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Kirby’s Evidence of Harm: Evidently Stoking Fear

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Government conspiracies and industry cover-ups make gripping plots for books and movies, never mind arresting media headlines. That may be what motivated journalist David Kirby to write Evidence of Harm: Mercury in Vaccines and the Autism Epidemic: A Medical Controversy (St. Martin’s Press, 2005). Undoubtedly, the story will sell many copies. I heard there is even a movie deal in the works. But I fear it will cause parents to balk at vaccinating their children against a host of preventable diseases for fear of autism.

Indeed, the rise in diagnoses of autism spectrum disorders&#8212the causes of which are not known&#8212is striking and worthy of investigation, with some incidence estimates at one in 166 children. However, the large majority of reputable scientists and physicians agree that available data do not support a causal relationship between the ethylmercury-based vaccine preservative thimerosal and neurodevelopmental disorder. As a result, Kirby’s Brockovich-esque page-turner, featuring a group of parents of autistic children as David and big pharma/big government bureaucrats as Goliath, must be taken for what it is, a story of parental love and determination&#8212and not for what it isn’t, an instructional and unbiased medical text.

Early suspicions of a link between vaccines and autism were based on observations that symptoms of autism generally manifest around the age at which children receive many routine vaccinations. The 80s saw a failed attempt to link autism with the diphtheria-pertussis vaccine. In 1998, a study published in The Lancet, which was later renounced and retracted, hypothesized that autism was brought on by an atypical response to the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine. Now there are stirrings of a scare blaming aluminum.

Meanwhile, motivated by a study about similarities between symptoms of autism and symptoms of mercury poisoning, a group of distraught parents began investigating thimerosal. Used since the 1930s, when safety studies were not required for new pharmaceutical products, thimerosal never underwent the current rigorous drug approval process and was essentially grandfathered into use. Anxiety understandably worsened in 1999 when the Academy of Pediatrics suddenly recommended that thimerosal be phased out of pediatric vaccines. This move was based on the realization that changes to the pediatric immunization schedule had caused children to receive bolus doses of ethyl mercury in excess of the established safety doses for its more toxic cousin, methyl mercury. Thus, the battlefield was set.

Evidence chronicles the journey of the parents who began the crusade to prove a causal relationship between thimerosal and autism. On their quest they encounter countless beasts and obstacles, all of which serve to heighten their suspicion of conspiracy: unfazed pediatricians, deaf politicians, defensive drug makers, even a rider added surreptitiously to the Homeland Security Bill that would provide indemnity to pharmaceutical companies and the FDA against vaccine-related suits. In light of those factors alone, who wouldn’t worry there was something to hide?

But despite the unsavory, self-protective actions of the above parties, at the end of the day, the best scientist will only rely on objective, hard, and replicable scientific data, which Kirby, as a journalist, simply does not. Alas, though even the most heartless readers might find themselves hoping these families will find unequivocal proof that thimerosal caused the current “autism epidemic,” even Kirby himself admits that there is at best evidence of harm, and that ultimately, temporal correlation does not equal causation.

In my effort to confirm the consensus arrived at by most reputable members of the medical community, that thimerosal does not cause autism, I have attempted to analyze whatever currently available, objective, and scientifically-sound studies I can get my hands on. In April, in an attempt to keep up-to-date on the current research, I attended a Vanderbilt University event, “Living with Autism: Rates, Causes and Treatment.” The position held by each and every one of the prestigious presenters&#8212all renowned in the fields of genetics, epidemiology, pediatrics, toxicology, neuroscience, psychology, cognitive development, or statistics&#8212was the same: there is no proof that thimerosal, or even mercury in general, plays a causal role in autism’s development.

I was not surprised, as readers of Kirby’s book might be, that little time was spent at the conference examining the vaccines/autism link, other than one lecture on the lack of evidence to support it. Additionally, ten parents of autistic children from around the country attended the four-day seminar, nine of whom gave short shrift to the thimerosal theory, merely using it as an example of a distraction from finding real treatments and interventions. (Even activists who remain convinced of thimerosal’s culpability should be pleased to know thimerosal was removed from all pediatric vaccines in 2001, with the exception of some influenza vaccines; the last lots of thimerosal-containing vaccines should have expired by 2003.)

While Kirby’s page-turner reads like a Clancy novel, conjuring fear that something is rotten in Denmark&#8212particularly within the insensitive medical and federal establishments encountered by the parents Kirby describes&#8212readers should be reminded that Evidence is not a medical text or a resource for scientific information about autism. Unfortunately, it may be construed as such by desperate parents, the population most vulnerable to buying into conspiracy theories and media hype.

