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Thimerosal, Again

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. has helped to put this issue right back on the front pages again. I spoke a lot about thimerosal in vaccines, and its putative link to autism, back in late 2002, which is when the controversy last flared to this degree. (I’ve put those old posts over into the Autism category on the right for reference.)
I’ve read Kennedy’s Rolling Stone / Salon article, and it’s quite a piece of work. Kennedy is no stranger to exaggeration and to outright misrepresentation, and he’s in typical form here. (Try checking out the corrections that have already run, and be sure to check back for updates. A keyboard macro that says “Salon and Rolling Stone regret the errors” would come in handy, no doubt.)
I’d like to refer everyone to the Blissful Knowledge blog and to Orac for thorough coverage of this issue. These folks have done all the heavy lifting, and there’s a lot of stuff to lift here. I’m in debt to them.
The short take-home? There is still no persuasive evidence linking thimerosal to autism, no matter what Robert Kennedy tells you. But this story will take years to die – ah, what am I talking about? It never will. The New York Times ran an excellent article last weekend by Gardiner Harris, making just that point. There are people who will live the rest of their lives convinced that thimerosal has caused thousands of cases of autism, no matter what amount of evidence piles up to the contrary.
I remember reading posts on this on Blissful Knowledge back in late 2002, when I was writing mine. My children, 4 and 2 years old at the time, have been fine since then. But the author of that site discovered a year later that his own son was autistic, a diagnosis that causes me physical pain each time I just hear about it. As a parent, I cannot imagine what it must be like to deal with the reality, and I have deep sympathy and respect for those who have to. I hope that my profession can eventually do something to help. I do not think, based on the evidence we have, that my profession is to blame.

21 comments on “Thimerosal, Again”

  1. steve says:

    The science blogs have done a good job disposing of a link between thimerosol and autism. I believe chris mooney did one, but I’m not sure. in any case, the problem is, there’s a group of people who’s personal experiences–understandably–compel them to think there is a link. Like one researcher said, what can you do when people don’t trust science?

  2. Lou Wainwright says:

    There is also this survey result that I found to be incredibly discouraging.
    Survey Question:
    ‘The medical industry is withholding a cure for cancer from the public in order to increase profits, yes or no?’
    Yes – 27%

  3. WBurke says:

    CDC Vaccine Data Leads Scientists to Shocking Discovery

    The Institute of Medicine held a meeting to review research that has been found, which links thimerosal, a mercury-based preservative in vaccines, and neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism. The panel used data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Vaccine Datalink, which concluded that children who are given three thimerosal-containing vaccines are 27 times more likely to develop autism than children who receive thimerosol-free vaccines.

    Thimerosal has been gradually removed from vaccines since 1999, however it is still present in some vaccinations, including virtually all flu shots.

    During the review, medical experts discussed the results from a study that showed urinary mercury concentrations were six times higher in children with autism, as opposed to normal-age/vaccine matched controls. They also said that they found evidence that suggested the link between thimerosal-containing vaccines and autism had a higher risk than that between lung cancer and smoking cigarettes.

    Yahoo! News February 9, 2004

    Childhood Vaccines Exceed Federal Guidelines for Mercury

    Childhood vaccines contain doses of mercury that are in excess of the Federal Safety Guidelines, and evidence shows a link between these excessive doses of mercury, found in thimerosal-containing vaccines, and neurodevelopment disorders such as autism and speech disorders, as well as heart disease, according to a study.

    Since the introduction of thimerosal to vaccines, rates of autism have drastically increased. In the mid-1980s, one in 2,500 children had autism compared with one in about 300 children in 1996–an increase of over 800 percent in 20 years.

    Researchers say that thimerosal should be banned from all U.S. vaccines and hope such a ban would curb the epidemic of autism and speech disorders facing America.

    The study found a two- to six-fold increased occurrence of neurodevelopment disorders after an additional 75- to 100-microgram dosage of mercury from thimerosal-containing vaccines as compared to thimerosal-free vaccines.

    To investigate, researchers analyzed the doses of mercury from thimerosal-containing vaccines that children received from routine childhood immunizations. They also evaluated the incidence of rates of neurodevelopment disorders and heart disease following thimerosal-containing vaccines and thimerosal-free vaccines.

    Additionally, researchers looked at data on children with various types of disabilities in comparison to the amount of mercury they received from thimerosal in their childhood vaccines.

