Thimerosal: Let The Science Speak By Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. & Drs. Martha Herbert and Mark Hyman Debuts August 4
Many of us in the autism community have been eagerly awaiting the release of Robert Kennedy, Jr.'s new book, THIMEROSAL: LET THE SCIENCE SPEAK:
I am hopeful about the book--hopeful that there can be an honest look into the use of one of the deadliest ingredients possible in vaccines, namely mercury. (And seriously, the tired claim that it was removed from most children's vaccines over a decade ago, except for SOME flu shots, doesn't settle anything. It's still in unconscionable levels in the flu vaccine and this vaccine is recommended for pregnant women at all stages of pregnancy. Imagine the impact of an adult dose of 25 mcg of mercury on the brain of a developing fetus. AND A POINT THAT IS NEVER EXPLORED: The vaccine makers still sell vaccines to Third World Countries loaded with high levels of toxic thimeorsal. We may be protecting the children of the U.S., but the poorest of the poor in the world have no choice for their kids--they get mercury.)
Of course it also matters how the media reacts to Kennedy's book. If reporters present this as one man's baseless opinion in the face of an army of experts, it'll be easy to discount his work as simply "anti-vaccine."
(Most of the time, the press tackles this subject as if there were no debate. Whoever contends the vaccines have serious side effects has to be wrong.)
If it's honestly covered with due consideration given to "THE SCIENCE" that Kennedy cites, then this book could lead a real improvement in health care for children.
I have my own problems with how willing members of the press are when it comes to challenging the medical establishment. It's so much easier and safer to just go to the website of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or ask a top expert in the mainstream medical community for their opinion on the safety of injecting mercury into humans. According to officials, all the science is in: studies show no link to things like autism and other neuro-developmental disorders.
I have yet to see a reporter ask anyone from the CDC how they can justify allowing mercury in vaccines when the only test on thimerosal was done eighty-five years ago by the vaccine maker, Eli Lilly. That ridiculous study was conducted on a couple dozen patients who all died from meningitis by the end of the research. STILL--Eli Lilly said it was safe and after the creation of the FDA, its use was grandfathered in.
And please, those population studies, done decades after the fact where the results could easily be flawed or manipulated, don't count. News people love to cite the "no link" studies, but I've yet to see a single one of them ask, "Who funded the study?" or "Were there any conflicts on the part of the researchers?"
In 2006, David Kirby's book, Evidence of Harm--Mercury in Vaccines and the Autism Epidemic, was published.
In 2011, Dan Olmsted and Mark Blaxill gave us The Age of Autism: Mercury, Medicine and a Manmade Epidemic.
Both of these books were filled with the experts and the science on mercury in vaccines; they didn't have just the opinions of these three writers. I marveled at the fact that reporters don't ever seem to read the books that are out there. If they actually did, they would have a lot to ask health officials about.
Of course the one really important question that never comes up is a simple one: "Who will be held responsible if it's clearly shown that an unchecked, unsafe vaccine schedule is behind the explosion in brain disorders in our children?" And even though it's not openly talked about, it's always there in the minds of those defending the safety of vaccines.
So what can we expect from reporters writing about Kennedy's new book?
The first mention of Thimerosal--Let the Science Speak that I've seen so far was on July 16 in the Washington Post: Robert Kennedy Jr.'s belief in autism-vaccine connection, and its political peril, by Keith Kloor.
First of all, that's a rather disingenuous title. Kennedy's subject is the use of MERCURY in vaccines. To reduce that to simply a "vaccine connection" leaves out the essence of the book. If a reader just looks at the title, it's pretty clear where this article is headed. We're told it's Kennedy's belief--there's no mention of all the scientists backing what he says. And incredibly, Kloor writes about what this means "politically," not morally or socially.
Kloor began the article with a description of Kennedy's efforts in Washington to convince Senator Barbara Mikulski that thimeorsal should be removed from vaccines.
Kloor said this about what Kennedy believes and how he's been received:
"A mercury-containing preservative known as thimerosal, once used widely in childhood vaccines, is associated with an array of neurodevelopmental disorders, including autism, Kennedy told her, summarizing a body of scientific research he and a team of investigators had assembled. Thimerosal, which is an antifungal and antiseptic agent, was taken out of those vaccines in 2001, but it is still used in some flu vaccines. If it was dangerous enough to be removed from pediatric vaccines, Kennedy contended, why was it safe at all? What's more, he said, the federal government knew of the dangers all along. These were claims he had made in the past, both publicly and in private conversations with other Democrats in Congress, none of whom have taken him seriously."
Kloor did note the presence of Dr. Mark Hyman in Washington with Kennedy, but at the same time Kloor dismissed the thesis of Kennedy's book, namely that mercury in vaccine is harmful. "The book argues that ethylmercury - a component of thimerosal - is harmful to human health. (Not so in trace amounts, scientific authorities have concluded.)"
Kloor cited the claims of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (the agency that runs the vaccine program) and the Institute of Medicine attesting to the fact that "no evidence supports a link between thimerosal and any brain disorders, including autism."
