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The Age of Polio: Explosion. Part 10

Polio color Egypt
We are updating the full series with each installment on our sidebar here.

By Dan Olmsted

As we prepare to follow the Hawaiian sugar harvest to the U.S. mainland in early 1916, a natural pause suggests itself. I’ve now presented the basic hypothesis: that arsenic applied for the first time ever to sugarcane fields anywhere, at the Olaa plantation on the Big Island of Hawaii, led to the first massive poliomyelitis epidemic in the United States.

It triggered the Explosion that ushered in the Age of Polio.

That kind of claim attracts critics who use words like "laughable." (Of course, laughable things can be true.) Over at Orac, Denice Walter commented: "Although I am often highly entertained by your speculation, I would be much more pleased with you if you took a few life science related courses at your local university." I responded: "Denice, I remain pleased that you are highly entertained. I fear that exposure to actual experts might reduce my ability to amuse you, so I’ll avoid it for now." (The claim here is that a non-scientist journalist such as myself has no business tackling a topic like this. I disagree.)

So perhaps it’s time to say a little more about how the theory evolved and where I am heading with it. In 2011, Mark Blaxill and I wrote a series called The Age of Polio: How an Old Virus and New Toxins Triggered a Man-Made Epidemic.

In it, we proposed that the invention of lead arsenate pesticide in 1892, interacting with poliovirus infections, kicked off the modern era of polio epidemics. Lead arsenate was created to fight the gypsy moth invasion around Boston that threatened to wreck the entire domestic apple crop. In a literal and metaphoric instance of the “butterfly effect” – seemingly minor and distant events leading to major disruptions -- a few moths escaped their enclosure in a back yard in suburban Medford, and before long turned into teeming masses undulating like black waves across suburban streets to devour fruit trees in one collective gulp. This story almost defies belief, but The Great Gypsy Moth War by Robert J. Spear brings it to creepy-crawly life. 

Lead arsenate subdued the moth problem, but the association of the pesticide with poliomyelitis is hard for dispassionate observers (meaning those not wedded to virology as the explanation for everything) to dismiss. In 1893, the year after the first use of lead arsenate in Boston, two local doctors wrote a medical journal article, “Is Acute Poliomyelitis Unusually Prevalent This Season?” and very quickly established that it was unusually prevalent. “It would not have seemed worthwhile to report these observations had it not been that the number of cases observed at the Massachusetts General Hospital in September and October of this year [apple harvest time] is decidedly larger than usual. …” Putting together all the cases from four sources, they came up with six polio cases for the period August-November 1892, and 26 for the same period in 1893.

Polio 10 1


While that was an impressive rise, it could have simply been natural variation; sporadic cases were observed by medical professionals over the past several decades. Hence the question mark. But the very next year, 1894, in the Otter River Valley in Vermont, came the answer – an unmistakable poliomyelitis epidemic.

The account, a classic of medical literature worth reading in its own right, was provided by Dr. Charles Caverly, a Rutland physician who also happened to be the president of the state medical society – and was in the right place at the right time. The beginning is memorable and haunting, given what was to come and the fact that epidemic poliomyelitis was so unfamiliar in the United States that Caverly didn’t even call it “infantile paralysis” or poliomyelitis until later articles.

Polio 10 3

“During the month of June, 1894, there appeared in a portion of the valley of the Otter Creek, in the state of Vermont, an epidemic of nervous disease, in which the distinctive and most common symptom was paralysis. The great majority of sufferers were children under six years of age.” Hardest hit were the towns of Rutland and Proctor. There were 132 cases and 18 deaths.

This was not like Boston the year before. This was big.


As outbreaks became more frequent and much larger, “lead arsenate was proposed as a cause of polio epidemics early on,” as we wrote in 2011:

"In Massachusetts, where the compound was first used, the State Forester reported in 1912, under a section headed Infantile Paralysis: “In view of the fact that a feeling has been entertained by some people in the State that infantile paralysis has been caused in some instances by arsenate of lead used in spraying for the gypsy and brown-tail moths, the State Forester has caused a rigid investigation to be made in order to determine if there is any foundation upon which to base such fears.”

No there was not: “As a result of his research he is firmly convinced that the use of arsenate of lead has in no way been responsible for the existence of the disease [infantile paralysis], and apprehends no danger in the future from its use. Any anxiety concerning the danger from the use of arsenate of lead is entirely unwarranted.” Of course, today we'd say that anxiety was warranted simply because of the name of the compound!

On the other side of the globe, a New Zealand newspaper reported in 1914: “The oft-expressed opinion that the arsenate of lead spray on fruit is the cause of the prevalence of infantile paralysis will be discussed at the next meeting of the Upper Clutha Fruit-growers’ Association at Bannockburn. The association is taking steps to obtain the result of Government experiments regarding this matter.” (We have not found a follow-up report.)”


These concerns were never taken seriously. When you consider what was potentially at stake --half a million cases of death or disability a year worldwide by the 1940s -- that was worse than unfortunate. When DDT replaced lead arsenate after World War II, a handful of brave souls put forward the idea that pesticides, not the poliovirus, were the cause.

As Mark and I wrote in 2011:


In 1949 Drs. Morton S. Biskind and Irving Bieber published “DDT Poisoning – A New Symptom With Neuropsychiatric Manifestations” in the American Journal of Psychotherapy. “By far the most disturbing of all the manifestations are the subjective reactions and the extreme muscular weakness,” they reported.

