Tuesday, October 16, 2007

More Headlines: “Vaccine Preservative Poses No Health Risk, Study Says”

The preservative the headline is referring to is mercury. Wow, now that would be news if mercury was found to pose no health risk. However, there is not a government entity in the world that would claim that mercury is not a toxic element. If you go on to websites for the U.S. EPA, the Canadian Government, the European Union, the World Health Organization, and others there are pages filled with the dangers of mercury, lead and other heavy metals. The hazards of these elements have been known for centuries.

Sources of Mercury include atmospheric from coal-fired power-plants, municipal and medical waste incinerators, and crematoriums. Consumer products containing mercury can be found in certain drugs (see link to FDA list), batteries, dental fillings (dental amalgam is made up of approximately 40-50% mercury, 25% silver and 25-35% a mixture of copper, zinc and tin), fluorescent bulbs (including energy efficient), jewelry, paint, thermometers, thermostats; and is present in certain fish.

Notice the warning posters and information campaigns about not eating fish because of mercury content. Hazardous waste collection days have special events for collecting old mercury-filled thermometers because they are toxic. Mercury used as a preservative in house paints has been banned for almost twenty years – because it is hazardous to your health.

So, we are supposed to believe that it is safe to inject a child with a vaccine that uses a mercury-based preservative, but not safe to paint our houses with paint that has mercury-based preservatives in it? Explain the logic in that – not the studies – the logic. There is none.

The industry rebuttals about the different types of mercury – ethyl, methyl, organic, inorganic, elemental – do the trick – they make most people’s eyes glaze over. The fact is mercury is toxic – maybe in degrees, maybe in how it’s metabolized, but that skirts the real issue. The real issue is that the governments of Canada, the United States and the European Union (last count 27 countries) all classify Mercury (not specified by ethyl, methyl, inorganic, organic, or elemental) as “Very Toxic”, “Hazardous” and has “Danger of cumulative effects.”

The study that was supposed to exonerate thimerosal, the ethyl-mercury –based preservative, only illustrates the weak and flawed aspects of such research. The study did not address links to autism, even though other studies have shown that children receiving vaccines containing thimerosal had 27 times (2700%) greater chance to develop Autism Spectrum Diseases than those receiving vaccines without thimerosal.

The media coverage of the study left out rebutting information including the article, “Vaccine Study In New England Journal Of Medicine Wrong In Concluding Mercury Exposures Are Harmless,” written by Sallie Bernard, Executive Director of SafeMinds (www.safeminds.org), one of the study’s external consultants, and the only consumer representative. Bernard writes, “A Centers for Disease Control (CDC) study on the relationship between mercury (thimerosal) in vaccines and children's brain functioning draws a misleading conclusion.” (see full article at: www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/83770.php ). An earlier article by the National Autism Association says, “CDC's Vaccine Committee Whitewashed Toxic Vaccine Component” (see full article at: www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/63777.php)

A common-sense, far-sighted, as well as hind-sighted, person is not going to be fooled by misleading research. Mercury is hazardous. If you shouldn't breathe it, eat it or touch it, you certainly shouldn't be injecting it into a body, especially a young body. Finding new uses for mercury each time it is banned from a product, or trying to futilely prove its safety, should not be a priority. Safeguarding the world’s children from toxins should be.

Links - The websites with the most comprehensive information include:
www.chem.unep.ch/mercury - United Nations Environmental Programme with useful inks and the Global Mercury Assessment report key findings
www.atsdr.cdc.gov/cabs/mercury - Dept for Health and Human Services Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR)
www.fda.gov/cder/fdama/mercury300.htm - drugs containing mercury - fda list
www.epa.gov/mercury - US EPA site on mercury

A word on testing mercury body burdens for consumers and future researchers: It makes a difference whether you are testing blood, urine or hair. Using blood tests as the only marker is faulty and provides inaccurate information. As the Department for Health and Human Services Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) explains on their website appropriate testing is critical for uncovering accurate mercury loads in the body.
The particular test depends on type of mercury to which a person believes he or she has been exposed. Urine tests are good for determining exposure to elemental or inorganic mercury, NOT methylmercury. Hair analysis is considered a reliable marker for exposure to methyl and ethyl mercury. Blood tests are a good indicator of only methylmercury. Acute elemental exposures can be detected in the blood only for a few days, after 2 days, urine is a better indicator of past or cumulative elemental mercury exposure.

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