Money, Morality ...
And The Health Of Our Children
author Ken Dychtwald, Ph.D., provides some fascinating
statistics that illustrate how modern medicine and
technology is helping us live longer than our ancestors
ever dreamed possible.
Consider the following
a child born in America could expect to live, on average,
to the age of 35. A century later, that average had
increased only 5 years to the age of 40.
the decades since 1900, we have nearly doubled the average
life expectancy. A child born in 1990 is
expected to live until at least 75, and the Census Bureau
projects that the average age will increase to 90 by the
year 2040 (probably much sooner).
In the developed world,
the last 100 years has brought breakthroughs in health
care to eliminate many of the diseases that previously
killed us at a young age.
Smallpox is gone.
Cholera, typhoid and diphtheria are almost nonexistent.
Tuberculosis was the leading cause of premature death a
century ago, but has now been reduced by over 99.9
percent. Measles and streptococcal infections are now
annoyances rather than childhood killers.
Even AIDS, which is
estimated to have killed nearly 2 million people
worldwide, is but a fraction of the 20 million Europeans
killed in the 14th century by the bubonic
plague (one out of every three people); or similarly, the
20 million lives claimed by the influenza epidemic
between 1917 and 1919.
And yet, for all the
miracles that modern medicine has created, and all the
good that doctors have done to prolong life, other forces
are proving equally strong in destroying the
of our lives even
as we have
time to live.
This is the title of an
article written by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. that was
published last month as part of a joint investigation by
Salon and Rolling Stone magazines.
The article presents a
disturbing story that reveals how the pharmaceutical
industry has used our belief in the benefits of
vaccines to make choices that are destroying the lives
of thousands (perhaps millions) of people around the world.
Kennedy explains how
the mercury that is used in childhood vaccinations may have caused autism in
thousands of kids, and how the government (under pressure
from drug company lobbyists), has rushed to conceal the
data (in an effort to prevent parents from bringing suit
against drug manufacturers for their role in the cover-up).
are excerpts from the investigation which was summarized
Boston Globe on July 1, 2005 (to read the original
click here, or visit:
the 1990s, 40 million children were injected with
Thimerosal-based vaccines, receiving unprecedented
levels of mercury during a period critical for brain
development. Despite the well-documented dangers of
Thimerosal, it appears that no one bothered to add
up the cumulative dose of mercury that children
would receive from the mandated vaccines.
evidence suggests that Thimerosal, a mercury-based
preservative in children's vaccines, may be responsible
for the exponential growth of autism, attention deficit
disorder, speech delays, and other childhood neurological
disorders now epidemic in the United States.
Prior to 1989, American
infants generally received three vaccinations (polio,
measles-mumps-rubella, and diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis).
In the early 1990s,
public health officials dramatically increased the number
of Thimerosal-containing vaccinations without considering
the cumulative impact of the mercury load on young,
In 1991, Dr.
Maurice Hilleman, a key scientist in Merck's
vaccination programs, warned his bosses that 6-month-old
children who received the shots on schedule would suffer
mercury exposures 87 times the government safety
He recommended that
Thimerosal be discontinued and complained that the US Food
and Drug Administration (which has a notoriously
close relationship with the pharmaceutical industry),
could not be counted on to take appropriate action (as had
European counterparts of the FDA).
Merck ignored Hilleman's
warning, and over the next eight years, government
officials added seven more shots for children that
"You couldn't even construct a study that shows
Thimerosal is safe. It's just too darn toxic. If you
inject Thimerosal into an animal, its brain will
sicken. If you apply it to living tissue, the cells
die. If you put it in a petri dish, the culture
dies. Knowing these things, it would be shocking if
one could inject it into an infant without causing
Head of the Chemistry Department
University of Kentucky
Mercury is a known brain
poison, and autism rates began rising dramatically in
children who were administered the new vaccine regimens
throughout the 1990's.
ago the American Academy of Pediatrics estimated the
autism rate among American children to be 1 in 2,500.
Today, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) places the
rate at 1 in 166, or fifteen times greater in only ten
years. Additionally, 1 in 6 children is now diagnosed with
a related neurological problem (such as Attention Deficit
Disorder, or ADD).
In 2000, the CDC met
with pharmaceutical companies and the FDA to review its
findings linking Thimerosal (a neurotoxin) with a
dramatic rise in neurological illnesses. According to
transcripts, participants were alarmed about the
undeniable links between Thimerosal and widespread brain
damage in children.
Dr. Bill Weil told the
group, ''You can play with [the results] all you want.
They are statistically significant". Another attendee, Dr. Richard Johnston,
admitted that he feared for his own grandchild getting a
vaccine containing Thimerosal.
But the group was most
concerned with the intimidating pressure they were put
under to keep the findings secret. ''Consider this
embargoed information", said Dr. Roger Bernier, a senior
director at the National Immunization Program, when the
meeting was about to end.
The CDC now says it has
''lost" the data that supported the crucial study, and
persistently defied congressional requests (and federal law)
requiring it to open up the national Vaccine Safety
Database to scientists and the public.
As vaccine manufacturers recently began to phase Thimerosal
out of injections given to American infants, they
continued to sell off their mercury-based supplies
of vaccines until just last year.