Regrettably, a book written instead on the data presented at Vanderbilt by CDC pediatrician and epidemiologist Marshalyn Yeargin-Allsopp (whose study of autism prevalence trends indicates that the “epidemic” may be attributable to better and broader diagnostic criteria) would probably sit on bookstore shelves gathering dust. As we all know, cries of “the sky is falling!” turn far more heads than “all’s well!”

Like many others, I almost find myself wishing that thimerosal was to blame, providing us with a clear-cut perpetrator to hold accountable and forever banish. As yet, there is no such culprit we can point to, but there has been progress, more of which will be made as attention shifts from thimerosal to other avenues of inquiry. For example, a recent UCLA study indicated that a region of DNA on chromosome 17 may be involved in autism. Interestingly, the gene mostly affects boys, which may help explain autism’s low incidence in girls.

Generally speaking, most experts agree that autism is likely due to numerous and complex genetic factors, many of which may be acted upon by environmental influences. Perhaps it will even be determined one day that some of these genetic factors predispose some autistics to particular sensitivities, maybe even to heavy metals, casein, gluten, loud noises, bright lights, infectious diseases, or any of the countless other environmental influence that have been associated with autism. And perhaps awareness of these sensitivities, all of which should be researched, will be the basis for the alleviation of symptoms. But the fact will remain that these factors are not causative in and of themselves.

Those who have fought against the demonizing of thimerosal have to put up with absurd accusations of being industry shills. In actuality, many of those who are fighting against the fear&#8212some of them parents of autistic children themselves&#8212strive to make clear the value of vaccinations. Ironically, while the incidence of vaccine-preventable illness goes down, as a direct result of the vaccination program, so too does faith that vaccines are necessary. Suddenly, they are accused of doing more harm than good. But one need only look at the increases in pertussis cases in the U.S. and the spread of polio in Africa to realize that we need vaccines still. False and misleading attribution of harm, regardless of intent, only impairs our ability to improve public health. This must be kept in mind as Evidence is read.


Aubrey Noelle Stimola is Assistant Director of Public Health at the American Council on Science and Health. Her letter in the New York Times about Kirby’s book appeared on May 15, 2005.

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  • http://paperfrigate.blogspot.com Pat Cummings

    Thanks for that reasoned review of a book dealing with a topic obviously close to your heart!

    I removed the date and URL and the double-title from your post, but I linked the URL to your name at the bottom of the post. This makes the first 20 words of your actual text come up as an extract in the list.

  • http://paperfrigate.blogspot.com DrPat

    Welcome, Aubrey! I just checked out your “Facts and Fears” website, and was intrigued by the Puritan weight-loss regime. It sounds like you’ll fit right in here!

  • Eric Olsen

    a very well-written and absorbing review on an important topic. Thanks and welcome Aubrey!

  • Tony Allen

    Unfortunately, due to the medical establishments neglect of over 1.5 million families who eat, breath and sleep autism; parents were forced to do their own investigative work, hire their own “private” health professionals, scientists and researchers. Your profession is very aware that “genetic disorders” do not become “EPIDEMICS” as the CDC recently reported! The rates of other genetic disorders have not risen from 1 in 10,000 to 1 in 166 and growing by the day. Yet, your profession point the finger at our genes. The herd immunity has saved lives, yes. But, at what cost? How many of those vaccines were necessary? HepB for a baby? Who do you people think you’re kidding? It is clear your profession is running scared. I have never witnessed so many white coats running to the media to suddenly discuss autism. Why the sudden change? Where were you ten years ago? Five years ago? One year ago? Even just a few months ago? You are the Assistant Director of Public Health at the American Council on Science and Health. Your exhausted opinion of David Kirby’s book, Evidence of Harm, is as comical as your sudden interest in autism! Thanks for your two cents, but I prefer David Kirby’s documents released under the Freedom of Information Act that your profession hid from the public, to your two cent opinion. Obviously, Mr. Kirby and the families have much more credibility.I see huge changes coming our way, and people like you will not be allowed to harm these families anymore with your spin on the truth to cover your sad profession. What ever happened to the oath, “TO DO NO HARM”? Not only did you harm, but you hid it which makes it that much more despicable. Evidence of Harm is a book that ALL Americans should have in their homes. Your profession has steadily lost credibility. Show us private studies outside of government funding or pharmaceutical company monies and maybe, just maybe, you can gain back some credibility. The white coats may fight to keep Evidence of Harm out of the media’s eye, but you can’t stop the lawsuits which will be daily hot topic for the media. I wonder if you have children? I wonder if you would be willing to show their vaccination records? I wonder if your children ever received mercury vaccines or mercury free vaccines? You knew of potential dangers. How about grandchildren? Nephews? Nieces? Yourself? The least your profession could have done was given us a choice. I am disgusted by the bunch of you and can’t wait for our day in court and the White House!

