Mercury and meds

There’s a huge story floating around that’s not getting much press coverage, and the reasons for the silence are more than just a little suspicious. For those with a cynical cast of mind about the increasingly corrupt ties between corporations, the press and government, the story is downright ominous.

It has to do with an almost certain link between an explosion in the number of autistic children and a mercury-based preservative called thimerosal. It has to do with the suppression of science in the interest of protecting big pharmaceutical companies. It has to do with a U.S. senator who just happens to be a doctor, who just happens to be the recipient of large campaign contributions from pharmaceutical companies and who also just happens to have introduced legislation designed to protect those pharmaceutical companies on numerous occasions.

The senator in question is Majority Leader Bill Frist, a likely Republican presidential candidate in 2008. Frist has received nearly a million dollars in contributions from the pharmaceutical industry over the course of his career, and that money seems to have bought companies like Eli Lilly and Merck a great many favors. Frist has inserted provisions into a couple of homeland-security bills that protect those companies from lawsuits brought by families with autistic children.

Since 1991, the number of cases of autism has increased 15-fold, from one in every 2,500 children to one in 166 children. That astonishing increase should be a major story all by itself, but when you couple it with the fact that the jagged spike in the number of cases of autism coincides with a period when children were being injected with increased amounts of thimerosal, that story becomes even more urgent.

More than half a million American children who received 21 federally mandated vaccines are known to be autistic. Those kids received more than 40 times the legal safety limit for mercury exposure as established by the Environmental Protection Agency. That mercury was delivered through the agent thimerosal because (a) it was a cheap preservative, and (b) no one paid attention to the fact that the number of mandated vaccinations was increasing the amount of mercury being pumped into developmentally vulnerable children.

Here in California, there are now 28,046 autistic children receiving special-education services from the state. The rate of increase in that number peaked in 2002 and has begun to drop since then, coinciding with the ban on thimerosal.

Despite the obvious connection between autism and mercury-based preservatives, the government has continued to seek ways to deny that connection. The news media—addicted to the money from ads for Levitra and Viagra—seem to collude with drug makers to keep the story from gaining public attention.

But it’s unlikely they can suppress this news indefinitely. Mark Blaxill, vice president of SafeMinds, a nonprofit organization concerned about the role of mercury in medicines, said, “The damage caused by vaccine exposure is massive. It’s bigger than asbestos, bigger than tobacco, bigger than anything you’ve ever seen.”

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has been spearheading efforts to gain great visibility for this story. Perhaps those efforts will pay off. Not even corrupt senators and bought-off media can silence a story this big forever.