CDC Study Raises Level of Suspicion; Critics Charge That Pharmaceutical Companies and the U.S. Government Are Covering Up the True Health Risks of Injecting Children with Vaccines That Contain Mercury

By O'Meara, Kelly Patricia | Insight on the News, December 22, 2003 | Go to article overview

CDC Study Raises Level of Suspicion; Critics Charge That Pharmaceutical Companies and the U.S. Government Are Covering Up the True Health Risks of Injecting Children with Vaccines That Contain Mercury


O'Meara, Kelly Patricia, Insight on the News


Byline: Kelly Patricia O'Meara, INSIGHT

Canned tuna or canned poison? That was the teaser for a CBS 2 News "HealthWatch" Report of Nov. 22 that focused on high levels of mercury found in tuna and the possible health risks associated with them.

CBS 2 News reporter Paul Moniz quoted a number of physicians, who observed of the toxic substance that, "Once it gets into our bodies, a substantial part of it will end up in our nervous system, in our brains, and it's there that it causes a variety of symptoms." A pediatrician is quoted as saying, "We know that high levels of mercury can impair the cognitive development as well as the growth and development of a young child." What the report appears to be revealing is that while overweight Americans may flee to fish to lose unwanted pounds, too much of that tasty tuna could reduce the IQ more than the waistline.

What the critics of mercury in vaccines find provocative about this report is the acknowledgement by physicians that the high levels of mercury ingested from canned tuna can cause severe health risks. One such critic, the mother of an autistic child, wonders "why everyone gets up in arms over ingesting small amounts of mercury from fish or from breaking a thermometer but finds it acceptable to inject an even more toxic form of mercury directly into the bloodstream of infants. The evidence is overwhelming that hundreds of thousands of children were damaged by gross overexposure to mercury through vaccines [containing thimerosal] and millions more were and continue to be put at risk, yet network news has not addressed this in any significant way. The public needs and deserves to know the truth - not only about the biggest medical bungling in our history, but also about the extraordinary efforts of both the pharmaceutical industry and government agencies to cover it up."

A pharmaceutical and government cover-up? It is a familiar enough accusation, and this time the fuse was lit by yet another study from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), this one titled Safety of Thimerosal-Containing Vaccines: A Two-Phased Study of Computerized Health Maintenance Organization Databases. The report concluded that "no consistent significant associations were found between TCVs [thimerosal-containing vaccines] and neurodevelopment outcomes." Critics scoff at such a conclusion. "Sure," laughs one, "they say you can't eat tuna because the level of mercury you ingest isn't good for you, but there's no health risk associated with injecting high levels of mercury directly into a newborn baby?"

The CDC study, released in the November 2003 issue of Pediatrics, seemed to puzzle news media, with most who took note of it making at least a mention of the fact that the lead author, Thomas Verstraeten, was an employee of GlaxoSmithKline, the pharmaceutical giant and vaccine manufacturer, when he submitted the study for publication.

The first part of the two-phase study to determine whether there is a connection between thimerosal-containing vaccines and neurodevelopment disorders began in 1999 and involved the review of data from Seattle's Group Health Cooperative and Northern California Kaiser, both large health-maintenance organizations (HMOs). The data used in this first phase actually revealed a significant association between TCVs administered to infants and later developmental abnormalities such as speech and language delays and neurodevelopment problems in general, such as tics and the alleged hyperactivity symptoms of attention-deficit disorder and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.

However, this conclusion was not included in the final draft; it was only made public afterward when Verstraeten's notes were revealed in another forum, according to specialists. The notes, not published with the CDC study, showed that the "relative risk" for autism was 2.48 times higher for children who received 62.5 micrograms or more of mercury from TCVs by 3 months of age. …

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