Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Mercury and vaccines

Several years ago I wrote up a couple of things about this topic in various places - see here and here.

I'm still not convinced that mercury in vaccines is completely, 100%, fault-free in higher diagnosis rates of autism over the last 20+ years. It seems to me there is some pretty compelling evidence that it is at least a factor, and might even be the primary factor, and none of this means or implies that it "causes" autism.

First, stop using the phrase "vaccines cause autism" - it's a gross over-simplification of the facts. From that first link above, about causation arguments, which are used much too often in any context:
Causation arguments require a very high burden of proof. To say A “causes” B is to make a very strong statement: the presence of A, and A alone, is sufficient to make B happen. I doubt that is truly what any of the proponents of the vaccine–autism link are claiming.

The theory behind the vaccine – autism link that appeals to logic and the surrounding facts is this: that the amount of mercury we purposely inject into our kids at a young age via vaccination contributes greatly to whatever mercury they’ve already ingested. And in some cases, this can be enough to trigger a variety of autism-related disorders. Especially if the child has a depressed immune system when receiving the MMR vaccination. I.e., if they have a cold, or the flu, or other forms of a depressed immune system. Which, of course, is the typical anecdotal evidence brought by parents of PDD children.

In fact, when you dig a little bit deeper here, the symptoms of autism are remarkably similar to the symptoms of mercury poisoning.

And since mercury is sometimes found in the food we eat, and sometimes the air we breathe, and can be passed to children in the womb or via breast milk, it is possible that this accumulated amount of mercury, from all sources, and in some circumstances, can be enough to push some kids into a toxic state of mercury poisoning.
Note all the qualifiers: “possible”, “accumulated”, “from all sources”, “some circumstances”, “can be”, “some kids”.
So I'm on board with the "vaccines do not cause autism" argument, because I think that grossly misrepresents the scientific, fact-based, analytical discussion at hand.

But I could be wrong.

Then there is this, from that second link above:
(1) There was no known safe level of exposure to the type of mercury used in thimerasol.

(2) [...] Even the FDA admits that some kids were exposed to toxic levels of mercury for the kind of mercury they think they understand, but that kids were not exposed to. This (nearly) guarantees that some kids were exposed to toxic levels of ethylmercury unless ethylmercury is much less toxic than methylmercury.
It's a bit confusing so I'll try to restate for clarity. The immunization schedule for children during the 90s was deemed safe for methylmercury - but thimerasol contained ethylmercury, for which there was no known safe exposure level.

Stated more simply, we placed an unwitting bet that ethylmercury was less toxic than methylmercury, without knowing if that was true or not, and then we experimented on our children with it.

That's my reading of it, anyway, I could be wrong - I just haven't seen anybody refute these very specific arguments before.

So, until I do, I will believe that our government was pushing the medical profession, and parents, to inject babies with a vaccine with a type of mercury for which there was no known safe level at the time. And to blithely ignore that seems a bit too much like dancing in the end zone after you fumbled at the 3 yard line.