Mercury Study Released Early to Help AAP Bash ABC

by Barbara Loe Fisher

The AAP leadership is just not going to give up insisting that it is a very, very good thing to inject mercury into infants and children. They are going to twist themselves into pretzels trying to defend the indefensible premise that a known neurotoxin belongs in childhood vaccines, as evidenced by today's early release of a methodologically questionable "study" by Michael Pichichero, M.D. purporting to exonerate the mercury-based vaccine preservative, thimerosal, from any responsibility for children developing vaccine- associated autism.

The study, originally scheduled to be published Feb. 4 in the AAP journal, Pediatrics, was released "early" in an effort to blunt the impact of tonight's broadcast of a fictional drama on ABC-TV that highlights the ordeal of a family whose son developed autism after receiving mercury-containing vaccines.

Here is what all the fuss is about (for today at least): Pichichero claims his study of about 200 babies and children, who were injected with vaccines containing ethyl mercury (thimerosal), showed that measurable mercury levels in the blood of the children were gone within 3.7 days. This, says Pichichero, is much quicker than the average 44 days it takes for methyl mercury (found in fish) to be undetectable in the blood. Ergo, he says, exposure to thimerosal does not cause brain damage or autism!

Not so fast, says Thomsas Brubacher, M.D., a scientist who studies the biological effects of ethyl mercury on primates. "Just because it came out of the blood doesn't mean it is excreted from the body. It could have gone to the brain. In primates, you actually get more mercury in the brain after exposure to ethyl mercury than with methyl mercury - it has an easier time crossing the blood brain barrier." 0130/vaccine-mercury-leaves-blood-fast

Now, whether you think that all or part of the autism epidemic has been caused by children getting too many mercury containing vaccines or whether you think that a subset of children suffering with autism have been affected by mercury containing vaccines or you believe mercury containing vaccines do not play any role at all in the autism epidemic:


News Flash for the AAP and pediatricians everywhere: there is no mother on this planet who would, willingly, ask you to inject her baby with mercury. It does not matter if ethyl mercury has been "proven" or "not proven" to be the cause of the autism epidemic. It is simple from a parent's perspective:


The AAP leadership and doctors inside and outside of government, who have become apologists for unsafe vaccines and one-size-fits-all vaccine policies, are dancing like clowns as they threaten freedom of the press and attempt to cover-up vaccine injuries and deaths not only potentially caused by thimerosal - but also potentially caused by many other biological mechanisms involved in vaccine induced brain and immune system dysfunction, including autism. The dance would be almost comical if their stubborn defense of mercury in vaccines did not reveal so much more about a cavalier disregard for scientific truth and human life.


"The latest chapter in the debate over whether childhood vaccines can cause autism was written Wednesday with release of a study that showed the controversial mercury-containing preservative thimerosal is rapidly excreted from babies' bodies and can't build up to toxic levels....."Though it's reassuring to affirm that these immunizations have always been safe, our findings really have greater implications for world health," Pichichero said. "Replacing the thimerosal in vaccines globally would put these vaccines beyond what the world community could afford for its children." The study findings were to be released Monday in the February issue of the journal Pediatrics. But they were released early by the American Academy of Pediatrics, which is requesting that the ABC network cancel the premiere episode of a new show Thursday dealing with the thimerosal-autism controversy...... Still, at least one vaccine critic worries that inoculations are making children prone to autism, a developmental disorder characterized by impaired social interaction, communication problems, and unusual, repetitive, or severely limited activities and interests. And if it's not thimerosal, then it must be some other vaccine-related interaction, said Barbara Loe Fisher, co-founder and president of the National Vaccine Information Center. "There are many biological mechanisms involved in vaccine-induced brain and immune system changes that could quite well lead to autism," she said. "Mercury doesn't belong in any product," Fisher added. "Mercury doesn't belong in vaccines whether it's proven or not proven that mercury is a problem in vaccines." - Forbes (HealthDay News) January 30, 2008

"One of the few researchers who studies the effects of ethyl mercury is Thomas Burbacher, PhD, professor of environmental and occupational health sciences and director of the infant primate research lab at the National Primate Research Center, University of Washington, Seattle. Burbacher's studies of ethyl mercury and thimerosal in primates are cited by both sides of the thimerosal debate. Burbacher says that just because ethyl mercury is gone from an infant's blood soon after it receives a dose of thimerosal -- a half-life of just 3.7 days in the Pichichero study -- doesn't mean it's gone from the body. "Just because it came out of the blood doesn't mean it is excreted from the body. It could have gone to the brain," Burbacher tells WebMD. "In primates, you actually get more mercury in the brain after exposure to ethyl mercury than with methyl mercury -- it has an easier time crossing the blood-brain barrier." Sallie Bernard is co-founder and executive director of SafeMinds, an organization that advocates "sensible action for ending mercury-induced neurological disorders." Bernard says the Pichichero study is valuable because it makes it clear that the body handles ethyl mercury very differently from the way it handles methyl mercury. "That is why we need real safety studies to look at the effects of ethyl mercury," Bernard tells WebMD. "We need not look at blood levels and excretion times, but at what goes on in the brain and what any ethyl mercury-induced changes in the brain are doing to children." - Daniel DeNoon, Web MD (January 30, 2008) 0130/vaccine-mercury-leaves-blood-fast


Anonymous said...

