There’s a famous scene in the movie Casablanca in which the French police captain in Rick’s Café is told there’s illegal gambling at the establishment, and in mock surprise says, “I'm shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!”, just before being handed his winnings. For veterans of the autism-toxic metals war this is one of those kind of stories.
According to an August 27, 2009 article in Science Daily (HERE) there’s a wide variation in the ability of people to excrete arsenic. The subjects were given seafood containing known amounts of arsenic and then in the days following their urine was measured for arsenic excretion. The researchers from the University of Graz, Austria “found that ability to eliminate arsenic from the body varied greatly, with some participants excreting up to 95 percent of the ingested arsenic, but others eliminating as little as 4 percent.”
All right, so let me break this down. Fish often contain arsenic, and I think I recall fish often contain some other toxic metal . . . it’s on the tip of my tongue . . . oh yeah, it’s MERCURY! That's the same mercury that a recent study found present in 100% of fish sampled from all parts of the United States. But we're not supposed to worry about that because only 25% of them were at unsafe levels! Just for the sake of argument let’s do a thought experiment.
If this research is to be believed, some people will excrete about 95% of the arsenic they ingest within a short period, while others will excrete only 4%. Let’s just hypothetically say that the same or similar pathway which detoxifies arsenic also detoxifies mercury. What would happen to retained mercury in the body? Oh yeah, there are those warnings at the fish counter that the mercury in fish can cause neurological problems to the children of mothers who eat fish while they’re pregnant.
But the research subjects from this study aren’t babies. They’re full-grown adults. A possibility is forming in my mind . . . I’ve got it! Maybe there’s a wide variability in the general population in their ability to eliminate toxic metals, which would mean our safety standards for exposure need to be rewritten! This same idea apparently occurred to the researchers. The authors noted “This observed individual variability in handling [arsenic] exposure has considerable implications for risk assessment of arsenic ingestion.”
And what are the known problems associated with chronic arsenic exposure? Well if you remember from that classic play, Arsenic and Old Lace, we’ve got that old favorite, death, but also “skin and internal cancers, cardiovascular disease, and possibly diabetes.”
Let’s take this all a step further. Retained toxic metals seem to cause trouble throughout the body. Maybe we’re taking about the retained toxic metals causing an auto-immunity problem in which the body can’t recognize viruses and bacteria, which then set up shop throughout the body, leading to autism and other neurological problems. That would go along with a lot of parental observations about what happened to their children as well as the finding by Dr. Wakefield of the measles virus persisting in the guts of children with autism. Maybe things which have been long accepted need to be re-examined. “In the study, Kevin Francesconi and colleagues point out that drinking water in many parts of the world, including some regions of the United States, contain amounts of arsenic that exceed the World Health Organization’s maximum acceptable levels.”
The American medical establishment has long asserted that the levels of chemicals, toxic metals, and infectious agents contained in vaccines are safe. But have they taken into account the apparent wide variability of people to process those agents?
The research is scheduled to be published in the September 21, 2009 issue of ACS’s Chemical Research in Toxicology. Francesconi’s previous publications include such classics as Arsenic-Containing Long-Chain Fatty Acids in Cod Liver Oil and Identification of Arseonlipids with GC/MS (Gas chromatography and mass spectrometer).
Play it again, Sam, it sounds like the same old tune.
Kent Heckenlively is Contributing Editor for Age of Autism