In subsequent papers and testimony, Biskind linked DDT directly to cases of poliomyelitis – including a Dec. 12, 1950, statement to the Select Committee to Investigate the Use of Chemicals in Food Products, United States House of Representatives. He quoted another doctor that “wherever DDT had been used intensively against polio, not only was there an epidemic of the syndrome I have described but the incidence of polio continued to rise and in fact appeared where it had not been before.

“This is not surprising since it is known that not only can DDT poisoning produce a condition that may easily be mistaken for polio in an epidemic but also being a nerve poison itself, may damage cells in the spinal cord and thus increase the susceptibility to the virus.”

“Facts are stubborn,” Biskind concluded, “and refusal to accept them does not avoid their inexorable effects -- the tragic consequences are now upon us.”

The theory was also advanced by Ralph R. Scobey, who in 1952 gave a statement to the same House committee. Titled “The Poison Cause of Poliomyelitis and Obstructions To Its Investigation,” it described associations between harvest seasons, fresh fruit consumption, and polio epidemics.

The next year, Biskind made the link even more explicit: “In the United States the incidence of polio had been increasing prior to 1945 at a fairly constant rate, but its epidemiologic characteristics remained unchanged. Beginning in 1946 the rate of increase more than doubled.” Yet far from looking into a toxic etiology, he said, “virtually the entire apparatus of communication, lay and scientific alike, has been devoted to denying, concealing, suppressing, distorting and attempts to convert into its opposite, the overwhelming evidence. Libel, slander and economic boycott have not been overlooked in this campaign.”


More recently, medical writer Jim West has argued strongly for the link, and pointed to other risks from pesticides, like Parkinson’s Disease.  In articles like, “Everything You Think You Know About Polio is Wrong,” he champions Biskind and the poison theory of polio.

“Today, few remember this poignant writer who struggled with the issues of pesticides, issues that Rachel Carson would be allowed to politely bring to public awareness nine years later, as the lead story in The New Yorker magazine and then as a national best seller, by limiting her focus to the environment and wildlife. Biskind had the audacity to write about human damage.”


Under our theory, that's true, but it's half the equation; the poliovirus is required as well to add up to poliomyelitis epidemics.  And the implications reach far beyond polio:  Toxins can amplify minor microbes into major epidemics to a far greater extent than is currently recognized.

With this paradigm in mind, let’s head back across the Pacific to Brooklyn. Early in 1916, sugar from Hawaii arrived at the American-Hawaiian Steamship Company dock in Brooklyn, which had recently been overhauled into a two-story behemoth.

Polio 10 4

You may recognize the map below from earlier in the series. It shows the way in which poliomyelitis cases arrayed themselves in 1916 near the Bush Terminal docks. The three-sided rectangle to the left center is the American-Hawaiian dock. We’ll pick it up from there next week.

Polio 10 5


 Dan Olmsted is Editor of Age of Autism.


Dan Olmsted is Editor of Age of Autism.



CIA Parker;

You are presenting arguments from the other side - that is a heavier, stronger, more powerful. And you use the term purist; do not forget that at this s present time we are being experimented on; s they don't care about our loved ones that are hurt. They don't care about us - now that we cannot sue them. They are not careful, or kind, or thoughtful - (as even in the most simplest timing of the MMR vaccine) So, do we trust them to deliver a product of any kind?

Don't work so hard at it - go with the flow and as for vaccines past success, this could very well be linked to this series - where vaccines all that successful, or did food inspections - the FDA have a lot to do with it too?

They are now talking about different types of Parkinson. Some forms does not cause shaking of hands - just a slow loss of control of the legs. Is that not wild?

I have been wondering about these three things for a long time: ALS, Guillain-Barré syndrome, and that certain type of Parkinson disease. When do you tell there is a difference in them. Is there a difference in them?

Ronald Kostoff

The paper abstract below is an example of potential long-term impacts from very early exposure to toxic stimuli. This is why safety testing of vaccines, and any other potential toxic substances experienced in childhood, needs to be conducted for many decades on humans.

The example below applies to one substance given in isolation. How do the results change when childhood exposures are to combinations of potentially toxic stimuli (e.g., wireless radiation, glyphosate, astroturf, fluoridated water)? From other research, one would suspect the allowable limits for each toxic stimulus to decrease greatly in order to have the same effect of that stimulus applied in isolation!!!!

Arsenic is a common and pervasive environmental contaminant found in drinking water in varying concentrations depending on region. Exposure to arsenic induces behavioral and cognitive deficits in both human populations and in rodent models. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standard for the allotment of arsenic in drinking water is in the parts-per-billion range, yet our lab has shown that 50 ppb arsenic exposure during development can have far-reaching consequences into adulthood, including deficits in learning and memory, which have been linked to altered adult neurogenesis. Given that the morphological impact of developmental arsenic exposure on the hippocampus is unknown, we sought to evaluate proliferation and differentiation of adult neural progenitor cells in the dentate gyrus after 50 ppb arsenic exposure throughout the perinatal period of development in mice (equivalent to all three trimesters in humans) using a BrdU pulse-chase assay. Proliferation of the neural progenitor population was decreased by 13% in arsenic-exposed mice, but was not significant. However, the number of differentiated cells was significantly decreased by 41% in arsenic-exposed mice compared to controls. Brief, daily exposure to environmental enrichment significantly increased proliferation and differentiation in both control and arsenic-exposed animals. Expression levels of 31% of neurogenesis-related genes including those involved in Alzheimer's disease, apoptosis, axonogenesis, growth, Notch signaling, and transcription factors were altered after arsenic exposure and restored after enrichment. Using a concentration previously considered safe by the EPA, perinatal arsenic exposure altered hippocampal morphology and gene expression, but did not inhibit the cellular neurogenic response to enrichment. It is possible that behavioral deficits observed during adulthood in animals exposed to arsenic during development derive from the lack of differentiated neural progenitor cells necessary for hippocampal-dependent learning. This study is the first to determine the impact of arsenic exposure during development on adult hippocampal neurogenesis and related gene expression.


