July 31, 2007

Ritalin For Infants

Good God. I will have to look it up, but I am pretty sure this is one of the signs of the end times.

GPs 'Giving Ritalin to Babies Under A Year Old'
30th July 2007
Daily Mail

Thousands of children are needlessly being prescribed mind-altering powerful drugs for hyperactivity, according to opposition MPs.

Research suggests that some GPs are even handing out Ritalin pills to children under a year old.

Almost 400,000 youngsters aged between five and 19 are being treated with Ritalin and similar drugs for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, despite fears about the drugs' side-effects.

The Conservative Party says the number of prescriptions for behavioural problems has risen by 156 per cent in the last six years.

Those diagnosed with ADHD often display disruptive behaviour and have difficulty paying attention to specific tasks.

In the last five years alone, NHS spending on stimulant drugs such as Ritalin has trebled - despite concerns over the potential health risks.

Official guidelines recommend drug treatment only for the most severely affected children. But the Tories claim that Ritalin and similar drugs are being prescribed to those with mild symptoms.

A formal diagnosis of ADHD should take many hours, but they say some GPs are prescribing powerful drugs after brief consultations.

This is despite reports of sideeffects such as cardiovascular disorders, hallucinations and even suicidal thoughts.

At least nine deaths have been reported to the UK's Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency since Ritalin became available in the early 1990s. Shadow Commons leader Theresa May said: "They are powerful prescription drugs and we don't know what their long-term effects are. Despite this, they are being given to children before they are a year old.

"I have no doubt that there are children in the UK with ADHD who will benefit from Ritalin.

"But the increase of prescriptions raises questions in my mind as to whether it is being prescribed properly in each and every case.

"A six-year-old who was prescribed Ritalin experienced low moods and marked depression and tried to throw himself out of a window within two months of starting treatment. He recovered after drug withdrawal."

She is calling on NHS bosses to review their policy on prescribing such drugs. "With such widespread use of these prescription medicines we need a review of the current guidelines, with a view to tightening them," she said.

"More research should be done into the effectiveness of non-drug treatment and natural remedies to treat ADHD."

As there are no official records on the number of children prescribed Ritalin in Britain, the Tories used research compiled from global studies conducted over the past decade.

It comes after a report by the University of California showed the use of ADHD drugs has tripled worldwide since 1993.

Monthly prescriptions for Ritalin in England and Wales increased from 4,000 in 1994 to 359,000 in 2004, it claimed.

But Andrea Bilbow, chief executive of ADHD charity Addiss, dismissed the research as "misleading" and claimed that the disorder was still "under-diagnosed and underprescribed".

July 29, 2007

Author Focuses on 'New Autism'

Buy two copies, one for you and one for your pediatrician.

Author focuses on 'new autism'
By Elaine Jarvik
Deseret Morning News

Here's what Dr. Bryan Jepson thought he knew about autism six years ago: that it was a rare, genetic, developmental, untreatable brain disorder. But that's the "old autism," he says.

Jepson, who graduated from the University of Utah School of Medicine in 1995, says what he knew about autism then he mostly learned from the movie "Rain Man." Later, in 2001, his lovable, happy 18-month-old baby began to change — to "fade away," as Jepson puts it. The toddler no longer wanted to be read to, wouldn't look his parents in the eye and liked to spin in circles in the middle of the floor.

A child psychiatrist told Jepson and his wife, Laurie, "Prepare yourself for the time when Aaron will need to be institutionalized. Forget experimental therapies."

Instead, Laurie Jepson took to the Internet. And before long, her husband — who categorizes himself as a "mainstream" physician — was deep in medical literature about the biochemistry of autism. Soon he was convinced that autism is a complex metabolic disease that has as much to do with the gut as it does with the brain.

Bryan Jepson, who is now director of medical services at Thoughtful House Center for Children in Austin, Texas, is back in Utah this week to talk about his new book, "Changing the Course of Autism: A Scientific Approach for Parents and Physicians." On Saturday, he will speak at a free workshop sponsored by Porter's Hope, a Utah-based company that assists the families of children diagnosed with autism.

"All of a sudden, there's an explosion of autistic kids," Jepson says. As recently as 1980, autism was rare, with a rate of about 1 in 5,000. Now, he says, it's 1 in 160.

It's an epidemic, he says, "and there's no such thing as a genetic epidemic."

At the same time, the "new autism" is less likely to show up within the first six months or year of a baby's life, and is much more likely to be "regressive," showing up at 18 months to 3 years to rob the child of previous skills — sometimes almost overnight, sometimes as a gradual decline.

There's a genetic susceptibility for autism. But something else has to explain the sudden rise in numbers — and it's not simply a matter of better diagnosis or a broader definition of what autism means, he says.

The answer appears to have something to do with the increased toxicity of the environment, he says, from food additives to vaccines and antibiotics. Children who are born with a genetic susceptibility for autism have trouble detoxifying, he says.

The increase in other chronic diseases such as asthma is evidence that autistic children may also be proof of what's to come, he says. "It's kind of like the canary in the coal mine."

Already, he says, the treatments he uses have helped children with attention-deficit hyperactive disorder, or ADHD, as well as autism. He believes that eventually the knowledge of how autism works will affect our understanding of conditions such as chronic fatigue, dementia and Parkinson's.

Jepson's book is a review of scientific studies conducted by the Autism Research Institute, whose founder, Bernard Rimland, was "the first to put the puzzle pieces together," Jepson says. The book also examines studies done by independent scientists.

Many primary-care physicians and pediatricians are not up-to-date on the latest research, he says, "and it's hard to do autism in the 15 minutes" allocated for many doctor visits. Jepson, who founded the Children's Biomedical Center of Utah before moving in 2006 to Texas, says he knows of only two Utah doctors who are currently treating autism as a medical disease rather than a behavioral disorder.

Calling autism a behavioral disorder, says Jepson, is like calling a tumor a headache. Instead, he says, autism is just one symptom of a disease process that affects the digestive, immune and neurological systems.

The majority of children with autism have gastrointestinal problems, sometimes causing severe pain. Their tantrums and head banging may be a manifestation of pain they can't articulate, Jepson says. If the gut disease is treated — with diet, nutritional supplements and medication — that behavior goes away.

"Your gut is an immune organ, and it can trigger inflammation elsewhere in the body, including the brain," he explains. "And it's a big source of your metabolism. If it's not working right, you're not getting the appropriate amount of nutrients from your food, and you're not preventing toxic exposures as you otherwise would."

The sooner children are put on aggressive gastrointestinal-immune-detoxification treatment, the more likely they are to recover, he says. There's still no cure, he says, but the vast majority improve. The Jepsons' son has gone from "pretty severe to pretty moderate."

July 28, 2007

Autism Speaks Announces Plans to Fund "Complementary and Alternative Medicine"

Earlier this month, Autism Speaks began lobbying in PA for health insurance coverage.

They they opposed AB 16 in California that would have expanded the mandatory vaccine schedule in that state.

Last week JB Handley (no fan of AS) personally and publicly thanked them for supporting the Mercury Free Vaccines Act of 2007.

And today this:

Autism Speaks Seeking Requests for Applications for New Treatment Grants
On July 27, 2007, Autism Speaks called for research proposals targeting three broad treatment approaches for autism spectrum disorders. The "Pharmacological Treatment for Autism Spectrum Disorders" RFA focuses on developing robust pilot data that evaluate the safety and efficacy of candidate pharmaceutical agents that could lead to larger clinical trials. Similar applications are sought for the "Special Interventions in Autism Spectrum Disorders" RFA, but instead of pharmaceutical agents, the focus is on behavioral and non-behavioral interventions such as educational, physiological, and technological treatments. Given the frequent use of non-traditional interventions within the autism community, the "Complementary and Alternative Medicine in Treating Autism Spectrum Disorders" RFA aims to provide preliminary but high quality data to help evaluate the safety and efficacy of some of these approaches and to identify promising protocols that warrant further investigation and development.

To assist researchers in developing high quality proposals for the Complementary and Alternative Medicine grants, Autism Speaks will hold information sessions for invited proposals where interested investigators can discuss their applications and the review process, as well as topics relevant to the preparation and submission of their applications, such as common challenges in study design.

“We are pleased to expand our treatment portfolio to include a variety of grant mechanisms that will advance our understanding of how to treat autism,” said Peter Bell, Autism Speaks executive vice president for programs and services. “Autism is clearly treatable but we need to understand which interventions are safe and effective and which children will benefit from them. Moreover, it's important to address both the biomedical and behavioral/educational aspects of the disorder to achieve the best outcome for those affected by autism.”

Read more about the Pharmacological Treatment for Autism Spectrum Disorders RFA (PDF), the Special Interventions in Autism Spectrum Disorders RFA (PDF) and the Complementary and Alternative Medicine in Treating Autism Spectrum Disorders RFA (PDF).

(Of course I am not thrilled with researching the drug route, but the cynic in me thinks that they had to do that too in order to keep the pharma money flowing.)

The pdf begins this way:

Although medical care in the United States is increasingly driven by evidence based practice, societal pressure for tolerance and incorporation of complementary alternative forms of health care is significant. Many children (estimates vary from 50% to 75%) with autism spectrum disorders are treated with some form of complementary alternative intervention, and approximately 1/3 of these are being so treated at the time of diagnostic evaluation.

They begin their statement with the admission that most parents are treating autism with biomed and that the "pressure" they are bringing to bear is "significant".

Congratulations parents.

And Congratulations Autism Speaks.

This will be the best money you have ever spent. If you spend it right.

Of course the cynical optimist in me also wants to wait and see how the grants are distributed. I need to see the words, chelation, HBOT and Lymphoid Nodular Hyperplasia as well as the names of a few docs and researchers that the biomed community has come to know and trust, before I am going to sing love songs to Autism Speaks. But if they are doing this in earnest and actually get results, I will sing them love songs.