    Based on the results, which found thimerosal-containing vaccines to contain mercury in excess of Federal Safety Guidelines, researchers confirmed a link between thimerosal-containing childhood vaccines and neurodevelopment disorders and heart disease.

    Journal American Physicians & Surgeons Spring 2003 (PDF)

    Again Derek – you could NOT be more wrong.

  4. jsinger says:

    Like one researcher said, what can you do when people don’t trust science?

    That’s a bit unfair, I think. We’re not talking about something that’s been proven either way, but about whether statistical analysis does or does not support a link between thimerosal and a very poorly understood medical condition.

    In any case, when this subject reemerges in the media, you know summer is here! Before you know it, it’ll be “There’s a shortage of flu vaccine! Why have those greedy companies dropped out of the vaccine business?” time and I can start waxing my skis.

  5. Derek Lowe says:

    Mr. Burke! Glad to see you over in a new thread. Sort of, anyway.

    I see that you are citing Geier’s work. You might enjoy (or not) reading the New York Times article I linked to, in which Geier is profiled:

    br>“. . .a judge in a vaccine case in 2003 ruled that Dr. Geier was “a professional witness in areas for which he has no training, expertise and experience.”

    In other cases, judges have called Dr. Geier’s testimony “intellectually dishonest,” “not reliable” and “wholly unqualified.”

    I base my opinion partly on the fact that so far, in every country where thimerosal has been removed from vaccines, the rate of autism has not declined. Since most thimerosal-containing vaccines were removed from the US several years ago, we are now in the data-gathering phase of finding out whether that holds true for us as well.

  6. Daniel Newby says:

    Why has nobody tried mercury-199 NMR? You might have to use a mouse and let it live in the magnet for a week, but you’d learn what thimerosal is really up to. This seems to be a case of “millions for debate but not one cent for data”.

  7. WBurke says:


    I find it unsettling that you would assail Geier for the exact thing that is profoundly prevalent among “authors” of medical studies in today’s arena. With the number of ghost writers of studies it is difficult to understand how you would take that opinion from the NYTimes to dismiss the findings of the CDC.

    Maybe you might serve yourself well to introduce yourself to the work of real scientists, with real data to support real findings in a really destructive environment:

    None of your pseudo-scientific “evidence” phases me Derek because the CDC’s own documents reveal an altogether contrary set of fact about thimerosal and vaccines – maybe you might want to learn for yourself:

    Vaccines and Immune Suppression

    Vaccines, all vaccines, are immune suppressing; that is they depress our immune functions. The chemicals in the vaccines depress our immune system; the virus present depresses immune function, and the foreign DNA/RNA from animal tissues depresses immunity. Toraldo, et al found that the chemotaxis and metabolic function of PMNs (polymorphonuclear neutrophils) was significantly reduced after vaccinations were given and did not return to normal for months. Other indicators of immune system depression included reduced lymphocyte viability, neutrophil hyper-segmentation, and a reduced white cell count. All vaccines are immune depressing to some extent and that is the trade-off we are risking. The medical thought is that we trade a small immune depression for an immunity to one disease. Now let me repeat, we are trading a total immune system depression (our only defense against all known disease – including millions of pathogens) for a temporary immunity against one disease, usually an innocuous childhood disease. Therefore, the trade is not at all fair. Mullins puts it this way, “Are we trading mumps and measles for cancer and AIDS.”

    The trade-off is not worth the risk. We are risking getting many more diseases than we are “preventing” from getting. [Later we will see that there is literally no prevention.] Another good example is the ritual of the yearly flu shot. There may be only two or three varieties of flu viruses in each shot, hence the names “Asian-Flu”, “Japanese-Flu” “Indian-Flu” or “Swine-Flu”. But there are literally thousands, may be millions of flu-causing viruses. Taking one or two does not make sense and many people report getting the flu after taking a flu shot. We do not know which variety of flu will affect us each year and in each locale. Therefore, the best method to avoid the flu is to strengthen our immune system by eating properly and getting all the essential vitamins and minerals that our body needs. Only nutrition can build and support a strong immune system, while vaccines help to tear our immunity down. Vaccines have been linked to AIDS and other immuno-deficient disorders as well.

