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Genevra Pittman on Chelation and Autism

GPittBy Anne Dachel

An interesting story by Reuters medical reporter Genevra Pittman came out on Dec 21, 2012.  The message was clear from the title: Chelation doesn't help kids with autism: study. 

Chelation is a big topic in the autism community.  The process involves the removal of heavy metals from the body, typically lead and mercury, and while mainstream medicine and health official still know nothing about autism---except that their ever-expanding vaccine schedule doesn’t cause it---they look upon most biomedical treatments like chelation with suspicion and even alarm. 

Pittman: “Removing heavy metals from the body through a process traditionally used to treat mercury and lead poisoning doesn't help relieve autism symptoms, a new analysis suggests.

“During chelation therapy, patients are given injections of a chemical that binds to heavy metals, lowering their concentration in the blood and ultimately allowing the metals to be excreted through urine.

“Chelation gained traction as an alternative treatment for autism due to a theory that mercury poisoning might play a role in the developmental disorder. However, evidence hasn't supported that idea and it's been essentially discarded in the scientific community, researchers said.

This study looked at a small number of children and lead researcher, Tonya Davis, from Baylor University in Waco, Texas concluded that chelation doesn’t help autistic kids.  We were told that some kids did improve but that might just have been due to “kids getting older” or some other treatment. 

Pittman quoted Dr. Joyce Mauk, head of the Child Study Center in Fort Worth, Texas, saying ‘There's really no evidence that mercury causes autism or has a place in causing autism, and also we know that chelation can be dangerous as well. Even the underlying theories don't make sense.’

What’s missing, of course, is any mention of the huge and unending debate over mercury-containing vaccines and autism. Nothing was said about where the mercury was supposed to have come from in the first place.  For some reason Pittman didn’t bother to go into the use of mercury as a preservative in vaccines or the fact that it was never tested or approved by the FDA or that the 12.5/25 mcg in a single vaccine far exceeds EPA standards for mercury exposure. 

For years, doctors and health officials referred to the mercury-containing preservative, thimerosal, as “safe mercury.”  It was supposed to be far less dangerous than methyl mercury found in fish that we’re always being warned about.  Despite having no original safety studies to back them up, and the fact that beginning in the early 2000s, they started to remove thimerosal from vaccines, health officials have continued to deny any serious side effects from the use of a deadly neurotoxin.  To make up for the fact that they’ve allowed its use for 70 years based solely on a single study done by the manufacturer, Eli Lilly, back in 1930, U.S. officials have managed to produce a number of easily flawed and manipulated population studies (all tied to the vaccine industry)  as proof that thimerosal is safe. 

The debate has gone on for years.  The government is adamant: mercury-containing vaccines don’t hurt children.  Kids’ shots today only have trace amounts (except most of the flu shots which have full levels of mercury). We’ve been told removing mercury was done only to reduce over-all mercury exposure and to quell parents’ fears, not because anything was really wrong. 

This link shows the dramatic increase in the number of vaccines our children received between 1983 and 2012.   In the 1980s, 1990s and early 2000s, many of these vaccines contained mercury and the total amounts kids were getting were truly shocking.  Aluminum, another untested neurotoxin, is still commonly found in these same vaccines and there’s been no move to remove it.  It’s stunning to note that there’s never been a study done on the cumulative effects of all these vaccines.  

Mercury use in vaccines was the reason a private meeting was held at a retreat center in Norcross Georgia in 2000.  Attendees included U.S. health officials and vaccine manufacturers. 

They met to discuss the dramatic rise in neurological disorders among our kids and the coincidental increase in mercury-containing vaccines in the childhood schedule.