  • Shamez K.

    I read Kirby’s book and found it well balanced. I also think it accurately portrays that the jury is still out on the connection between mercury in vaccines and autism.

    Your argument that mercury isn’t a problem because doctors at a conference say so rings hollow. Of course they don’t want to believe mercury could have caused autism, just as you don’t. Why would doctors and public health officials want to believe (let alone admit) that their incompetence had led to such a crippling disorder for such a large number of children. In any case, the real data which is exhaustively presented in Kirby’s book (436 references) does not bear out this belief — as it also does not bear out the belief that mercury in vaccines definitely caused autism.

    In this whole debate which is being driven by emotion and self interest on both sides of the argument, a couple of truths ring out.

    First, the public health community was totally incompetent in not even realizing how much mercury was being injected into kids after the vaccine schedules changed in the early 90s. Second, the CDC has done everything in its power to limit access to the definitive data source on vaccine reactions. Why would somebody with nothing to hide go to such lengths to do so? It stinks to me.

    Just as you characterize Kirby’s book a story of “parental love and devotion” (read biased and unscientific), one could equally characterize the actions of public health officialdom as a story of “incompetence and cover up” (read biased and unscientific).

  • Karen

    Thimerosal is 49% EthylHg
    It is a known neuro-toxin.
    It is just plain stupid to inject it into babies and pregnant women.
    Funny, I have my own little case study going on. I give my child a chelation agent(removes Hg) and he talks and become more normal everyday as the toxic Mercury comes out.
    Your baseless claims are wrong.
    There is no Autism gene but a dozen or so genetic problems connected to children not being able to detox the absurd volume of 30+ designer shots on the mandated schedule!
    What? Kirby presenting Harvard and Columbia studies wasn’t scientific enough for you?
    Get you head out of the sand. It’s all comin’ down, we won’t stand by and let anymore kids suffer for pharmco profit.
    Karen
    Atlanta
    Mom to Josh 5 and recovering from vaccine damage.

  • http://GenerationRescue.org Mike D.

    Even people of the CDC, FDA and IOM are increasingly questioning and changing their minds. Wake up, the tide is turning. The Simpsonwood meeting DID really happen and their fears expressed that day are exponentially growing. The truth ALWAYS comes out and these feeble attempts to suppress it are ‘so sad’. Loved your comments Tony – we’re winning!

    Mike D. – Father to my 8 year old son mercury poisoned by my (once) trusted Dr., mandated by my (once) trusted Govt.

  • Sue

    The theory behind vaccines is a good one but no one has brought up the fact that vaccine manufacturers are immune from liability and thus, have no incentive to provide a quality product. Does anyone recall the Prevnar controversy? The middle manager whistle-blower was fired when he complained about quality control lapses. He got the story out by appearing at a stockholders’ meeting; he was shielded by a little-known law that protects stockholders interests. I believe Prevnar is no longer on the vaccine schedule. Anyone remember the rotavirus vaccine? That was also pulled after a number of children died from adverse effects. If you want to legally avoid vaccines, check out the Think Twice web-site. They have info. for every state in the union. Also, my mother and her siblings, 6 in all, were never vaccinated. And yet, they survived because of good nutrition and good hygiene. The public health poobahs initiated vaccinations because of the multitudes of ignorant people who refuse to observe good hygiene and good nutrition rules and make their lives more difficult. The educated who use common sense suffer for the ignorant who refuse to take care of themselves. Frankly, since my son has neurological deficits previously unknown in either my family or my husband’s family, since he received approximately 130 micrograms of mercury by 11 months, since he seemed so alert until he had shots at 11 months – I have to conclude that the shots screwed up his brain. I would rather have taken our chances with the diseases themselves. It is unlikely he would have been so damaged. My son was always physically strong, a great eater, a good sleeper – I can only dream of what he might have been if not for the shots. This story is like Big Tobacco. It will take years and years for the truth to come out. All the bureaucrats have to cover their butts. It would just take good people of conscience on the inside of Big Pharmacy to do the right thing and tell the truth. And may the liars roast for eternity.