    Vaccinations depress our body’s immune functions and that keeps us open to developing many other diseases. It is very childish to think that we are going to take one flu vaccine and never get sick from the many varieties of flu that exist, especially since viruses can mutate so fast when the conditions arise. Keeping up with these fast mutating viruses can only be done by priming our immune system with good nutrition and keeping the conditions/environment for their growth minimal. In other words, pathogenic viruses will not grow where the conditions will not allow it. It is the terrain which dictates our health and not the germs/viruses themselves. Germs are pleiomorphic, meaning that they can change with their environment; rods become cocci, and vice-versa. Thinking that germs cause disease means that we are not responsible for our own health and we place that responsibility in the hands of some one who has the means to kill these germs with toxic chemicals (drugs), even if those drugs/vaccines harm our body. Vaccines prevent health!

    Vaccinations reduce our immunity in many important ways:

    1) Vaccines contain many chemicals and heavy metals, like mercury and aluminum, which are in-themselves immuno-suppressing. Mercury actually causes changes in the lymphocyte activity and decreases lymphocyte viability.

    2) Vaccines contain foreign tissues and foreign DNA/RNA which act to suppress the immune system via graft-vs-host rejection phenomena.

    3) Vaccines alter our t-cell helper/suppressor ratios … just like those seen with AIDS. This ratio is a key indicator of a proper functioning immune system.

    4) Vaccines alter the metabolic activity of PMNs and reduce their chemotaxic abilities. PMNs are our body’s defenses against pathogenic bacteria and viruses.

    5) Vaccines suppress our immunity merely buy over-taxing our immune system with foreign material, heavy metals, pathogens and viruses. The heavy metals slow down our immune system, while the viruses set up shop to grow and divide. It is like being chained and handcuffed before swimming.

    6) Vaccines clog our lymphatic system and lymph nodes with large protein molecules which have not been adequately broken down by our digestive processes, since vaccines by pass digestion with injections. This is why vaccines are linked to allergies, because they contain large proteins which as circulating immune complexes (CICs) or “klinkers” which cause our body to become allergic.

    7) Vaccines deplete our body of vital immune-enhancing nutrients, like vitamin C, A and zinc, which are needed for a strong immune system. It is nutrients like these that primes our immune system, feeds the white blood cells and macrophages and allows them to function optimally.

    8) Vaccines are neurotoxic and slow the level of nervous transmission, and communications to the brain and other tissues. Now we know that some lymphocytes communicate directly with the brain through a complex set of neurotransmitters. Altering these factors will also depress our immunity.

    Links of Vaccines to AIDS –

    While the medical profession does not lightly discuss AIDS and vaccines in the same sentence, there is much evidence linking AIDS to vaccines. Buttram and Hoffman state, “Indirect immunofluorescence evaluation of T-lymphocytes from blood samples taken … after vaccination revealed a temporary drop … in the helper/suppressor ratio after vaccination.” What that means is that immediately after vaccines are given our blood “looks” like the blood of and AIDS patient. AIDS is diagnosed when the T -cell (helper to suppressor) ratios are depressed and vaccines cause that same occurrence. Now is it any coincidence that the countries where AIDS is rampant most, are the same countries which received the most vaccinations? It is no joke when one asks, “Are we trading mumps and measles for cancer and AIDS?”

    When we look into vaccine production we see the links of vaccines to monkey viruses, like SV-40, which causes immuno-deficiencies (similar to AIDS) in monkeys. Some scientists feel that SIV and HIV are very similar viruses and may be one in the same. If it is found in monkeys it is called SIV and if it is found in people it is then called HIV. Very likely, it is the foreign nature of SIV which makes it deadly to our immune system and our immune system goes on the blink. Vaccinations and AIDS are clearly related, and the medical literature shows us many links to AIDS. The first Hepatitis vaccines made were notorious for causing AIDS and were made from the blood of the gay populations, who had high levels of hepatitis and AIDS. Links of AIDS to the hepatitis vaccines were numerous in the medical literature at the time (the 1970s) of the first hepatitis vaccines and people were afraid to take them for that reason. Yes, one may fear hepatitis, but we also had a greater fear of AIDS, which was more deadly and serious a condition, although many more people experienced hepatitis each year.