(However, if they give Eric Fombonne money to do a blood mercury study, I will be out in front of their building with a bull horn. But let's just assume that they are not pulling any shenanigans with this and just enjoy the moment.)

I think that it would be great if our trusted DAN! medical professionals could keep us parents abreast of their applications to this program. I would love to know who is applying for what and who is getting funded or turned down.

But as to not seem to be taking this to glibly, I want to thank Autism Speaks, because I am starting to believe that they are listening to us the way that they say that they would.

As an update to the Autism Speaks letters, I have not sent them in yet. I have been away from autism activism a good deal this month because I have been spending so much time on my boy's health. (We are finishing up a round of IV chelation (his first IV) on him and the results have been really exciting for us, but I will write about the whole thing in a week or so when he is done.) So if anyone still wants to include their letter, send it along.

The tide has turned.

How great would it be if a year from now if all I had to write about was plummeting autism rates, new treatment interventions that are covered by insurance and recovery stories.

How great would it be if this blog became irrelevant.

July 24, 2007

A Message From The CDC

Julie Obradovic sums it up nicely.

Congratulations on your new baby! And Welcome to the War on Disease!
By Julie Obradovic
The Rescue Post

We're the CDC and we'd like to take this opportunity to introduce ourselves. We'll be working closely over the next several years, and we need to get acquainted more quickly than you think!

Our job as the Center for Disease Control is to control infectious disease as well as possible. We believe that while nutrition and sanitation have substantially reduced the level of infectious disease in our world, the most important tool in doing so has been herd immunity via vaccinations. Admittedly, we have no proof to substantiate this. (For example, the Measles was 97% eradicated by the time the vaccine was developed.)

By now, your brand new little soldier may have already received his or her first piece of equipment (a vaccination) without you even knowing it!

In the late 1980's, the development of the Hepatitis B vaccine allowed us to provide a newborn with protection from this disease within hours of birth. Hepatitis B is a dangerous virus that is usually spread via an infected mother, sexually promiscuous people, and/or intravenous drug users; however, it can also be spread in hospitals, which is likely where you are now. Because of this risk, we believe getting this vaccine into your child as soon as possible is the most responsible thing we can do, with or without your permission or proper understanding. It is imperative you trust us if our relationship is to work.

Over the last several decades, scientists have been able to develop many vaccines to help eradicate and/or control dangerous (and sometimes just-plain-annoying) diseases. In fact, whereas in 1983 children only had the benefit of 10 vaccines for 7 viruses before kindergarten, they now have the benefit of 36! (And the list keeps on growing! Right now, there are over 300 new vaccines in the works! Imagine!)

Of course, all medical benefits come with their risks. We feel strongly, however, that the benefits far outweigh them. You probably don't remember the days when thousands of people suffered or died from diseases like Polio, the Measles, and Diphtheria. Allowing a child to suffer from those and other diseases in an era where we can possibly prevent them is frankly, irresponsible. Furthermore, without your participation in the vaccination program, these diseases may resurface even stronger than before. Ultimately, you might be putting your own child and others at great risk.

In the interest of transparency, however, here are some things to consider about us:

For starters, you should know we function with a high conflict of interest: We are in charge of promoting vaccines, ensuring their safety, and finding ourselves guilty of neglect if they are not. We profit from vaccines substantially, and almost all of our scientists are working simultaneously for the private pharmaceutical companies who manufacture them.

Surprisingly, we can actually not be held liable in a court of law for anything that happens if something goes wrong. In fact, if your child should have a negative vaccine reaction (which we emphasize is very, very rare), you will need to take it up with a specially created "Vaccine Court". Limitations on when you can use this resource do exist for our protection, and therefore if you do not realize your child's negative reaction was due to his/her vaccine within that statute, you are unfortunately without much recourse.

Moreover, any monetary settlement that you receive should the "Vaccine Court" find us liable will actually be paid by you, the consumer; Every vaccine given to children has a $0.75 surcha rge attached that funds these settlements. (In other words, if we mess up, you pay for us to defend ourselves and give you compensation!)

This of course, is in your best interest, as we might not survive a sympathetic jury awarding an astronomical settlement to the few children's families that are ever affected negatively. If that were to happen, pharmaceutical companies might lose the incentive to produce vaccines (which is money), putting all of us at great risk for infection. Truly, we are at the mercy of their bottom line if as a society we want to remain disease-free. As harsh as that reality is, you can surely understand how important your cooperation and participation is for the benefit of the masses. Without you, the system just doesn't work.

Specific risks of vaccination, again rare, include but are not limited to death, seizure, paralysis, mental retardation, loss of motor skills, and other life-threatening, life-altering conditions. We have the ability to identify at-risk children for these reactions, but choose not to because of the expense, and the reality that if we did it in our country, we'd have to do it in others. We simply don't have those resources, and therefore, have decided it's best no one receive special treatment. You will simply not know if your child will have a negative reaction until it is too late. (And, you will unlikely be able to prove it actually was, as the majority of our personally funded research shows vaccines rarely, if ever, do harm.)

The ingredients of a vaccine include but are not limited to, mercury, aluminum, formaldehyde, anti-freeze, chicken embryos, monkey cells and aborted fetus diploid cells. (Yes, some vaccines contain aborted human fetus cells.) None of these ingredients has ever been individually tested for safety, even though some are neurotoxins. We believe, however, that the small amount of them used prohibits any possible negative effect. We have no proof of this belief.

Vaccines are not regularly studied in combination for any negative consequences they may have when used cumulatively versus individually, even though they are not given individually.

Vaccines have never been studied for long term consequences such as cancer or autoimmune conditions. We simply don't know what consequence they have long term, as we have never studied the vaccinated versus the unvaccinated, and have no plans to do so. The answers to such a study may cause a panic that would prevent people from participating in the program, a potential public-health disaster.

Your doctor will use his/her preferred brand of the required immunizations. Each brand contains different ingredients and different amounts of them. In order to know what they are, you will have to research that privately, as a list of ingredients in lay men's terms will not be provided for you upon your well-baby visits. (As a side note, questioning the doctor about this matter may prove uncomfortable and awkward, as your physician will probably take it personally that you are questioning his/her judgment.)

Vaccinating your child is the law in most states, although there are exceptions. If you chose to opt out of the system, you will be forced to provide a religious or medical exemption that you may or may not have, while signing damaging documentation that acknowledges you are willingly putting your child at great risk and are possibly an unfit parent. You may be investigated for child abuse or neglect as a result. Only a few states allow a philosophical exemption. Entry into a public or private school setting will require compliance with the law of your state.

Vaccines do not work on every person. For some, one is plenty, for others, several are needed. To save time and money, we just give everyone several of them to be sure. The vaccination schedule is universal and not concerned with your individual child’s needs.

Your pediatrician may be compensated based on how well his/her patients follow our vaccination schedule. You can expect a lot of pressure if you don’t comply, and in some instances may be asked to leave the practice.

Finally and most important, your input on how, when and why to vaccinate your child is not welcome. Unless you are one of us, we believe you simply do not have the expertise to know what is best for your child.

Again, to emphasize, we promote the vaccines, profit from them, investigate ourselves for neglect and cannot be held liable if we have committed it. We insist vaccines cause minimal harm, but do not allow independent researchers to validate our claim. (Even though thousands of parents swear their child's Crib Death or Developmental Delay, such as Autism, is due to their vaccine, we vehemently deny this with our own research. We do admit they can and do cause speech delay.) You pay for our legal troubles and your own compensation if it is awarded through a special vaccine court. You have to participate in this program as mandated by law or your parental fitness may be questioned and your child may not be allowed to attend public school. We do not know if your child will have a negative reaction to vaccines until it is too late, even though we have the resources to know otherwise. None of our products or their ingredi ents has been independently tested for cumulative use or long term safety. Questioning your doctor about this system or our product may result in his/her refusal to work with you.

Admittedly, it's not a perfect system, but it's what we've got to offer you. Participate, and accept the aforementioned risks of our flawed program, our lack of safety studies, and a possible debilitating negative reaction, or opt out, and accept the risk of polio and other life altering diseases that you may have prevented in your child (not to mention the difficulty in finding a doctor or attending school). Not a great choice, we know, but one all parents must make.

Ultimately, just trusting us is best for everyone involved.

In conclusion, please remember that in the event your child is hurt via his/her vaccinations, you can take comfort in knowing it was for the greater good. In all wars, some equipment back-fires and there are casualties. While it will be heartbreaking and guilt-ridden, your sacrifice ensures the safety of others. We respectfully remind you though, your little soldier’s sacrifice will only be quietly acknowledged, if at all, so as not to alarm other parents or care-takers. Your quiet suffering is appreciated and expected, and you will likely receive no public sympathy or support from the society who benefited from your family's sacrifice. Unlike other wars, your child will not be considered a hero, no plaque or medal will be issued to him/her, and no public display to honor him/her exists. You will still be expected to have your other children participate in this war regardless and promote the program for others, or risk public criticism and scrutiny. Speaking out about your negative experience and safety concerns will undoubtedly render society to question your mental and parental fitness and is highly frowned upon as irresponsible rhetoric.

Thanks for taking the time to get to know us. And thanks for being a team player. We hope this has informed you about the reality of vaccinating your child. And once again, Welcome to the War on Disease! Together, we will win!



July 21, 2007

WSJ: Grass Warfare, Pesticides and Parkinson's

Grass Warfare
Is what you put on your lawn your own business? Growing local movements say using pesticides is a choice that affects the whole neighborhood. The battle over how 'green' your grass should be.
The Wall Street Journal
July 7, 2007; Page P1

Finally the grass is greener on my side of the fence.