  • http://www.sarent.org Lenny Schafer

    “Those who have fought against the demonizing of thimerosal have to put up with absurd accusations of being industry shills.” asserts Aubrey Noelle Stimola.

    It is far less absurd than charactizing mercury in Thimerosal as harmless. The toxicity of mercury is well known. That public health officials would try to convince us it’s ok to put it into babies bodies is what the real absurdity is. This, to coverup their iatrogenic negligence. How toxic does poison have to be before your healthy skepticism kicks in? Would a little bit of plutonium be ok in vaccines? Potassium cyanide? Pray that you are right, Director Stimola, for if you are not, the consequences are catastrophic beyond imagination and you are on record for being a part of the problem. You and some of your colleages will be held accountable. I would advice you to recheck your facts and reassess your own conflicted interests and objectivity, if only for a little insurance.

    Lenny Schafer
    Schafer Autism Report
    http://www.sarnet.org

  • Avril

    The reviewer ignores the fact that kids are getting better following protocols which involve chelation of their mercury toxic children. I have to admit, I’m getting tired of the the nay-sayers. The proof of the pudding is in the eating.

    My son was in a non-responsive autistic state for two years. He came out of his stupor using the DAN Protocol. People can stand by the sidelines and go boo-hiss, but my son has been in recovery from autism for five years now. It’s not just the vaccines. Mercury is all around us now and as more parents get wise there shall be a reckoning. It’s just the beginning, folks.

  • http://www.oddizm.com Camille Clark

    Kirby’s book is full of innacuracies and what is true in the book is slanted.

    He fails to include some information that makes his “experts” look more like babes in the woods than “experts”, good choice on his part, since by doing so he retains the gawdlike position he has today.

    The problem is that people see, “mercury is a known neurotoxin” and
    “someone chelated his kid and now he’s normal” and put them together, without the benefit of ANY knowledge of the science of neurology and Bingo!
    We got it all figured out, send me a check, you hurt my kid.

    Sure some have learned the difference between glia and neurons, maybe, but they don’t have a clue as to what is really going on in the brain and the level of complexity there.

    There is no evidence that mercury toxicity causes autism, despite all the mercury parents’ cheering over bits and pieces that they garner from this and that variously reputable and unreputable and unrepeated studies.

    Brain damage does not equal autism.

    They don’t know neurology but pretend that they do. They strut around like they have it all figured out and refuse to listen to the counter evidence.

    They are being led around by the nose by medicos who give signs of being charlatans who are selling the cures as well as promoting the “disease”.

    There is no proof that the lab tests they wave in the air are accurate and there is reason to believe that they are not accurate. There is no proof that DMPS is actually removing mercury from their children’s brains, because it doesn’t even cross the blood/brain barrier… they have a tale of moving chairs out of a hotel… but no proof. They claim they have a transdermal chelator, with no proof that the stuff crosses the skin barrier.

    There are far too many unanswered questions here for the mercury causation group to be crowing that they have the truth, and they do crow that they have the truth.

    There is evidence that change the diet of SOME autistic kids makes them feel better. Yay! go for it! but that’s not curing autism, that’s taking pressure off of kids who are known to live with high levels of cortisol from the stress they experience in living.

    There’s no evidence that chelating the kids is what is bringing about a change.

    The tales of miraculous cures are extraordinary.

    Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, and it is not there.

    http://www.medfair.com/content/cme/lectures/eview/autism/fombonne.htm

    that’s a piece of brain candy for people who want real information on autism and epidemiology.

    Camille

  • David T.