    Many other views of how vaccines started the AIDS epidemic are available, but none can be proven with any degree of certainty. Whether HIV is a disease similar to the SIV found in monkey, remains to be seen. Is SIV and HIV the same virus? Is SV-40 involved in immuno-suppression and immunodeficiency? There were reports of the smallpox vaccines delivered to Haiti, Brazil and Africa containing HIV by the London Times in 1987. Some persons have taken conspiratorial views of AIDS, but none have surfaced with any degree of veracity and it misses the point … all vaccines are immuno-suppressive and compromise the host’s immunity. Whether they contain actual HIV viruses may be disputable, they will depress the immune system. Today more care is taken in vaccine production and there are better methods of locating and removing contaminant viruses, but vaccines are still dangerous from their humble beginning and set the stage for many other diseases to follow suit many years later.

    True Immunity: Where Does it Come From? Nutrition!

    Science has glossed over the most valuable point of health, … nutrition. What is it that boosts our immune system and gives one a vibrant healthy life? … nutrition. What is it that allows one to over -come the most devastating diseases known to mankind? … Nutrition. What is the key factor for the recovery of disease? … Nutrition. What is needed for the body to heal itself? … Nutrition. What key factor prevents disease? … Nutrition. What is missing from allopathic medicine today? … Nutrition! It is nutrition and only nutrition which boosts our immune system and helps the body defend itself from foreign pathogens. Herbs, foods, nutrients and vitamin supplements are the tour-de-force of our immunity and it is virtually ignored by medical science in favor of drugs (chemicals).

    One can speculate many reasons why medical science has chosen to ignore this most important aspect of our health … perhaps, because there is no profit in broccoli and carrots. But regardless of profit there is a side of science that altruistically searches for truth. Herbalists and naturopaths for centuries have cured devastating diseases with nature’s remedies and proper diet. Medicine has shunned diet and nutrition (and herbs) as not having a place in scientific medicine. But the lowly herb can cure more than an equal share of allopathic man-made (synthetic) drugs which although originally came from many herbs are now toxic according to their dose and must be tightly regulated.

    The divergent paths of allopathic medicine and herbal naturopathic remedies is seen in the philosophy of vaccination. Vaccines are the only way modern medicine has to “prevent” disease for they don’t believe in or use herbs or nutrition. Therefore, toxic vaccines are their only tool to “promote health”. Herbalists and naturopaths, on the other hand, see the person with a totally different point of view and understanding. The person is taught how to live with nature, how to eat naturally and how to not create the environment for pathogens to grow. When the body is periodically cleansed, disease is not a problem. Allopathy desires to force health by giving the body more toxins (vaccines) to deal with in a futile and erroneous attempt at “preventing” disease. Yet, vaccines cause illnesses, many diseases, numerous disorders and set the stage for cancerous grow while depressing our body’s ability to fight off pathogens. Allopathy depresses important body functions, while making the body more toxic. Naturopathy helps the body eliminate toxins while supporting the body’s immune functions.

    Therefore, there are many points in which allopathic medicine and naturopathic medicine diverge and differ. Yet, the laws of our land only allow allopathic methods (vaccinations) of disease “prevention” and not other more effective and less damaging methods of prevention, i.e., homeopathy and naturopathy. Many religions refuse vaccines on religious grounds, because vaccines are contrary to their beliefs and vaccines are blood products grown on aborted fetuses and human and animal tissues. Vaccines grown on animal tissues, aborted fetuses, and cancer cells would be against anyone’s fair judgement and common sense, regardless of religious beliefs. Therefore, it is common sense which mandates our opinions against putrid vaccines, as well as religious beliefs.

    It is no secret anymore that proper nutrition builds good immunity, when the medical literature is full of studies on the intimate details of our immunity as related to nutrients. The fact that nutrition plays a large role in one’s health (and immune functions) can no longer be suppressed by prejudice. The over-whelming science today substantiates nutrition as a key factor in our health. Nutrition boosts our immune system like nothing else can. Field stated, “it is accepted that nutrition is important in the development and function of the immune system.” Harbige noted that “Nutrition and nutritional status can have profound effects on immune functions, resistance to infection and auto-immunity in man and other animals.” Scrimshaw and SanGiovanni state that “infections, … have adverse effects on nutritional status. … Conversely, almost any nutrient deficiency, if sufficiently severe, will impair resistance to infection.” Chandra (Am J Clin Nutrition, 1997; 66(2):460s-463s) also noted, “Nutrition is a critical determinant of immune responses and malnutrition is the most common cause of immunodeficiency worldwide.” Chandra and Chandra (Prog Food Nutrition Sci, 1986;10(1-2):1-65) stated that “the immune system plays a key role in the body’s ability to fight infection and reduce the risk of developing tumors, autoimmune and degenerative disease.”

