Robert Kennedy, Jr. and Dr. Mark Hyman, collaborators on the book, Thimerosal, Let the Science Speak, were on the Dr. Oz Show on Sept 11, 2014 in a seven and a half minute segment discussing the use of mercury in the annual flu shot.
Dr. Oz: "In the medical spotlight today, what's sure to be a controversial new book about your flu shot. Today's guests are asking a highly charged and controversial question; Why does the U.S. government allow a toxin to be added to one of your most common medicines? The toxin is mercury. It's found in thimeorsal. The medicine: your flu shot. Two world class leaders have come together to write a book that will change the way you think about your annual flu shot. Robert Kennedy, Jr and Dr. Mark Hyman are joining me."
Kennedy made it clear right away that both he and Dr. Hyman are "fiercely pro-vaccine." Both men announced that their children were all vaccinated. Nothing about the segment could be called anti-vaccine.
Video footage was shown that covered the history of thimerosal, a vaccine additive that's been around since the 1930s. "A powerful preservative, it was originally added to make vaccines safer, preventing the growth of dangerous fungus and bacteria. But in the 1990s, thimerosal came under fire, implicated as a possible cause in the skyrocketing rates of autism and other neurological disorders. The reason? Thimerosal contains a form of mercury--a potent neurotoxin. The link between thimerosal and autism was ultimately discredited, but better safe than sorry, in 1999, the government and medical community agreed that thimerosal should reduced or cut from our vaccine supplies. Since 2001, thimerosal has been eliminated from all vaccines in this country with the glaring exception of some flu shots. The EPA considers medical products containing thimerosal to be hazardous waste. So what is it still doing in your flu shot?"
Hyman: "It's a potent neurotoxin. It's been linked to all sorts of neuro-developmental issues.... Any form of mercury is toxic. There's no reason we should be putting it in our medical products. ...Our goal is to take it out of vaccines globally."
Oz then cited the statistic that "sixty-five percent of you have little trust in vaccines." He said that this segment was about "restoring trust in vaccines."
Oz had contacted the CDC to ask about "their role in taking thimerosal out of the multi-dose flu vaccines," ...and he gave their response: "The conclusion of the scientific community is clear that thimerosal-containing vaccines are safe and effective and do not represent a public health risk."
Kennedy however was adamant. The CDC's response was not based on the science. He had found 500 peer-reviewed studies and "virtually every one of them said that thimerosal is a potent neurotoxin that should not be in vaccines.
"We couldn't find a single, valid, plausible, scientific study that said that thimeorsal was safe. So what we've said to CDC is, 'Show us the study.' And they have not been able to show us the study."
Dr. Oz ended the show by advising his audience, "Pregnant women and babies and people over 65, you're at risk and you should ask for thimerosal-free vaccines, like the kind you find in a single dose." For other people, he recommended the live virus nasal spray.
This was unprecedented. A doctor on a popular TV show was contradicting CDC officials. Another doctor, Mark Hyman, and Robert Kennedy, Jr. were warning the public that a medical ingredient the government said was safe, probably wasn't.
Imagine what members of the audience were thinking: Is my doctor wrong? Did I get mercury in my flu shots in the past? Do people at the CDC know what they're doing?
This show was really EXPERTS VS OFFICIALS. This wasn't autism parents with no science on their side saying mercury in vaccines damaged their children. What if people started doing what Dr. Oz advised? What if they went in for their annual flu shot and the doctor didn't have any mercury free ones? What about all those flu shot clinics at Wal-Mart, CVS, and Walgreens? Would they be able to provide vaccines without mercury?
I can't imagine that the folks at the CDC were happy with this broadcast, especially since they're already dealing with the news that one of their own scientists recently revealed that they've been hiding data linking vaccines and autism for the last 10 years.
I'm also sure many independent experts and informed parents in the autism community know this was also a disingenuous presentation of the fact about thimerosal.
Sure, thimerosal has been around since the 1930s, but nothing was said about the fact that it's never been tested or approved by the FDA. Imagine how the audience have responded if Oz, Hyman or Kennedy had said that the drug company Eli Lilly developed thimerosal eighty-five years ago and they tested it on 22 patients who all died of meningitis by the end of the study--and that the U.S. government took the drug company's word for it when they said thimerosal was safe to inject into human beings. These facts were never brought up. Instead it sounded like both Kennedy and the CDC think they have valid science on their side.
And the statement that a link between thimerosal and "autism and other neurological disorders" was "ultimately discredited," makes it sound like legitimate science has exonerated thimerosal, yet Dr. Hyman told viewers, "It's been linked to all sorts of neuro-developmental issues."
There were a lot of mixed messages here. Robert Kennedy, Jr, Dr. Oz and Dr. Hyman are up against potentially all of mainstream medicine and the pharma-backed officials at the CDC. Either Kennedy's book is right and thimerosal really is bad for us or those in denial at the CDC are. Is time for the CDC to be held accountable.
The Dachel Media Update is sponsored by Lee Silsby Compounding Pharmacy and their OurKidsASD brand. Lee Silsby Compounding Pharmacy is one of the largest and most respected compounding pharmacies in the country. They use only the finest quality chemicals and equipment to prepare our patients’ compounded medications and nutritional supplements. Customizing medication and nutritional supplements for our customers allows them to achieve their unique health goals.
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.