I've spent the past year converting my lawn to organic care. After some early setbacks, my lawn looks pretty great, and the only herbicide I've used is an all-natural corn substance that's safe enough for my dog to eat.

The same scene is playing out in yards around the country -- but it's not a peaceful transition. As the organic lawn movement grows, so are tensions in some communities. The latest front is over whether lawn-care methods are the horticultural equivalent of secondhand smoke: a choice that affects the whole community. Neighborhood activists argue that using pesticides on one lawn exposes everyone nearby to the chemicals, including kids and pets.

Enthusiasts are trying to shame their neighbors into joining them with pro-organic lawn signs, prompting some residents to apply their chemicals covertly. Homeowners who want to stick with pesticides say how they groom their lawns is their own business. Even spouses are facing off over which comes first -- eliminating chemicals or creating a dazzling no-fuss lawn. The lawn-care industry, meanwhile, is walking a tightrope, hoping to profit from organics without turning against their traditional products.

In Wisconsin, the village of Whitefish Bay has become a microcosm of the new turf wars. Intent on switching the community over to an organic approach, a citizens' group is hanging tags on residents' doors urging them to lay off pesticides and posting "All Living Creatures Welcome" signs in their own yards.

"It's really dicey, and some people are receptive and some are hostile," says Sandy Hellman, age 37, a member of the Healthy Communities Project. "I look at it as the secondhand-smoke issue. Kids run back and forth between the yards and windows are open all the time."

Organic supporters say data are slowly building to cause concern. Last year, researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health found that individuals reporting exposure to pesticides had a 70% higher incidence of Parkinson's disease than those not reporting exposure. The report notes that among individuals who are not farmers, the significant association is "most likely explained by use of pesticides in home or in gardening."

That study echoes findings of a Parkinson's-pesticide link in men reported last year by the Mayo Clinic. There have been other studies, including one in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, suggesting that exposing dogs to some herbicide-treated lawns and gardens may increase their chances of developing cancers.

The pesticides used in lawn-care products found on shelves nationwide are considered legal by government standards. But broader research on health risks from such chemicals has prompted general warnings. The Environmental Protection Agency, which regulates pesticide use, notes on its own Web site that kids are at greater peril from pesticides because their internal organs and immune systems are developing.

In addition to the scientific debate, lawn care is also highlighting questions about personal-property rights. Some critics say the organic push is a nanny-state attempt to tell people what they can do on their own land.

Ms. Hellman's group convinced Whitefish Bay officials to stop spraying pesticides on medians near an elementary school, but didn't initially get funding for the pricier organic weed-control or fertilizer products. When dandelions returned in droves, neighbors balked, fearing the seeds would spread to their properties. Money was later approved to hire an organic lawn-care service, but not soon enough for some residents.

"I don't want those weeds -- that's the bottom line," says Gloria Tylicki, who has written Whitefish Bay town officials complaining about the organic results near her home. She hires a service to spray her lawn with herbicides three times a year, and doesn't like the trend of neighbors telling her what to do on her own property. "Can I not plant a certain flower because someone blocks away doesn't care for that?"

Elsewhere, similar battle lines are being drawn. This spring, 7-foot billboards were erected on the platforms of New York area railroads depicting a young father standing on the lawn of his home, cradling his young daughter. The caption: "I've got one great reason not to use chemicals on my lawn." The ad campaign was part of a larger pesticide reduction program being pushed by the Grassroots Environmental Education organization, a Port Washington, N.Y.-based nonprofit.

Fundamentally, "going organic" simply means getting grass and soil healthy enough to crowd out weeds without pesticides, the umbrella term for chemical substances that destroy unwanted pests or weeds. (A herbicide is a pesticide targeting plants; an insecticide kills insects.) Pesticide opponents say homeowners unwittingly bring the toxics into homes via shoe soles and pet feet, tracking it into carpets where kids play. They also worry about runoff into streams, rivers and groundwater -- and into their own yards.

Organic supporters also advocate using natural fertilizers instead of synthetic ones. Most packaged fertilizers contain three key ingredients -- nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium -- which are listed in a familiar N-P-K ratio. In organic versions, the nutrients come from plant, animal or mineral sources, such as blood meal, seaweed extract, bone meal and sulfate of potash. Because the soil's microorganisms must first digest the organic nutrients to make them useful to the grass, it takes longer to get that dark greening effect many homeowners are accustomed to seeing after they fertilize. A 3,000-square-foot lawn costing $200 to treat traditionally might be double using organic solutions, at least initially.

Currently, nothing on the market annihilates existing weeds as fast as chemical solutions. So while many people like the idea of going organic, they don't so much like living with some weeds while they convert.
[Pesticide free lawn sign]
[Pesticide lawn sign]
Dueling yard signs in the pesticide battle.

"We used to accept a few weeds," says Jay Feldman, director of Beyond Pesticides, a nonprofit group that runs the National Coalition for Pesticide-Free Lawns. Now, uniform swaths of green, weedless grass are the standard. The rise of pesticides, says Mr. Feldman, "redefined our aesthetics."

In some cases, families themselves are split about whether to switch. Last year, Mary Beth Nawor of Highland Park, Ill., marched through town in a Fourth of July parade promoting safer pesticide use. "It was all the women taking the info we had and the men brushing us off," she says. But that wasn't the biggest surprise. When Ms. Nawor later recounted to her husband how a friend had marveled at their chemical-free lawn, he sheepishly admitted to putting down an herbicide.

"It's a point of pride for men," says Ms. Nawor, a high-school environmental-science teacher. "They like to be out there showing their grass off."

Andrew Sprung of South Orange, N.J., grew his lawn from seed and uses a four-step annual lawn program that includes pesticides and fertilizers. His wife wants him to stop using chemicals, he says, and he's moderated a bit. Still, he says, "I find it hard to believe that the legal chemicals I drop on my lawn in moderate quantities is harming anything."

Today the organic movement is a bright growth spot in an otherwise lackluster $24 billion U.S. lawn and garden market, growing at double digits over the last five years while overall sales stagnated in 2006, according to Marketresearch.com. This January, Scotts Miracle-Gro launched its first organic lawn fertilizer. It has a natural bio-herbicide in development and aims for half its product line to be naturally derived in coming years. The nation's largest lawn-care company, TruGreen-ChemLawn, this year shortened its name to just TruGreen, in part to deflect criticism about its pesticide use. Home Depot is carrying organic landscape products in every store, and executives insist they are here to stay.

But the split in public sentiment makes it tricky for companies to navigate the divide. Homeowners often tell professionals they want organic products, says TruGreen's chief marketing officer, Vic Yeandel, then complain when it costs more or takes longer. "They say, 'I don't want the weeds to grow -- do you have a weed control that is not a pesticide?' And the answer is, 'No, we don't.' That defines what the issue is.'"

To try to make everyone happy, In Harmony Sustainable Landscapes in Bothell, Wash., offers three tiers of weed programs: "No Weeds," "Minimum Pesticides," and "Completely Organic." When new customers call up, co-owner Mark Gile says he subtly encourages the latter two programs.

Community peer pressure is one thing. It's another to mandate organic care by law. In 2001, Canada's Supreme Court ruled that the nation's communities can restrict cosmetic pesticide use on private as well as public property. To date, more than 129 have done so.

That ruling mobilized the U.S. pro-pesticide movement like never before both on a grassroots and legislative levels, says Allen James, president of the Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment, a trade group representing makers and suppliers of pesticides and fertilizers. "Canada was the warning shot for us," he says.

Partly due to RISE's efforts, today all but nine states currently forbid local lawmakers from enacting such residential bans, because it would pre-empt state laws.

As a result, organic activists to date have instead concentrated on getting pesticides banned in public properties where municipalities have control. Just last month, Connecticut extended a ban on lawn pesticides through the eighth grade. Currently at least 20 U.S. towns have pesticide-free parks and several hundred school districts have laws or policies designed to minimize kids' exposure to pesticides.

Such actions unnerve homeowners such as John Schmaltz in Cromwell, Conn., who fears private property could be next. He sees a hypocritical undercurrent to organic lawn enthusiasts' pleas. "People put on deodorant, perfume and cosmetics, and who's to say about those?"

Given homeowners' passions, things can get tense. Philip Dickey runs the Washington Toxics Coalition, a Seattle-based environmental health organization, and estimates his group has distributed nearly 5,000 Pesticide Free Zone signs with ladybugs on them. To get a sign, homeowners must promise to speak with at least three people about organic care. On the coalition's Web site are talking tips, including playing the kid card (they often run barefoot on grass) and avoiding a "holier-than-thou attitude."

Still, not-in-my-backyard brawls do surface, Mr. Dickey says. "I got a photograph back from a guy who put up a pesticide-free sign and his neighbor then put up a sign that said Hazardous Material Storage. There is no dialogue going on there." Nor in Harvard, Ill., where Andrew Cook showed his neighbor a note from his wife's doctor explaining she was highly sensitive to pesticides. No dice, his neighbor refused to change her lawn-care regimen. Mr. Cook then aimed one of the ladybug signs squarely at her house. "You can only lead a horse to water," he says.

To keep peace for now, some homeowners are brokering their own land resolutions. Tihamer Toth-Fejel uses no lawn-care treatments whatsoever on most of his Ann Arbor, Mich., yard, but throws down an herbicidal Weed and Feed product on the portion abutting his neighbor's property so "he won't think I'm trying to infect his perfect lawn." Jim McNicholas of LaGrange, Ill., asked his organic neighbor to tell him when she's going on vacation so he can spread fertilizer without strife. And in Lyndhurst, Ohio, city councilman Joe Gambatese agreed to hire Good Nature Organic Lawn Care to treat his own home turf for a three-year trial after residents there pushed for pesticide reductions. So far, he says, "my yard looks fantastic."

