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Introduction
Chapter I: pre-1999
There's Mercury In Vaccines?
Chapter II: 1999-2000
Simpsonwood
Chapter III: 2001
IOM: Biologically Plausible
Chapter IV: 2001-2002
CDC World Travel
Chapter V: 2003
It's Rotten In Denmark
Chapter VI: 2004
IOM slams the door (quickly)
Epilogue: present day
Better science, better kids, and a DJ
Quick Summary
In 1999, American health authorities discovered that the ambitious increase in vaccinations begun by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in the early 1990s had caused the amount of mercury children were receiving through their vaccinations, due to a preservative called Thimerosal, to nearly triple meaning that on certain vaccination visits, children were injected with as much as 125x the EPA safe level for mercury. Our health authorities issued a joint statement encouraging vaccine manufacturers to remove Thimerosal soon, but it seems they were more concerned with their reputations and vaccination rates.
Merck was concerned about the level of mercury as early as 1991, as a memo reveals
One FDA official encouraged a recall of vaccines, but her advice was dismissed
Another FDA officials lamented that the calculations for mercury exposure were not difficult, and there would be a perception that FDA and CDC were "asleep at the switch"
CDC officials provided advice for how to downplay the risks by thinking about mercury exposure over a six month period, rather than on the day of vaccination
Soon after the July 1999 joint statement, both Merck and SmithKline told CDC they could have mercury-free vaccines for 100% of their needs by the Fall, but CDC said "no thanks"
Children's vaccines were not mercury-free until late 2002, despite many reports to the contrary, like this misleading press release from Merck
Soon after the joint statement, the CDC began to analyze their data to see if there was a correlation between mercury and autism rates. Parents produced a study showing that the symptoms of autism and the symptoms of mercury poisoning are identical, and charts showed the increase in mercury and increase in autism rates was linear and correlated.
A CDC epidemiologist was mystified by the correlation between Thimerosal and autism rates, lamenting to his boss that the correlation "just won't go away"
CDC employees suggested ways to dumb-down the data. For example, including children in the data set too young to be diagnosed with autism
A private emergency meeting was held in Simpsonwood, Georgia in 2000 with the CDC, health authorities, and vaccine manufacturers, where secret transcripts record participants saying "the number of dose related relationships [between mercury and autism] are linear and statistically significant" and that this information would need to be kept out of "less responsible hands"
After Simpsonwood, the CDC was very concerned with the implications of releasing data showing a correlation between vaccines and autism. In 2001, the Institute of Medicine issued a report saying the theory that Thimerosal causes autism was "biologically plausible." CDC would find ways to manipulate the American data to a neutral outcome, and begin a search for data in other countries. In the meantime, The Congressional Government Reform Committee released reports on the conflicts of interest in vaccine policy and the debacle of FDA and CDC allowing mercury in medicine concluding, "Thimerosal used as a preservative in vaccines is likely related to the autism epidemic."
The Deputy Director of the National Immunization Program for CDC, Dr. Diane Simpson, began a search for data in California, Sweden, Belgium, Great Britain, and Denmark
California data showed a high correlation between vaccination rates and autism, and the data was buried
Great Britain's children received far less Thimerosal than American children, so the data was rejected
Dr. Simpson was frantic to find data, anticipating the IOM's report
A Danish researcher would offer help, but noted in his first correspondence with the CDC that the Danish data set was highly flawed, because outpatient clinics, where the overwhelming majority of autistic children are diagnosed, wasn't added to the Danish registry until 1995
CDC would pursue the Danish studies anyway, and the flaw in the data set would allow a study to be produced that showed autism rates going up, right around 1995, after the removal of Thimerosal from vaccines in Denmark
CDC leaders would write a letter on behalf of this Danish research to Pediatrics to ensure the study was published
CDC employees would co-author some of the Danish studies
CDC commissioned a new IOM study, paid for by the CDC, that relied solely on epidemiological studies that CDC had organized, financed, and in some cases, written. In 2004, IOM rejected the Thimerosal-autism hypothesis.
Transcripts reveal IOM Committee members noting that "[CDC] wants us to declare, well, these things are pretty safe on a population basis" and pondering "is there a benefit to putting to rest no matter what?"
Biological evidence presented to the Committee noting things like "there appears to be a subset of the population that cannot effectively excrete mercury" were ignored
Despite assurances from IOM President Harvey Fineberg that Committee Members were "free of financial conflicts of interest and were not biased for or against any vaccine safety hypothesis" meeting notes next to members names include "Pharma company" and "$5000 Merck" and "vaccines should be continued" and "Smith-Kline Beecham" and "American Home Products" and "financial push to approve vaccines"
After the report was released, the Chairperson of the Committee wrote in a private email that Thimerosal can "injure the nervous system", despite many reports that the 2004 IOM declared Thimerosal to be safe
Congressman Dave Weldon, M.D. would remark in a speech, regarding the 2004 IOM report, "I have never seen a report so badly miss the mark"
Since the 2004 IOM, the Senate Help Committee has been briefed with a detailed memo and a statement of charges on the activities of the CDC, FDA, and others. They have also seen detailed presentations of how the CDC manipulated data and how the IOM Committee managed their process to a predetermined outcome.
Recent, compelling biological studies linking Thimerosal and autism have been published from scientists at Columbia University, University of Arkansas, Northeastern University, Johns Hopkins University, Harvard University, and the University of Washington.
CDC contracted out the Vaccine Safety Datalink (VSD) for $190 million in 2002, insulating the data from the Freedom of Information Act. The data has never been shared with outside researchers
CDC and AAP, in 2006, are fighting state bans on mercury
Because CDC now recommends the flu shot, mercury levels in children's vaccines are creeping back up
A new study recently published shows autism rates falling as mercury levels in vaccines declined
Senator Joseph Lieberman is leading a Congressional inquiry into reviewing the VSD data
Despite thousands of reports of children recovering using the Defeat Autism Now! Protocol; CDC never investigates any of these reports
Our children deserve better, it's time to put children first.
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