Please correct spelling and title:
Thomas Burbacher PhD
University of Washington
Washington National Primate Center,
Infant Primate Research Laboratory,
Center for Human Health & Disability

Eesh said...

I am in a very difficult position right now as a new parent. My daughter is now 5 mths old and I've held off getting her any vaccinations. On the one hand I'm afraid that if I don't go thru with it then she'll end up getting a potentially life threatening disease she should have been vaccinated against but then on the other hand I'm afraid that if I do vaccinate her that 4 or 5 years from now I'll discover that she's autistic.

I'm wondering if you're against all vaccines or if you advocate some and not others.

I should mention that I live in Canada. And I find the vaccine debate is not spoken about as much over here and so the information I find is not as current as it is for parents in the U.S. Every 'official' site here advocates the administration of vaccines to children.

Would you have any advice to give me?

And thank you for having such an informative place to come to for the latest news on vaccinations.

Eesh said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I too am in this position my son is only 5 weeks old and I have been reading as much information as I can find on the Thermerisol controversy. I think it is ridiculous that the pharmaceutical companies still use this preservative when all they would have to do is make single use vials for each dose and be done with the controversy. I don't know if I should delay some vaccines refrain from them or spilt them up?? I have not found any suggestions on a way to do some but maybe not all of the vaccines. Any advice would be welcomed!!! Thank You in advance for your comments.

Anonymous said...

I too am in this position my son is only 5 weeks old and I have been reading as much information as I can find on the Thermerisol controversy. I think it is ridiculous that the pharmaceutical companies still use this preservative when all they would have to do is make single use vials for each dose and be done with the controversy. I don't know if I should delay some vaccines refrain from them or spilt them up?? I have not found any suggestions on a way to do some but maybe not all of the vaccines. Any advice would be welcomed!!!

Anonymous said...

If mercury can cause neurological damage, are there any other possible side effects/disorders?
Is there any conection with mercury affecting endorphines? How long after the introduction of mercury could it cause damage?
My son had a sudden on set of severe headaches and then an on set of pain upon touch. He has lived with a headache 24/7 (and pain upon touch) for the last 5 years. The severity has lessened after time and or treatments. I was wondering if his first flu shot could be tied to his medical issues.

Steve said...

I live in Canada too. I have avoided all vaccines for my children despite the concerns of my wife and the vociferous vaccine-pushing of our pediatrician and school officials. So far I have not found any evidence that any vaccine has a documented benefit/risk ratio greater than 1. The main problem of course is that since no one has bothered to comprehensively study the risks, the denominator of that fraction is largely unknown. Since my pediatrician has admitted that there are no long-term safety studies of any vaccine, my position is that all vaccines are to be considered experimental therapy, and I would rather they experimented on someone else's children, thank you very much. (Not that I would wish vaccine damage on any child!)

Indeed, the evidence that is available so far indicates that by and large, the experiment has failed, and so it should be terminated immediately.

For those concerned about the "serious" and "life-threatening" childhood diseases that vaccines are supposed to prevent, bear in mind that very few people nowadays die from childhood diseases, whether they're vaccinated or not - and the ones that do are always in some state of compromised health or nutrition to begin with. Either that or they are killed by further inappropriate medical interventions which get labelled as "complications". Standard childhood diseases are just not all that dangerous to a child who's otherwise healthy, well-fed, living in an appropriately hygienic environment, and properly cared for. Of course these conditions were harder to come by 100 years ago than they are today!

Anonymous said...