    Yet, although this information is new to us now, it is not new to everyone. Many people have always maintained that a strong immune system began with good nutrition. Roger Williams, Linus Pauling, Ewan Cameron, Adelle Davis, John R Christopher, Jethro Kloss, and many other notable nutritionist have claimed nutrition was important to our health for many years, but were ignored. Profit of man-made chemicals came before the health of the patrons, many asked to suffer needlessly in the name of science when they could have been cured by a simple herbal remedy or a food. Nutrition has been down-played in the last 80 years in favor of patent-able drugs (man-made chemicals). Perhaps, the penicillin era was the greatest cause of the downfall of nutrition as a part of our health. The search for the magic bullet began with Paul Erlich’s compound 606, and continues to this day. We think that cancer must be cured from without by a man-made chemical, while we ignore the inner terrain and the body’s natural innate abilities (to heal) within … governed, of course, by nutrition. Hopefully within the next decade great strides will be taken in nutrition and health to make up for lost time. Many physicians are learning nutrition and herbology and homeopathy on their own time. Their patients will be the better for it. As more nutritional oriented physicians become available, the people will have a choice and a place to turn to when in need. Nutrition Produces Health and Vitality! Vaccines Prevent Health!

    Vaccines and Cancer –

    “I never saw cancer in an un-vaccinated person.”

    Dr W B Clarke, circa 1909

    We don’t usually associate vaccinations with cancer, but there are many citations in the medial literature where vaccines caused cancers. Sometimes cancer occurred at the site of injection and sometimes a lymphatic type of cancer would occur many years later in locations. Vaccines cause cancer. Yes, not everybody gets cancer after receiving a vaccine, but their body has been seeded with the ingredients for cancer to grow. Picture cancer as a window of opportunity. Once that window is opened, cancer can grow. Dr Vincent’s work with Biologic Terrain Assessment (BTA) found that all children were pushed into the cancer “window” after vaccines were given. Now those children who don’t develop cancer were (obviously) able to negate that cancer “window” with good nutrition. It is the environment which allows cancer to grow in the first place, and vaccines create that environment. When the cancer is at the site of the vaccine injection, it is hard to deny a causal relationship. Miraculously, doctors tell their patients it is co-incidental or unrelated to the vaccines.

    Yet, it was known in the 1800s that vaccines clog our lymphatics and contain toxic materials which could lead to disease, even cancers. Even Jenner himself had trouble with his vaccines causing diseases, and death. He was nearly lynched in one town for his specious concoctions. Our lymphatic system is designed to carry our lymphocytes throughout our body and maintain control over our cellular immunity. Therefore, the injection of large molecular sized proteins (foreign tissues in the vaccines) will clog our lymph-nodes and create problems for the lymphatic system. Therefore, it is no mystery that vaccines and lymphatic diseases, like leukemias and lymphomas, are related.

    “Syphilis, phthisis, scrofula, cancer, erysipelas and almost all diseases of the skin, have been conveyed, occasioned, or intensified by vaccination.” Dr William Hitchman

    “Cancer and other vile diseases are daily inflicted on virtuous families by vaccination.”

    Dr Edward Haughton, BAMD, MRCS

    “Experts say 98 million Americans who took polio shots in the 1950s and 1960s may get a deadly brain cancer from the inoculations … Researchers at the University of Chicago Medical Center say that a virus contaminated the polio vaccine and they have now found genetic material from the virus in a number of brain cancer victims.”

    Dr Jacob Rachlin quoted from Weekly World News of Lantana [FL]

    Of course, anything which depresses our immunity will eventually lead to cancer, since it is our immune system which cleanses and eliminates mutated (cancerous) cells from our body daily. If this is not done, cancers will grow and develop unchecked by our immune system. Therefore, a healthy immune system is needed to protect us from cancer and Vaccines Prevent Health.

    Vaccines and Auto-Immune Disease – [The injection of foreign animal DNA/RNA.]