@Cia Parker

Personally, I don't deny the "polio" disease entity. Many people were sick and many of them paralyzed.
I do not believe the polio virus was to blame for all of these cases.
How can a polio vaccine stop an epidemic if:
a. It doesn't stop transmission of the virus.
b. In many of the sick, the polio virus wasn't found at all.


Cia Parker,

SV40 wasn't the only monkey virus in the Salk vaccine, it was the 40th one they found before they stopped looking.

The live polio vaccines cultured on African Green monkey kidneys were contaminated with simian cytomegalovirus (SCMV). Something else they have covered up.

"We also used the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to search for SCMV DNA in live oral poliovirus vaccines; SCMV DNA sequences were found in several of the vaccine lots manufactured prior to 1992." (2002) (PMID: 12217341)



Apparently the definition of polio changed in 1954-55:


"Manipulation of Polio Statistics in the 1950's

Dr. Bernard Greenberg, a biostatistics expert, was chairman of the Committee on Evaluation and Standards of the American Public Health Association during the 1950s. He testified at a panel discussion that was used as evidence for the congressional hearings on polio vaccine in 1962. During these hearings he elaborated on the problems associated with polio statistics and disputed claims for the vaccine's effectiveness. He attributed the dramatic decline in polio cases to a change in reporting practices by physicians. Less cases were identified as polio after the vaccination for very specific reasons.

Testimony...."Prior to 1954 any physician who reported paralytic poliomyelitis was doing his patient a service by way of subsidizing the cost of hospitalization and was being community-minded in reporting a communicable disease. The criterion of diagnosis at that time in most health departments followed the World Health Organization definition: "Spinal paralytic poliomyelitis: signs and symptoms of nonparalytic poliomyelitis with the addition of partial or complete paralysis of one or more muscle groups, detected on two examinations at least 24 hours apart." Note that "two examinations at least 24 hours apart" was all that was required. Laboratory confirmation and presence of residual paralysis was not required. In 1955 the criteria were changed to conform more closely to the definition used in the 1954 field trials: residual paralysis was determined 10 to 20 days after onset of illness and again 50 to 70 days after onset.... This change in definition meant that in 1955 we started reporting a new disease, namely, paralytic poliomyelitis with a longer-lasting paralysis. Furthermore, diagnostic procedures have continued to be refined. Coxsackie virus infections and aseptic meningitis have been distinguished from paralytic poliomyelitis. Prior to 1954 large numbers of these cases undoubtedly were mislabeled as paralytic poliomyelitis. Thus, simply by changes in diagnostic criteria, the number of paralytic cases was predetermined to decrease in 1955-1957, whether or not any vaccine was used.

From Intensive Immunization Programs, Hearings before the Committee on Interstate & Foreign Commerce, House of Representatives, 87th Congress, 2nd Session on H.R. 10541, Wash DC: Us Government Printing Office, 1962; p. 96-97"


Dan,, I am really pleased you liked the studies. :)
I completely agree with parents right to choose for themselves, and for people to make informed decisions for themselves/and or their own particular family.
I actually had no idea of the similarities between arsenic poisoning and polio until I started looking into it after reading Dan's articles.
It does seem that skin keratosis or a skin rash is one potential differentiating feature between polio and arsenic poisoning in some cases; ( though not all cases of arsenic poisoning have this feature) but even if it was present, would doctors in 1894 have stated that a child who was paralyzed but had at some point had a rash, was not a polio victim?

(Apparently FDR Roosevelt also had skin keratosis.)

Re the drop in polio diagnosis, this article from Vax Truth suggests that diagnostic criteria were changed in 1960.


I haven't found a primary source for the information it contains yet.

It also includes a table of paralysis rates in India under the vaccination schedule whether polio, or non polio flaccid paralysis.

Again, I have not found the primary source of the figures yet, but if it is correct, then they indicate a huge increase in paralysis victims under the vaccination program.

I figure it is still a case of keep following the facts, double check and then eventually the truth, whatever it is, will become apparent. And whatever the truth is about the effectiveness of each individual vaccine, I still believe in everyone's right to make a free choice.


"But as soon as a community was vaccinated for polio, crippling cases of polio receded and disappeared. Dr. Yazbak has testified to having personally witnessed this in Rhode Island, when he participated in giving the polio vaccine in a mass vaccine campaign in 1960."

Did Dr. Yazbak consider it may be a placebo effect?

