by Melissa Melton
Why would pediatricians who have taken an oath to help, not harm, kids go on record to say that vaccines need to contain poisonous mercury?
Just before Christmas, Reuters reported “Pediatricians Call to Keep Thimerosal in Vaccines,” citing that the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) agreed with a United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) committee that the mercury used as a preservative in vaccines “should not be banned as an ingredient” because it “should not be considered a hazardous source of mercury.”
This odd defense of mercury in vaccines goes against the fact that a multitude of scientific studies have shown the detrimental effects that mercury has on the brain, and much research has been done on the correlation between mercury-laden vaccines and the autism epidemic, among other health effects. Even the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) labels mercury a hazardous substance with a multi-step process for disposal to avoid the potentially devastating effects of mercury exposure.
Despite clear evidence that mercury is bad for us, the media continues to trumpet claims that mercury is good for developing children’s brains as they have done in the past.
Childhood vaccine market profits are projected to reach $16 billion by 2016, and the United States has one of the most aggressive vaccine schedules in the world. The CDC now recommends 69 shots of 16 different vaccines by age 18. When it comes to mercury’s “safety”, it seems one only needs to follow the funding.
While a series of influential studies which have been used by WHO to inform vaccine policy have concluded thimerosal poses little risk to full-term infants, the head researcher in these studies has admittedly received grants from top Big Pharma companies including Eli Lilly (the company that developed thimerosal), Merck, and Pfizer among many others.
The logic we are fed on why we should inject ourselves and our infants and children with mercury is that thimerosal is somehow safe because it is made from ethyl mercury, which has a shorter half-life in the blood than its supposedly much more hazardous cousin methyl mercury.
Unfortunately, this makes little sense, common or otherwise. In a 1985 comparative toxicology study in which rats were treated with both types of mercury, little difference in neurotoxicity was found, yet those treated with ethyl mercury suffered more widespread damage.
More recently, a 2005 study on brain concentrations of both methyl and ethyl mercury compounds found that monkeys dosed with ethyl mercury had double the levels of inorganic mercury in their brains.
According to this study, “inorganic mercury remains in the brain much longer than organic mercury, with an estimated half-life of more than a year.” Many claims that thimerosal is safe are based on how long the mercury compound stays in the blood, but mercury accumulates and stays in the brain — where much greater damage is done — longer than in the blood.
How can inorganic mercury accumulations in the brains of growing children for more than a year even remotely be considered safe?
According to the EPA, “high exposures to inorganic mercury may result in damage to the gastrointestinal tract, the nervous system, and the kidneys.” Symptoms of inorganic mercury exposure can also include memory loss, mental disturbances, and muscle weakness among other negative health effects. If these are the effects of a high dose, why would anyone take their chances with a what has somehow been deemed a “healthy” dose or, frankly, any dose of mercury?
The United Nations Environment Program is in the process of banning mercury as a global health hazard, which would also mean a ban on thimerosal. The Reuters article goes on to quote AAP Committee on Infectious Diseases member Dr. Walter Orenstein as saying that thimerosal should have a special exception “because thimerosal is so vital for protecting children.”
This is not the first time the AAP has appeared to bow to corporate interests.
In October 2011, the organization made the recommendation that children as young as four could be diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, and those children could be prescribed pharmaceuticals such as Ritalin for it. The Citizens Commission on Human Rights International reported that, not only was the chairman in charge of this “recommendation” a consultant for multiple Big Pharma companies including Eli Lilly, but AAP had received thousands in pharmaceutical company contributions from Merck, Eli Lilly, Bristol-Meyers Squibb and many others in recent years.
Mere days before Proposition 37, the genetically modified food labeling initiative, went for a vote in California, AAP also went on record to state that organic food was not healthier for children. The report claimed that there were no “meaningful nutritional benefits” from eating organic food, and co-author Joel Forman was actually quoted by USA Today as saying, “the needed long-term studies do not yet exist to show that eating pesticide-free food makes people healthier.”
Far too many AAP members also hold or have held positions with Big Pharma and Big Agra companies (for just a few examples, see here, here, here, here, and here). Isn’t this an apparent conflict of interest that could potentially put children in danger? Other examples include when former head of the CDC Dr. Julie Gerberding was later hired as Merck’s Vaccine Division President, and the fact that during the H1N1 scandal, WHO advisors were caught receiving kickbacks from vaccine manufacturers. The lines between government and corporations are continuously blurred in a widespread trend that seems to go beyond any individual or single organization.
Profits are not only being put ahead of people, but ahead of common sense as well.