Posts Tagged ‘mercury’

Autism advocates, federal officials testify to Congress about autism rates, vaccines, and research

December 2, 2012

Autism advocates and government officials testified in front of a congressional committee Thursday about the federal response to the dramatic increase in autism diagnoses in recent years.

One in every 88 babies born in the U.S. will develop autism, according to the Centers for Disease Control, a 23 percent increase since 2009 and a 78 percent increase since 2007. In the 1960s, autism was believed to affect one in 10,000 children in the U.S.

Members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee questioned representatives of the National Institutes of Health and CDC about research priorities and subsequent results. A second panel of autism advocates testified about concerns ranging from research priorities to services for people with autism. See the video here.

Some of the committee members harshly criticized the NIH and CDC for a lack of effective results, while agency officials at times struggled to come up with answers.

Some highlights from the hearing:

Congressmen, led by Rep. Dan Burton (R-IL), a longtime proponent of vaccine safety, urged NIH and CDC to get mercury out of all childhood vaccines. Thimerosal, a mercury preservative, was removed from most, but not all childhood vaccines by 2003.

Representatives of NIH and CDC claimed that much, and possibly all of the increase in autism rates can be accounted for by better detection, a claim that was questioned by many congressmen and disputed by Mark Blaxill of SafeMinds.

“Some observers have claimed this rise is not real,” Blaxill told the committee. “That numbers are going up because of ‘better diagnosing.’ While it is true that we now diagnose autism with better tools, that doesn’t mean there is some ‘hidden horde’ of overlooked autism cases. The old surveys didn’t just miss 99% of children with autism. Anyone who reads them will see the obvious: it’s clear the researchers were diligent in finding cases and confident that they found the vast majority of children. It’s horrible but true; reported rates of autism have risen simply because there are more cases of autism.”

Blaxill also urged the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee to focus on environmental causes of autism instead of genetics.

Vaccine critics have also questioned why the government hasn’t conducted studies of vaccinated versus unvaccinated populations. Rep. Bill Posey (R-FL), asked this very question of Collen Boyle of the CDC.

She talked about vaccines in general, then was interrupted by Posey, who clarified the question: “So clearly, definitely, unequivocally, you have studied vaccinated versus unvaccinated?”

“We have not studied vaccinated versus unvaccinated,” replied Boyle.

“Never mind. Stop there. That was the meaning of my question. You wasted two minutes of my time,” said Posey.

To read the entire article on Examiner.com, click here.

Scientists say chemicals are linked to increase in autism, Safe Chemicals Act proposed

June 9, 2011

Decades ago the medical establishment insisted autism resulted in the coldness of the mother.  Obviously that was 180 degrees wrong.

Just a few years ago they insisted autism was almost all genetic.  That was largely wrong because autism is very much environmental.

Now, as autism continues to increase, those in the scientific establishment are finally admitting that environmental causes play a major role.

Some scientists, parents, and advocates have been ahead of the curve for many years, insisting that toxic chemicals and other pollutants are major factors in autism.  Some of those experts spoke Tuesday on a conference call.

Some of the suspected culprits are endocrine disruptors such as brominated flame retardants, pesticides, BPA and phthalates. Mercury and lead are also known neurotoxins.

Many of these chemicals are ubiquitous in household products and even toys, and unfortunately, most people don’t know about it. The law that is supposed to provide protection against dangerous chemicals is 35 years old and has virtually no restrictions on chemicals, which don’t need to be tested before going to market.

To read my article on Examiner.com, about this, click here.

Here are some of my related articles:

Scientists say rise in autism may be linked to toxic chemicals in environment

http://www.examiner.com/dc-in-national/scientists-say-rise-autism-may-be-linked-to-toxic-chemicals-environment

Toxic chemicals found in baby products; some may be linked to autism

http://www.examiner.com/dc-in-national/toxic-chemicals-found-baby-products-some-may-be-linked-to-autism

Toxic Chemicals Safety Act to be on 2011 Congressional legislative agenda

http://www.examiner.com/dc-in-national/toxic-chemicals-safety-act-to-be-on-2011-congressional-legislative-agenda

Health advocates rally at Capitol for chemical safety bill; some chemicals linked to autism, cancer

http://www.examiner.com/dc-in-national/health-advocates-rally-at-capitol-for-chemical-safety-bill-some-chemicals-linked-to-autism-cancer

Landrigan calls for more research into pesticides, toxic chemicals, environmental causes of autism

http://www.examiner.com/dc-in-national/landrigan-calls-for-more-research-into-pesticides-toxic-chemicals-environmental-causes-of-autism

Congress: CDC misled public about Washington, D.C. lead in water crisis, lead was toxic for some

http://www.examiner.com/dc-in-national/congress-cdc-misled-public-about-washington-d-c-lead-water-crisis-lead-was-toxic-for-some

Autism advocate Lyn Redwood discusses mercury vaccine controversy, chelation, treatment and recovery

http://www.examiner.com/dc-in-national/autism-advocate-lyn-redwood-discusses-mercury-vaccine-controversy-chelation-treatment-and-recovery