    Just wondering–has Aubrey Noelle Stimola ever seen blood and hair tests on a mercury toxic child? Has she seen what happens when the mercury starts to come out of one of these children and watch how they improve?
    Has she seen the CDC’s own study in 2000 showing a statistically significant link between the use of Thimerosol and neurological problems?
    How about the minutes of the meeting that took place in Simpsonwood
    that same year where the participants
    went over that study and
    could see there was a big problem–
    so much so that one doctor said that
    he was worried enough that he didn’t want his grandson getting any Thimerosol containing shots?
    Guess it was OK for his grandson to be
    protected but not my son, eh?
    Why won’t the CDC let anyone look at their data? What are they hiding?
    As taxpayers don’t we have the right to look at the data? If they have nothing to hide why would they not share the information?
    Let’s face it–The FDA and CDC blew it big time and now they look like a bunch of dummies because they never added up the amount of mercury that children would be exposed to–
    How could they allow such a highly toxic substance to be used in infants?
    Psychologically, the medical community
    has not yet been able to come to terms with the fact that something that they
    were told to be so beneficial to
    children turned out to be such a disaster and that they were a willing part.
    If you knew nothing about Thimerosol–
    If someone were to ask you:
    If millions of children were exposed to a highly toxic substance at way above safe levels would a significant amount of them be harmed?
    Common sense would dictate a yes answer.
    What would make you think otherwise?
    I suggest you check Merck’s own data
    sheet regarding Thimerosol which clearly states a danger of cumulative effects and lists it a substance to be avoided–how can you think it would not be harmful to children or even adults?
    Better diagnosis? Where are all the
    1 in 166 adults that should have Autism?
    How about the study on primates that just came out showing that thimerosol
    exposed infants accumulated twice as much inorganic mercury in the brain as
    opposed to the methyl mercury infants.
    So apparently, injected ethylmercury
    is worse than ingested methylmercury.
    I don’t think we need to discuss
    what kind of damage methylmercury causes. Over 1000 papers have been written on how toxic methylmercury is–
    The sooner the medical community admits that they created this problem
    the sooner they can takes steps to help
    all of these kids and make sure something like this never happens again.

  • David Taylor

    Gee, why are there so many angry parents of autistic children posting here. Well, here are just a few of the reasons that I would love to hear Dr. Stimola’s response to:

    1. No independent access to the VSD.
    The CDC and health organizations that follow its recommendations
    based their “no link to thimersosal” claim primarily on a CDC
    epidemiological study of the VSD (“Vaccine Safety Datalink”)
    database. HMOs were paid $30 million of taxpayer money to add their
    data to the VSD. The VSD is maintained by public officials. However,
    to date, only a single pair of independent researchers, forced upon
    the CDC by a Congressional Subcommittee, has been allowed access to
    the VSD to confirm the CDC findings.

    The team found that the original datasets used by CDC researchers
    had been destroyed in violation of federal law, and the team was
    unable to replicate or verify the CDC study. When independent
    verification is not possible, it is standard scientific practice for
    that study to be withdrawn from the peer-reviewed literature. Based
    upon the limited data the CDC allowed the independent researchers to
    access, a two to seven times higher risk for autism disorders was
    found among thimerosal-vaccinated children. After the research team
    published their findings, they were banned from ever using the VSD
    again.

    The CDC’s purported objection to opening up the VSD to
    independent researchers is “confidentiality.” However, all personal
    information has been removed from the data entries, just as it has
    in a similar database, the VAERS (“Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting
    System”), that independent researchers can access.

    Insult-to-Injury Department: The participating HMOs are allowed to
    sell taxpayer-funded VSD data to drug companies.

    2. The meningitis safety study.
    The FDA has on file a human study of thimerosal on which it bases
    its claim that this 49.6% (by weight) ethylmercury preservative is
    not harmful to children when injected into children. In 1931 a study
    in the American Journal of Hygiene reported that Merthiolate has “a
    very low order of toxicity . . . for man.” The data for this study
    came from experimental use of thimerosal by doctors from Eli Lilly
    and Indianapolis City Hospital on 22 meningitis patients during a
    severe outbreak in 1929-30. The patients died before exhibiting any
    adverse reactions to thimerosal and, therefore, the mercury
    preservative was pronounced “safe.” The 1931 study was also
    quoted in Lilly brochures well into the 1980s.

    3. No FDA safety studies of ethylmercury.
    To date, the FDA has not authorized a single safety study of
    thimerosal, a “grandfathered” drug component. Instead of
    encouraging and funding safety studies on ethylmercury (thimerosal is 49.6% ethlymercury by weight), the FDA uses the EPA recommendation for methylmercury. The current EPA regulatory standard for methylmercury exposure (0.1 mcg/kg/day) is based upon a study of 84 mercury poisoned children in Iraq, supported by studies of children in the Faroe Islands. The EPA took the lowest level of exposure at which damage occurred through ingestion, then added a margin of safety based on scientific guesswork.

    A small number of children, a different culture, and a vastly different method of exposure (ingestion vs. injection directly into the bloodstream). This is what passes for “good science” at the
    FDA, and we pay for it.

