By Anne McElroy Dachel
I listened to ABC NEWS tonight waiting for the story about the new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on vaccines with mercury and autism. I watched commercials for prescription pharmaceutical products like Advair and wondered what influence the drug industry has on ABC NEWS. The ABC report on the CDC study again dismissed any suspicion that the mercury used in vaccination is linked to autism.
NBC NEWS told us that even though the CDC cautions us that the new study isn't about autism, it does show that the mercury-based vaccine preservative Thimerosal is safe. NBC NEWS made it look like "some parent groups" who do claim vaccines are the cause of autism were up against the federal health agencies and sound medical science. Mercury, a known neurotoxin, in "high doses" of exposure back in the 1990s hasn't done any harm.
NBC NEWS reported that this study by the CDC on thimerosal showed no problem in certain ability areas among children exposed to mercury in their vaccines. It's another study after years of similar studies that haven't settled anything.
NBC News did include Laura Bono from the National Autism Association who asked why the very agency that owns patents on vaccines and runs the vaccine program is also in charge of vaccine safety. Robert Bazell of NBC News seemed unflustered by this and he failed to answer Laura's question. He pointed to the CDC study as "quality research," published by the New England Journal of Medicine. Bazell told us that until we have answers as to the cause of autism, "everything has to be on the table" --everything it seems, except vaccines.
On the CBS NEWS site, the link to WebMD had this comment: "Thimerosal in vaccines has not affected children's brains or behaviors, the CDC says. Thimerosal is a mercury-based preservative once common in vaccines. It's now found only in small amounts in some flu vaccines. However, thimerosal was once used in most vaccines given to children." This refers to the 25 mcg of mercury in the flu vaccine given to children ages three years and older. The "small amounts" in "some" flu shots, is actually in ninety percent of the flu vaccine available and amazingly, the "small amounts" is, according to the EPA, is meant for someone who weighs 550 pounds
Nothing is new here. The CDC, the agency that runs the vaccine program, has again produced a population study that shows vaccines aren't linked to neurological problems in children. The epidemic number of children with autism isn't even mentioned. The fact the CDC has an obvious bias in showing that vaccines haven't damaged hundreds of thousands of children because they also run the vaccine program, isn't noted.
Dr. Paul Offit, who is described only as from Philadelphia Children's Hospital, is included on the ABC NEWS report telling us that it was a mistake to ever remove mercury from vaccines. ABC NEWS didn't think it was important to mention that Dr. Offit is himself a vaccine patent holder and is a member of the advisory committee that recommends the childhood vaccine schedule.
We are to believe the endless pharmaceutical advertising dollars that ABC, NBC, and CBS News get along with the New England Journal of Medicine and WebMD hasn't possibly influenced their reporting.
Does it occur to anyone at ABC, NBC, or CBS NEWS that asking the CDC about vaccines is like asking Philip Morris about the link between smoking and lung cancer?
Network news shows seem intent on making this a contest between parents and science. Why isn't one of the networks able to find a single scientist among the growing number of research experts whose work does call thimerosal into question?
The media is eager to dismiss the claim that thimerosal causes autism and makes no mention of the explosion in numbers from one in 10,000 in the 1970s to one in every 150 children today, including one in every 94 boys. No one can give us a reasonable explanation for the epidemic increase, but no matter--be reassured, autism isn't the result of all the mercury these children received. Furthermore, the fact that one in every six school children now has a diagnosis of a learning problems like attention deficit, isn't included.
Maybe someone at ABC, NBC, or CBS NEWS should tell us why we should be so confident that it's safe to inject mercury into children when the CDC can never show us the one test that matters. Why is no one able to convince us with the rigorous testing originally done on Thimerosal BEFORE it was ever allowed in our children's vaccines? Why isn't anyone demanding to see it?
If anyone looked, they'd find that Eli Lilly Pharmaceutical Company invented Thimerosal. They alone tested it on 22 patients back in 1930 who were all dead at the end of the study. No matter---Eli Lilly said it was safe and after the creation of the FDA, its use was simply continued.
What the news networks don't tell us is that maybe all these endless population studies are damage control--a desperate attempt, after the fact, to disprove a scientific truth: Mercury is the second deadliest element on Earth and a known neurotoxin.
ABC, NBC, and CBS NEWS need to be reminded that this type of epidemiological study isn't new. Studies like this were made famous back in the 1940s and '50s by the tobacco industry which used them to show that smoking didn't cause lung cancer.
The networks told parents of autistic children that they should be reassured by the latest CDC study, but that's hardly likely to happen. Parents who watched their normally progressing children regress into autism after vaccinations have heard it all before. All these sources, resplendent with drug company ads, lack a lot of credibility.
The media continues to give the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention oversight over itself and this will go on as long as the pharma advertising influence is there. All the parents who've again been told by ABC, NBC, and CBS NEWS that is still safe to inject mercury into children, look forward to how the networks will explain things in the next few years as more and more of the generation of children with autism become the generation of adults with autism, dependent on the taxpayers for their support and care.
The one thing that ABC, NBC, and CBS NEWS can't reassure us about is that while one in every 150 children in the U.S. has autism, one in every 150 adults doesn't. The CDC, famous for population studies, has never been able to produce one that can find them.
Anne McElroy Dachel is an advocate for children and adults with autism. She has son with autism and lives in Wisconsin.