In March 2008, the big autism news was the Hannah Poling story. The U.S. government had conceded the vaccine damage case of a young Georgia girl, Hannah Poling.  In the NY Times story, Deal in an Autism Case Fuels Debate on Vaccine,  reporter Gardiner Harris wrote, “The government has conceded that vaccines may have hurt Hannah, and it has agreed to pay her family for her care. Advocates say the settlement — reached last fall in a federal compensation court for people injured by vaccines, but disclosed only in recent days — is a long overdue government recognition that vaccinations can cause autism.” 

Harris went on to give us lots of reasons why, despite the fact the government was going to compensate the Polings, vaccines don’t cause autism.  He cited CDC head, Dr Julie Gerberding, a long time denier of any link between vaccines and autism who has since gone on to head the vaccine division at Merck, saying, ‘Let me be very clear that the government has made absolutely no statement indicating that vaccines are a cause of autism.’

Regardless of the expected denials from the people who run the vaccine program and are connected to the vaccine makers, the effects of mercury use in vaccines was a big part of the story.

“The Poling case has become a flashpoint in the long-running controversy over thimerosal, a vaccine preservative containing mercury. Some people believe that thimerosal is behind the rising number of autism diagnoses. Among them is Lyn Redwood, director of the Coalition for SafeMinds.

“Many of the vaccines Hannah received contained thimerosal, and to Ms. Redwood, she is more proof of thimerosal’s dangers.”

The controversy hasn’t subsided.  Mercury in vaccines was a big topic at a congressional hearing on autism just held on Nov 29, 2012.

None of this information made it into Genevra Pittman’s story about chelation and autism.  Somehow we’re to believe that misguided parents have latched on to the idea that chelating their autistic children will make them better.  Without mentioning where the mercury may have come from, we’re soundly told that it’s a bogus theory.  I might accept that Pittman just took the study at face value and wasn’t aware of the whole issue of mercury in vaccines and autism, except that four days earlier another Reuters story by her was published, Keep thimerosal in vaccines: pediatricians. 

Pittman is obviously well-acquainted with the subject of mercury in vaccines and autism.

“A mercury-containing preservative should not be banned as an ingredient in vaccines, U.S. pediatricians said Monday, in a move that may be controversial.

“In its statement, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) endorsed calls from a World Health Organization (WHO) committee that the preservative, thimerosal, not be considered a hazardous source of mercury that could be banned by the United Nations.

“Back in 1999, a concern that kids receiving multiple shots containing thimerosal might get too much mercury - and develop autism or other neurodevelopmental problems as a result - led the AAP to call for its removal, despite the lack of hard evidence at the time.”

Pittman quoted Dr. Walter Orenstein who couldn’t have been more supportive of the use of mercury in vaccines. 

“Reducing mercury exposure ‘is a wonderful thing,’ Orenstein said.

“However, ‘We need this exception because thimerosal is so vital for protecting children.’

“He said keeping thimerosal in vaccines is essential mostly for humanitarian reasons - although preventing childhood diseases in the developing world could also help the U.S. because other countries can serve as reservoirs for illness.

"’For American parents, this is more looking at the world and our role and responsibility in protecting the children of the world than it is a direct impact,’ Orenstein said.”

Selective coverage on mercury

On Dec 17, 2012 Pittman wrote about the long standing claim that vaccines with mercury can cause a child to become autism while promoting the idea that injecting a known neurotoxin into kids is good for them.  She gave us all the standard denials and she noted it’s still in “some types of flu shots.” (Missing here was any mention that this vaccine is also recommended for pregnant women at all stages of pregnancy.)

Then on Dec 21, 2012, Pittman trashed the idea that removing mercury from autistic children could help reduce the symptoms of autism---without once bringing up vaccines.   

I can think of no better example of the disingenuous coverage of the vaccine—autism controversy than what Pittman has done.  One would have expected some mention of the claim by countless thousands of parents that their child was fine until they received certain routine vaccines, many of which contained mercury, in the second chelation story.  It didn’t happen.  Instead, we were given more of the same one-sided-science and cover-up of the real facts.  Reporters like Pittman need to realize that parents are extremely well educated on this issue and stories like these two Reuters pieces merely add to increasing distrust of the media.  Her selective reporting, omitting the uncomfortable details that contradict the official lies and denials is simply censorship. 