    Catch-22 department: Despite the fact that the FDA and CDC
    often cite the EPA’s regulatory limit for methylmercury as a basis
    for their recommendations, when questions about the exposure of
    infants to ethylmercury beyond the EPA limit are raised, both groups
    quickly point out that the two forms of mercury are “different” and
    their toxicity should not be compared.

    4. The FDA has deferred to drug companies when it comes to the
    protection of our children.

    Vaccines are the only biomedicals used
    on children NOT required by the FDA to have animal studies first to
    establish their safety and efficacy.

    As of Dec 2000, 41 states had issued 2,242 fish advisories about
    mercury levels in fish that exceeded EPA limits. Yet the FDA has
    never issued a single warning about children receving injected bolus
    doses of mercury that are 125 times greater than the EPA limit
    injected directly into their bloodstream, therefore bypassing 65% fo
    the body’s protection against toxins which are located in the gut.

    In July 1999, the FDA took the bold step of “requesting”
    that thimerosal be removed from vaccines (voluntary compliance) as
    a “prudent” measure, citing that the thimerosal vaccines should
    still be considered safe. At the time, there were over 5000 studies
    covering a period of 50 years on the harmful effects of thimerosal
    in the PubMed database. In 2004, the biological mechanism by which
    ethylmercury in thimerosal kills brain cells was clearly established
    by leading researchers in the US and Canada. Their findings were
    well publicized. Still no warning. Still no recall.

    The veterinarian community has for over a decade discouraged the use of vaccines containing
    thimerosal for animals because of the observed and documented
    neurological effects. Today, the FDA refuses to give our children
    the same level of protection that our country affords to dogs and
    cattle.

    As of April this year, the FDA has issued 87 product recalls,
    including boxes of Jell-O when undeclared pistachios were found in a
    single box. Yet the FDA cannot bring itself to recall vaccines that
    contain mercury, a known neurotoxin and the second most toxic
    substance on this planet. The amount from a single thermometer can
    poison an entire lake.

    Instead, the CDC and FDA have placed the flu shot on this year’s
    childhood immunization schedule—25mg of thimerosal in most
    versions—well beyond the EPA safety limit for mercury exposure.
    Incredibly, the flu shot is also being recommended for pregnant
    women,, whose developing fetuses are at the greatest risk of
    poisoning of any of us. According to EPA guidelines, a child or pregnant mother receiving a flu shot containing 25 mg of thimerosal would have to weigh 550 pounds not to exceed the established limit for daily exposure. And weight isn’t the only issue: a child’s developing system is at a immature, vulnerable state in utero.

    In addition, independent tests of supposedly thimerosal-free vials of vaccines are still showing the presence of this preservative in higher-than-trace amounts. One drug company, Merck, admits to mislabelling vaccines as to their thimerosal content, causing enormous confusion and harm. Yet, the FDA refuses to address this blatant example of false and possible criminial mislabelling.

    Oh, that’s right. Injecting a known neurotoxin directly into an infant’s bloodstream couldn’t possibly cause damage. Well, then, nevermind.

    David Taylor

  • G. Coleman

    Enough already. You can argue all you want, but the proof is already available. See Dan Olmstead’s reports in the Washington Times. The Mennonites, who are not vaccinated, have virtually no exposure to thimerosal and an autism rate of 1 in 15,000 buggies. In the United States 1 in 80 boys who are exposed to thimerosal are now autistic.
    The answer is quite simple because the CDC and FDA has just figured it out.
    If we would just wear straw hats and drive horse buggies, there would be no autism!
    You actually can’t get enough of that good old mercury.

  • http://ahab.com MadAhab

    This is why so many people don’t trust scientists – they are very often guilty of making naked unscientific claims based on crazy assumptions, but expect the rest of us to “just trust them”. Until the 1970s, for example, neonates were routinely denied anaesthetics because “their nervous systems are too immature for them to feel pain” – yet current science agrees with common sense that this claim was idiotic, arrogant, viciously cruel, and caused unimaginable amounts of suffering.

    Read David Taylor’s post carefully.

    Everything we know about mercury tells us its horribly toxic to human nervous systems, yet we are supposed to believe that dosing immature nervous systems with amounts orders of magnitude higher than that recommended for adults is no problem at all, even though no serious studies have been done on this, and even though the best statistical study on the matter was suppressed, kept secret, and the data destroyed? Anyone really capable of believing that without further study is far too stupid, gullible, biased, and unobjective to claim the mantle of scientist.