Dan Olmsted

david, the toxoids were certainly dirty vaccines. i think they could have played a role in the flu pandemic in 1918. in addition they were giving schick tests to public school students at the end of the school year in 1916 that i looked at for a long time as possible culprits. but based on the totality of evidence i'm going to lay out i think i can "prove" -- in the non-rigorous sense of that word, since "proof" is not really a good concept -- that it's not just a witches brew of toxins, it's arsenic (and lead arsenic) that was the co-factor (or, for those who dispute the viral aspect) the factor that led to the rise of poliomyelitis epidemics in general and the new york epidemic of 1916 in particular. thanks for your input, it gives me a chance to consider things i might have missed or missed the significance of -- dan

david m burd

If there were not enough factors re the NYC 1916 "polio" epidemic (ie. paralysis, temporary or more prolonged, or death), there were also Medical Officials at that time pushing the toxic Diphtheria Toxoids on the public during those years (lots of references about diphtheria toxoids in that era).

The proverbial "witches stew" of so many factors reminds me of the scientific/engineering axiom: "Too many factors, not enough equations" -- it means there's no way (on paper) to actually prove anything, but only experiments & tests, and subsequent results are what counts.

Which is why Vaxxed versus UnVaxxed outcomes of child health is not done --- by the criminal CDC.

cia parker

But as soon as a community was vaccinated for polio, crippling cases of polio receded and disappeared. Dr. Yazbak has testified to having personally witnessed this in Rhode Island, when he participated in giving the polio vaccine in a mass vaccine campaign in 1960. Aseptic meningitis did not cause crippling. I think a lot of people are trying to say that polio as a disease entity either didn't exist or was never a problem, and that the polio vaccines were ineffective in preventing it, but I honestly believe that they're letting their desire for ideological consistency override the truth. I completely agree that vaccines can disable/kill, and my daughter and I are witnesses to that. I completely agree that vaccines are not often worth the risk involved in taking them. But I would always leave it to the parent to decide whether or not to get the vaccines for his child. I am certain that the polio vaccines ended the tragedy of crippling polio epidemics in the US. Not without cost, I believe that the simian virus contaminating many vaccines led to cancer down the road for many vaccinees. Would it have been better to let many thousands be crippled by polio, and avoid the simian virus? I don't know. I'm concerned about malaria right now. Was it a good idea to end malaria in the US by the use of DDT in just a few years? I don't know if draining the swamps would have done as good a job as the DDT eventually. Reading The Fever I have learned that it was all for naught anyway, in the Third World (malaria has never come back here): many strains of malaria became resistant to DDT, and once the poor in Third World countries stopped dying of malaria, unlike in the First World, they didn't stop having as many children, which meant that many of the lives saved from death or disability from malaria ended in starvation. All anyone can do is inform himself to the best of his ability and then make his choice.

I've never read Silent Spring, maybe I should do so. I don't know what my exposure to DDT as a child (hypothetical, I'm not sure I was ever exposed), and young woman at Santa María del Mexicano in Mexico may have done to me. The boys at the mission went around the whole building spraying everything with DDT, all the walls, trying to kill the bedbugs (las chinches). That was DECADES after it had been banned in the US. DDT was thought to be harmless to humans, though it killed a lot of chickens, mice, and rabbits. It has a half life of eight years. I breathed in the DDT and got a mouthful of tomato soup that tasted of DDT. I don't know what the longterm effects may have been, but I haven't gotten cancer, thank God.

I don't know. Is it better to just let people starve to death or die of cholera, yellow fever, malaria, diphtheria, etc., the natural way, or try to alleviate suffering with drugs, vaccines, and insecticides/pesticides/fertilizers, when all of them have dangerous long-term side effects? It seems as though now we're just reacting to the most recent threat: now it's autism and vaccine injury, but what would we do if thousands of children were dying around us of a contagious disease there was a vaccine for? Would we be purists and refuse all vaccines no matter what? Maybe try homeopathic prophylaxis and treatment? What if vitamin C didn't save as many people as we think now that it might?

david m burd


You correctly ask directly, and imply, whether the "polio virus" is just the 'fall guy' for a host of other causes for flaccid (temporarily, or permanently which is rare) paralysis, so what are the true causes?

Such as mercury, arsenic, other numerous toxic pesticides/chemicals, are, by mindset, overlooked by a MEDICAL ORTHODOXY (my emphasis) that always wants to find a "virus/bacteria" upon which to blame everything. The Orthodoxy is so blinded to their virus/bacteria belief they don't look elsewhere.

Additionally, I want to emphasize that malnutrition is a very, very genuine parameter, but that's too complicated for now; but an example is the great Linus Pauling being correct on the essentials of Vitamin C but there was no money to be made, so he became sidelined and marginalized, so the Pharma Cabal of NIH/CDC/Pharma now rules us --- and destroys us.

Blaming bacteria/viruses describes the genesis of the Public Health System and today's CDC (Centers for Disease Creation) that has gone down this path for over a century, as shown by Dan's series here.

Dan Olmsted

thanks jenny, i did understand what you meant. i am open to all possible mechanisms and combinations here, my effort is to 1) find the truth about the 1916 epidemic and 2) see what that might tell us about other diseases and disorders. i'm taking one step at a time so people, including critics, can see the evidence and arguments i'm relying on. i'm still in 1916 and will be for awhile!


hmmmm, probiotic douches vs HPV, ladies?


Just as example of why Dan needs to continue this inquiry.