As for my block, a couple of acres separate me from my neighbors so they haven't had to witness my battle with the weed brigades. After a frustrating summer fighting dandelions and plantains, last fall I plowed up the lawn, replanting it with new grass seed and 1,400 pounds of organic compost.

That did the trick. My grass was among the first up in my area this spring, which helped choke back any weeds. I spread corn gluten meal, a natural pre-emergent herbicide, just as the forsythia began blooming and have spent only a few hours total hand-weeding. As for fertilizer, this year I'm trying a worm waste product from a company called Terracycle as well as Scotts' new Organic Choice lawn food. I left a swath of old lawn for comparison and so far the difference is notable. In the meantime, there's not much to do other than mow.

Write to Gwendolyn Bounds at wendy.bounds@wsj.com

July 20, 2007

Thank You Dan Olmsted

Dan Olmsted began writing his Age of Autism series more than two years ago, and in it he has brought to our attention some of the most fascinating and compelling aspects of the thimerosal/autism story. He has done much of the medical investigating that the CDC should have done, but didn't, and found that the links between autism and thimerosal go back to the first case of autism ever recorded.

If the CDC had any sense they would take their "transgender beauty pageant" budget and instead hire Dan to do their investigating for them. But then again if the CDC had any sense, none of us would be here now, would we.

One of the most significant things that I feel that Dan's work has done is show just how much the CDC et. al. does NOT want to properly investigate this. Dan's revelations, which repeatedly garnered, "Holy Crap!" reactions from autism parents, were met with a collective yawn from health officials. The fact that Julie Gerberding could make statements like, "CDC recognizes that parents want answers. We share their frustration at not having more answers about the causes and possible cure.", while failing to follow up on all that Dan has brought to the topic, is proof positive that CDC does not want to know what is going on in autism. If Julie wanted answers, Dan would not have not had to spend two plus years writing this series. The CDC would have taken his info and run with it and they would have found patient zero long before Dan did.

Dan Olmsted has proved Julie Gerberding a liar.

I am sad to see the series go, but thrilled that Dan is still on the trail. The Age of Autism series should be published in one volume and be required reading for everyone in the autism world. Evelyn Pringle was dead on when she called him, "Autism's Dick Tracy". Some smart publisher needs to give this guy a bucket of cash and send him back out. There is no telling what this hound can sniff out.

Thank you Dan for looking out for our kids.

More on Dan:

Wade at Injecting Sense
Kim Stagliano at Kim Stagliano
Lisa Blakemore-Brown at Thimerosal Thoughts

July 19, 2007

$75,000 Offered For MD to Publicly Drink Vaccine Additives

$75,000 Offered For MD to Publicly Drink Vaccine Additives

Jock Doubleday, director of the California non-profit corporation Natural Woman, Natural Man, Inc., has offered $75,000 to the first medical doctor or pharmaceutical company CEO who publicly drinks a mixture of standard vaccine additives.

The additives would be the same as those contained in the vaccines recommended for a 6-year-old according to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines, and the dose would be body-weight calibrated. It would include, but not be limited to:

* Thimerosal (a mercury derivative)
* Ethylene glycol (antifreeze)
* Phenol (a disinfectant dye)
* Aluminum
* Benzethonium chloride (a disinfectant)
* Formaldehyde (a preservative and disinfectant)

On August 1, 2007, if no one has taken the challenge, the offer will be increased to $90,000 and will increase at a rate of $5,000 per month until someone accepts.

Vaccination Liberation Press Release

Jock Doubleday’s Vaccination Liberation

April 25, 2007

Ojai, California -- On January 29, 2001, I offered $20,000 to the first U.S.-licensed medical doctor or pharmaceutical company CEO to publicly drink a mixture of standard vaccine additive ingredients:


The offer had no takers.

On August 1, 2006, I increased the offer to $75,000 (see below):

The new offer had no takers.

Therefore . . .

as of June 1, 2007, the $75,000 vaccine offer will increase to $80,000;

as of July 1, 2007, the vaccine offer will increase to $85,000;

as of August 1, 2007, the offer will increase to $90,000;

as of September 1, 2007, the offer will increase to $95,000;

as of October 1, 2007, the offer will increase to $100,000;

as of November 1, 2007, the offer will increase to $105,000;

as of December 1, 2007, the offer will increase to $110,000;

as of January 1, 2008, the offer will increase to $115,000.

The offer will increase $5,000 per month, in perpetuity, until an M.D. or pharmaceutical company CEO, or any of the 14 relevant members of the ACIP (see below), agree to drink a body-weight calibrated dose of the vaccine additives M.D.s routinely inject into children in the name of health.

This offer, dated April 25, 2007, has no expiration date unless and until superceded by a similar offer of higher remuneration.

In health,

Jock Doubleday
Natural Woman, Natural Man, Inc.
A California 501(c)3 Nonprofit Corporation

Dr. Mercola's comments:

Not surprisingly, this offer has been on the table since 2001, but no one has been willing to take that toxic chemical cocktail -- except for the children who innocently go in for their routine vaccinations. With the average amount of loans for medical students now well in excess of $100,000 you might have thought some doctor would have tried to cash n on this so they could accelerate the payment of their student loans.

In addition to the vaccine additives listed above, others can include ammonium sulfate, amphotericin B, pig blood, rabbit brain, monkey kidney, betapropiolactone, tri(n)butylphosphate, and a laundry list of other chemicals. The mercury-based preservative thimerosal, in particular, is dangerous. Mercury is a poison and potent neurotoxin. Injecting it into a child, whose nervous system is rapidly developing, can have terrible consequences.

From the evidence I have reviewed and my own clinical experience it is clear that mercury is one of the reasons autism skyrocketed in the last 10 years. Autism has started to decrease now that some the vaccines have eliminated mercury, but be wary; many vaccines still do contain thimerosal, no matter what you may have heard.

And even those vaccines without thimerosal still contain an incredible number of dangerous chemicals. When the mercury is removed, it is typically replaced with another toxic additive that is frequently just as health-harming. The aluminum hydroxide used in many vaccines has been linked to symptoms associated with Parkinson's, ALS, and Alzheimer's. Phenols, methanol, isopropyl, and 2-pheoxyethanol are other ingredients which are corrosive or toxic.

The bottom line is, if you are a parent and are considering vaccinating your child, please read up on the potentially devastating side effects of vaccines before doing so. It could mean the difference between life and death. Avoid the fear mongering and take some time to read ALL sides of the issue, not just the propaganda conventional pediatrician will present to you. Most educated parents that I know that have done a careful analysis of the data invariably chose not to vaccinate their children.

NAA: Call The White House

Call The White House


Please call the White House and tell them not to veto the House Labor HHS Bill which contains provisions to protect children from mercury in vaccines. Demand that President Bush uphold his campaign promises!

Comments: 202-456-1111
Switchboard: 202-456-1414
FAX: 202-456-2461

For Immediate Release

Bush Set to Veto HHS-Labor-Education Appropriations Bill Due to Provision to Remove Mercury from Infant Vaccines

SafeMinds and autism community call the White House declaration “irresponsible and dangerous.”

Washington, DC – According to the Congressional Quarterly, the White House stated on Tuesday that President Bush would veto the HHS-Labor-Education Appropriations Bill because of the cost and “objectionable provisions” such as a measure to ban the use of childhood flu vaccines that contain thimerosal, a mercury-based preservative.

Autism advocacy groups are outraged because President Bush stated in a questionnaire during his 2004 campaign: “I support the removal of Thimerosal from vaccines on the childhood national vaccine schedule. During a second term as President, I will continue to support increased funding to support a wide variety of research initiatives aimed at seeking definitive causes and/or triggers of autism. It is important to note that while there are many possible theories about causes or triggers of autism, no one material as been definitely included or excluded.”

But since 2005, President Bush has steadfastly refused to issue an Executive Order banning high amounts of mercury in vaccines that would protect children and pregnant women despite repeated requests from the autism community that he uphold his campaign promise. Under his current administration, mercury has been and will continue to be knowingly injected into the youngest of American citizens. The controversial mercury-containing preservative thimerosal has been linked by thousands of parents as being the cause of their children’s mercury poisoning and autism.

The flu vaccine which continues to be manufactured with mercury is recommended for all pregnant women, infants and children despite the fact that the Institute of Medicine in 2001 recommended against the policy of exposing these same sensitive groups to thimerosal containing vaccines. According to the EPA, one in every six women of childbearing age already has blood levels of mercury high enough to cause neurological damage to their unborn children due to environmental exposures alone. “Injecting even more mercury into the bodies of pregnant women, infants and children when it is not a necessary component of vaccines is just bad medicine,” said Lyn Redwood, president of SafeMinds and parent of a mercury-injured child. “It defies logic that a flu vaccine must be disposed of as a hazardous waste if it is not used, but somehow injecting the same mercury-containing vaccine into a baby is safe.”

Just Say No To Mercury

Say 'No' to Mercury in Flu Shots
Opinion | Editorial
Savannah Morning News
greg powell | Thursday, July 19, 2007 at 12:30 am

Thimerosal is a mercury-based preservative used in most flu vaccines in our country.

You are filled with thoughts of joy as you sit down and roll up your sleeve. You want the very best for the new life that's growing inside you.

You want to do everything possible to ensure the health and safety of that precious child.

Then you feel a little stick in your arm. Good, now you've done one more thing to protect your baby.

Or have you?

You have no idea that you were just injected with one of the most toxic substances in the world.

This may sound like a cruel joke or just a science-fiction story, but I can assure you that this is a very real nightmare.

Thimerosal is a mercury-based preservative used in most flu vaccines in our country.

When injected into the human body, it quickly converts to a form of organic mercury, known as ethyl-mercury.

