Evidence of Harm Mercury in Vaccines and the Autism Epidemic A Medical Controversy

By David Kirby

Thimerosal. Not a household word by any stretch of the imagination. But for a group of parents with autistic children, though, it is. A form of mercury used as a preservative in many childhood vaccines, parents unwittingly have exposed their children to sometimes-toxic levels of this heavy metal starting at less than six months of age. There is probable evidence that this preservative, used to prevent bacteria and fungus growth in multi-use vials of vaccines, causes such neurological childhood disorders as ADD, ADHD, speech disorders, and the most troubling of all, autism. The raging controversy has been going on for years between the affected families and some of the biggest pharmaceutical companies. David Kirby plays out this medical, legal and political drama in the book Evidence of Harm.

When researching autism treatments, writer David Kirby stumbled across the theory that the mercury preservative thimerosal in vaccines could be causing the disorder. Thinking it a little remote, he dismissed it at first. Within a week, the House of Representatives passed the Homeland Security Act, with a secret rider buried in the text that absolved pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly and Company from any liability for damage caused by thimerosal. Kirby found himself intrigued by the necessity for such a clandestine provision in an unrelated bill, so he set out to find some answers. It didn’t take log for him to become acquainted with a grassroots group of parents whose children were ill, and who were convinced that the immunizations their children received before the age of two were the cause of their children’s illnesses

Autism was first recognized in the 1940’s. It was described by psychiatrists Leo Kanner and Hans Asperger, who independently referred to the disorder as autism, from the Greek word, autos, for self. It was originally thought that the cause was aloof parenting; mothers who were unwilling or unable to properly nurture their children, and was viewed as a psychological rather than medical problem. Once an exceptionally rare disorder, found in less than one child per 10,000 born, it is estimated that 1 in 166 children exhibit some form of autism today. This exponential growth is difficult to ignore, and the connection to thimerosal is compelling. When parents of affected children began to do research, they found the symptoms and onset of their children’s illnesses were so strikingly similar that they were compelled to take on the medical establishment that they trusted to do no harm to their children.

Almost without exception, the children represented in the book Evidence of Harm were happy, healthy infants and early toddlers. They were children who were walking, talking and exploring at normal, and sometimes even above normal, levels. Sometime after their first birthdays, usually around some kind of exposure to thimerosal in vaccinations in routine doctor visits; things began to change for them. Some became ill with gastrointestinal problems, strep or herpes infections, to name just a few, but all of them ceased to develop, then began to digress. These once healthy babies became sickly, unresponsive and lost the ability to interact with their surroundings. Their parents set out to find answers to their children’s health problems and found each other. Dubbed the “Mercury Moms” this group of women became an influential force that compelled doctors, drug companies and congress to address the use of mercury in vaccines as a detriment to children.

Stopping short of using the word “proof,” Evidence of Harm nonetheless illustrates some extremely compelling evidence that the use of thimerosal in vaccines is harmful to kids. The use of this chemical, while certainly cost-effective, is potentially very damaging and, according to Kirby and a growing number of parents and health professionals, should be eliminated. The CDC is presently phasing out the use of this deadly toxin. While there is no admission that thimerosal causes or contributes to the epidemic prevalence of autism, its damaging effects are certainly being addressed. Unfortunately it is too little too late for a lot of kids, and many people feel that an immediate cease in the use of mercury in children’s vaccines is imperative to protect a growing number of children. David Kirby does an excellent job outlining the problem, narrating the lives of the parents and children affected, and calling out doctors, politicians and behemoth drug companies to step up and eliminate the use of thimerosal in our kid’s vaccines. This wonderful book can be seen as a public service, and Kirby’s contribution shows an altruistic interest in protecting America’s children.

Evidence of harm is published by St. Martin’s press and available in bookstores nationwide. For more information about the use of thimerosal in vaccines, visit www.evidenceofharm.com.

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