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Bush Administration Knew Childhood Vaccines Cause Autism
by Evelyn J. Pringle
February 7, 2005

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Vaccines are the only drugs that American children are mandated to receive. Although it may be true that state governments mandate vaccines, the decision to mandate a vaccine is based on the recommendations of Federal advisory committees.  In the interest of public safety, Congress has a duty to ensure that advisory committee members involved in vaccine policy making are not improperly influenced by conflicts of interest. 

In recent years, public trust in the Federal policymaking related to vaccines causing Autism has been broken by the practice of ignoring obvious conflicts of interest. At this point, immediate action by Congress is necessary to restore public confidence in the safety of childhood vaccinations.

Is There A Link Between Childhood Vaccines And Autism?

Is there a connection?  I'll let readers judge for themselves.

Mercury is a toxic metal that can cause immune, sensory, neurological, motor, and behavioral dysfunctions similar to traits defining or associated with autism.

Thimerosal is an organic mercury compound. It is metabolized to ethylmercury and thiosalicylate and has been used since the 1930s as a preservative in many vaccines and pharmaceutical products to prevent bacterial and fungal contamination.

On Feb 9, 2004, the National Autism Association issued a press release that reported on one of the larger studies under review based on the Center for Disease Control's own Vaccine Safety Datalink. The release reported that under independent investigation, CDC's data concludes children are 27-times more likely to develop autism after exposure to three thimerosal-containing vaccines (TCVs), than those who receive thimerosal-free versions.

Think about it, twenty-seven times more likely to develop autism.  Then consider this, our government had this data for years, but deliberately kept it hidden. This conduct was not due to negligence or laziness, it was a deliberate cover-up. All those involved should be criminally charge, prosecuted and punished.

The children who were affected by this cover-up will require care and support for their entire life. These children’s lives have been destroyed. The costs to their parents will reportedly exceed $2 million dollars per child.  Justice will not be served until these mercury poisoned kids and their parents get everything necessary to make the most of their lives.

The criminals involved better get out there checkbooks, now!

What Did They Know & When Did They Know It?

Thimerosal is composed of nearly 50% mercury, which is a known to be especially harmful to fetuses, infants and children. It has been linked to a range of symptoms jointly known as Autism Spectrum Disorders. At one end of the spectrum is severe autism, in which children are socially withdrawn, do not speak and exhibit bizarre, repetitive, and sometimes aggressive behavior. At the other end, are Asperger’s Syndrome, a high-functioning form of autism, Pervasive Developmental Disorder, Attention Deficit Disorder, and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

Thimerosal was regularly added to childhood vaccines as a preservative, and became a major source of mercury in infants and toddlers. According to the American Academy of Pediatricians, within the first two years of life, fully vaccinated children received mercury levels that exceeded long-established safety limits by the FDA and other agencies.

However, the focus did not zero in on thimerosal until 1997, when Congress passed the FDA Modernization Act, which required the FDA to investigate all drugs that contained mercury to determine their adverse effects on humans.

Within one year, the FDA called for the removal of all over-the-counter products that contained thimerosal. However, the preservative was still included in more than 50 vaccines until the Public Health Service (which includes the FDA, CDC and NIH) and the American Academy of Pediatrics issued a statement in July 1999 “urging” vaccine manufacturers to reduce or remove Thimerosal because of “theoretical potential for neurotoxicity.”

So we know by the action taken by the FDA in 1999 that our government definitely knew about the dangers related to the preservative. But we also know this because the staff for Rep Dan Burton (R-Ill) obtained an incriminating FDA internal e-mail written on June 29, 1999, by former FDA scientist Peter Patriarca, which offered a “pros and cons” assessment of the Thimerosal statement about to be issued at that time, and listed the questions and issues that would be raised upon its release: 

(1) FDA being “asleep at the switch” for decades, by allowing a potentially hazardous compound to remain in many childhood vaccines, and not forcing manufacturers to exclude it from new products. (2) Various advisory bodies aggressive recommendations for use. (3) The dose of ethyl mercury was not generated by “rocket science”: conversion of the % of Thimerosal to actual ug [micrograms] of mercury involves 9th grade algebra. (4) What took the FDA so long to do the calculations? (5) Why didn’t CDC and the advisory bodies do these calculations while rapidly expanding the childhood immunization schedule?

So the experts in the FDA and CDC definitely knew about the dangers.  However, an article published on In These on Nov 11, 2003, raised an interesting question: “If the CDC and FDA seemed to acknowledge the risks of Thimerosal four years ago and the need to get mercury out of medical products, today the official stance is to circle the wagons against mounting public and scientific criticism about its handling of the Thimerosal issue.”

I have the answer. The turn of events can easily be explained by the fact that there had been a changing of the guard under Bush since 1999.  Keep in mind that the stakes were high for the pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly, a long time friend of the Bush gang, but also the company that invented Thimerosal.

And sure enough, evidence that Bush came through surfaced when the pharmaceutical industry was granted protection (albeit short-lived) from lawsuits from parents of children who developed autism after being vaccinated, by a provision sneakily tucked into the Homeland Security Act, at the very last minute, by Republicans who no doubt were acting under Bush's direction.