This form of mercury, like all forms of mercury, is extremely dangerous.

Numerous animal studies have proven the extreme toxicity of thimerosal.

Some studies have shown that thimerosal dramatically increases fetal deaths in rabbits and rats.

In pigs, ethyl-mercury was shown to cause neurological, urological, and digestive toxicity.

Other rat studies have shown that ethyl-mercury causes pathological lesions of the ovaries, uterus, testes, seminal vesicles, vas deferens and prostate.

In monkeys, injection of thimerosal was shown to cause mercury to deposit in the brain and stay there indefinitely.

Once in the brain, mercury can set in motion a cascade of events leading to a chronic state of inflammation in the brain and resulting in destruction of neurons.

As a pharmacist, I can tell you with absolute certainty that if we had these kinds of animal studies with any other drug, that drug would be recalled by the government immediately because of public safety.

The amount of mercury in one flu shot is 25 micrograms.

According to federal guidelines, a person would have to weigh about 550 pounds for this amount of mercury to be considered safe.

The heavy use of several thimerosal-containing childhood vaccines in the 1990s has been linked by some researchers to the epidemic levels of autism in our country.

I believe, like many parents of autistic children, that the large amounts of mercury these children received, when they were just tiny infants, caused brain damage leading to autism.

I also believe that there is a good chance that mercury from vaccines and other sources is a factor in many various other neurological disorders including Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease and multiple sclerosis.

This information leads one to ask: Why is thimerosal still being used in flu shots, and why hasn't the government removed it?

I don't know the answer to that question.

What I can say is that, in my opinion, thimerosal is an extremely dangerous substance and has absolutely no place in any vaccine or in any other product that is used in or on the human body.

Contrary to this logic, the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, being fully aware of the dangers associated with mercury, aggressively promotes flu shots for pregnant women, children, the elderly and people with chronic health conditions.

Ironically, these are the very people who are most vulnerable to mercury toxicity.

Flu shots without mercury are available.

I encourage all people who are planning to get a flu shot, especially pregnant women, to request a flu shot which is free of mercury.

I also encourage health care providers to provide verbal informed consent to all patients to whom they are giving a thimerosal-containing influenza vaccine.

As health-care providers, we have a duty to ensure the safety and well-being of our patients.

Injecting patients with mercury is not a way to do that. This is not a chance we should take.

We should err on the side of caution.

Greg Powell is a Savannah pharmacist.

July 18, 2007

The Age of Autism: The Last Word

What tha??? Restructuring??

The Age of Autism: The last word
Published: July 18, 2007 at 12:47
UPI Senior Editor

WASHINGTON, July 18 (UPI) -- This is my 113th and final Age of Autism column. United Press International, which has been the hospitable home for this series, is restructuring, and I'm off to adventures as yet unknown -- although I intend to keep my focus on autism and related issues.

Why? Because it is the story of a lifetime.

"Autism is currently, in our view, the most important and the fastest-evolving disorder in all of medical science and promises to remain so for the foreseeable future," says Dr. Jeffrey A. Lieberman, chairman of the department of psychiatry at Columbia University's school of medicine.

Most mainstream experts believe autism is a genetic disorder that's "increasing" only because of more sophisticated diagnoses. But based on my own reporting, I think autism is soaring due to environmental factors -- in the sense of something coming from the outside in -- and that genes play a mostly secondary role, perhaps creating a susceptibility to toxic exposures in certain children. As the saying goes: Genes load the gun, environment pulls the trigger.

So to me, the issues autism raises -- about the health and well-being of this and future generations, about the role that planetary pollution, chemical inventions and medical interventions may have inadvertently played in triggering it -- are so fundamental that by looking at autism, we're looking very deeply into the kind of world we want to inhabit and our children to inherit.

It is impossible to summarize all the issues I've raised in my columns, but to me, four stand out:

-- The first question I asked when I started looking at autism in late 2004 was this: What is the autism rate among never-vaccinated American children? Vaccines are the leading "environmental" suspect for many families of autistic children. So I was stunned to learn that such a study had never been done, given that it could quickly lay to rest concerns that public health authorities say are dangerously undermining confidence in childhood immunizations.

Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., introduced -- and just reintroduced -- a bill to force the Department of Health and Human Services to do just that (generously crediting this column for finding enough never-vaccinated children to show that such a study is indeed feasible). She calls it "common sense," and it is an example of ordinary people -- through their representatives -- telling the experts they want better answers, and fast.

Recently, such a study was in fact done with private funds. It was a $200,000 telephone survey commissioned by the advocacy group Generation Rescue that, as limited as it is scientifically, suggested a disturbing trend: Higher rates of autism in vaccinated vs. never-vaccinated U.S. children, along with similar ratios for other neurodevelopmental disorders like attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.

I reported the same possible association in the Amish community. That's been criticized as inherently unscientific and undercut by the fact that Amish genes may differ from the rest of us and that increasingly, the Amish do receive at least some vaccinations.

All true, but intriguing nonetheless. I also found a family medical practice in Chicago called Homefirst that has thousands of never-vaccinated children as patients. According to its medical director, Mayer Eisenstein, he's aware of only one case of autism and one case of asthma among those kids -- not the 1 in 150 and 1 in 10 that are the national averages for those disorders -- and he has the medical records to prove it.

I wrote about that in 2005, yet when I met again with Mayer in Chicago last week, he told me not one public health official or medical association has contacted him to express any interest. Nor has any other journalist -- not a one.

-- That brings me to my second theme. I am sorry to say my colleagues in the mainstream journalistic community have, in the main, done a lousy job covering this issue. They, of course, would disagree -- two were quoted (anonymously!) in the Columbia Journalism Review saying, "Olmsted has made up his mind on the question and is reporting the facts that support his conclusions."

Actually, my mind is made up about only one thing: Both vaccinations and autism are so important that definitive, independent research needs to be done yesterday -- and the fact that it hasn't should be making more journalists suspicious.

I think Big Media's performance on this issue is on a dismal par with its record leading up to the Iraq war, when for the most part it failed to probe deeply into the intelligence about weapons of mass destruction and the assertions about Saddam Hussein's link to al-Qaida. And it's bad for the same reasons -- excessive reliance on "authorities" with obvious conflicts of interest; uncritical enlistment in the "war on terror" and "the war on disease" without considering collateral damage or adverse events; a stenographic and superficial approach to covering the news, and an at-least-semiconscious fear of professional reprisal.

In the case of Iraq, that fear included being cut off -- like my exemplary fellow ex-Unipresser Helen Thomas -- from precious "inside sources" in the government; in the case of autism, fear of alienating advertisers lurks silently in the background.

To see how squeamish and slow-on-the-uptake the media can be in the face of an urgent health crisis, look no further than the early days of AIDS, as chronicled in Randy Shilts' "And the Band Played On."

-- Another angle I explored intensively involved a group of families in Olympia, Wash., who noticed their children regressing into autism after getting four live-virus vaccines -- mumps, measles, rubella (MMR) and chickenpox -- at an early age and in close temporal proximity. These cases seemed to have little or nothing to do with the mercury preservative in other vaccines, called thimerosal, that many parents blame for autism (it was phased out of most routine immunizations starting in 1999).

That raises an ominous prospect: The still-rising autism rate might be related to some other aspect of the immunization schedule as well -- timing, age, total load or other ingredients. (I didn't invent that idea; the head of an expert panel mandated by Congress expressed it to me in an interview -- and again, her comments were largely ignored.)

One focus of that seven-part Pox series last year was a case of autism following a small clinical trial of a new vaccine called ProQuad, which contains the live-but-weakened MMR and chickenpox viruses in one shot. The chickenpox virus in ProQuad is about 10 times the amount in the standalone chickenpox shot, a boost needed to overcome "interference" among the four viruses (and a possible sign of trouble right there). Manufacturer Merck says the vaccine is safe and not related to autism.

Earlier this year the company announced it was suspending production of ProQuad -- barely a year after its introduction -- because supplies of chickenpox vaccine had run unexpectedly low. The company, however, will keep producing its other products containing chickenpox virus: the standalone chickenpox shot and a new vaccine for shingles.

A Merck spokesman told me the suspension of ProQuad had nothing to do with any safety concerns, that it had been selling well and would be reintroduced as soon as chickenpox vaccine supplies were replenished. As I've written before, I found Merck to be quite accessible and forthcoming when I asked questions about this issue -- much more so than the Food and Drug Administration, in fact.

So I take Merck at its word. But -- in the spirit of trust-but-verify -- I'll be watching for the return of ProQuad.

-- The Age of Autism columns that may mean the most over time (IMHO, of course) are about the first cases of autism, reported in 1943 at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore among 11 children born in the United States in the 1930s.

With crucial observations from Mark Blaxill of the advocacy group SafeMinds, I've suggested a pattern in some of those early cases: exposure, through the father's occupation, to ethyl mercury in fungicides. That's the same kind of mercury used in vaccines, and both were introduced commercially around 1930, right when those first autism cases were identified.

This is only a hypothesis, and critics have suggested it is a classic case not of connecting the dots, but of finding what I went looking for. That may be, but put yourself in my place when -- more than a year after publicly proposing the mercury fungicide idea in a column -- I identified the family of autism's Case 2 and located an extensive archive for the father, a distinguished scientist.

I sat down in the North Carolina State University library and opened the first box, took out the first folder and opened it to the first page. It was a yellowed, typewritten paper from spring 1922 summarizing a fungicide experiment the father conducted as a grad student in plant pathology -- an experiment in which mercury was the main ingredient (and in the title). By the time his son was born in 1936, he was working with the new generation of ethyl mercury fungicides -- yes, the kind used in vaccines.

Though others will disagree, I find that just a bit outside the parameters of chance, given the timeline of the disorder and the independent belief of so many of today's parents that the same kind of mercury, in a totally different context, triggered their children's autism.

