By Katie Wright
I was happy when I first heard Ms. Idil Abdul was appointed to IACC. Abdul is an ASD mom who represents an under served community and brought much needed diversity to the committee. Initially, Idil was a real fighter, working hard to make change and give voice to all in her community. Over time, however, Idil has been active largely only on the wandering issue and cultural inclusion in autism research. Idil often focuses on the need for greater sensitivity training of researchers and better inclusion of the culturally under represented. Those are indeed very important and worthwhile issues. Yet, sadly, when rare opportunities for here and now prevention DO arise, instead of taking action, Idil demurs from controversy.
Skin lightening creams are commonly used by Africans and the Somalis who recently arrived in this country. Skin lightening creams contain mercury, a potent neurotoxin. They are extremely unsafe. These lotions are officially banned in the USA for a reason. The FDA’s minimal safety standards are incredibly low, so to be totally banned = really dangerous.
Mercury causes brain damage. Imagine rubbing mercury all over one’s face. I bet Somalis are unaware of these dangers. I sincerely doubt there are warning signs on these illegal skin lightening product containers. Even a few IACC members were astonished to see the content of these creams and learn they were readily available over the Internet. Idil acknowledged that these very dangerous creams were widely used but, “did not want to get into trouble by talking about it.” Idil, you are there to help your community, not to be liked or avoid controversy. Do the right thing and address this. Speak out Idil and say, “I am going to start a public conversation about the dangers of skin lightening cream NOW.” Don’t looking to the govt to answer every problem, take this opportunity to spearhead critical change.
Rarely do such clear-cut opportunities to prevent autism prevent themselves!
When 12 year old sisters of severely affected ASD boys share their heart with the IACC committee and share their deepest and more painful concerns, the response of an IACC member should never be: “you are wrong and you are looking for something to blame.”
Shame on John Robsion and Idil Abdul. How dare they tell the courageous girls they are “looking for something to blame,” or as Idil said, “well you hear something enough you start to believe it, even if it is not true.” What a condescending comment. The job of public members is to be respectful of the public – not lecture 12-year-old girls that they are dumb and don’t get it. If John and Idil have nothing constructive to add how about being quiet for a change and allow someone who has something to contribute to speak.
So many faulty and illogical arguments regarding vaccines and autistic regression from John and Idil. Idil said that because she knows of ASD families in which the kids were unvaccinated and developed autism, these sisters are wrong. Apparently Idil “knows” that the brothers of these girls did NOT have an adverse vaccine reactions. Maybe Idil can also explain to my how my son contracted autism, maybe Idil can tell all of us who saw our children have adverse vaccine reactions why we are wrong and how she knows better. I would love to hear it!
Ms. Abdul’s reasoning is absurd. The girls were talking about their brothers, they never said over vaccination is the cause of everyone’s autism. Then Idil offered the hackneyed, “without vaccines people die!” argument. OK, no one ever died from having a reasonable conversation, so let’s calm down about, “people dying!” For heaven’s sake, Idil and John need to take a course on active listening. The girls Never said they wanted to stop people from vaccinating; only they wanted the NIH to study their brothers and kids who suffered adverse vaccine reactions and regression. Pay attention people.
John said, “The research has been done.” Sure vaccine company research and patent holder research has been done and CDC research has been done and guess what – they all exonerated themselves! What a surprise! Imagine if in high school we could have all graded our own papers! It would have been all “A”s for me! “Guess what Mom I made Honor Roll after all!”
The girls want independent vaccine research on toddlers who had adverse vaccine reactions and subsequently regressed into autism. This is not too much to ask. John you did not experience this, you do not have severe autism. John you do not care for a child with severe and medical autism. Try listening and not judging. The girls did not tell you not to vaccinate, they did not tell you they know how you developed your autism.
The public members of IACC have been a very mixed bad, to say the least. The next post will address the performance of other IACC public members.