CDC: 15,000 Washington, D.C. homes may have dangerous levels of lead in water

http://www.examiner.com/dc-in-national/cdc-15-000-washington-d-c-homes-may-have-dangerous-levels-of-lead-water

Interview with Dan Olmsted, Mark Blaxill: ‘Age of Autism-Mercury, Medicine, and a Manmade Epidemic’

http://www.examiner.com/dc-in-national/interview-with-dan-olmsted-mark-blaxill-age-of-autism-mercury-medicine-and-a-manmade-epidemic

Jennifer VanDerHorst-Larson on vaccines, hyperbaric oxygen therapy, treatments for son with autism

http://www.examiner.com/dc-in-national/jennifer-vanderhorst-larson-on-vaccines-hyperbaric-oxygen-therapy-treatments-for-son-with-autism

Chemical safety reform expected to be on Congressional legislative to do list in 2011

January 1, 2011

America needs legislation to improve the safety of toxic chemicals, according to a coalition of advocates, scientists and health experts.

Chemicals and other environmental toxins have been implicated in diseases and disorders as varied as autism, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s, and asthma.

Two bills were introduced in Congress in 2010 to improve the safety of toxic chemicals and reform the 34-year old Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).  The outdated law only authorizes the Environmental Protection Agency to call for safety testing for chemicals that have already been shown to pose health risks.

The Toxic Chemicals Safety Act in the House and the Safe Chemicals Act in the Senate would not only empower EPA to take steps to minimize risks from chemicals proven to be dangerous, but would also require safety testing of all industrial chemicals, and require businesses to prove chemicals are safe before using them.  Currently, only 200 of the more than 80,000 chemicals in existence have been tested for safety.

Dr. Philip Landrigan of the Mount Sinai Medical Center has said environmental causes are strongly associated with autism.

“Over the last decade, we’ve developed very good scientific information that links three or four classes of chemicals to brain injury in babies if the exposure occurs during pregnancy,” Landrigan told Examiner.com in 2010. “We’ve found that phthalates, brominated flame retardants, and certain pesticides are linked to loss of intelligence, attention deficit disorder, and Pervasive Developmental Disorder in children.”

Dr. Sarah Janssen, a scientist with the Natural Resources Defense Council, told Examiner.com in 2010 that chemicals play a role in autism. “There are concerns that many chemicals in the environment are linked to autism, in particular, heavy metals and pesticides,” Janssen said. “The passage of this (Toxic Chemicals Safety) act would make a major impact not just on autism but all neurodevelopmental disorders in children and adults.”

And at a press conference sponsored by Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families last month, a panel of experts told reporters that toxic chemicals, already linked to autism, cancer and other health problems, have also been linked to an increase in reproductive health ailments such as infertility, early puberty, decreased sperm counts, breast cancer and prostate cancer.

Tracey Woodruff, a scientist with the Program on Reproductive Health and the Environment at the University of California, San Francisco, told reporters that chemicals such as phthalates and bisphenol A (BPA), which are pervasive in many plastic products, can interfere with reproductive health and normal hormone function.

When asked about the role of chemicals and other environmental toxicants in autism, Woodruff told Examiner.com that the developing brain is especially vulnerable to certain chemical substances.

“Chemical prenatal exposures can adversely affect the developing brain in some way whether affecting behavioral or cognitive function,” Woodruff said.

“Mercury is an identified neurodevelopmental toxicant, meaning that a number of studies show that exposures that occur prenatally can adversely impact neurodevelopment. Phthalates have been implicated in affecting brain development in terms of how the children behave when they’re older.”

To see the rest of my article on Examiner.com, click here.

 

U.S. apologizes for infecting Guatemalans with syphilis in 1940s. Related news: The Tuskegee Experiment; the Age of Autism

October 1, 2010

The U.S. government has said it is sorry for using prostitutes to infect prison inmates in Guatemala with syphilis in the 1940s.  Researchers were testing how effective penicillin was in treating syphilis.  It’s an example of the government sacrificing people for the health of the entire herd.

The medical establishment’s research on and treatment of syphilis has a strange history.  Between 1932 and 1972, the U.S. government experimented on 400 poor black men from Alabama who had syphilis.  This became known as the Tuskegee Experiment.  The men were never told they had syphilis and were not given penicillin, the standard treatment for the disease.  Many of the men died from the disease or from complications of it, while some of the men gave the disease to their wives and had children with congenital syphilis.

From the late 15th century for several hundred years, mercury, one of the most toxic substances in the world, was used by doctors as a treatment for syphilis in Europe and then in the U.S.  While mercury killed bacteria, it had serious, often deadly side effects.

The use of mercury to treat syphilis in the past is explored by authors Dan Olmsted and Mark Blaxill in their new book, Age of Autism: Mercury, Medicine, and a Man-made Epidemic.  Olmsted, an award-winning journalist, and Blaxill, a Harvard-educated parent of a child with autism, discuss mercury in medicine, vaccines, pesticides, and fish, and the element’s toxic effects on humans.  They describe how the medical establishment has used mercury to treat ailments, but ignored its side effects, which often mimic autism.