"Phage predation of S thermophilus is an important issue for the dairy industry, where viral contamination can lead to fermentation inefficiency or complete fermentation failure. Genome information (and phage-host interaction studies) of S thermophilus phages, particularly those emerging in the marketplace, are an important part of limiting the detrimental impact of these viruses in the dairy environment."

It seems to imply that fermentation is not just a pro-biotically beneficial process for digestion and assimilation of nutrients, but that it is critical part of the process as to whether a virus will wreak havoc, or not.

If a bacteriophage, infecting and in effect, dismantling the effect of the of a probiotic found in dairy is of concern to the industry because then virus contamination of dairy becomes concerning, what should we lowly citizens, purchasers of the end product, think if arsenic (contaminated sugar added to dairy) creates the same situation?


To clarify, the first part of my previous comment "so what" was not aimed at your efforts, Dan, but I was thinking about the original comment from VE that said:

"Dan, the abstract basically says it all: out of ~1000 polio patients in Detroit in 1958, polio virus was identified in only 292 individuals. The rest had no virus or others viruses identified. This includes paralytic cases (though the proportions are different, IIRC).
If that was the case, polio virus is not to blame for the epidemic . . ."

with which I disagreed. It may have not been the only contributing virus, but one can't discount its presence. People are still in the early days of science on why, but it's history is critical and needs to be thoroughly vetted given the route science took in response to its effects, and what Dan's doing here is spot on.


@Reading is fundamental

So, they have this epidemic, where everybody that is sick with "polio" symptoms is labeled sick with "Polio", and when they do check for viruses - many of the sick do not have the polio virus.
1. How many of those sick with "polio' in the 1950s didn't actually have the polio virus?
2. In the absence of the polio virus, who was to blame for the sickness? Another virus found in the gut of the sick person? Any proof the other virus was to blame?
3. Any proof the polio virus was to blame for the sickness of those with polio virus in their gut?


If polio was only 1 of more than 1 viruses found in the paralysis patient population, so what? Who here thinks polio/arsenic is the only demyelinating combination here? If arsenic, like glyphosate, is a mechanism which opens up the "tight junctures" in the blood/brain barrier leading to demyelinating in various brain regions we all know that there are many pathogens which could use the presence of arsenic opportunistically. The point is, we then labeled it all polio and then vaccinated millions of people because of unrecognized chemical poisoning, the solution which has perpetuated the problem and lead to many others, right?

I think somewhere in there, I also wonder is arsenic more effective as an antibiotic or as an antiviral. I would suspect it is, or was, a more powerful antibiotic - maybe killing off the micro biome in people ingesting it in their food, leaving a virus, or viruses to dominate and go systemic without bacteria to balance them out or control them. And yes, I would expect the arsenic to somehow change the virus itself, regardless of the presence or absence of probiotics.
Regardless of the intricacies of the poison/polio virus relationship, I wonder then, could polio be considered an early, or maybe the earliest, documented public health emergency due to antimicrobial resistance? After all, we are talking about the time period of the rise of antibiotics, such that necessitated the "Penicillin Amendment" in 1945 in the FDA, requiring special testing for the safety and effectiveness of antibiotics (certification which was later discontinued in 1982 - was this comparable in a mild way to how pharmaceutical companies no longer are responsible for vaccine damage?), the amendment being in at least one author's opinion, an initial step in the history of "Past U.S. Response to Anti-Microbial Resistance"


In more recent decades our government has become very concerned about "AR" antimicrobial resistance in a cross-spectrum of environments, including the use of antibiotics in the form of farming antibiotics or agricultural sprays. Mentioned over and over and over again in the AR action plan, notably, is that vaccines seem to have been an integral part of their multi-faceted, "stakeholder"-collaborated solution to controlling anti-microbial resistance, which could be contributing, along with lack of liability, to the seemingly endless recent additions to the CDC list of recommended vaccines.

I have to say, this portion of the AR action plan reveals strategic, gradual, coordinated efforts to overcome legal and other challenges so they can increase surveillance of known microbes, as well as ones that haven't been monitored before (ziki?), and promotes methods to reduce or prevent antimicrobial resistance (vaccines, and I can't help but think about the GM mosquito releases, considering their mentioned concerns of malaria's changing response to treatments. They also mention meningitis - which as we all know is now being "prevented" by a vaccine approach. Tuberculosis is also mentioned, which was in the news quite a bit a few years back.) They also discuss the possibility of pet spreading AR germs to their human owners and whether it should be addressed (was antibiotic treatment of 1 form of kennel cough, bordatella, perhaps spreading or causing resurgence of a resistant strain of pertussis to people? It seems relatively recently that vets and kennels started suggesting/requiring vaccines against doggie bordatella)

Although I still have several pages left to read, no where in the file have I seen specified the impact of heavy metals on AR, which considering it's history in agriculture, medicines, AND vaccines, is one heck of a glaring omission. Maybe they just figure it's common knowledge that pesticides and antibiotics started with heavy metal chemistry? It does look like there is a reference to an AR " part II "mentioned, though. Maybe it's in there here somewhere and I haven't found it yet.

Reading Is Fundamental

An error in my previous comment:

Virological, or sérologie determinations

This should be "serologic"; cutting and pasting from PDFs is a nuisance.


Re : our immune systems should be able to handle most of these shuffling gene combinations, certainly a tick born spirochete tiny bacteria as in Lyme disease.
Remember the Tuskegee experiment.