    Auto-immune disease is common-place today, but were very rare just a few years ago. Does anybody wonder why one day we are healthy and the next day our body no longer recognizes our own cells as self? Could the injection of foreign animal DNA/RNA have anything to do with our epidemic rise in auto-immune disease today? Bart Classen, MD has done some remarkable research on vaccines and auto-immune diseases, especially Diabetes mellitus, which he sees as a marker disease for all auto-immune conditions. His research finds that the more that vaccinations are given the more diabetes (and auto-immune diseases) appears. Dr Classen’s research found that this held true for many animal models; after receiving vaccines they experienced increases in diabetes. Then he carried his research to include vaccinated human populations. He found that in retrospective studies of vaccinations in five different human populations, this fact held true also. The more vaccines one received the more was their incidence of diabetes (and auto-immune diseases).

    Now it is interesting that the increases in diabetes included Juvenile-onset diabetes, which we are told today is a profoundly “genetic” disease. Yet, Dr Claussen’s studies revealed that vaccinations [any vaccination] can cause increases in Juvenile-onset diabetes, too. Now one theory said that the antigenic structure of the measles/mumps virus was similar to the antigenic structure of the beta cells (which produce insulin) in the pancreas. So when our body makes antibodies to fight off measles virus, those antibodies attack the pancreatic beta cells, too. Viola diabetes!

    Vaccines create the foundations for auto-immune disease when foreign animal tissues are injected into our blood streams. It alters our genes (“jumping” genes) and creates havoc in our lymphatic system. Auto-immune conditions are more common today than before massive vaccination programs began in the 1940s. Auto-immune conditions such as ALS, MS, RA, and Diabetes are severe diseases and not to be taken lightly. They alter people’s lives for ever and cost more than money when we consider the time involved, the stress involved, and eventually death ensues. There is even some speculation that auto-immune conditions may be behind the brain conditions they see in autism and there is some talk in the medical literature of auto-immunity to brain cells. If the body can not even recognize its own cells, then it has been tricked into thinking that those cells are no longer self. Why does this occur? Could AIDS be an auto-immune condition where the lymphocytes are reacting against each other? What about the myriad of neurological disorders, kidney disorders, blood disorders and the many diseases associated with vaccinations? When we are looking for excellent health, we need to avoid auto-immune disorders. One must remember that Vaccines Prevent Health!

    [Note: Dr Classen feels that Diabetes is an indicator (marker) disease for auto-immunity.

  8. SRC says:

    Good God, yet another Kennedy inserting himself into the public eye’s like a cinder, casting about for a bogus issue on which to promote his career as a demagogue. Perhaps we should buy him flying lessons, or at least a lift ticket, and hope for the best.

    Because of his surname, his involvement will tend to validate (go figure) the views of the intellectually disenfranchised, making rational resolution of the question that much more difficult.

  9. Derek Lowe says:

    Daniel Newby asks: “Why has nobody tried mercury-199 NMR? You might have to use a mouse and let it live in the magnet for a week, but you’d learn what thimerosal is really up to.”

    There are some problems with that idea, I think. There could well be pharmacokinetic differences w/thimerosal between mice and humans, and you’d need to iron those out. (There are already plenty of arguments about PK differences between children and adults in this area, let along across species.)

    I’m also not sure about how good the spatial resolution of a mercury MRI might be – it would have to be pretty good to narrow things down in a mouse brain. The biggest problem, though, is that no one has a good idea of what mouse pathology might resemble human autism. We can’t diagnose the human condition with an MRI, so mouse data would be pretty hard to interpret.

  10. WBurke says:

    Hey Derek,

    When all you efforts here are finished, when you take your last breath and all your efforts throughout your life are but memories – what then?

    What do you think happens to people when they die?

    All that education, knowledge, everything you’ve put your all into – do you think it affects where you spend eternity?

    If there was a 1 in 100 chance that death has been vanquished for those willing to pay the price – 2 questions:

    1) What is a fair market price for eternal life?

    2) Would you, and/or any of your colleagues, be willing to pay it?

    Think about it and get back to me…

  11. autist in the family says:

    My oldest sister is autistic. She was born that way, not vaccinated that way. I was vaccinated and wound up fine. The idea that Mr. Burke is pimping his consulting business through preying on the fears of parents of autistic children is absolutely obscene. I recall something about rich men, kingdoms of heaven, and the eyes of needles. Look in the mirror, Mr. Outreach 2K, and go back to defiling your own temple.