I interviewed Olmsted and Blaxill for Examiner.com last month.  Here are some excerpts from the interview about mercury and syphilis, as syphilis is back in the news.  Click here for the whole interview.

Mike Frandsen:  You trace the medical establishment’s use of mercury to treat illnesses in the last several centuries. Why did doctors continue to use mercury even after they discovered it was toxic?

Dan Olmsted: I think one answer to that is that it seemed to work when nothing else really did. Mercury is a biologically active compound. If you have sores on your body, which you would get from syphilis, and you rub a mercury salve on it, the sores would clear up and seemingly that was a good thing. Unfortunately, the side effects were longer to show up and more obscure.

And what we see is a pattern where because it seemed to be useful to doctors in treating desperate patients, they would do it for a while and then when a better treatment came along they would quit using it and never look back and realize or acknowledge that they might have been killing people by the thousands even as they were treating them. It just kind of kept going, where we are still at a point where although we wouldn’t use arsenic or plutonium or lead or any toxic compound in medicine or as medicine, we still use mercury. And it has gotten a free pass for several hundred years and that we think really needs to stop.

Mercury was used to treat syphilis for hundreds of years. What happened to those patients?

Mark Blaxill: Mercury was used from the beginning of the syphilis epidemic in Europe from the late 15th century. Mercury was used as an ointment, a skin treatment, but over time, the idea was to try to get mercury closer to the infection or the site of the infection and not just on the skin. In the 1700s and 1800s people first started the practice of internal administration of mercury, specifically mercuric chloride, and doctors first began encouraging patients to drink it, and then not longer after, they started injecting mercuric chloride into syphilis patients.

Interestingly enough, when they started this internal administration approach to treating syphilis, a new, invariably fatal form of neurosyphilis, brain syphilis, began to emerge as well, something called general paralysis of the insane (GPI). These patients would go stock raving mad, wild and crazy with delusions and they would generally die quite quickly. These cases of GPI occurred in places where mercury treatments were common, and where the practice of treating patients with mercury chloride and mercury in general was not used, you would never see these cases of GPI.

If mercury is one of the causes of autism, and syphilis patients and children given teething powders were exposed to mercury, why didn’t they get autism?

Mark Blaxill: Syphilis patients were adults and so the exposure they had to mercury came much later in life. Autism is really a neurodevelopmental disease and it occurs in children very early in life. Once your brain is fully developed the exposure to mercury won’t have the same kind of effect.

Click here for the whole interview.

‘Age of Autism: Mercury, Medicine, and a Manmade Epidemic,’ a new book by Dan Olmsted and Mark Blaxill, goes on sale today

September 14, 2010

Age of Autism by Dan Olmsted and Mark Blaxill

The Age of Autism: Mercury, Medicine, and a Manmade Epidemic, a new book by Dan Olmsted and Mark Blaxill, goes on sale today.  I interviewed Olmsted and Blaxill about the book for Examiner.com.

They make a strong case that the autism epidemic is very real, and more environmental than genetic.  Olmsted, a reporter who has devoted his career to writing about autism, and Blaxill, the father of a daughter with autism, argue that autism is largely the result of mercury from pollution, commercial products, and vaccines.

They investigated the backgrounds of some of the parents of the original children Leo Kanner identified in the late 1930s as having autism, and discovered that several of the parents had links to mercury in their backgrounds.

Olmsted and Blaxill say the increase in autism tracks with the use of mercury as a preservative in vaccines (thimerosal), though they say they are not anti-vaccine, just pro-vaccine safety.

Pollution is also a major factor in autism, say the authors, because coal emissions result in mercury that gets into the environment.  They also write that spikes in schizophrenia and other diseases occurred since the Industrial Revolution, perhaps due to pollution.

A couple of other interesting items – they theorize that Mozart may have died from accidental mercury poisoning as a treatment for syphilis.  They also note that the Amish, who vaccinate much less frequently than the general population, have a significantly lower rate of autism.

Obviously the theory that autism is linked to vaccines in some cases is controversial, but those who dismiss the theory outright should read the whole book before commenting on it.

The authors make excellent arguments that the traditional idea that autism is mostly genetic cannot be true because of the huge increase in cases of autism, now one in 110 according to the CDC.  Autism was unknown before the 1930s.

Click here for the interview.

Autism advocate Lyn Redwood discusses mercury vaccine controversy, chelation, treatment and recovery

May 2, 2010

First in a three-part series.

Autism is a treatable biochemical medical condition rather than an incurable psychological disorder, says Lyn Redwood, whose son recovered from autism after having mercury removed from his body. Redwood’s son Will is one of a growing number of children who have recovered from autism or made excellent progress from behavioral therapies and/or biomedical treatments.

I interviewed Redwood during the Autism Research Institute, Defeat Autism Now! semi-annual conference in Baltimore April 10, which she was coordinating. ARI conducts and fosters biomedical scientific research designed to improve the methods of diagnosing, treating, and preventing autism.

For the rest of my article on examiner.com, please click here.


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