The Post story went on to describe Kennedy's meeting with Senator Bernie Sanders, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Primary Health and Aging, where Kennedy told Sanders that he didn't want to have to publish the book on thimerosal and he showed officials the manuscript saying that he wouldn't publish it and possibly alarm the public if they would remove all mercury from vaccines.
Kloor wrote that Sanders "was polite but noncommittal" and quoted him saying, 'I don't know anything about the issue.' (Personally, I find it troubling that the chairman of a committee on health would be totally ignorant of one of the most heated debates in pediatric medicine.)
Also mentioned was a meeting this past January where Kennedy told Kloor, 'There are 500 studies that we've collected here and footnoted and not a single one of them shows that thimerosal is safe. Every single one of them, except for the six studies funded by CDC and the vaccine industry. And that are fraudulent. And we explain how they created the fraud.'
It seems that Kloor couldn't believe that was possible. "I said I had a hard time believing that something this blatant would be ignored by the entire science establishment." If all the information Kennedy had was really true, "Why weren't the public health and environmental communities and big research centers seizing on his book as a call to action?"
I'm amazed that Kloor would even have to ask this question. Any thinking person can understand the implications here. This would constitute the biggest mistake in medical history. I can't imagine anyone active in public health who would want to announce what they'd allowed to happen to the children of the world.
Kloor portrayed Kennedy as a zealot with an implausible theory who couldn't get anyone in our health care agencies to support him, despite meeting with officials from the CDC, FDA, and NIH.
As for his book, Kloor said Kennedy had made changes. "Some of the most controversial sections - the chapters connecting autism to thimerosal - Kennedy took out at the last minute, though there are still references to a link to autism. Hyman convinced him that such claims were too combustible and would distract from the book's core argument, that 'the evidence suggesting a link between thimerosal and a large percentage of neurodevelopment disorders .... mandates action.'"
Kloor ended the piece describing Kennedy's persistence in pursuing his claim in the face of all this opposition.
Personally, I noticed a number of defects in what Kloor said about Kennedy. First of all, Kloor cited Dr. Martha Herbert from Harvard, Dr. Irva Hertz-Picciotto, an epidemiologist and professor at the University of California's Mind Institute in Davis, and Dr. Mark Hyman as agreeing with Kennedy on the need to remove mercury from vaccines. What about the fact that each chapter of Kennedy's book contains research that can't be easily dismissed. What about the names of dozens of experts included in those studies? Kennedy also wrote about the validity of "the studies" we're always hearing about from health officials--the ones that supposedly prove thimerosal is safe, including the famous 2004 IOM Report. In addition, he included a strong critique of the media's role in "suppressing debate about the safety of Thimerosal."
Incredibly, Kloor made a single reference to "rising awareness and diagnoses of autism" in one place and he cited the current autism, one in every 68 children, in another. That was all the attention given to what autism is doing to our children. It's the same in most stories about the controversy over vaccines and autism. Regardless of the latest leap in the autism rate, reporters are never alarmed about a disorder that was practically unknown 25 years ago and today is so common that everyone knows someone with an autistic child. Furthermore, the press isn't concerned that officials never know for sure if there's been a true increase in the rate or just more "better diagnosing" of a disorder that's always been around. They report that while the CDC can't tell us the cause, cure or prevention for autism, it's never a crisis to health officials.
As long as autism doesn't matter in America, then finding the cause isn't really important either. No one at the Washington Post has ever thoroughly investigated and reported on the autism epidemic and the link to vaccines. It's that simple. Kloor doesn't bring up the fact that in 2008, it was revealed that medical experts at HHS had quietly conceded the vaccine injury case of Hannah Poling that involved autism as a side effect. Despite getting widespread coverage in the media, the story quickly died. (It should be noted that Hannah received nine vaccines in a single doctor's visit and two of those vaccines contained high levels of mercury.)
At that time, officials explained that Hannah had a pre-existing condition that made her susceptible to vaccine injury resulting in her autism. The head of the CDC promised to look into the case and see how many other children this might involve, but nothing more was done. The medical community and the media quickly returned to the claim that there was no connection between vaccines and autism.
Then in 2011, it was revealed that for the past two decades, the federal government had been quietly settling vaccine injury cases where the claimant developed autism as a side effect. Eighty-three such cases had been found and more were suspected to be hidden in government files. Other than Fox News, no major news outlet reported this story.
Few members of the media are willing to incur the wrath of their advertisers, the medical community, and federal health officials by covering this topic in a fair and balanced manner. Kloor did quote something important from Dr. Herbert. He wrote, "The discourse on vaccination is so highly charged that 'you can't say anything without immediately being labeled,' she says. 'This is the most delicate issue I've ever dealt with in my life.'"
The truth is, the press, like our health officials, have their talking points from which they never deviate. Both groups have spent so many years in denial that it's way too late to suddenly announce, "Oops, we were wrong about vaccines. Due to complete oversight failure, a generation of children has been exposed to a known neurotoxin with possibly devastating results."
Anne Dachel is Media Editor for Age of Autism and author of The Big Autism Cover-Up: How and Why the Media Is Lying to the American Public, which goes on sale this Fall from Skyhorse Publishing.