attempting to pass similar laws are meeting resistance from the CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

Here's where it gets interesting. In fact, it gets downright odd.

According to the Times, the AAP has a "zero tolerance stance" regarding mercury, and the academy recognizes that "mercury in all of its forms is toxic to the fetus and children."

Okay - so far so good. In fact the AAP position is quite clear AND accurate.

But Dr. Louis Z. Cooper, chairman of the AAP Center for Child Health Research, tells the Times that the scientific evidence doesn't justify the need for a ban of all mercury-containing vaccines.

But don't spend too much time mulling over that paradox, because this is where Dr. Cooper starts stretching logic to the extreme.

The Times notes that Dr. Cooper "voiced concern" about World Health Organization (WHO) immunization programs. Dr. Cooper told the Times that these programs rely "heavily" on thimerosal-containing vaccines for millions of kids in poor nations, and WHO "could face cost and logistical problems" if those vaccines were abandoned.

Well heck! We wouldn't want to inconvenience WHO officials over a little thing like the safety of millions of poor children!

And then - to complete the perfect torture of this logic - Dr. Cooper tells the Times that if thimerosal vaccines are banned in the U.S., it would make it "a lot harder to explain" to other countries why they should accept them.

That's his defense! Keep using vaccines with mercury here at home so that WHO officials won't have to explain to third-world leaders why their kids are getting shots that are considered a significant health risk in the U.S.

But here's what will be the hardest thing to explain: Why we put their children AND our children at risk when the evidence clearly warned us not to.

Exercise your options

Here in the U.S., one of the many luxuries we enjoy is the availability of options.

In recent years, thimerosal content of children's vaccines has been reduced, but the preservative is still used in most flu vaccines and tetanus boosters. So if you have a young child or grandchild, when it comes time for those required shots, ask your pediatrician for assurance that the vaccines contain no thimerosal. In some cases, your insurance may not cover it, but it is definitely worth it to protect kids from the increased risk of autism. (Just don't tell the WHO if you decide to pay for it yourself. How would they ever explain THAT to the rest of the world?)

Mercury Detox - What you can do

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