Well their little stunt didn't work because the provision was soon repealed.  While the effort to repeal it was under way, Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) told Wolf Blitzer on CNN, “What we have in the dead of night, a provision put in to help a pharmaceutical company or series of companies that help the parents and their rights for protecting their children right off at the knees.”

During the original final debates on the Homeland Security Bill, Senator Bill Frist (R-TN) had argued forcefully for granting liability protection to makers of mercury based vaccine preservatives and said such measures were needed to boost an industry essential for public health. He is the only physician in the Senate and one of his party's leaders on medical issues, the Tennessean reported on Jan 11, 2003.

But critics of the provision didn't see it that way and accused “Republicans of tilting the legal system in favor of drug companies at the expense of autistic children,” noted the Tennessean. “Hundreds of parents have alleged in lawsuits that the vaccine preservative thimerosal caused autism in their children. Eli Lilly & Co., the preservative's chief maker, and other defendants in the suits deny the charge,” it said.

Frist's name came up more than others because he headed the National Republican Senatorial Committee, the Republicans’ political fund-raising arm.  Critics were quick to note the large amount of money that Eli Lilly had donated to Republicans. In fact, the pharmaceutical and health products industry was the largest corporate contributor to the National Republican Senatorial Committee, while Frist headed it.

And not surprisingly, Eli Lilly was one of the most generous contributors in the 2002 elections, giving about $1.4 million to federal candidates and parties, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics, and three-quarters went to Republicans.

Some critics of the amendment pointed out that some top officials at Eli Lilly had close ties to the White House.  I'll let the readers be the judge of whether Bush may have had less than admirable motives to allow that provision to remain in the bill.  Here's a sample of people connected to the administration who have been on the Eli Lilly payroll:

* Former President George Herbert Walker Bush (one-time member of board of directors)


* George W Bush’s former director of Management and Budget, Mitch Daniels (a former vice president)


* George W Bush’s Homeland Security Advisory Council member, Sidney Taurel (current CEO of Eli Lilly)


* The National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (recipient of Eli Lilly funding)


Reported by Bruce E Levine, PhD, psychologist and author of Commonsense Rebellion: Taking Back Your Life (New York-London: Continuum, 2003).

The Amendment Is Repealed

At the time of debate on repealing the provision, on Jan 3, 2003, MSNBC reported, “many parents across the nation are still fuming over four small paragraphs at the end of 475 pages designed to protect America.”

“What it did to the families is it took away their last option, literally or figuratively closed the door on their last access to the courts of justice,” said Professor Lawrence Gostin of Georgetown University School of Law.

According to MSNBC, outgoing House majority leader Rep Dick Armey (R-TX) was behind the amendment and argued that if drug companies weren’t protected, they might refuse to make vaccines, a worry amid fears of bioterrorism.

To that argument I would say good!  If the richest industry in the country refuses to invest a portion of its outrageous profits into finding vaccines the industry can guarantee are safe to administer to vulnerable children, then they shouldn't be in the vaccine business at all.

After listening to Dick Army, congressman Dan Burton (R-IN) was furious. Burton has a grandson who is autistic. “For anybody to say they’re proud for putting that kind of an amendment in there is just beyond me,” Burton said.

To begin with, when the provision was added to the bill, Burton said he was blindsided by Dick Armey’s last-minute addition, according to MSNBC. “Now, he can take sole responsibility for it, that’s his prerogative if he wants to, but that amendment is criminal in my opinion,” says Burton.

In the end, Frist announced a proposal to repeal the amendment. Under the repealed provision, plaintiffs involved in thimerosal litigation were forced to seek compensation out of court through a special victims fund. Under the proposal Frist agreed to, the provision would be repealed and the legal cases could proceed without interruption, the Tennessean said.

Americans Must Demand Accountability

In May 2003 the AAP stated, “All routinely recommended infant vaccines currently sold in the U.S. are free of thimerosal as a preservative and have been for more than two years.” Yet because the FDA maintained it did not have enough evidence to justify a recall of thimerosal vaccines distributed prior to the introduction of thimerosal-free versions and they were allowed to remain on the market until they became outdated. That means that poisonous vaccines were still administered until November 2002.

“Because the FDA chose not to recall thimerosal-containing vaccines in 1999,” the April 2003, House Committee on Government Reform report concludes, “in addition to all of those already injured, 8,000 children a day continued to be placed at risk for overdose for at least an additional two years.”

The public needs to rise up and demand accountability from the officials in charge of all regulatory agencies involved in concealing information that could have saved many families from the devastation caused by these ill-administered vaccines.

In order to enroll in public schools, children are forced to comply with mandatory vaccine programs, which we now know include vaccines that may not have undergone the scientific testing necessary to guarantee their safety, and have the potential to harm millions of children each year.

If families are expected to trust the Federal government's approval of vaccines, they have a right to demand that the vaccines administered are approved based on the best scientific advice possible, without the undue influence of money being handed to politicians, scientists, and the heads of the regulatory agencies by the pharmaceutical industry.

Evelyn Pringle is a columnist for Independent Media TV and an investigative journalist focused on exposing corruption in government. She can be reached at:

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