Concerns over mercury in vaccines finally reached national media in June, when Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s article "Deadly Immunity" was published by Rolling Stone magazine and Salon.com.

On August 7, Evidence Of Harm author David Kirby appeared on NBC-TV’s "Meet The Press" to debate the autism/mercury link with Institute of Medicine president Dr. Harvey Fineberg.

Media coverage has been delayed due to disbelief that harm could come from a program designed to improve health, and concerns that national coverage might disrupt the vaccine program.

During the 1990s, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control mandated increasing the vaccine schedule for children. However, vaccine manufacturer Merck ignored a 1991 warning by vaccinologist Dr. Maurice Hilleman that children would be exposed to toxic levels of mercury. During the 1990s and beyond, U.S. autism rates went from one child in 10,000 to one in 166, and special education services are now needed by one child in five.

For three years, the U.S. House Subcommittee on Human Rights and Wellness investigated health hazards caused by mercury in medicine. On September 8, 2004, Indiana Rep. Dan Burton stated, "Numerous scientists from around the globe have testified before the committee, and have presented credible peer-reviewed research studies that indicated a direct link between the exposure of mercury, a widely known neurotoxin, and the increasing incidences of autism."

In the U.S. Senate, Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel introduced S.1422, a bill to reduce human exposure to mercury through vaccines; it is a companion to HR881, sponsored by Florida Rep. Dave Weldon, M.D.

Seven states have passed bills to limit mercury in vaccines, and 17 more have bills introduced.

On August 30, New York Gov. George Pataki signed a bill banning mercury preservatives from vaccines given to children under 3 years old and pregnant women. On August 22, Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich signed that state’s bill; earlier, Delaware and Missouri’s governors signed theirs.

New York’s bill was strenuously opposed by the American Academy of Pediatrics, though a year ago the trade organization had relented when California debated its vaccine mercury bill.

A pertinent question is why most children seem unaffected by mercury in vaccines. However, a December 2004 report by the Environmental Working Group stated that tests of autistic children show they have a severe imbalance in the ratio of active to inactive glutathione, the body’s most important tool for detoxifying and excreting metals.

These medical reports, bills and media coverage have caused many parents and physicians to question whether children given the psychological label of autism actually have a treatable medical condition – mercury poisoning.

Generation Rescue is a national advocacy group whose mission is "to share the truth with parents about the cause of their child’s developmental disabilities so they can focus on treatment." Generation Rescue links parents from most U.S. states and overseas to provide advice on medical testing and treatments, such as nutritional supplements, special diets and chelation to remove toxic heavy metals.

In July, hundreds of parents of children with mercury-induced autism marched on Washington, D.C., to protest inaction and obstruction by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, Food and Drug Administration and Institute of Medicine. A second march will be held October 7-8, the same time as the American Academy of Pediatric’s 75th anniversary convention.

REFERENCES:

"Deadly Immunity" by Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

Evidence of Harm author David Kirby debates IOM president Dr. Harvey Fineberg.

S. 1422, introduced by Sen. Chuck Hagel

Generation Rescue – advocates for biomedical treatment of mercury-induced autism

Environmental Working Group: "Overloaded? New science, new insights about mercury and autism in susceptible children."

"1991 Memo Warned Of Mercury In Shots" by Myron Levin, L.A. Times Staff Writer

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The U.S. Public Interest Research Group (U.S. PIRG) was formed in 1983 to act as watchdog for the public interest in our nation's Capitol, much as PIRGs have worked to safeguard the public interest in state capitals since 1971. Visit www.uspirg.org

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