Reading Is Fundamental
the abstract basically says it all

I am of the persuasion that the actual paper does this. Here is its summary (emphasis added):

"Virological, or sérologie determinations, or both, were performed on 1,060 patients who were hospitalized during the 1958 epidemic of poliomyelitis in Michigan. The results show that two immunological types of poliovirus were involved but also that certain types of ECHO and Coxsackie viruses were prevalent; in fact, they were together responsible for more laboratory-proved cases of nonparalytic poliomyelitis [sic] and aseptic meningitis than was poliomyelitis virus itself. The vast majority of virus-confirmed cases of poliomyelitis occurred in unvaccinated persons, and 84% of these with paralysis still showed residual muscle impairment 60 days later."

The point here is that Coxsackie and echoviruses were co-circulating and confounded clinical diagnoses. This doesn't mean that "polio virus is not to blame for the epidemic" unless "the epidemic" is a semantic issue. I recommend the "final report," which cites this paper and is open-access.



I also don't believe the official story. How many children were harmed by the polio vaccine but these cases were never acknowledged by the authorities, and how many children were left permanently paralysed because the gold standard treatment at the time was to immobilise little limbs for up to two years in plaster casts or tied to Bradford frames?

Dr Ken Stoller was one of the victims of the polio vaccine. @1.33:


Cutter wasn't the only company that had a problem manufacturing the vaccine:


"All five companies that produced the Salk vaccine in 1955­Eli Lilly, Parke-Davis, Wyeth, Pitman-Moore, and Cutter­had difficulty completely inactivating the polio virus. Three companies other than Cutter were sued, but the cases settled out of court "

"The mistake produced 120,000 doses of polio vaccine that contained live polio virus. Of children who received the vaccine, 40,000 developed abortive poliomyelitis (a form of the disease that does not involve the central nervous system), 56 developed paralytic poliomyelitis­ and of these, five children died from polio. The exposures led to an epidemic of polio in the families and communities of the affected children, resulting in a further 113 people paralyzed and 5 deaths "


Interesting article about DDT and breast cancer:



The Cutter incident occurred in the first place because there were labs s way across the country - that was too far away to be checked and helped by those more in the know - to warn them they really had to shake, shake, shake.
It did not happen again-- well I guess it did, because it was just toooooo easy for it to happen, it was always a potential danger. Did, however; it happen every again in the huge numbers as in the Cutter incident? Keep in mind that the head of the NIH was at the time forth right and honest about what happened with California kids actually getting polio from the vaccine. It cost him his job. Dang it no one has admitted to anything since.

Dan Olmsted

i hadn't seen those studies of how closely arsenic poisoning could mirror polio. will use them! -- dan

cia parker

I'm reading a book now called The Fever by a Jain Indian woman, Sofia Shah, about malaria. It's very interesting and I've learned a lot. I've always been angry at the widespread use of DDT to kill mosquitoes, leading to the polio epidemics. But now that I'm reading how many died and how many people were chronically ill with malaria for the rest of their lives, and how draining the swamps and killing mosquitoes with DDT completely eradicated malaria from the US, I'm not sure what to think. My father had malaria as a boy of twelve in Reserve, Louisiana, in 1936, just yards from the Mississippi River, which he could see from his window. In the late nineteenth century, close to 100% of Americans living in the south got malaria.

I will have to withhold judgment on all the families who routinely used DDT in their homes. They certainly had no idea it was potentiating polio to become a major crippler, but they did know that they were controlling malaria and yellow fever in the US by its use. I really don't know what it would have been better that they do.

Michelle B.

>>> Beginning in 1946 the rate of increase more than doubled.” Yet far from looking into a toxic etiology, he said, “virtually the entire apparatus of communication, lay and scientific alike, has been devoted to denying, concealing, suppressing, distorting and attempts to convert into its opposite, the overwhelming evidence. Libel, slander and economic boycott have not been overlooked in this campaign.”>>>

Completely believable--but WHY??


Francis Weibel


You stated: "Here's another interesting article with a description of the signs of acute and chronic arsenic poisoning that points out that how arsenic poisoning manifests can vary from place to place. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1257621/"

This has made me think of the many e. coli food poisonings that we often hear of these days. Often these incidents are associated with raw vegetables, which may have been irrigated with arsenic rich water. Am I being foolish in suggesting that these incidents are not just e coli food poisoning, but a combined e coli/arsenic poisoning?

Or, if not the arsenic combo, lead or some pesticide combo.


Cia Parker,
What you describe is the official story. Not the REAL story.
Couldn't be.
Could you imagine the authorities replacing such a successful vaccine, the one that stopped in its tracks such a devastating epidemic, for a vaccine tested only in the Soviet Union, without a VERY good reason? Taking such a risk, endajring the population just to replace "great" with "even better"?
Well, I don't.

I can tell you that here in Israel the Salk vaccine (manufactured in Israel, according to Salk's instructions) did nothing to stop the epidemic.
It was introduced in Jan. 1957, and that year had relatively law rate of polio. Everyone were cheering. Then, in 1958 - a huge rise in cases, more than the number in 1956 and in 1955 (pre-vaccine years). In 1959 and 1960 it went down again, same as 1957, and then, in 1961 - they introduced Sabin's (why?). That year - a large spike again...

cia parker

But if they gave the injected killed Salk vaccine for the first two doses, immunity was achieved (nearly always), so that the oral Sabin vaccine, even though it was live, was unable to cause polio when given for the second two doses. The best of both worlds. The case of the Cutter incident was one of tragic negligence that was not repeated.


