A few years ago, Dr. Andrew Wakefield published a study that suggested the cause of the increase in autism cases may be linked to vaccines containing mercury. He was forced out of his position at the Royal Free Hospital in London. There have been editorials in medical journals and even TV shows loudly denouncing him as a quack. There have been a number of subsequent studies “proving” that there is no connection between the mercury in the vaccines and autism.
The controversy centers around a substance called thimerosal, which is a preservative. Thimerosal is made with ethyl mercury and contains about 50% mercury. According to the FDA website, “Thimerosal in concentrations of 0.001% (1 part in 100,000) to 0.01% (1 part in 10,000) has been shown to be effective in clearing a broad spectrum of pathogens. A vaccine containing 0.01% thimerosal as a preservative contains 50 micrograms of thimerosal per 0.5 ml dose or approximately 25 micrograms of mercury per 0.5 ml dose.”
The “safe” dosage for mercury put forth by the FDA is for methylmercury, not ethylmercury (the type that is in the vaccines). The FDA, of course, states that the amount of mercury an infant receives from vaccines is within acceptable limits. However, depending on the vaccine formulations used and the weight of the infant, some infants could have been exposed to cumulative levels of mercury during the first six months of life that exceeded EPA recommended guidelines for safe intake of methylmercury. Because of this an effort is underway to reduce the amount of mercury in vaccines.
Prior to the effort to reduce thimerosal in vaccines, the cumulative exposure to mercury by age six months was 187.5 mcg. in a child who has gotten all of his or her vaccines. Mercury is transferred from mother to fetus, so a pregnant woman getting a flu shot, for example, exposes the fetus to some additional mercury.
According to the website for ATSDR, or the Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry, (Department of Health and Human Services), the EPA has set a limit of 2 parts per billion (ppb) in drinking water and 1 ppb in seafood (note paragraph 2 and the concentrations of mercury in the vaccines). According to the site, “The nervous system is very sensitive to all forms of mercury. Methylmercury and metallic mercury vapors are more harmful than other forms, because more mercury in these forms reaches the brain. Exposure to high levels of metallic, inorganic, or organic mercury can permanently damage the brain, kidneys, and developing fetus. Effects on brain functioning may result in irritability, shyness, tremors, changes in vision or hearing, and memory problems. Short-term exposure to high levels of metallic mercury vapors may cause effects including lung damage, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, increases in blood pressure or heart rate, skin rashes, and eye irritation.” Very young children are more sensitive to mercury than adults.
The research denouncing the idea that mercury in vaccines could be causing a problem says things like, “Gee, we gave the kids vaccines and tested the blood, stool and urine for mercury and didn’t find any.” or, “Gee, the Danes use a lower level of mercury in their vaccines and they have as much autism as we do.” or, “Gee, we checked kids with autism and those without and the mercury levels were about the same.”
One point worth mentioning here is that medical research in the United States is not as perfect as many believe. All of the journals sell ads to the drug companies; there can’t be a much better way to corrupt your scientific findings than money. Autism basically didn’t exist until the 1940s—it started after we started vaccinating children. That doesn’t necessarily mean that the vaccines are to blame; our environment has also gotten worse since the 1940s. But if there were real scientists in the medical community, they would compare the health of a population that does not get vaccinated to one that does get vaccinated. Maybe the problem isn’t mercury—there is a lot of other crap in vaccines. Also, wouldn’t is be interesting to see the amount of ADHD, autoimmune diseases, MS, Parkinson’s disease, allergies and asthma in the unvaccinated population when compared to those who get vaccinated. If you have a controversy like this, what is needed is a genuine scientific study that looks for the truth and doesn’t just protect moneyed interests. Also, if there is a question about the safety of vaccines, shouldn’t the burden of proof be on those who claim vaccines are safe and not on the critics?
Dr. Paul Varnas has been in private practice for over 30 years and has lived in the Chicagoland area since 1986. Dr. Varnas is a graduate of the National College of Chiropractic. He has been a faculty member at the National University of Health Sciences, having taught clinical nutrition. He is a Diplomate of the American Clinical Board of Nutrition and is the author of several books, journal articles, and a diagnostic computer program. Dr. Varnas is the founder of Whole Health America and WholeHealthWeb.com and has contributed much of the scientific information on those sites.
Dr. Varnas is a lifelong natural health care patient. He grew up with a chiropractor as his primary physician and has spent a lifetime learning drug-free and surgery-free approaches to restoring health. WEBSITE