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Autism And Mercury

by Tim O'Shea, DC

This article is excerpted from Dr. O'Shea's forthcoming revised edition of The Sanctity of Human Blood.

Inquiry into vaccine safety is exploding like never before, even in the popular press. Research coming from dozens of mainstream medical studies can no longer be easily suppressed, as it has been in the past, especially with the prevalence of online information exchange.

Last September, some 2,000 people, mostly MDs, assembled at the Town and Country resort in San Diego to hear the latest research on autism. Following the April 2000 Congressional hearings on autism and vaccines, this epidemic can no longer be ignored. The figure of one autistic infant for every 150 is now widely documented.

Dr. Stephanie Cave presented enlightening data on mercury toxicity, drawn largely from the brilliant work of Sallie Bernard. Dr. Cave explained how:

By age two, American children have received 237 micrograms of mercury through vaccines alone, which far exceeds current EPA "safe" levels of .1 mcg/kg. per day. That's one-tenth of a microgram, not one microgram.

Four days in particular may be singled out as spectacularly toxic for infants:

Day of birth: hepatitis B-12 mcg mercury - [30 x safe level]

At 4 months: DTaP and HiB on same day - 50 mcg mercury - [60 x safe level]

At 6 months: Hep B, Polio - 62.5 mcg mercury - [78 x safe level]

At 15 months the child receives another 50 mcg - [41 x safe level]

These figures are calculated for an infant's average weight in kilograms for each age. These one-day blasts of mercury are called "bolus doses". Although they far exceed "safe" levels, there has never been any research conducted on the toxicity of such bolus doses of mercury given to infants all these years.


Historically, the toxicity of mercury has been known for more than a century. The Mad Hatter was more than a fantasy character from Alice in Wonderland. Mad Hatter's disease became well known in England in the mid-1800s, when hat-makers were subject to inhaling the vapours from the mercury-based stiffening compound they used on felt to make top hats.


It is interesting to learn that common household remedies that were used up into the 1960s like mercurochrome and "teething powder" were often the cause of acute mercury poisoning and disease. In the U.S., EPA mercury toxicity studies have involved contamination from fish, air, and other environmental sources. This is inorganic mercury (methylmercury).

Methylmercury has long been associated with serious neurological disorders, demyelinating diseases, gut disease, and visual damage. The mercury in vaccines, however, is in the form of thimerosal, which is 50 times more toxic than plain old mercury (methylmercury).

Reasons for this include:

Injected mercury is far more toxic than ingested mercury.

There's no blood-brain barrier in infants.

Mercury accumulates in brain cells and nerves.

Infants don't produce bile, which is necessary to excrete mercury.

Thimerosal is organic mercury

Once it is in nerve tissue, it is converted irreversibly to its inorganic form. Thimerosal is a much more toxic form of mercury than one would get from eating open-sea fish; it has to do with the difficulty of clearing thimerosal from the blood.

Thimerosal is converted to ethylmercury, an organic form that has a preference for nerve cells.

Without a complete blood-brain barrier, an infant's brain and spinal cord are sitting ducks. Once in the nerve cells, mercury is changed back to the inorganic form and becomes tightly bound. Mercury can then remain for years, like a time-release capsule, causing permanent degeneration and death of brain cells.

Bernard also notes that the body normally clears mercury by fixing it to bile, but before six months of age, infants don't produce bile. Result: mercury can't be excreted. Four separate government agencies have set safe levels for methylmercury, but no safe levels have ever been set for thimerosal, because thimerosal isn't included in toxicity studies. Theoretically, that means that the above excesses of safe levels of mercury on the single days listed above are actually 50 times higher. Does the fact that the mercury is accompanied by a vaccine somehow place it above scrutiny? The Sallie Bernard study of vaccines and mercury toxicity were probably the main reasons Congress began to see the obvious correlation.


Here's a curious "coincidence." In the late 1930s, Leo Kanner identified autism as a new type of mental disorder. So when was thimerosal introduced into vaccines? The 1930s. A few years ago, Bernard and her associates began to notice a striking similarity between the symptoms of autism and the symptoms of mercury poisoning. The more research she did, the more it seemed that these two diseases were virtually identical.

Autism and mercury poisoning damage the: brain/nerve cells; eyes; immune system; gastrointestinal system; muscle control; and the speech centre. Although mercury toxicity has been studied for decades, and EPA safety levels have been set, during all that time a child's greatest exposure to mercury - thimerosal in vaccines - was never even included in the toxicity studies!