  12. WBurke says:

    NEWSFLASH Autist – Even if your sister was “born autistic” – that in now way impacts the very solid FACT that thimerosal causes autism in many children. When a parent takes a perfectly developing child in for a vaccination/immunization shot and within a matter of days that child “clouds over” and regresses developmentally only to be “diagnosed autistic” upon further review – there is no other reason you could cite, explain or profess that can change the fact that the child was damaged by the shot.

    Truth hurts – but prevention (from immunizations) is worth a pound of cure (or in the medical communities case a pund of treatment ’cause you guys couldn’t even find a cure for the common cold if you had the recipe right in your hand.)

  13. Dave Eaton says:

    I enjoy the blog. I’m a PhD chemist mainly doing materials work in industry, but most of my grad school friends now work in pharma.
    When I was at University of Kentucky, there was some work being done that hinted that Hg in Thimerosal might be dangerous for children with a certain version of a certain gene (sorry I can’t be more specific. I barely speak bio, though I think it’s fascinating). I haven’t kept up at all, so I don’t know if it’s been published. There were some concerns about Alzheimer’s and Hg from amalgam fillings, too. There appears to be a minute partial pressure of Hg in the mouths of people with amalgam fillings. I think this has been measured, but I don’t know where it might be in the lit. I do know that most of the people working on that project had their amalgam fillings replaced with composite fillings. Not proof that the vapor is harmful in those concentrations, of course, but interesting.
    To address some of the shrill and wordy here: I am not an expert in medicine or biology, but, soberly and with reflection, I have bet that vaccines in general are safe- my child was vaccinated, and while I recognize there is a measurable risk even neglecting Hg, I think that the memory of society is very short about what a scourge infectious diseases have been for all but the last hundred years. Drugs and vaccines are tools, and generally pretty good tools. Not voodo, not magic, not above reproach, and not perfect. But they help more than they hurt. Much, much more.

  14. Bradley says:

    There was no need to cite the National Review article; indeed, it undercut your credibility. From what I’ve read in the Simpsonwood transcript, Kennedy grossly exaggerated and made up stuff out of whole cloth. And the NYT article and other examples you provided gave plenty of context.
    But citing a partisan Republican magazine to attack a partisan Democrat is not at all convincing. If the National Review is the best source you have of RFK Jr.’s dubious journalistic history, you’d have been better off leaving it out.
    I will, however, thank John Derbyshire for his exquisite NR takedown of intelligent design. It’s always interesting when a political publication goes against the beliefs of its readers, rather than just preaching to the converted. More than that, the article was well-reasoned and spoke to the heart of what scientific inquiry is all about.

  15. WBurke says:

    Dave Eaton says:

    Drugs and vaccines are tools, and generally pretty good tools.

    What tools would you call good that:

    Only work 30% of the time

    Come with no guarantee of efficacy

    When they don’t work require you to buy another tool at your expense

    That 94% of what they claim in advertising is not backed up by scientific evidence

    Have a markup in the 1,000% to 220,000% range

    Are shoved down your throat as the only way to do a job?

  16. Donna says:

    You mentioned the NYTimes article on thimerosal, But you did NOT mention that the directors at NYTimes have conficts of intrest!
    The board of directors at NYT;
    Raul E. Cesan
    he became president of Schering Laboratories, the U.S.
    pharmaceutical marketing arm, and in 1994, became president of
    Schering-Plough Pharmaceuticals. (Im sure he still owns stock in
    Ellen R. Marram
    Ms. Marram also serves on the board of directors of the Ford Motor
    Company and Eli Lilly and Company. [Eli Lilly is the makers of thimerosal]
    William E. Kennard
    Mr. Kennard joined The Carlyle Group, a private equity firm, in May
    2001 as a managing director in the global telecommunications and
    media group.
    Henry B. Schacht
    Mr. Schacht also serves on the boards of Alcoa (Aluminum Company of
    America), Johnson & Johnson and Lucent Technologies Inc.[Johnson &
    Johnson is one of the compaines that makes rhogam that injected pregnant women with mercury/thimerosal]
    Cathy J. Sulzberger
    She was also an editor of Consumer Drug: Digest: American Society of
    Hospital Pharmacists and Medication Teaching Manual: National
    Association of Retail Druggist, and a Consumer Editor of the Journal
    of the National Association of Retail Druggists.
    Corporate Officers
    Neal Roberts
    Vice President, Organization Development
    The New York Times Company
    Previously, Mr. Roberts was vice president of global organization
    effectiveness with Hoechst Marion Roussel, the fifth largest global
    pharmaceutical company. There, he directed organization development
    consulting initiatives providing services to all commercial regions
    and global functions located in France, Germany and the U.S. in
    support of the execution of global strategies and the cultural
    integration of three merged pharmaceutical companies.
    Robert Kennedy Jr, has been some what of an advocate about the dangers of thimerosal, Here is Robert Kennedy Jr’s website of the facts behind thimerosal, the cdc, big pharma cover up! Some of these children are severe/profoundly disabled from this, including my son.
    The CDC sent an ALARM to pediatrican last year….1 out of 6 children in America has some form of developmental or behavior disorder, This does NOT include the children with cancer, heart disease, asthma, ect….