CIA Parker Why they stopped the Salk - was because there was a real danger that if live polio virus was not shaken up in the formaldehyde correctly, and even then - there was a good chance that it would not die and continue to live - to actually give polio - Like it actually did do out in California when the polio vaccine was first given out.

When I think of this - outbreak -does that mean that polio viruses do not circulate constantly through out the human population ? I thought it did? Or was all these kids also exposed to some kind of immune dampening toxin? Or and there might be third element and that is the amount of polio virus present at one time, thus overwhelmed their system - as in the vaccine too much polio virus.

This early spring I bought from the dollar store - seed starter dirt, to start my tomatoes with - which I mentioned before on here. I had an entire flat that they came up, stopped growing about less than an inch tall and turned purple. That is an indication the soil lacks phosphorous. I planted them along a fence row and fertilized - and forgot about them. Later I replanted with something else and dug them up -- they were still alive and looked the same. I wonder if they were alive? or just preserved (embalmed; so to speak), since I am thinking if arsenic interferes with phosphorus - and even kill microbes.

Anyway; there were other flats that looked okay, that I had used the same starter soil (starter soil was peatmoss and saw dust). I put them out in the garden - they grew - but not at the rate they should have - they are not as big as they should be - and now I have many coming down with a common virus that makes their leaves all curl up and eventually they slowly die.

I harvest all of my own seeds - they are good, healthy seeds. Weather - how much rain, heat, cold and drought makes a difference in what soil microbes grow; and it has been hot and dry.

However I went out and bought some of the very same variety of tomatoes and planted them within inches of the others sick ones and they have not succumb to this virus. But will the healthy ones eventually succumb, if I do not dig up and get rid of the sick ones as they allow rapid and heavy growth of this virus?

It is interesting that there are three types of polio virus also.

Teresa Conrick once said on here about Dr. Offit's pig virus found in his vaccine - and the other brand had two of the pig viruses - that on the farms it took two/both/ combining of these viruses - to cause the piglets to come down with the pig wasting disease.

All this talk of combinations of these viruses genes - when two or three viruses come together - well the combinations are almost endless.

But we have evolved on this planet and our immune systems should be able to handle most of these shuffling gene combinations, certainly a tick born spirociate tiny bacteria as in Lyme disease. This is a complicated matter - and making a vaccine against a microbe every time is also ruining our immune systems too.


Here's another interesting article with a description of the signs of acute and chronic arsenic poisoning that points out that how arsenic poisoning manifests can vary from place to place.

From the article

For example, whereas skin pigmentation and hyperkeratosis are common indicators of arsenic exposure in Taiwan, it may be more common in India to see respiratory stress, polyneuropathy, and peripheral vascular disease linked with habitual ingestion of high-arsenic drinking water.

This extract from the same article also describes symptoms of arsenic poisoning

Among those symptoms linked with acute exposure to arsenic-laced well water (typically containing more than 1,200 micrograms per liter [μg/L]) are abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, muscular weakness and cramping, pain to the extremities, erythematous skin eruptions, and swelling of the eyelids, feet, and hands. A progressive deterioration in the motor and sensory responses may also result, finally leading to shock and death.

And now, from the mayo clinic, signs of polio
From the article, describing polio

Signs and symptoms, which generally last one to 10 days, include:
•Sore throat
•Back pain or stiffness
•Neck pain or stiffness
•Pain or stiffness in the arms or legs
•Muscle weakness or tenderness

the mayo clinic article continues

Initial signs and symptoms of paralytic polio, such as fever and headache, often mimic those of nonparalytic polio. Within a week, however, signs and symptoms specific to paralytic polio appear, including:
•Loss of reflexes
•Severe muscle aches or weakness
•Loose and floppy limbs (flaccid paralysis), often worse on one side of the body

I wonder how easy it would have been for physicians to tell the two apart in 1894 given that both can result in paralysis and respiratory failure?


Interesting article in Google Scholar;

Acute neuromuscular respiratory paralysis ( published in 1994)

The article discusses how to identify the different causes of respiratory paralysis, and states, quote;

"Poisoning with organophosphates or heavy metals severe
enough to cause a neuropathy with respiratory
failure has usually been preceded by an
acute illness with vomiting and an altered
level of consciousness."

It continues to explain

"In arsenic poisoning the early clinical picture
sometimes closely resembles GBS and neurophysiological
changes may initially show partial
conduction block and slowing of
conduction before giving way to changes suggestive
of axonal degeneration."

So, it seems that arsenic poisoning can cause vomiting, altered consciousness, and eventual respiratory failure. Hard to see how physicians of that time would have been able to easily distinguish between polio and arsenic poisoning.

cia parker


The virus could not have been transmitted in water that had been treated with chlorine, as water from public systems has been for a long time. Other, untreated water supplies might have transmitted it. They used to close pools and beaches in polio epidemics, because barefoot kids might step in water on the edge contaminated with feces, since it can be water-borne. But polio can be airborne as well, which was usually the case in the epidemics in the developed world.

Salk's vaccine was very good and very effective. They thought in the '60s that the Sabin oral vaccine would be even better because it was live virus and taken through the oral route like a natural infection. It was also very effective. They used to give the Salk killed virus vaccine for the first two doses and then the Sabin vaccine for the second two, so that there would be no possibility that it might in extremely rare cases cause paralysis, but still give the advantages of the oral vaccine. I don't know why they stopped doing that and went back to the Salk vaccine exclusively.