CDC and the FDA gave them a hand, buying up the
tainted vaccines for export to developing countries
and allowing drug companies to continue using the
preservative in some American vaccines -- including
several pediatric flu shots as well as tetanus
boosters that are routinely given to 11-year-olds.
agencies who approved Thimerosal have turned a blind
eye to hundreds of studies linking the neurotoxin to a
range of neurological disorders; and instead, have joined
the pharmaceutical industry in manipulating a series of flawed
European studies to exonerate Thimerosal (studies in which
the children were exposed to a tiny fraction of the
Thimerosal given to American kids).
the federal government has worked to prevent scientists from
studying the potentially detrimental impact of vaccines on
children, others have stepped in to explore the specific
link to autism. UPI Reporter Dan Olmsted undertook one of
the more interesting studies by searching for children who
had not been exposed to mercury in vaccines -- the kind of
population that scientists typically use as a "control" in
experiments. Olmsted focused his research on an Amish
community in Pennsylvania who generally refuse to immunize their infants.
the national rate of autism, Olmsted calculated that there
should be 130 autistics among the Amish. He found only
four. One had been exposed to high levels of mercury from
a power plant. The other three had received vaccines.
the state level, many officials have also conducted
in-depth reviews of Thimerosal. For example, while the Institute of
Medicine was busy whitewashing the risks, the Iowa
Legislature was carefully combing through all of the
available scientific and biological data.
"After three years of review, I became convinced there was
sufficient credible research to show a link between
mercury and the increased incidences in autism," said
Senator Ken Veenstra, a Republican who oversaw the
year, Iowa became the first state to ban mercury in
vaccines, followed by California. Similar bans are now
under consideration in 32 other states.
"The fact that Iowa's 700 percent increase in autism
began in the 1990s, right after more and more
vaccines were added to the children's vaccine
schedules, is solid evidence ..."
Iowa State Senator
Instead of following
the states lead, the FDA continues to allow
manufacturers to include Thimerosal in over-the-counter medications as well as steroids, injected
collagen, flu shots, and tetanus boosters. Even
more alarming, the government continues to ship vaccines
preserved with Thimerosal to developing countries -- some
of which are now experiencing a sudden explosion in autism
China, where the disease was virtually unknown prior to
the introduction of Thimerosal by U.S. drug manufacturers
in 1999, news reports indicate that there are now more
than 1.8 million autistics.
Although reliable numbers are hard to come by, autistic
disorders also appear to be soaring in India, Argentina,
Nicaragua and other developing countries that are now
using Thimerosal-laced vaccines.
as the evidence suggests, our public-health authorities
knowingly allowed the pharmaceutical industry to poison an
entire generation of American children, their actions
constitute one of the biggest scandals in the annals of
CDC is guilty of incompetence and gross negligence," says
Mark Blaxill, vice president of Safe Minds, a nonprofit
organization concerned about mercury in medicines. "The
damage caused by vaccine exposure is massive. It's bigger
than asbestos, bigger than tobacco, bigger than anything
you've ever seen."
hard to calculate the damage to our country (and to the
international efforts to eradicate epidemic diseases) if
Third World nations conclude that America's most heralded
foreign-aid initiative is poisoning their children. It's
not difficult to predict how this scenario will be
interpreted by America's enemies abroad.
Government officials who
continue to champion Thimerosal should recognize that this
is not just a theoretical exercise in bureaucratic
face-saving. Their wrong-headed defense of Thimerosal
safety in the face of overwhelming science discourages testing of promising
alternatives which may be effective.
They also cannot escape
responsibility for their failure to warn international
health agencies and governments who, based upon American
assurances, are now injecting the developing world's
children with this brain-killing chemical.
The drug companies are getting help from powerful
lawmakers in Washington. Senate Majority Leader Bill
Frist, who has received $873,000 in contributions
from the pharmaceutical industry, has been working
to immunize vaccine makers from liability in 4,200
lawsuits that have been filed by the parents of
has tried to seal all of the government's
vaccine-related documents and shield Eli Lilly, the
developer of Thimerosal, from subpoenas. In 2002,
the day after Frist quietly slipped a rider known as
the "Eli Lilly Protection Act" into a homeland
security bill, the company contributed $10,000 to
his campaign and bought 5,000 copies of his book on
bioterrorism. Congress repealed the measure in 2003
-- but earlier this year, Frist slipped another
provision into an anti-terrorism bill that would
deny compensation to children suffering from
vaccine-related brain disorders.
It would be a shame to
forget the value of vaccines in helping to eradicate
deadly disease and prolong the life expectancy of human
beings around the world. But it would be a great
crime to allow the greed of corporations to exert such
powerful influence over governmental regulatory agencies
that we risk the lives of millions of children around the
world for the
sake of shareholder profits.
There are alternatives to
Thimerosal. They cost more to develop and distribute.
But the long-term cost in human life, family disruption,
emotional turmoil, and taxpayer dollars that are needed to
care for the sick, is far greater than the dividends and
executive bonuses that keep the truth hidden from public
The lawyers and lobbyist who
protect these corporations from full disclosure and legal
liability must have their power curtailed and controlled
if we are to have the kind of world that we say we want to live
If you would like to
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