I have read with interest this thread. I am a pediatrician in practice for 16 years. I fully understand your hesitation and know that you want to do the right thing. I would like to more fully explain, why I think the information you are using to decide on, is erroneous. Very frequently, you will encounter information from multiple sources that conflicts with the information. This becomes an issue as most parents have no personal realization of vaccine preventable diseases. Immunization efforts have been so successful that the public tends to hear less about the benefits of vaccines and more about potential negative effects. If we were in the midst of a measles or whooping cough epidemic, I believe that more parents would understand the benefits of vaccines.
It is important to bear in mind that as part of our training in infectious diseases, neurology, microbiology, immunology, epidemiology and statistics; we must be sure that studies withstand the ability to separate an association from a causal relationship. For example, if you read about 3 people hit by a car when crossing the street with their sneakers on, a true study would likely identify that not following safety precautions was the likely cause rather than the fact that the 3 pedestrians had been wearing sneakers. This is more of an association rather than causation. This is why it is so important to have some faith in someone with training and experience in this area.
It is important to look at all of the information available when determining causation, rather than selecting information based on supporting a prior conclusion. Unfortunately, individuals already have a conclusion and then look for just the information (ignoring statistics) that might support their prior conclusion, instead of looking at all the evidence and then making a conclusion. Additionally, one can create some controversy around the information by insinuating and suggesting that someone “doesn’t want the true story to be told”. The idea that vaccines are a poison that one would not want put in their body tells us the authors views about vaccines.
I can tell you personally that there is no conspiracy to hide the data. A while ago the warpath was “mercury in the vaccines”. Yet when the preservative was largely removed, despite the evidence of causality, the National Vaccine Information Center slowly migrated to other causes. It creates fuel to fear by making statements like … “a history of allergies increases your risk of reaction”. The study quoted was in fact a study in mice extrapolated to humans on the whole cell vaccine. This vaccine is no longer used. I cannot imagine how we can extrapolate mice data to conclude that a family history of allergies increases your risk of reaction. The truth is that we have eliminated thimerosol as a preservative even though it is not proven as a toxin, poison, etc, so that we can move on from this argument. If it is so wrong to have any ingestion of any type, we would not eat fish at all.
Finally, and in summary; I have been doing this long enough that I have seen the anti-vaccine movement move with the wind. Their arguments are constantly changing and they try to keep a sense of “new information shows…”. There is not solid, scientific evidence that has been presented in all the works I have read, seen and heard that would prevent me from highly recommending this effective treatment, nor immunizing my own children.
It is unfortunate to me that good intentioned, compassionate parents are led down paths that are not in their child’s best interests. Thiomerosal is a preservative that is used in low doses of vaccines and contains 50% ETHYLMERCURY. Low doses of METHYLMERCURY consumed in certain populations that eat high amounts of fish and whale meat, can have developmental effects in young children. It has been suggested that ethylmercury can have a similar effect, though there is no evidence to support this claim. Moreover, ethylmercury is more quickly broken down and removed in the body. Based on the assumption that ethylmercury MIGHT have the same effect as methylmercury, the EPA lowered the maximum dose that infants should recieve. This was never a level that was thought to cause problems, and a 10 fold safety factor was built into this recommendation. As a result, anti-vaccine groups have seized that EPA guidelines as proof that children were receiving too much mercury and have further stated that the possible rise in autism is a direct result of this preservative. To remove this controversy, thimerosal was removed from all vaccines given to young children as of 2001.
Although thimerosal as a preservative is no longer present in recommended vaccines for children younger than 7 years in the United States, it is in vaccines worldwide.
How much is too much for thimerosol?
• Thimerosal free: no detectable levels of thimerosal
• Trace thimerosal: under 0.5 micrograms of thimerosal
• Thimerosal vaccines: 12.5 micrograms of thimerosal
• One can of tuna fish: about 87 micrograms of methylmercury
• World Health Organization allowable 1st year of life exposure: 200-230 micrograms of methylmercury
Are there too many vaccines?
There have been many studies regarding the increase in number of vaccines. Most importantly, although more vaccines are given there is LESS exposure to the immune system. In other words, the number of Proteins and Polysaccharides in vaccines have decreased as seen below:
• 1900 - 200 Proteins (from Smallpox Vaccine)
• 1960 - 3,217 Proteins (Mostly from Whole cell Pertussis Vaccine)
• 2000 - 126 Proteins (decrease due to Acellular Pertussis Vaccine)
In 1960, there were vaccines for 5 diseases commonly given. Since 2000, we vaccinate against 11 diseases. As can be seen above, there is less than 4% of the number of proteins now given as there were given from 1960 to 1980. Other studies done also show no support to the idea that multiple vaccines overwhelm, weaken, or “use up” the immune system. On the contrary, young infants have an enormous capacity to respond to vaccines and everything else in their environment. By providing protection against these diseases, the vaccines prevent against the serious complications and death due to the natural infection.
In conclusion: I would not trust the drug company (their conclusion is that all vaccines are good) to convince me that vaccines are necessary. Nor would I trust the anti-vaccine groups (you know who you are – and their conclusion is that all vaccines are bad poisons).