It also suggests that whatever is causing autism could be coming at us from several directions -- our increasingly mercury-toxic environment as well as any medical interventions that may be implicated. Check out "Mercury Link to Case 2" in the series to get the full picture.

So thanks to UPI for supporting this work. And thanks for reading, responding to -- and critiquing -- this column. Truth is, you haven't heard the last word from me. Not by a long shot.


(The entire Age of Autism series is available at upi.com under
Special Reports.)


(e-mail: olmsted.dan@gmail.com)

Congress Votes on Banning Mercury From Vaccines

[Update: Make sure you check the bottom to see why ECBT's stance is BS. Also my letter to Mrs. Carter calling her attention to the mercury issue]

Every Child by Two is urging their membership to call congress and oppose this amendment that would make vaccines safer. Here is everything you need to know about Every Child By Two:


Kirsten Thistle
Senior Vice-President, APCO Worldwide
(APCO is the PR Agency for: Johnson & Johnson, International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers' Associations, Novartis Pharmaceuticals – Glivec, Immunex Corporation - Novantrone, The Vaccine Fund, STERIS Corporation and the list goes on)

Board Members:

Craig Engesser
Senior Director, Professional Affairs
Wyeth Pharmaceuticals

Paul Offit, MD
Chief, Section of Immunologic and Infectious Diseases
The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

Ex-Officio Members:

Anne Schuchat, MD
Director, CDC/National Center for Respiratory and Infectious Diseases

I called their offices and they said that they receive unrestricted grants from pharmaceutical companies.

It is difficult for me to believe that the former first lady Rosalynn Carter, who founded Every Child By Two, understands the dire conflict of interest here. She is a mental health advocate, and advocates for caretakers like us.

I think I will write her a letter too.

Call your Congressman and support the ban on mercury in vaccines.


Congressional Vote on Mercury Ban Expected

Contact Your Member of Congress ASAP!!!

Take Action!
This past Wednesday, July 11, the House Committee on Appropriations adopted by voice vote an amendment that prevents federal dollars from being used to provide flu vaccines, that contain mercury as a preservative, to children under three years of age. This amendment, offered by Rep. Dave Weldon (R-FL) was based on legislation that he has introduced with Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) to completely ban mercury from all vaccines. This bill will come to the floor of the House of Representatives on July 17.

Action You Must Take Today!
You need to e-mail of fax write your member of Congress today.
You may use our automated system to send an email by Clicking Here.

If you want to call or fax your Congressman and don’t know who your Member of Congress is you can find out by Clicking Here or going to http://capwiz.com/a-champ/directory/congdir.tt Your Congressman's contact information can be found there.

E-mail your Member of the House of Representatives AND CALL their office (Congressional Switchboard 202-224-3121 can also get you to your Congressman by phone).

Here is suggested text for a letter if you wish to send a fax or a manual email. The text is also in our pre-written email if you wish to use our automated system:
I am writing you to urge that you vote against any amendment that removes from the FY 2008 House Labor/HHS Appropriation bill the provision that bans mercury (thimerosal) from childhood flu vaccines. I am very concerned that an amendment may be offered on the House floor when this bill is considered that would strip this important provision from the House bill. As my representative, I urge you to vote against any amendment that would leave babies exposed to mercury-laced flu vaccines.

There is no other way to put this - It is just a stupid practice to be injecting babies at 6, 7, 12 and 24 months with the neurotoxin mercury particularly at such a critical stage of neurodevelopment. The House Appropriations Committee agreed overwhelmingly that injecting children with mercury is a bad idea when they adopted an amendment on July 11 offered by Rep. Dave Weldon - a physician.

The developed world other than the United States has essentially banned mercury from all of their childhood vaccines, including the flu vaccine. But, the USA continues to use mercury as a preservative in millions of doses of the flu vaccine given to children. Seven years ago, in 1999, the following concensus was reached by the US's leading public health agencies: “[The] Public Health Service, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and vaccine manufacturers agree that thimerosal-containing vaccines should be removed as soon as possible. Similar conclusions were reached this year in a meeting attended by European regulatory agencies, the European vaccine manufacturers, and the US FDA which examined the use of thimerosal-containing vaccines produced or sold in European countries.”

That was in 1999. In October 2004 the House Appropriations Committee held a hearing on the need to remove mercury as a preservative from childhood flu vaccines. Now, three years later virtually no action has been taken by the CDC, AAP or vaccine makers to eliminate mercury preservative from childhood flu vaccines. The time to end this madness is long overdue.

I appreciate in advance your vote against any amendment that would weaken the Weldon provision that protects babies from exposure of babies to this dangerous neurotoxin. I will be reviewing the record vote on this issue should an amendment be offered to strip this provision.

Thank you for protecting our babies.

Message Brought To You By A-CHAMP
Advocates for Children's Health Affected by Mercury Poisoning
See Our Action Alerts. Click the TAKE ACTION! button

Update: So ECBT says they oppose removing the mercury because, "Sanofi (the only company licensed to supply [flu] vaccine to this age group) has reported that they do not have enough capacity to meet this demand".

Except that Sanofi just announced the opening of their new FLU VACCINE FACILITY! (And yes of course Paul Offit is quoted in the article. Silly of you to even ask.)

New Pa. vaccine plant poised for pandemics
By Karl Stark
Philadelphia Inquirer

SWIFTWATER, Pa. - Here in the former honeymoon capital known as the Pocono Mountains sits a near-windowless building that everyone will know about when the next pandemic flu hits.

Just down the road from a Caesars resort with its heart-shaped pools lies the country's only comprehensive flu-vaccine plant. Drugmaker Sanofi-Aventis announced yesterday that it had finished construction of a $150 million building here that would double its production of vaccine for seasonal or pandemic flu, since both are made nearly the same way.

The highly computerized plant now awaiting final government approval won't be pumping out vaccine until late next year. But the drugmaker invited Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt and the media for a rare peek yesterday at a critical facility before its life-saving balm begins flowing.

Leavitt called the plant critical to the health of the country and the world. "We do know that pandemics happen, and that we will see a pandemic, and that we need to be prepared," he said.

The plant looks like a high-tech hospital on perpetual security alert. No merely curious visitors can enter when it's working. Its 200 production workers - all vaccinated for the flu - will be gowned, gloved and masked.

A few workers went through the motions yesterday, entering rooms through special air locks that help keep the virus in and the contaminants out, and pantomiming production steps as a special filtration system purified the air.

Yet, amid the warren of stainless-steel tubes and vats, the plant will still make vaccine the old-fashioned way: with chicken eggs.

They have incubated flu vaccine reliably since 1935. And the plant will need 600,000 eggs a day at full capacity. Sanofi buys what it needs and more from dedicated egg suppliers, to assure an ample supply.

Sanofi senior vice president Wayne Pisano, who oversees vaccine sales, described the process as tried-and-true, and said the emerging cell-culture-based method has not been perfected for making the millions of doses needed.

Leavitt said the federal government was trying to change that by spending $1 billion over the next five years to improve cell-based technology and to increase U.S. vaccine production. The United States has amassed pre-pandemic vaccine for six million people, along with 50 million doses of antiviral medicines. "Obviously, that's not enough," Leavitt said.

While media attention on flu has receded, Leavitt noted that the flu virus was continuing to change and threaten people. An especially dangerous form, called H5N1, has infected 318 people worldwide and killed nearly 200 since 2003. The world has averaged three flu pandemics a century, the last striking in 1968 and 1969. Sooner or
later, another one will occur, Leavitt said.

The federal government is continuing to prepare. Last month, Sanofi announced a $77.4 million contract from the government to retrofit a second flu factory at the Swiftwater site. The firm, which will also spend $25 million of its own funds, would be able to make 150 million doses a year by 2010, tripling its current production, when all ongoing upgrades are done.

Sanofi, the world's biggest vaccine-maker, isn't the only company in the game. GlaxoSmithKline P.L.C., which has a U.S. headquarters in Philadelphia, is rehabbing a 90-acre former vaccine plant in Marietta, Lancaster County, to make flu and other vaccines. The firm has received a $274 million federal contract to develop the cell-
culture method and to ramp up manufacturing there. Swiss drugmaker Novartis AG is also building a vaccine plant in Holly Springs, N.C. But both projects are years away from production.

Kimberly Elliott, deputy director of Trust for America's Health, a public-health-advocacy group, said the U.S. effort still lags in key aras, such as how to detect the disease quickly and how to handle the large numbers of sick patients in a pandemic. "Most hospitals are already overcrowded," she said. "Hardly any state is doing well on this, including Pennsylvania and New Jersey."

Experts hope that vaccines will provide a lot of protection. And yesterday at the plant, workers were showing how they would be made.

In one room, a mechanical needle will inject virus into the eggs, which will be left to incubate for two or three days.

Workers shine special lights onto the eggs to make sure they are intact. The process is known as "candling" because it was originally done by candlelight.

A mechanical knife then cuts off the top of eggs, and a machine flips 36 at a time, pouring their fluid into a vat. The virus is killed, and then the fluid is run through a centrifuge and purified several times.

"We're still stuck with eggs," noted Paul A. Offit, the chief of the division of infectious diseases at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and author of Vaccinated: One Man's Quest to Defeat the World's Deadliest Diseases.

"I would like to think," he added, that "the fear of the pandemic will enable us to upgrade our flu technology."

