Health & Wellness Resources
254 Trickum Creek Rd.
Tyrone, Georgia 30290
Dr. Neal A. Halsey
Division of Disease Control
Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene & Public Health
615 North Wolfe Street
Baltimore, MD. 21205
Dear Dr. Halsey,
I have been following the issue of thimerosal in vaccines very closely over the past few months. First and foremost, I want to thank you for your proactive stance concerning the issue of potential toxicity from excessive mercury exposure in vaccines and your efforts to decrease this unnecessary source of neurotoxicity for our children. You were correct in your opinion that CBERs findings were worthy of alarm. What is disturbing to me is that in many of the recent articles I have reviewed there is a consistent theme that there is "no evidence of harm having occurred from thimerosal vaccine administration" following the ACIP guidelines. No evidence of harm does not equate with no harm having occurred! As you stated in the Hepatitis Control Report Summer 1999 interview "we can say there is no evidence of harm, but the truth is no one has looked."
Our sons pre and post natal history was unremarkable and he easily met all his early developmental landmarks until shortly after his first birthday. It was at that time that he began to slip away from us. He lost speech and eye contact, developed a very limited diet and experienced intermittent bouts of diarrhea. After a series of tests and evaluations, he was ultimately diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder, a form of Autism. The most profound abnormality was his global receptive and expressive speech delay. (It is interesting to note a case report of a 44 year old gentleman who received excessive thimerosal in a HBIG preparation and his first symptoms of mercury toxicity were speech difficulties).
When the concerns with thimerosal surfaced this summer, I reviewed my sons vaccine record to find that all his early vaccines contained thimerosal and he had received 187.5 mcg of mercury in his vaccines given the first six months of life. At each visit, two, four, and six, he received a total of 62.5 mcg of mercury. These levels exceeded EPAs allowable daily exposure of 0.1 mcg per kilogram at two months 125 fold. Since the half life of mercury in the blood is only 50 to 70 days before moving into this tissue, there would be no way to detect his level of exposure now that he is five years old without a provocative agent. Fortunately I had kept a lock of his hair from his first haircut. Analysis of this sample revealed 4.8 PPM mercury and 40.2 PPM aluminum, both present in his vaccines. These levels represent a fourfold increase above reference ranges. Please note that my son has never eaten fish or had amalgam dental fillings.
It is documented that children with PDD/Autism have been found to have mercury toxicity which previously had been thought to be attributed to environmental exposure. At a recent national conference on Autism I was shocked to find many other parents who also reported mercury toxicity in their autistic children. I do not think this is a chance occurrence. Nor do I think that the documented epidemic of Autism beginning in the early 1990s, which coincides with the addition of multiple vaccines the first six months of life, is a coincidence. The recently described clusters of autism in Brick Township, New Jersey and in California where incidence rates are 1 in 150 or less are occurring in every state. The state of Maryland just released their Special Education Census Data. While the overall population increased only 7% from 1990 to 1998, Autism increased 513% from 1993 to 1998, while mental retardation increased 13%. A cursory review of those children in our county who carry a diagnosis of Autism with overall enrollment in kindergarten puts our incidence at 1 in 125. Just in our town, there were 55 children born in 1994, two of which are now diagnosed with Autism, a 1 in 23 incidence. Another sobering statistic is that out of a total enrollment of 18,476 children in our school system, approximately 2,100 were served in special education programs during the 1997-1998 school year , including 125 preschool three and four year olds. This equates to approximately 1 in 9 children receive some form of special education. Could it be that a lesser degree of mercury exposure could be expressed as speech and language impairment or ADD/ ADHD?
According to your recent JAMA editorial, data from two recent studies examining the relationship between methylmercury exposure and neuropsychological outcome in children suggest that intermittent large exposures (which our children have received with immunizations) may pose more risk than small daily doses. I feel it is more accurate to view these exposures as a bolus dose occurring on one given day verses calculating this exposure over six month period as Dr. Ball presented. This only serves to falsely minimize this toxic exposure. If you look at the mercury from a daily dose perspective, then no one vaccine containing thimerosal would be able to meet EPAs limit of 0.1 mcg per KG/Day guidelines the first six months of life. You have obviously identified a problem as expressed in the CBER data. My question is why is this being allowed to continue?! Delaying Hepatitis vaccine until six months does little to address this problem. Thimerosal containing Hepatitis vaccine only contribute 12.5 mcg of mercury per dose, whereas the majority of mercury exposure comes from DPT and HIB vaccines, each with 25 mcg of mercury per dose.
The American Academy of Pediatrics position statement that "Infants and children who have received thimerosal containing vaccine do not need to have blood, urine or hair tested for mercury since the concentrations of mercury would be quite low and would not require treatment" was obviously not the case for our son. I ask is this statement based on scientific evidence or speculation? What is of upmost importance is that any child who presents with neurological impairment who has received mercury in excess of Federal Guidelines receive prompt evaluation for mercury toxicity. With appropriate early intervention and mercury detoxification many of these children have made significant neurological improvement.
There is currently almost an entire decade of children who have been exposed to levels of mercury in vaccines that exceeded Federal Guidelines for total mercury exposure. The reality is these numbers will only continue to increase until all thimerosal is withdrawn from vaccines. Not being forthright with this information will only serve to further compromise the integrity of vaccine programs. In the recent JAMA editorial you expressed your personal preference that thimerosal free vaccine preference should be extended to HiB and DTaP vaccines, not just hepatitis vaccine. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices of the CDCs decision not to give preference for thimerosal-free vaccine is a grave injustice to the health of our children that borders on medical negligence. It appears that the "Vaccine Program" itself has taken priority over the children that it is responsible for protecting. We must first remember to "do no harm."
In the Summer 1999 issue of Hepatitis Control Report, you were quoted as saying "pediatricians who continue to administer thimerosal containing vaccines could face a flurry of lawsuits, perhaps claiming that children had acquired learning disabilities from mercury exposure." This statement may well be predictive of the future unless something is done now. You are now aware of evidence of harm having occurred from excessive thimerosal exposure from vaccines in our son and others. What I would like to know is your recommendations concerning this serious issue. Who will be responsible for investigating reports of neurotoxicity from thimerosal? Who will be responsible for uncovering the truth that no one has investigated? I do hope this task will be accomplished by physicians and not attorneys. I look forward to your response to our inquiry.
Lyn Redwood, RN, MSN, CRNP http://tlredwood.home.mindspring.com/index.htm
William T. Redwood, MD
cc. U.S. Surgeon General U.S. Public Health Service
American Academy of Pediatrics American Academy of Family Medicine
CDC National Immunization Program ATSDR
Rep. Dan Burton, Indiana Sen. Frank Pallone, New Jersey
National Vaccine Information Autism Research International
Autism Society of America Cure Autism Now