Jewish World Review Sept. 10, 2004 / 24 Elul 5764

Drs. Michael A. Glueck & Robert J. Cihak

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Consumer Reports


Mercury linked to autism


http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | During the 1990s, millions of children were exposed to mercury above federal guidelines because more and more routine shots contained thimerosal, a mercury compound. (See our article "Are Vaccines Shots in the Dark?"). Vaccine makers and many health officials say there is no "proof" of a causal link between thimerosal and autism. Since 1999, most vaccines contain only trace amounts.


But there are many degrees of proof and certainty in science, just as there are in the courtroom, in politics or in life.


"Clinical judgment" is the standard for advising patients and making decisions in everyday medical practice, based on what would be called a "preponderance of evidence" in civil legal cases.


"Scientific proof" is typically "beyond a reasonable doubt," the standard of proof required for a guilty verdict in criminal cases.


In our clinical judgment, there's enough evidence to convict these doses of thimerosal and find them guilty of causing significant toxicity in many children, leading to a spectrum of childhood diseases including autism.


The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have failed in their responsibility to protect Americans against unsafe medical and dental procedures, according to Boyd Haley, Ph.D., a biochemist and chairman of the Department of Chemistry at the University of Kentucky. Dr. Haley spoke at the Doctors for Disaster Preparedness meeting in July 2004.

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Officials often ignore research implicating mercury toxicity; at the same time, the only research considered acceptable is rife with conflicts of interest.


In this controversy, most government agencies seem to be demanding a "beyond a reasonable doubt" standard of proof for research showing harm from mercury while accepting a "preponderance of evidence" standard for research exonerating mercury.


Let's review some of the evidence that has largely been ignored:


  • Since 1970, British health authorities have recommended vaccination with thimerosal-containing vaccines. Even so, nearly 15 percent of British children were not vaccinated between 1970 and 1980; only one autistic child has been found in this unvaccinated group, in contrast with an epidemic of autism among vaccinated children.

  • Athletes dying suddenly with idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy have 22,000 times the usual level of mercury in the muscle of their hearts, according to Dr.Haley. He stresses that all his data come from published, peer-reviewed sources.

  • Geier and Geier recently demonstrated a positive dose-response relationship between thimerosal dosage and cardiac arrest in children. [http://www.jpands.org/vol8no1/geier.pdf.]

  • In the newsletter Civil Defense Perspectives [http://www.oism.org/cdp/july2004.html], Jane Orient, M.D., president of Doctors for Disaster Preparedness (DDP), reports on the epidemic of "pink disease" (also known as acrodynia or erythredema) that afflicted children in the early 20th century. Children presented with a pink discoloration of the fingers and toes, desquamation of the palms and soles, and a rash, among other symptoms, including flushing; irritability; swollen, painful fingers and toes; weakness; tachycardia; elevated blood pressure; photophobia; and polyneuritis. One mother stated, "My child behaves like a mad dog." Mortality was about 7 percent.

    This "peculiar neurosis of the vegetative nervous system in young children" occurred in babies between the ages of 6 months and 2.5 years in the English-speaking world but between the ages of 2 and 5 on the continent. Popular theories included viral infection, nutritional deficiency and "over-nutrition" in more affluent families. Most physicians did not consider poisoning, nor did they investigate "the customs of mothers or the activities of the advertising and patent medicine industries."

    By 1950, considerable evidence had implicated mercury, widely used in remedies such as teething powders. The disease disappeared when mercury was voluntary withdrawn by the manufacturers from most teething powders after 1954.

  • Bernard Rimland, Ph.D., founder and director of the Autism Research Institute and author of many articles and the prize-winning book "Infantile Autism," said at the DDP meeting that "the autism epidemic is the greatest catastrophe" the USA has ever suffered. He also noted the strong association of vaccines with autism.

The Verdict



We find that the preponderance of evidence implicates mercury as a guilty party in a wide spectrum of childhood conditions, including autism, idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy, cardiac arrest in children, pink disease and other neurodevelopmental disorders.


We're not saying that mercury causes all cases of all these conditions; we do say that the form of mercury and the dose are all-important and that the same medical condition can be caused by different agents or different combinations of factors.


For example, the dose of mercury from the environment probably does not contribute a significant dose to humans. For one thing, the metal element mercury has to be converted to more toxic chemical forms before it causes harm.


Simple Solution


In parting, we offer a simple solution to the problem. In the past, vaccines contained thimerosal because it helped prevent bacterial contamination in bottles containing dozens or hundreds of doses. We suggest packaging vaccines in individual doses, thereby obviating the need for any preservative. A bit more expensive, perhaps but your children and grandchildren are worth it!


See JWR Archives below for other Glueck & Cihak mercury related columns.




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. Comment by clicking here.

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