My Letter to Mrs. Carter:

Dear Ms. Carter,

I am a Johns Hopkins educated marriage and family therapist and the mother of a 5 year old boy diagnosed with autism and mercury poisoning. At only two weeks of age he was given a Hepatitis B vaccine that contained what is described at "trace" amounts of mercury, after which he developed colic and unexplained fevers that lasted for three months, and bowel problems that persisted for five years. At age two, when he was diagnosed with autism, we tested him and found that he had mercury poisoning. In researching his vaccinations to see if that could be the source, we found that the hep B vaccine that he had just after he was born, the one that is currently on the vaccine schedule, although considered to contain "low dose" or "trace" of mercury, actually exceeded the EPA's safety limits for a person of his weight.

Further research on the EPA's safety limits showed me that they were not based on any research on the safety of injected mercury, and that in fact the only safety study on the mercury containing preservative thimersoal was done in the 1920's on 22 patients who were dieing of meningitis. The study found that there were no long term side effects, because all the participants died with in days of injection. Thimerosal was then put into vaccines, and grandfathered in to the FDA at its inception, with out any further safety testing. That study remains the only safety testing on thimerosal.

For the last three years I have been reading the research on vaccine safety. I was heartbroken to find that the hep B vaccine that my son initially reacted to (eventually loosing speech and eye contact the 4th time he was given the shot at 18 months of age) was given inadequate safety testing as well. Children who got the shot were only followed for three days, a woefully inadequate amount of time to see if the vaccine resulted in immune or neurological changes.

I have also read and analyzed for myself several of the large epidemiological studies that the medical establishment puts forth as proof that thimerosal in vaccines are safe and has no relationship to autism or other developmental disorders. I find that these studies do not measure what they purport to measure and that because of their very narrow inclusion criteria, they cannot be used to determine whether or not thimerosal containing vaccines are safe for my two sons.

Because of our family's experience, I began writing (I maintain a blog at http://adventuresinautism.com) and advocating for adequate research and vaccine safety. This week the bipartisan Mercury Free Vaccines Act of 2007 will be voted on, and your organization, Every Child By Two, is opposing it. I am writing to you to ask you to change your stance and support the complete removal of mercury from vaccines.

Mercury is one of the most potent neurotoxins on the planet and there can be no justification for injecting it into full grown adults much less newborns babies. It is hundreds of times more lethal to humans than lead, yet the medical establishment, who stands firm and united in their assertion that no amount of lead is safe, maintains the nonsensical assertion that there is "no evidence of harm" in injecting a "trace amount" of mercury directly into the blood stream of a developing child, and therefore should be allowed to stay in vaccines.

As I have read the emerging research on the relationship between mercury and neurodevelopmental disorders like autism, and seen the dramatic improvements in my own son as we chelate the metal out of his body, I am convinced that there is a link between mercury in vaccines and autism. But if you are not, would it still not be prudent to remove mercury from vaccines as quickly and completely as we can?

The Every Child By Two's stance is that the effort should be struck down because, "Sanofi (the only company licensed to supply [flu] vaccine to this age group) has reported that they do not have enough capacity to meet this demand". This seems a woefully inadequate justification. Mercury should continue to be injected into small children and pregnant women so that fewer people get the flu for one season?

I read on the web site that you began your vaccination efforts after a measles outbreak killed 150 people. According to the CDC, autism now effects 1 in 150 people. The evidence that vaccines and autism are related are growing every day, as are the number of children who are making a full recovery and loosing their autism diagnosis when they are treated with emerging interventions, like chelation and diet, that are based on the vaccine/autism theory.

Because of mainstream medicine's reluctance to see the possibility that autism is an iatrogenic disorder, confidence in the vaccine program as a whole is at risk. I am one of a growing number of parents who has ceased vaccinating their children all together because I can no longer trust the medical establishment to be honest with me about the risks and benefits to my children's health. I believe complete and verifiable removal of all mercury from all vaccines will be the only thing to prevent further erosion in the program.

If I might be so bold, in my eyes, there is an irony in your work. You advocate strongly for those diagnosed with mental disabilities, like my son, and for caregivers, like me; but your stance on mercury in vaccines has unintentionally served to put us in those positions. Your love and your heart for those of us suffering and struggling with illness is so clear. Please use the better part of caution and support the immediate and complete removal of mercury from vaccines.

If I can be of any further assistance to you in examining this issue further, I would be happy to make my self available in any way I can.

Ginger Taylor
Chandler's Mother

July 17, 2007

It Is Time for Julie Gerberding to Step Down

I have no words.

Alliance For Human Research Protection
Promoting Openness, Full Disclosure, and Accountability
http://www.ahrp.org and http://ahrp.blogspot.com

America's health care oversight agencies are running amok wasting taxpayer money while undermining the public health instead of protecting it.

Below are the highlights of the 115 page review issued by The United States Senate Subcommittee on Federal Financial Management, Government Information and International Security, Minority Office, Under the Direction of Senator Tom Coburn, Ranking Minority Member, June 2007.

U.S federal healthcare oversight agency, it appears are being run by reckless and irresponsible administrators. Previous reports confirmed this sorry state of affairs at the Food an Drug Administration--which is largely under the control of the pharmaceutical industry that it is mandated to oversee; at the National Institutes of Health financial conflicts of interest and scientist' double dipping has undermined the integrity of science and the safety of human subjects; the Environmental Protection Agency is headed by an administrator who would conduct a pesticide experiment on African American toddlers were it not for the public outcry and the intervention of several senators http://www.ahrp.org/infomail/05/09/07.php and

The latest indictment is contained in an extraordinary report just published by the US Senate assessing the performance of the Centers for Disease Control: "CDC Off-Center: A review of how an agency tasked with fighting and preventing disease has spent hundreds of millions of tax dollars for failed prevention efforts, international junkets, and lavish facilities, but cannot demonstrate it is controlling disease."

CDC spokesman: "We strive day in and day out to fulfill our commitment to the American taxpayer."

The report, CDC Off-Center is found at: found at:

Dr. Coburn indicated that this is the First in a Series of Oversight Reports on Federal Agencies.

Contact: Vera Hassner Sharav 212-595-8974
June 12, 2007

The First in a Series of Oversight Reports on Federal Agencies

"CDC Off Center," a 115-page oversight report authored by the Minority Office of the Federal Financial Management Subcommittee, under the direction of ranking member Senator Tom Coburn, examines how CDC has tilted off center and makes recommendations about how it might get back on track.

The American people expect CDC to spend its $10 billion budget this year treating and preventing diseases and dealing with public safety threats, including the threat of bioterrorism. While CDC will meet some of those expectations, if history is any guide, it will also waste millions of dollars.

As part of his commitment to oversight of how Washington spends taxpayer dollars, Senator Coburn plans to release a series of oversight reports on federal agencies. Senator Coburn's hope is that more and better oversight will assist federal agencies and those in Congress with responsibility for overseeing agency budgets, with reigning in wasteful spending; demanding measurable results from programs and grantees; and with reevaluating current spending before asking politicians and taxpayers to send more scarce tax dollars.

"CDC Off Center" is not an effort to discredit the good work that the CDC and those who work for it have carried out and the good work that will continue in the future. The report will hopefully be seen for what it is: an effort to shine some light on prevention efforts and funding decisions that may be holding the agency back from fulfilling its central mission of fighting and controlling disease.

Some examples in the report of CDC's spending:

$1.7 million - including terrorism funds - on a Hollywood liaison program, which happens to be run by a former employee (pg. 87);

$45 million for conferences, including those featuring prostitutes, protests, and beach parties (pgs. 48 - 60);

$30,000 employee saunas in a new $200,000 fitness center that also includes mood-enhancing light shows and $3,500 worth of zero-gravity chairs (pg. 15);

$5 billion spent over seven years on HIV/AIDS prevention funding, and yet the U.S. still sees 40,000 new cases each year, with no decrease in infection rates for over a decade (pgs. 23-37); Syphilis prevention funds used to feature a porn star's presentation (pg. 44); HIV/AIDS prevention funds spent on a transgender beauty pageant (pg. 45);

$250,000 spent so two former employees could help build staff morale, (pgs. 100 - 101);

$5.1 million on "audio visual integration" in the new Thomas R. Harkin communications and visitor center, including a giant 70-foot-wide by 25-foot-tall video wall of plasma screen TVs showcasing agency vignettes (pg. 8);

110 CDC employees traveled to two international AIDS conferences, when buying retroviral drugs with the trip funds could have prevented mother-to-child AIDS transmission for more than 115,000 infants (pgs. 50 & 52);

New Hawaii office opening soon, announcement made by Senator from Hawaii who oversees agency's funding (pg. 18);

$335 million on ads to fight childhood obesity. kids saw the ads, whether or not the ads affected their behavior is another question (pgs. 69 - 71);

$128,000 in CDC bioterrorism funds spent by L.A. County on trinkets such as letter openers, whistles, magnets, mouse pads, flashlights, pens, and travel toothbrushes (pgs. 106 - 110).

The report also includes:

*A detailed graph showing CDC's yearly budget from 1995-2007, which has increased by more than 350% (pg. 7); and
*A chart showing yearly CDC's HIV/AIDS funding from 2001-2007, which has more than doubled during that time (pg. 115).
*Do you know of examples of government waste, fraud or abuse? Submit the information to FFM's website tip page, or by mail to:

Senator Tom Coburn
Subcommittee on Federal Financial Management,
Government Information, and International Security
340 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510

Further Readings:
FFM Report - CDC Off Center (829.5 KBs)

Jun 11, 2007

Sen. Tom Coburn: Resolute and Right

Jun 14, 2007
By John W. Mashek
US News & World Report: A Capital View
Senator's report: CDC wastes millions on perks

Jun 13, 2007
By Matt Kelley
Health Agency Wastes Cash on Consultants, Screens, Report Finds

Jun 12, 2007
By John Lauerman
Report: CDC wastes millions
"The top public health agency spent millions of dollars on a Hollywood consultant, a lavish visitors center, and a 70-foot-by-25 foot ``wall of plasma televisions,'' a senator's report said.

