by Lisa Garber
The American Academy of Pediatrics and a World Health Organization committee agreed that thimerosal, a vaccine preservative that contains mercury, should not be banned by the United Nations, even though it has been frowned upon in the United States.
Rewind to 1999, however, and you would find the AAP asking for thimerosal’s removal from vaccines in the United States, due to the danger of youths being injected with too much mercury. And there was less evidence then as there is now that these vaccines could contribute to the development of autism and other neurodevelopmental problems. In a curious turn of events, however, the AAP agreed this month with the WHO commission when it advocated the use of thimerosal in vaccines to treat children around the world.
“It was absolutely a matter of precaution because of the absence of more information,” says Columbia University’s Dr. Louis Cooper, then AAP board of directors. “Subsequently an awful lot of effort has been put into trying to sort out whether thimerosal causes any harm to kids, and the bottom line is basically, it doesn’t look as if it does.”
A 2004 safety review by the US Institute of Medicine would come to the same conclusion, as does a 2010 assessment by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Dangers of Thimerosal and Vaccines
Thimerosal, however, is approximately 50 percent mercury. For every child and every dose, 62.5 ug of mercury comes with a vaccination against hepatitis B or MMR. According to the Federal Environmental Protection Guidelines, that’s 100 times the “safe” dose.
Vaccines also have a spotted history and questionable efficacy. An increasing number of people are shunning the injections despite pressure from their places of employment. According to findings by Dr. Danuta Skowronski of the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control, the flu shot actually worsens H1N1 symptoms. Just a few of the studies implicating vaccines in contributing to leukemia and lymphoma include:
Bichel, Post-vaccinial Lymphadenitis Developing into Hodgkin’s Disease, Acta Med Scand, 1976, Vol 199, p523-525.
Stewart, AM, et al, Aetiology of Childhood Leukaemia, Lancet, 16 Oct, 1965, 2:789-790. [Listed under Vaccine Adverse Reactions.]
Glathe, H et al, Evidence of Tumorigenic Activity of Candidate Cell Substrate in Vaccine Production by the Use of Anti-Lymphocyte Serum, Development Biol Std, 1977, 34:145-148.
These are, admittedly, older studies. While many have been conducted since, a highly profitable industry has also been built around vaccines, rendering many studies heavily biased and unreliable. What’s more, thimerosal isn’t the only harmful additive. Formaldehyde, a known human carcinogen, is another “preservative” found in vaccines.
Short-Sighted Humanitarian Efforts, Profits for Big Pharma
The AAP argues, however, that while thimerosal should remain sparse in American children, those abroad without access to vaccines should not get the same treatment.
If we are to take AAP and the WHO committee’s endorsements at face value, their intentions seem good. Children in impoverished regions of the world are sickened with avoidable diseases, and they argue that vaccines might prevent the illness. Because researchers suggest that it would cost up to five times as much for developing areas to produce vaccines without thimerosal as it would developed areas, shipping mercury-laden vaccines to developing areas seems like a humanitarian effort.
“We need this exception,” says Dr. Walter Orenstein, a member of the AAP Committee on Infectious Diseases, “because thimerosal is so vital for protecting children.”
We get that, but it doesn’t make the move clean.
The effectiveness—never mind the side effects—of vaccines remain hotly debated. Instead of making money off of vaccines, the WHO and UN might think on the physical and fiscal benefits people in impoverished areas might meet with a healthy diet of locally grown organic produce (instead of, say, GMOs courtesy of Bill Gates). Besides, the producers of vaccines like GlaxoSmithKline over at Big Pharma are not our friends, as evidenced in what qualifies as nothing short of the murder of 14 infants in experimental trials of their products.
Everyone should agree, for one reason or another, that more research deserves to be conducted by independent bodies on not only vaccinations and alternative additives, but also in disease prevention on a daily scale, such as through a healthy diet and sanitation efforts. If not, at the end of the day, we know who comes out the loser in this misguided crusade, and who gets to take home the bags of money.