Article By Pittman

My comments:

What’s missing from this report is any mention of WHERE THE METALS COME FROM IN THE FIRST PLACE.  Thousands of parents report that their children were born healthy and were developing normally until they received certain routine vaccinations.  Suddenly they changed, lost learned skills and regressed into autism.  Doctors are at a loss to explain this.  They only thing they’re sure of is that their ever-increasing vaccination schedule isn’t to blame and they have lots of study showing no link---and each of them is tied to the pharmaceutical industry. 

Anne Dachel, Media editor: Age of Autism

Studies are done on vaccines individually, yet they’re given in combination with other vaccines at doctors’ visits.

Anne Dachel, Media editor: Age of Autism


P Hunter

Anyone who has had a severely autistic nonverbal high behavior child knows inherently there is toxicity. I’m sure the academics who naysay chelation have never had a child with such a problem one that could end in commitment to a state mental hospital. Chelation has a significant and documented trail of success.

Jamie C

Genevra Pittman writes the most misleading articles I have ever encountered. In one of her recent articles she writes....
"a link between vaccines and autism - a theory which scientists now agree holds no water."- Genevra Pittman on Nearly half of kids late to receive vaccines: Study.
It continues to say "any parents who are considering an alternative vaccination schedule should talk with their child's doctor first - and be especially careful about what they read online."
Oh really? Be careful what we read online? Like your terrible articles?

Of course she doesn't say which scientists or give any sources for that matter. Majority of what she writes is her terrible opinion that is probably someone else's and she is paid well to spin it and write it. Giving many Americans False and misleading information.

Another awful article written by her was the one on Organic food. Cleverly titled: Organic food no healthier than non-organic: study.....
Many people only read headlines and fill in blanks. She completely misses the benefits of organic food vs. non organic. Obviously we buy organic to avoid cancer causing bug killing pesticides. But of course I had family members that saw this on the news and were saying "see, I told you your wasting money on organics." Anyone who buys organic knows the difference in the food. It tastes WAY better. And it gives you a little piece of mind. Growing your own food is probably best.

Just as anyone who has a young child questions injecting poison into their little bodies.

People believe what they read. And Genevra Pittman writes a bunch of CRAP.

Farmer Geddon

Chelation is wonderful . its proves the CDC\FDA alliance are a lying sack of shi^ites .

Chelation proves vaccines are a fraud (a delivery system to mercury\aluminium poison the populace)

Yes its results are uneven but the fact that improvement results so often leaves very little wriggle room for the criminally minded .

Joe Sulaco

Don't forget intravenous Vitamin C; a tremendous chelator; you'll have to search to find a doctor willing to administer it, but it could have enormous potential from what I've read for this community. Research it and decide for yourself.


I agree with many comments here, chelation was the biggest single help to my son. It was immediate. Done "low and slow" was our way and has helped so much. He went at 18 months to severe autism to typical kindergartner. With only a slight processing delay. It will be sad to see chelation vilified further without a fair chance.


It is sad that studies like these scare parents from chelation. I had truly remarkable improvement from chelation for ASD. It took a long time and was incremental and subtle for a while. Most studies really are not equipped to measure these type of changes. Nevertheless, it is important to remember that an ARI survey of a large group of parents found chelation to be the high rated intervention in terms of improvement. Fog, obfuscation, bogus science--beware of letting it influence you. Many children and adults have had startling results with cautiously done chelation supervised by an experienced doctor.