Jun 12, 2007
By Alison Young
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

A British Doc Does His Own Research And Flips on Vaccines

Great article. Dr. Halvorsen breaks down the benifits/risks of each vaccine and makes a recommendation. A must read.

Are vaccines a waste of time?
The Daily Mail
17th July 2007

Children are given 25 vaccines by the age of 15 months. But many are for diseases that are extremely rare - and which they're naturally immune to. As the doctor who challenged MMR fights for his career, the author of a new book asks if other jabs are worth the risk.

How could anyone be opposed to vaccinating children?

The benefits of injecting weakened bacteria or viruses to boost immunity to a disease seem so obvious, and for decades vaccinations have been seen as a triumph of modern medicine.

But while supporters claim vaccines - including the new cervical cancer jab for 11-year-old girls - are safe and save millions of lives, critics say their effectiveness is exaggerated and we don't know enough about the side-effects.

The fact that Dr Andrew Wakefield, the doctor who first suggested a link between MMR and autism, faces a disciplinary hearing this week, with charges relating to his conduct during a MMR research project in the 1990s, only serves highlight how confusing this issue is.

Are the scares over vaccines the work of hysterical parents, anti-vaccine fanatics and a sensationalist media?

Or is the Government wilfully ignoring very real dangers and promoting vaccines that we don't need?

Seven years ago, I was a regular London GP with no particular opinion about vaccines.

I gave them to my patients and my own children, secure in the knowledge that they were safe.

That all changed in 2000 when a newspaper asked me to write about the MMR vaccine.

I knew there were a few, rare side effects of the triple vaccine, but like most GPs I had no doubt the benefits far outweighed the risks.

What I then found out led me to change my practice as a family doctor and I started to prescribe measles, mumps and rubella vaccines singly.

I am now convinced that rather than being a silver bullet in the heart of disease, vaccine programmes could actually be causing some serious health problems, with hundreds if not thousands of children adversely affected every year.

The more I researched, the more disturbed I became. I felt I'd been grossly misled by the Department of Health.

The Government's defence of the MMR vaccine - that no clear link had been proven between the MMR and autism - turned out to be extremely misleading.

When evidence emerged that there could be a problem, they consistently rejected or ignored it.

One international vaccine expert succinctly described their case as "crap".

It became clear to me that the benefits of vaccines were far from clear-cut. My research unearthed facts which often challenged, and sometimes contradicted, the established view of vaccines as a boon to mankind, the view I'd been taught at medical school and which is presented to the public as indisputable.

In fact, vaccines have nearly always been a battleground.

The current conflicts over MMR are echoes of earlier struggles over the safety of the whooping cough and polio vaccines.

Over a 20-year period, according to an article in the British Medical Journal, the oral polio vaccine caused more people to become paralysed than the illness itself.

In the Seventies, vaccination rates for whooping cough plummeted because of fears of brain damage.

So how much of our massively improved survival rates are actually due to vaccination? Not nearly as much as you've been led to believe.

What is usually forgotten is that death rates from the four big Victorian killers of children - measles, whooping cough, diphtheria and scarlet fever - were already declining from the beginning of the 20th century due to improvements in hygiene and nutrition.

Even so, by the Forties it was still worth starting a vaccination program against diphtheria and whooping cough.

For every 600 children you vaccinated against diphtheria, one life was saved; for whooping cough 800 were vaccinated for each death prevented.

But today, the number you have to vaccinate for one child's life to be saved is enormous - 30,000 in the case of the new pneumococcal vaccine intended to protect against blood poisoning, meningitis and pneumonia, which was introduced last year.

Far from protecting the nation against common killers, our current vaccination programmes are protecting against increasingly rare infections.

Which raises the question: are vaccinations - with all their side effects - now creating more problems than they solve?

A child in the UK is supposed to get 25 vaccines - many of which are for illnesses for which there is now little risk - by the time they are 15 months old.

I repeatedly heard stories of parents being patronised, bullied and forced into a corner when deciding whether to vaccinate their child, so I set out to inform parents, honestly, and without bias, so that they can make their own decisions.


The controversy over the link between the measles, mumps, rubella vaccine and autism means its other serious failures have been ignored.

Death or damage from mumps and rubella is rare, which means this combined vaccine needs to be extremely safe to outweigh any risks.

What's more, as the first national programme to combine three live vaccines - live vaccines have the potential to interact - trials should have been especially rigorous.

However, safety studies were woefully inadequate. To pick up rarer side effects, at least 10,000 children should have been followed up for at least a year.

However, no children were actively watched for more than six weeks.

So what of the components of the MMR vaccine?


In the early 1900s, measles killed more people than smallpox, scarlet fever and diphtheria combined - around 10,000 people a year.

But improved nutrition and hygiene meant that by the mid-1950s there were fewer than 100 deaths per year.

In 1968, health officials decided to embark on a programme of mass vaccination to eradicate the disease.

Manty doctors objected on the gruonds the disease was now so mild it would be better to target particularly vulnerable children.

Some pointed to the danger of replacing natural immunity (from having been exposed to a less virulent strian of the disease as a child) with vaccine immunity which is much shorter-lasting.

Certainly, the goal of eradicating the disease has not been met; there have been outbreaks in schools where 99 per cent of the children had been vaccinated.

And then there are the side effects. The measles vaccine is made from a live but weakened measles virus, so it has the potential to cause the same effects as the disease.

One study found that measles vaccination can cause "serious neurological disorders" such as inflammation of the brain - encephalitis - which can cause permanent brain damage.

In the UK, between 1968 and 2005, there have been 114 reports linking serious encephalitis in children with the vaccine.

MY ADVICE: May be worth vaccinating against measles with a single vaccine despite the side-effects - on balance, the risks of the disease remain greater than those associated with the vaccine, especially in vulnerable children with chronic illnesses.


Mumps is a mild disease that rarely kills. For most of the 20th century the death rate has been about ten or 20 a year; most people just get a slight swelling of the glands around the face and neck and are then immune for life.

Vaccine immunity, however, wears off; within four years 20 per cent of those vaccinated have lost immunity.

The result has been to raise the age at which children catch mumps from early childhood - when side-effects are usually mild - into adolescence when they are more likely to be severe, notably permanent hearing loss, a painful swelling of the testicles and possibly infertility.

MY ADVICE: Not only unnecessary but the vaccine is making this disease worse.


Equally dubious. It was introduced to save babies from being born with deformities as a result of their mother catching the disease when pregnant, but even before the introduction of the MMR just 30 babies a year were damaged by rubella.

A Finnish study showed that after two MMR jabs, a third of girls lost all protection by the age of 15.

MY ADVICE: Not recommended for children. More effective to screen teenage girls for acquired immunity and vaccinate the few who don't have it.


In serious cases, polio can cause paralysis and death, but until the Forties it was an insignificant disease; nearly everyone got it in childhood, had a mild fever and then developed full immunity.

What turned it into a frightening epidemic was improved hygiene - which led to fewer children catching it and therefore becoming naturally immune - and the arrival of mass vaccination.

The first polio vaccine, launched in 1959, was made from a killed polio virus and in a few years cut cases of paralysis from a high of 7,000 a year to a few hundred.

But in 1962 UK officials switched to a cheaper live vaccine. Like the virus that causes the infection naturally it could be excreted and passed on to others; this was seen as a bonus to keep the national immunity up.

But by the Seventies it was causing more cases of paralysis than the natural one.

Despite repeated calls from doctors to switch back to the killed virus, the UK used the live one, claiming it was more effective, until 2004, long after most European countries had abandoned it.

The killed version is now given as part of the new 5-in-1 vaccine called Pediacel.

MY ADVICE: Still worth having a polio jab now the safer vaccine is available.

Whooping Cough

Once a major killer, whooping cough had become increasingly mild by 1961 when a national vaccination program was launched.

In the early Seventies a highly-publicised account of 36 cases of brain damage possibly caused by the vaccine caused a huge drop in the number of children being vaccinated.

But rather than the deaths soaring, the opposite happened.

Between 1968 and 1977, when around three-quarters of British children were immunised, 101 children died from whooping cough.

Between 1978 and 1987, when immunisation rates had plummeted to as low as just one-third, only 62 children died from it.

This suggests whooping cough was becoming milder naturally, so even without vaccination people were at less risk.

Despite these official figures, the Government still warned in 2001 that parents failing to vaccinate children against it were putting them "at very high risk".

But the same level of concern did not extend to the possible harm from side effects.

Not only did the Government deny the dangers of brain damage, despite paying out millions in compensation, they also took longer than virtually all other Western countries to stop using it.

A new safer type is now part of the 5-1 vaccine, but despite the fact that about 94 per cent of people receive it, whooping cough is still widespread, but now rarely a killer.

MY ADVICE: One of the least useful childhood vaccines; I'd not now give it to my children.


This is aimed at the "human papilloma virus" which causes genital warts that can result in cervical cancer.

Sadly, it seems that all the mistakes of the past are being repeated. Cervical cancer is serious but not common; it kills a thousand women a year and accounts for 1.4 per cent of female UK cancer deaths.

Preventing them is important, but at the moment there are far too many unknowns to make it worth having this jab.

In trials, it has only prevented the pre-cancerous changes to cells rather than cancer itself.

The vaccine only protects against the two types of HPV that cause 70 per cent of this cancer.

You get no protection against those caused by other strains. The plan is to give this vaccine to girls aged 11, before they've had time to become infected with HPV, which is sexually transmitted.

But the trials showing it worked were done on women aged 16 to 23 who were followed up for two years.

We don't know what the long-term effects will be of giving it to people much younger.

Then there is safety. Some of the women in the trial developed auto-immune problems like arthritis.

It could have happened by chance, but more trials need to be done.

MY ADVICE: Wait and see.