November 26, 2005

Rich Tucker Wants You To Investigate This

Investigate This
Nov 27, 2005
by Rich Tucker

Oh goody.

Patrick Fitzgerald, the special prosecutor who’s been investigating the supposed outing of a CIA operative, plans to present evidence to another federal grand jury. “The investigation is continuing,” Fitzgerald announced, just weeks after most assumed it -- almost two years old and counting -- had finally ended.

This will be the second grand jury called to investigate whether or not Joe Wilson’s wife Valerie Plame was outed. In the long run, though, few Americans will care about -- or even be aware of -- the outcome of Fitzgerald’s probe (assuming it eventually ends). But as long as we’ve got a grand jury impaneled, let’s have it ask some questions about something that actually affects countless American lives. Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

There are more questions than answers about autism. But unfortunately, it’s no longer unusual. In her new book about manners, author Lynne Truss writes that we’re living in “an age of social autism, in which people just can’t see the value of imagining their impact on others.”

Imagine reading that sentence two decades ago. In 1985, an estimated 4 in 10,000 children were diagnosed autistic. Most people went through life without meeting an autistic person. Autism then was similar to schistosomiasis -- even if you had heard of it, you probably didn’t know what the symptoms were. Today the Centers for Disease Control says as many as 1 of every 166 children is on the autism spectrum. Autism today is something that afflicts a son, nephew or cousin.

Everyone knows what it means to be “autistic.”

Still, the government seems stumped. “There are no effective means to prevent the disorder, no fully effective treatment and no cure,” the National Institute of Mental Health admitted in its February 2005 annual report on autism to Congress. And on its Web page, the CDC lists three things it is “doing about ASDs.” Two are studies tracking the number of children with autism in the Atlanta area and in Brick County, New Jersey. The third is funding various state projects. “These state projects look at how common ASDs are in children. Some of the projects also study what factors make it more likely that a child will have an ASD,” the CDC says.
Well, that’s a start, but a slow one.

Let’s use the grand jury to dispell some of the fog and ask some difficult questions. For example, in his book “Evidence of Harm” author David Kirby writes that thimerosal, a preservative long used in many vaccines, “never underwent any of the rigorous safety trials now required for FDA approval.” Thimerosal is 50 percent mercury, and mercury is a known toxin.

A grand jury could subpoena records to find out if the government (which approved thimerosal) or drug companies (which included the preservative in their vaccines) ever ran any tests to determine if it really was safe to inject it into infants. And if there were no such tests, perhaps a grand jury could find out why not.
This isn’t simply an academic exercise. While it’s been removed from most childhood inoculations, thimerosal remains in one vaccine: The flu shot we’ve heard so much about.

The American Academy of Pediatrics says flu shots are critical. “Since young children are at such high risk of getting the flu, the AAP recommends the flu vaccine regardless of whether it contains thimerosal, a mercury-containing preservative,” the group says on its Web site. “To date, there is no scientific proof that mercury in vaccines caused autism despite years of study.” That’s true, but it’s also true that thimerosal has never been proven safe, either. Our grand jury could ask the AAP if medical standards have changed -- is it now all right to inject a substance that may be dangerous, as long as it hasn’t been proven dangerous?
The jurists might also want to hear from some experts who question the use of thimerosal. Michael Wagnitz is a senior chemist for the state of Wisconsin. He’s urging his state to stop giving thimerosal-containing flu shots. “Liquid waste needs to go to a hazardous site if it contains more than 200 ppb mercury. Is it really safe to inject people with a level of mercury 250 times higher than hazardous waste?” he asked in a recent letter republished by the UPI wire service’s “Age of Autism” column.

It’s said that Nero fiddled while Rome burned. Today our government spends time and money investigating whether or not a CIA officer’s name was leaked to a reporter. Meanwhile, tens of thousands of children have descended into autism, with no apparent hope of a cure.

Wouldn’t it be grand if a simple grand jury investigation could help change that?
Rich Tucker is an editor in Washington D.C. and a columnist for You can email him here.


Kristjan Wager said...

" Thimerosal is 50 percent mercury, and mercury is a known toxin."

It is not my area of expertice, but the mercury in Thimerosal is not the type of mercury you typically think of when you say 'mercury'. It is a different chemical compount.
Such differences can have a huge inpact on the safety levels (think salt).

Now, as a general rule, I am of the opinion that all mercury should be avoided if at all possible, and I am certainly in agreement that it would be a good idea to investigate Kirby's claims, and in case they are correct, take action based upon the findings.

Kristjan Wager said...

Which part of "as a general rule, I am of the opinion that all mercury should be avoided if at all possible didn't you understand?

Where did I suggest that thimerosal was safe? I have repeatedly stated that I'm all for getting rid of it. What I did here was point out that there are some facts that wasn't clear from the article.

I have several times said that the issue of the safety of thimerosal is relevant, even if there is no evidence of a thimerosal-autism link. Mercury of all types are known toxins, and should be treated as such.
However, that doesn't necessarily make it a cause for autism, and all peer-reviewed studies show that such a link is unlikely.

Anonymous said...

remember it was bush who appointed him...

Anonymous said...

Kristjan wrote:

"Where did I suggest that thimerosal was safe"?

-- No, you didn't. It's just that typically that's where the so-called experts (CDC, FDA, etc)go with this discussion. They first start talking about how the chemical compounds are different. Then they move on to one being safer than the other. Then, well, you know the drill...

-Sue M.

Anonymous said...

The doctors were Wrong period for not checking the vaccinations that contained thimerosal and not only did it effect other children but I am another parent whose child went from saying two word phrases when he turned a year old until after he received the flu and mmr vaccination when he was 14mos old to completely MUTE and I will never trust any flu or mmr again because it will never be safe in my eyes!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

of course they are going to say there is no such link between vaccinations and autism it wasnt they're child that if effected but hmmmm lets see there was 75% cases in the year between 2004-2005 that the flu and mmr vaccinations still contained thimerosal and those childrens behavior were diagnosed on the autism spectrum so yeah I do beleive that there is a link between them and they can say there is not all they want but there is too many irate parents out there that know better than that crap and WE THE PARENTS KNOW BETTER THAN TO ACCEPT THEY'RE BULL SHIT and they better be careful before there is another war because i would die for my child in a heart beat!