The talk has always been about methylmercury from seafood and the environment, totally ignoring the two most toxic sources of mercury for children: vaccines and dental amalgams. The EPA has no jurisdiction over drugs. That's the FDA's job. This is why vaccines and amalgams don't even figure into the equation when it comes to setting "safe" levels of mercury. But the FDA does have jurisdiction over drugs and drug companies - and over drug company publications, like the Merck Manual, the standard cookbook for drugs and diseases found in every doctor's office in the world.

Surely the FDA, as the government agency charged with safeguarding the nation's health, would want the section on mercury toxicity to warn doctors about the two biggest sources for children: thimerosal and dental amalgams, wouldn't you think? Yet looking at the Merck Manual (1999), in the section on mercury poisoning (p. 2636), thimerosal and dental amalgams again are not even mentioned!

How can this be, when mercury is widely acknowledged as the third most deadly toxin in the world and thimerosal and amalgams dwarf the trace amounts of mercury from fish and other environmental sources of mercury? Only one thing can cause a blackout of information over an entire area of study for years at a time in this way - big money.

Such an omission probably wouldn't have anything to do with the revolving door that exists between the FDA; the EPA; the NIH; "and the sweet positions held by their members before and after those gruelling years of public service; or with the 800 waivers of the conflict of interest rule that the FDA has granted in the past two years to "experts," who are paid consultants to the drug companies/consultants who are also members of the FDA advisory committees that make decisions about whether or not to approve vaccines and drugs..." (USA Today, Sept. 25, 2000) No, of course not.


In the San Diego conference on autism, Dr. Amy Holmes gave perhaps the only lucid presentation about treatment. She explained how chelating drugs alone, which go through the blood like Pac Man munching up mercury, don't do much for autism. That's because most mercury clears from the blood very soon. Mercury in thimerosal is stored in the gut, liver and brain, and as previously mentioned, becomes very tightly bound to the cells. Once inside those cells, or inside the blood-brain barrier, the mercury is reconverted back to its inorganic form.

Locked into these cells, the mercury can then do either immediate cell damage or become latent and cause the onset of autism, brain disorders, or digestive chaos years later.

Dr. Holmes reported success using alphalipoic acid as an agent to cross the blood-brain barrier to soak up mercury. Once the mercury is brought back into the bloodstream, standard chelators like DMSA can then take it out. Dr. Holmes has used her protocol on about 300 autistics so far, and shows consistent increases in IQ scores.


In the face of all this new awareness, it was astounding that in July 2000 the FDA came out with the "parallel-universe" pronouncement that "vaccines have safe levels of mercury" especially after their 1998 position: "... over-the-counter drug products containing thimerosal and other mercury forms are not generally recognised as safe and effective."

As if there were any doubt as to who's really running the show, inconceivable also is the impotence of FDA's request to the vaccine manufacturers to discontinue the use of thimerosal in vaccines. The same month that MMWR published this, the CDC made the same milquetoast request. It's a bit like saying: "Hey guys, since all these kids are turning into vegetables and most of our researchers know it's the mercury, would you mind not putting any more thimerosal in your vaccines, please? No hurry, though. Whenever you're ready. No need to dump all those batches of vaccine just because people are finding out it's the mercury that's destroying children's brain cells."

The members of the FDA who decide which vaccines get approved make up the advisory board. In his recent House investigation on vaccines, Rep. Dan Burton found out that financial statements of advisory board members are "incomplete." Noting that this is the only branch of government that allows incomplete financials, in September 2000, Burton called the advisory board's sweetheart arrangements with the vaccine manufacturers a "violation of the public trust." This includes 70 percent of advisory board members owning stock in vaccines, owning patents on vaccines, and accepting salaries and benefits as employees of the drug companies.


Still think you can trust the government or your physician with your children's blood? Despite the facts and events cited above, consider this joint statement of the U.S. Public Health Services and the American Academy of Paediatrics:

"There is a significant safety margin incorporated into all the acceptable mercury exposure limits. There are no data or evidence of any harm caused by the level of exposure that some children may have encountered in following the existing immunisation schedule ... Infants and children who have received thimerosal-containing vaccines do not need to be tested for mercury exposure."

These are blatant Orwellian distortions. No harm? What about the autism epidemic and all the evidence linking it with mercury cited above? What about the single-day doses of mercury cited above that are dozens of times in excess of the EPA's own safety levels?

If everything is so safe, then why did they ask the vaccine pushers kindly to discontinue thimerosal from vaccines as soon as possible at the end of this same statement? It is beyond the scope of this paper to study the politics of mercury. In researching mercury toxicity, a whole area of "dry rot" has been unearthed that deserves its own story. This is the shocking tale of how the American Dental Association and the California Dental Association have been systematically hiding the truth about mercury toxicity in fillings for decades.