Cherry Sperlin Misra

We really cannot give any considered opinion on this chelation study, without knowing the method of the study and what kind of understanding of mercury the researchers have. Once again- another AOA coincidence- Lately I have been thinking a great deal about the difficulties of understanding how mercury affects the human body. The effects are so diverse and so different from what doctors are used to , when they think of the cause of a disorder- Mercury actually calls for a whole new way of thinking.
Lets say, for example, you have a fever and you think that you might have typhoid. You open your microbiology book and look at the symptoms of typhoid, and you see that there are several symptoms that you dont have, and you say, "Unlikely that I have typhoid". That approach would never work with mercury, where you have a list of hundreds of symptoms and you might have only three or six or eight of those symptoms. It took my own several experiences with various mercury affected people to decide, that a person would probably have at least 3 symptoms. I dont think that it would be likely that you find only one symptom.
Now, lets see how long it takes mercury to come out of the body. I tell people who stop the mercury going into their body, to look for improvement after 6 or 12 or 18 months. Would that make any sense to a mainstream medical doctor, who looks for changes almost immediately or certainly within a month or two.
Now , when it comes to chelation, the situation would be still more murky- Which chelation agent? How often was it given? How long was the child observed after the trial? What kind of information do we have already about the effects of chelation for mercury? Forget children- Do we have any info about adults who have undergone chelation?
Another interesting feature of mercury, is that as it moves around the body, in the process of being excreted, new symtoms may emerge- perhaps for a month or two and then vanish.
You can see this in the stories of the people who had "amalgam sickness" and then had their mercury amalgams removed. They get some immediate relief, (within a few months) and then they get a variety of odd or unpleasant symptoms for about 18 months .
Finally- After mercury leaves the body, the cells and tissues need to heal. How long will that take? I doubt if we know that.. If we are talking about nerve tissue, we assume that it might take a long time.
The disquieting aspect of this research, is that it may be the harbinger of a new pharma attack on chelation, and in my opinion, taking chelation out of autism is akin to taking insulin away from a diabetic.
I wonder if any of you saw a movie in which the young heroine has Parkinson's and her boyfriend wants to help her. At one point she gets briefly involved with what seem to be people looking at alternative medicine and one speaker talks about chelation . The guy is depicted as a loony and his manner of speaking is eccentric and obsessed. Naturally, the heroine sneers at him. I mean- Hey- something with a wierd name of "chelation" MUST be a hoax, right?!
When I see things like this- I say, Wait a minute- do I detect the gentle pawprint of big pharma in this cinema? Is this something like the lie about only the MMR containing mercury, and now it has been removed from the vaccine, but autism continues to rise - Which is harder to remove from the brains of some people, including doctors, than it is to chelate mercury from an autistic child. So I really dont hope for much good research about chelation unless those who do it, really make a great effort to understand mercury before they start.

no vac

Most pharma or CDC-sponsored studies on safety of vaccines and on vaccines' link to autism are falsified. Nobody should believe their results. Now the pharma pushers of thimerosal attempt to discredit the most effective treatment for autism, because they want to keep autistic children chronically sick, so they can push their own poisons (SSRIs or neuroleptics) on them. These people are true evil. Parents should stay away from all vaccines for their children, if they want them to be healthy.


We tried many biomedical therapies and supplements with our son. With the exception of changing his diet, the *biggest* improvement(s) came with chelation therapy. After the third round, he potty-trained HIMSELF. 'Just got up one day, ran to the bathroom, and presto! It was a miracle. We had been trying to train him for months. (Years!) Of course, every *&%$ naysayer cries, "Coincidence!" Yeah, the same coincidence that he started calling me "Mommy" a week after we removed gluten from his diet. I don't think so. It saddens me that mainstream medicine is so useless for our kids. Had we not tried chelation, we may very well have had an eight-year-old still in diapers.


So if a mercury vaccine poisons a child 4-6 times in the first few years of life, and then trashes brain neurons 24/ 7/ 365 for years after that...

the.... "SCIENCE HAS SHOWN"... that they do NOT suddenly "get better" when a parent finally figures out what the hell is happening and tries to remove it ???

Another great study from you friends at Pharma.


