Jewish World Review Sept. 7, 2004 / 21 Elul 5764
Drs. Michael A. Glueck & Robert J. Cihak
Sad child disease: Speaking out so that they can speak
The medical, scientific and political rifles are loaded and the shots will
soon be heard in Sacramento and around the nation. Hopefully the winners
will be all our children and grandchildren. The issue, which has drawn
nationwide attention, is the bitter strife over possible risks from the
chemical thimerosal which is about half ethyl mercury, in our vaccines
given to children and pregnant women.
The California State Assembly on August 26 voted to eliminate the
mercury-based preservative from vaccines and sent the measure to the
governor's office, where its prognosis is uncertain. The vote was 48 to 21
in favor of the bill which earlier in the week passed the state Senate, 22
to 13, despite opposition from leading vaccine maker Aventis Pasteur Inc.
We applaud the California legislature. We think they got it right in spite
of clashing evidence, studies and emotions.
A spokesman said Schwarzenegger had not taken a position on the bill. We
urge him to sign it. The bill would bar pregnant women and children under 3
years old from getting vaccines with more than trace levels of thimerosal
after July 2006.
During the 1990s, millions of infants and toddlers were exposed to mercury
above federal guidelines because of a rising number of routine shots in
which thimerosal was a common ingredient used to prevent bacterial
contamination. Since 1999, the chemical has been reduced to trace levels
in most pediatric vaccines. Vaccine makers and many health officials say
there is no proof of a causal link between thimerosal and autism. To which
we add that there is no definitive proof there isn't!
The audience listened with enthralled attention to a talk about one mad cow
from Canada, which caused an investigation costing millions of dollars,
observed Dr. Boyd Haley at the July 2004 meeting of Doctors for Disaster
But the major disaster, he said, is the one that is happening to our
children. Psychiatrists call it attention deficit disorder, autism, autism
spectrum disorder, or pervasive development disorder. He calls it mad child
disease and thinks that its various forms represent different levels of
Dr. Haley, chairman of the chemistry department at the University of
Kentucky, blamed the medical and dental professions, for not speaking out.
Every quantitative study has shown that the largest contributor to the
mercury body burden in Americans is dental amalgams. The level is
increased ten-fold by brushing and another ten-fold by placing the amalgam
in a cup of hot coffee, Haley stated.
In a position statement released in October 2002, the American Dental
Association "ADA) asserted that "the process by which amalgam is made
renders the bound mercury component stable." The FDA reaffirmed the safety
of dental amalgam in March 2002; however, it has never tested or funded a
test of an amalgam filling to determine whether it releases mercury,
according to Dr. Haley.
In a July 2002 press release, the ADA admitted that a "minute" amount of
mercury "may be released" by "vigorous chewing and grinding," but "there is
no scientific evidence that this negligible amount results in adverse
Babies don't have fillings, but their mothers do. The more amalgams, the
higher the mercury level in the hair of normal infants. But unexpectedly,
autistic children have low levels of mercury in their hair, and the more
severe the autism, the lower the level tends to be, even if mother has many
The mercury that is not found in the hair or the blood is retained in the
tissues, Dr. Haley explains; some individuals cannot excrete it properly.
Autistic children have more mercury in their baby teeth and unload much
more mercury than normals when challenged with a mercury chelating agent.
Thimerosal was removed from vaccines for cats and dogs in 1992, but
thimerosal-free hepatitis B vaccine was not available for babies until
The epidemic of these child diseases started at the same time as the
mandated vaccine program in 1982-1985, Dr. Haley notes. The first case of
autism, for a time a uniquely American disease, was described in 1941.
Thimerosal had been patented in 1928 and was added to various American
drugs in the 1930s.
The male:female ratio is about 4:1 in all of these child diseases,
suggesting that the cause is probably the same toxic vector. It happens
that boys are much more susceptible to mercury toxicity than girls because
testosterone potentiates toxicity while estrogen is protective.
Bernard Rimland, Ph.D., founder of the Autism Research Institute, said that
4% of American boys are autistic. He predicts a serious shortage of
technically trained men and suggests that fully vaccinated children could
lose 15 to 20 IQ points and have blunted emotions and behavioral problems.
On the other hand, The Institute of Medicine has called for an end to
research on a connection between mercury and neurodevelopment disorders,
and for channeling funds into "more productive" avenues. Officials,
however, are unable to state their hypothesis to explain the epidemic of
mad child disease, Dr. Haley said.
On June 4, 2004, the U.S. Office of Special Counsel forwarded to Congress
hundreds of disclosures from private citizens alleging public health
concerns about thimerosal in childhood vaccines.
It is alleged that:
1. Vaccines containing 25 mcg of mercury per dose and carrying an
expiration date of 2005 continue to be produced and administered.
2. Some data sets showing a relationship between thimerosal and neurologic
disorders no longer exist.
3. Independent researchers have arbitrarily been denied access to CDC data
It is also alleged that the CDC and the FDA colluded with pharmaceutical
companies at a conference in Norcross, Ga., in June 2000 to prevent release
of a study showing a statistical correlation between thimerosal exposure
and autism, attention deficit disorder, and speech and language delays.
Instead of releasing the data presented at the conference, the author of
the study, Dr. Thomas Verstraeten, later published a different version of
the study in the November 2003 issue of Pediatrics, which did not show a
statistical correlation. No explanation has been provided for this
And so the conflict continues.
We urge Governor Schwarzenegger to sign the California legislation and set
a higher standard for the country. Since the dose makes the poison why not
error on the safe side.
Michael Arnold Glueck, M.D., is a multiple award winning writer who comments
on medical-legal issues. Robert J. Cihak, M.D., is a Discovery Institute
Senior Fellow and a past president of the Association of American Physicians
and Surgeons. Both JWR contributors are Harvard trained diagnostic radiologists.
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