Silver fillings aren't just silver. They're 50 percent mercury and extremely toxic; every dentist knows it. In a ludicrous blast of irony, both the ADA and the CDA have inserted into their "code of ethics" strict commandments forbidding dentists from ever revealing to patients the realities of mercury toxicity.

No dentist is allowed to recommend removal of mercury amalgams for health reasons, nor may tell the patient about mercury toxicity even if the patient asks. This gag order has been in place since the beginning of American dentistry. Exaggeration? Check their websites out: - www.amalgam.org/#anchor69176, www.amalgam.org/#anchor69541

Do you think dentists put mercury into their own families' teeth? Ask them. Anyone who is not a dentist is not constrained by the gag order, imposed on American dentists by the ADA, against telling patients what many perceptive researchers in the field of mercury toxicity already know: that no children should ever get mercury amalgam fillings.


Researchers across Europe are generally appalled at the massive amounts of vaccines given to American children under two years old. Although Europeans are not as obsessed with vaccines as we are, they do vaccinate. But most of Europe gives very few vaccinations to children under two years old, primarily because of the unformed gut, immune system, and blood-brain barrier. This intellectual isolation of ours regarding vaccines is a testimony to the suffocating "brain control" exerted on us by the popular press and all media. Like sheep to the slaughter, we don't know enough to be appalled by our own ignorance.


Headlining the September 2000 San Diego Conference was Andrew Wakefield, the British surgeon whose shocking new discoveries show that mercury toxicity alone is not the only factor linking vaccines with the autism epidemic. Dr. Wakefield's research centres around the MMR vaccine - measles/mumps/rubella - which does not contain thimerosal.

Expanding on his presentation at the April 2000 Burton hearings, Dr. Wakefield explained how at least three-quarters of autistics have pathologically blocked bowels, due to the huge swelling of the tissue lining the intestine. In virtually every autistic patient they examined, this nodular hyperplasia is both an immune response and an autoimmune response that Wakefield and O'Leary have clearly linked to the presence of measles virus from the MMR shot. No other virus was found in those cells.


Wakefield showed graphs of the U.S. and U.K. 10 years apart that were identical in tracing the skyrocketing incidence of autism just after the MMR vaccine was introduced. He also showed how the incidence of measles had dropped over 85 percent on its own before the MMR was introduced.

One incredible study cited by Wakefield showed how 76 percent of children whose mothers were exposed to atypical measles became autistic after the MMR shot! He called this a "background susceptibility" or predisposition to autism. Wakefield reminds us that in neither country have there ever been comparative studies on giving multiple vaccines (polyvalent) on the same day.

This custom of ours, with both the DPT and the MMR, is not scientific by any stretch, and is primarily for the convenience of those administering the shots, and those being paid per vaccine. As a result, there is a good chance of geometric ill effects.

Then Wakefield cited the original MMR study (Buynak, Journal of the American Medical Association 1969, vol. 207). Not only was the safety of multiple vaccines never mentioned, there was no follow-up to the study to see if their conclusions were correct. In the usual manner of testing vaccines on the live population, MMR was simply tacked onto the mandatory schedule, and we've never looked back. Despite studies in 1981 on Air Force personnel showing major synergistic adverse effects in the gut from the combination of measles and rubella vaccines, the mandatory schedule went unchanged.


Despite these formidable obstacles, doubts are creeping into the overall public "consciousness" about the safety of vaccines. At one in 150, the fact of autism as an epidemic can no longer be covered up. The work of Wakefield, O'Leary, Megson and Bernard is getting more and more difficult to explain away. Rep. Dan Burton seems relentless in his efforts to acquaint Congress with the meretricious relationship between the FDA Advisory Committee and the vaccine manufacturers.

The massive advertising campaign about the safety of vaccines in the popular media, which is certain to be stepped up in the next few months, is going to look very hollow in the light of clean, unbiased research that is not funded by parties who stand to make billions from certain predetermined results. And the Internet makes this well-referenced, scientific work accessible to the public without the usual mono-dimensional smokescreen from the popular press. Ultimately, the value of the San Diego "Conference on Autism" was its signal that autism will not be allowed to slip from the public awareness, like so many other feature stories that come and go. The simple truth has been unveiled, and anyone who looks can see it clearly: our prime question should not be asking how we can cure autism once it occurs. The evidence is now overwhelming that in most cases, this new epidemic that we call autism is a preventable disease.

You may find more information on this subject in the Booklets entitled "Autism", "Hyperactivity", "Truth Series No7 - Vaccinations", "Vaccinations No1", "Vaccinations No2", and the Booklet "Vaccinations No3; and in the DVDs entitled "To Autism And Back", "Are Vaccines Safe?", "Vaccine Nation", "Mercury and Autism" "Shots In The Dark" and "Vaccines... The Risks, The Benefits and The Choices".