Isn't it interesting that chelation, "showed mixed results, with some kids improving on some symptom measures. However, none of the studies provided any certainty that those benefits were due to chelation itself, and not another treatment or just kids getting older" and that somehow equals "chelation doesn't help improve autism symptoms?"

Yet, the flu shot, where both the Cochrane Review and CIDRAP have determined that there is no evidence that it has ANY effect on influenza, is now mandated to the point where children are not permitted to go to daycare without it, and health care workers, even pregnant women, are FIRED unless they agree to it.

Nice double standard. Again.


Ah yes, Bob, "useful idiots." Not to worry guys, there is an area even more rife with "useful idiots" and that is in the area of Multiple Sclerosis - a quick look at the National Association for MS shows that it has also been "co-opted by big pharma for more attention to MS society, than MS, the disease." (glass door, NMSS review). The Chief Medical Officer of the NMSS (a neurologist) admits that they are in a turf war with endovascular interventionists- he even goes so far as to call the interventionists "cowboys" who 'overstate vascular treatments for desperate patients.' Well, I'd rather have some f'g 'cowboys' working on something that actually is showing promise than all this horse and pony show they calling "ending MS forever" but what really amounts to endless drug and gene studies. They're having a pharma-sponsored conference this week that has a sub-heading called "Clinical Controversies" where they are actually having someone speak from the NMSS about "CCSVI- Lessons for Funders and the Resaerch Community." ha!! -basically the lesson being that they better watch out or these pesky surgical cowboys could take away their revenue! Why would they want the solution to be a surgical one, right?
There's also someone named Brenda Banwell who works for CHOP who is speaking about ADEM, CIS and MS in children; again under the heading "clinical controversies." That could be interesting.
As someone who has a friend who was instantly better after each of 2 angioplasties (short-lived, though, as she re-stenosed) I am so damned fed up with their waste of time and tricks. People like Dr. Flanagan are so much more likely to to on the right track as far as etiology of MS but of course he'll never get an invite to one of their stupid conferences. What is it with these brain people (neurologists)????? No wonder the MS Society has had so many people break away and form the "Reformed MS Society." and no wonder AoA and Generation Rescue are, as well. I hope the "useful idiots" enjoy their collaboration this week with fellow "useful idiots."


It's frustrating to see attempts at chelation studies fail, but the researchers' methodologies seem to be at odds with protocols used successfully in the real world.

For a decade I've monitored anecdotal chelation data posted on listservs, where average Joes have given up waiting for the mainstream scientific community to form a consensus and bless the procedure for widespread use. These lists contain input from chemists, toxicologists, doctors, nurses and other knowledgeable sources regarding chelator choice, dosing amount and rate, offsetting mineral loss, etc.

The red flag word here, of course, is "anecdotal"; pseudo-skeptics insist that the plural of anecdote is not data. Such willful ignorance ensures the continued poisoning of our citizenry.

The ever-increasing body of empirical evidence presented from actual self-users of DMSA, alpha lipoic acid and other chelating agents is worthy of transparent, cooperative, well-funded study... not the half-hearted attempts of ill-informed research generalists who likely fear the resultant implications of their scientific success.

Donna L.

Doesn't really matter, does it, Twyla, since most people - especially medical professionals - won't bother to read beyond the headline.

I believe this is the article Pittman is referring to:
(scroll down to article 9)

The authors basically conclude that the results of the chelation studies they reviewed are inconclusive:
"All five studies were classified as insufficient, the lowest level of certainty, for various reasons."
"All studies reviewed had considerable threats to internal validity, which renders their findings inconclusive."

Then they go on to say, in so many words, we don't believe heavy metals cause autism, and if they do, we don't think the removal of them would lead to clinical improvement. Oh, and we don't like the side effects. Therefore, we don't like chelation. And from this, Pittman erroneously pulls the very misleading headline: "Chelation doesn't help kids with autism."