  17. Donna says:

    Derek wrote:
    “I hope that my profession can eventually do something to help. I do not think, based on the evidence we have, that my profession is to blame.”
    Sure you hope Big Pharma can “help” come up with new drugs to “cover” the symptoms of mercury poisoned children. Chelation is the only way some kids will be healed, unfortunately for the ones that were poisoned in utero from injections of mercury these kids will never be healed…Oh thats right we have the “scientist” who are in the process of DNA vaccines, and Gene therapy. Im so disgusted with Pharma Nazis! Yes, thats what they are…and the company that injected me with mercury while I was pregnant is the same company that did those HORRIFIC expirements on the Jews locked up in concentration camps. Why this company was never shut down back then is beyond me!
    If you really want to help the children in your country Derek, Then please learn about Folate Methylation, Because this is what Thimerosal causes. One question I do have, Did Pharma decide to use mercury because it is hard to detect??? Are the “mad scientist” at Pharma stupid??? Or, do they know just how much mercury to add to cause developmental disorders??? How much money has Big Pharma made from 1 out of 6 disabled children in the USA????

  18. Derek Lowe says:

    I’m going to leave these comments up. But as I told the person who left them (by email), I greatly resent the accusation that I, my friends, colleagues, and co-workers around the industry, would have deliberately harmed millions of children for monetary gain. That’s untrue, and unforgiveable.

    Godwin’s Law has been invoked.

  19. Donna says:

    Goodwins law!! I said the company that injected me with mercury is the same company that did all those HORRIFIC expirements on the jews in concentration camps. Yes, They were Nazis! So your Goodwin law does not apply.
    And yes Derek it is UNFOGIVEABLE that this same company was allowed to INJECT MERCURY into pregnant women.

  20. WBurke says:

    Derek says: “I greatly resent the accusation that I, my friends, colleagues, and co-workers around the industry, would have deliberately harmed millions of children for monetary gain. That’s untrue, and unforgivable.”

    Sorry Derek but accusing you doesn’t even come close to being unforgivable – what is truly unforgivable is that everything you are denying – your industry does.

    How many die every year from FDA approved, doctor prescribed prescription drugs?

    JAMA says 106,000/year give or give a good chunk because they acknowledge that the number could be much higher due to the rarity of reporting adverse drug events.

    How many are harmed to hospitalization by these same adverse drug events each year?

    That number would be about 2.2 million, give or take a chunk, but hey that’s the nature of the business right?

    How is it that in a day and age where “scientists” claim extreme enlightenment and scientific wisdom that medicine can be so barbaric as to inflict such devastation on its consumers and still remain the most profitable industry in the world?

    The fact that chemo is used in cancer still despite its sledgehammer approach in an era of laser accuracy ideology is beyond description.

    What is unforgivable Derek is the havoc that your industry wreaks on family after family in the darkest of times for them, through the most unimaginable of circumstances you guys (Big Pharma) pour it on so heavy (the PR Watchdogs) that the truth of the calamity rarely if ever breaks the surface for more than a flashing.

    Of course you guys are so used to crushing the presence of any sign of a conscience that these things don’t register with you, you only are able to focus on the irrelevant and immaterial issues like, “Oh my ego was hurt!” or “How dare you call me a heartless druid!”

    Calling them as we see them and letting the truth be known! Nice work Donna – my condolences to you for the damage inflicted upon your family by Big Pharma.

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