 Teresa Conrick


This continues to read like a mystery being solved, piece by piece, with excellent evidence. This to me is another example of the role of the gut and it's interaction with MAN's toxins. Viruses and bacteria have a funny way of changing with the right toxic ingredient (s).

You are doing very important research here!


I wonder why you can get a book published, and papers published of the effects of this stuff on animals but not on human beings?

I have a friend since college that is a doctor and how come they want to say it is all genetics - it is the genes and let it all go They really do believe it too, so it can't be that they are just lazy and don't want to look for the needle in the haystack cause.

Tim Lundeen

@dan I'm on the edge of my seat :-)

@carol Love that, thanks!

Carolyn C Mcd

Can anyone explain the motivation for defending heavy metals like arsenic, lead, mercury? Dan pointing out that they are cofactors in disease is not a bad thing it's hopeful. Why is Orac Etc threatened by that? And also who makes money selling Mercury to light bulbs makers and thimerasol to vaccine makers and arsenic to pesticide makers? If we follow the money will we find another potent force even uglier than Pharma?

angus files

The pharma paid experts over at Orac inc, still believe Polio arrives by some miasma in the atmosphere. Some kids in India receive thirty doses of the oral Polio vaccine and more before they reach 5years old.

Thanks from a vaccine conscientious objector keep Pharma`s new motto should be, keep fixing it until it breaks.


Maureen McDonnell,RN

I never knew the Rotary Club was founded with a primary mission to eradicate Polio via vaccines. But when I recently spoke with the president of a local chapter -(& just happened to mention that I'd been a pediatric RN for 38 years & was not of the mindset that vaccines were the safest or most effective way of combating infectious diseases) - I was informed about their mission & basically banned from speaking about any aspect of health at any future meetings...


So interesting! Love the way you research these issues, Dan.

Lol John Stone - the safe kind of arsenic!

Dan Olmsted

thanks carol, a wonderful example! maureen, i think the virus can be transmitted via water but i don't know too much about it. will read up on it and add to the series. i don't think it was the primary route, though. what if it was the toxin that was in the water -- arsenic in wells and so on -- in some cases? you'd have people making a connection with water and the onset of poliomyelitis, when actually they got the infection some other way and the arsenic in the water turned it into a serious illness. VE, i understand what you're saying but based on my own research feel that a real virus really was involved and that the vaccine really wiped it out. in any event i'm tracing the path of the toxin in this series and hope that has value.
and dan thanks for the support from someone who is such a good writer and observer -- dan.


Up until 1955 it was accepted that humans had twenty-four pairs of chromosomes. Why? Well, because an eminent scientist, Theophilus Painter, had counted them and said so. Others who counted and got twenty-three just figured they got it wrong. Photographs showing twenty-three pairs had captions stating there were twenty-four. Sometimes you just have to count things yourself.

Keep counting them yourself, Dan.

Maurine Meleck

In the 40's and 50's there was widespread belief that polio virus was being transmitted through the water supply. Wondering if there were studies done to show in fact that this was true.


An investigative reporters vary in talent They have to have an interest, a burning curiosity, intelligence, integrity (is a good thing to have to do any job right), and a good education I a sure the Dan has already had a few life science classes, but not enough to keep him from thinking outside the box, much more and they probably would have deterred your ability to think out side the box.

You got that one right.


Dan, the abstract basically says it all: out of ~1000 polio patients in Detroit in 1958, polio virus was identified in only 292 individuals. The rest had no virus or others viruses identified. This includes paralytic cases (though the proportions are different, IIRC).
If that was the case, polio virus is not to blame for the epidemic and the vaccine definitely wasn't the reason it went away.

BTW, if the Salk vaccine was so good, why was it replaced in 1961-2 by Sabin's? I cannot think of any other vaccine that was so successful and yet still replaced just 5-6 years after it was launched.

BTW2, are you aware of the fact that (even according to the authorities), Salk vaccine couldn't stop polio virus transmission? It has to do with the way it works - it "defends" against the virus in the blood, but not in the gut. So a person infected with polio virus, even if successfully vaccinated with Salk's and never sick, can still transmit the virus to other persons.

Dan Olmsted

VE. I am not familiar with this study but from reading the abstract it appears to be part of the argument that there simply is no poliovirus. Is that what you are getting at? If so it would be helpful if you say a little more about it so I and others can engage in a useful conversation -- I'm open to it, but as I've written previously I think the polio vaccine's effect is a pretty strong argument that the epidemics of poliomyelitis were caused by the poliovirus (interacting with a toxic, in my view). -- dan


Dan, what's your thoughts regarding the Detroit 1958 study?

Dan Burns

Dan, I read “Explosion” with a sense of discovery. I enjoy the graphics, the humor and irony, the personal touch, the highlighting of characters as actors on the stage of history. The polio epidemic is a template for ASD, and fear of the iron lung is likely at the root of today's vaccine-facilitated epidemics. I look forward to learning how we got here.


Very intriguing.

John Stone

"Of course, today we'd say that anxiety was warranted simply because of the name of the compound!"


We might, but if we were the CDC, the WHO, GAVI, the UK Department of Health, the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation we would be declaring that this was "the safe arsenic".


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