Pitman says that the studies "showed mixed results, with some kids improving on some symptom measures. However, none of the studies provided any certainty that those benefits were due to chelation itself, and not another treatment or just kids getting older."

Well, what kind of certainty were they looking for? And if they apparently have no way of knowing what caused the children to improve, how come this reporter has enough certainty for the headline to proclaim "Chelation doesn't help kids with autism"?

John Stone


Well written but note that Gerberding told Sanjay Gupta at the time of the Poling case:

" ….. if you’re predisposed with the mitochondrial disorder, it [vaccination] can certainly set off some damage. Some of the symptoms can be symptoms that have characteristics of autism.“

while the HRSA admitted to both Sharyl Attkisson on CBS (and on another occasion David Kirby reporting in Huffington Post):

"We have compensated cases in which children exhibited an encephalopathy, or general brain disease. Encephalopathy may be accompanied by a medical progression of an array of symptoms including autistic behavior, autism, or seizures.”

We must not indulge the collective amnesia: what is said cannot be unsaid.


Bob Moffitt

Reading Anne's recall of Reuters medical reporter Genevra Pittman published articles .. "useful idiot" immediately comes to mind.

The term "useful idiot" apparently originated in Soviet Russia to describe people who blindly supported the likes of Lenin and Stalin while they committed atrocity after atrocity.

Today .. "useful idiots" are recognized as "propagandists" .. many of which masquerade as "independent medical news reporters" .. unwittingly supporting a malignant cause (mercury in vaccines) which they niavely believe to be a force for good.

Common sense suggests these idiots wouldn't sleep at night if they KNEW the damage they do.

Jenny Allan

The evil that is mercury in vaccines will never stop as long as this continues to be promoted by powerful medico/political and corporate interests. The United Nations was lobbied by a number of African States, all making it plain this powerful neurotoxin was unwanted in vaccines destined for their countries. The United Nations would do well to listen to 'the voices of the world's people', rather than 'the voices of monetary interests and profits'. In Pakistan and elsewhere, promotion of unwanted vaccinations and so called vaccine 'clinical trials' has resulted in violence and civil unrest.
Minimum of 40 Children Paralyzed After New Meningitis Vaccine
"On December 20, 2012, a vaccination tragedy hit the small village of Gouro, located in northern Chad, Africa. According to the newspaper La Voix, out of five hundred children who received the new meningitis vaccine MenAfriVac, at least 40 of them between the ages of 7 and 18 have become paralyzed. Those children also suffered hallucinations and convulsions.
Since this report, the true extent of this tragedy is coming to light, as parents of these vaccinated children have reported yet more injuries. The authorities in the area are shaken, as citizens set fire to a sanitary administration vehicle in a demonstration of their frustration and anger at the government’s negligence."
Pakistan: Seven charity workers shot dead
"The BBC's Aleem Maqbool, in Islamabad, says that, according to police, this is the first such attack on NGO workers in the area.
Our correspondent says that those running the centre said they suspect its vaccination programme was the reason it was attacked.
Of the seven people who were killed, two were health workers and five were teachers.
Last month, in a series of attacks, gunmen killed nine health workers taking part in a national polio vaccination drive.
While the Pakistani Taliban have denied carrying out the killings, they have long denounced the vaccination drive as a Western plot either to gather intelligence or to sterilise Muslim children.
The killings prompted the UN children's agency and the World Health Organisation to suspend work on polio campaigns in the country."
Vaccine trial's ethics criticized
"A clinical trial that came under fire in India threatens to have a dual legacy: inflaming unfounded fears about a lifesaving vaccine and raising new questions about the management of medical research in the country. After four teenage girls taking part in a test of human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines died last year, the Indian government faced accusations that its citizens were being used as guinea pigs to test dangerous vaccines. A scientific investigation has exonerated the vaccines but uncovered a more familiar problem in India: ethical irregularities."

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