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Article of Interest - Mercury & Autism

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David Kirby Responds to R.F.K. Jr.’s Article and Says “Bring It On”
David Kirby, The Huffington Post, June 16, 2005
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Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. has just upped the ante in the bubbling controversy over a possible link between mercury, vaccines and autism. His hard-hitting Rolling Stone article on the Pharma-Political Complex is a scathing indictment of our business-as-usual society, and his allegations cry out for a response.

Thank you, Mr. Kennedy. It’s high time that this debate received a proper airing, even if ABC News, so far at least, seems to disagree.

One year ago, the esteemed Institute of Medicine rejected the theory that the mercury-based vaccine preservative thimerosal might be linked to autism and other childhood disorders. Opponents of the theory – and they are plentiful – assumed that would shut the books once and for all on this disturbing, potentially catastrophic idea.

The opponents, it turns out, were sorely mistaken. They underestimated the tenacity of some really pissed off parents, who refused to be dismissed as litigious fruit loops who wouldn’t recognize scientific evidence if it landed on their front lawn.

Consider this. In recent months, the thimerosal-autism controversy has begun to pierce a major-media bubble seemingly transfixed on serving up daily doses of Michael, Martha and the Runaway Bride, while ignoring the potential poisoning of a generation of American children:

Don Imus – continues to champion this cause on his show “like a dog on a bone,” as they say.

Sen. Joe Lieberman – told Imus on the air that this is “a fight worth fighting.”

Rolling Stone & Salon – published RFK Jr.’s article.

FOX – local affiliates have covered this story with exceptional dedication, and the Fox News Channel is mulling over a special report.

The New York Times – is working on a major investigation of the controversy

The Associated Press – is also working on a feature.

Montel Williams – will air an entire segment on the controversy on June 21.

The Virginia Conference of the United Methodist Church – made news today by demanding the removal of mercury from vaccines; efforts are afoot to ask the national church to follow suit.

Generation Rescue – purchased full page ads in USA Today and They New York Times promoting the mercury-autism link.

Unlocking Autism – Is placing a series of hardball ads reminding George W. Bush of his 2004 campaign statement that thimerosal should be removed from childhood vaccines, and bearing the tag-line “Giving Mercury to Children on Purpose is Stupid.”

And so, at the risk of metaphorical overdose, I offer up some friendly counsel to those who resist this entirely plausible theory: The cat is out of the bag. The train has left the station. Thimerosal can no longer be swept under the rug.

I wrote “Evidence of Harm” in order to spark national debate over this very serious question. But I cannot debate myself. Critics of the thimerosal theory (and my book) have issued disapproving statements, posted blistering blogs, and even dropped off anonymous, vitriolic flyers at my public appearances. But no one will debate me face to face, at least not so far.

Last month, at the Autism One conference in Chicago, I issued a challenge to the thimerosal naysayers. Borrowing from a certain leader of the Free World, I said, simply, “Bring it on.”

So here is the challenge, repeated again. Dr. Julie Gerberding (CDC Director), Dr. Steve Cochi (head of the CDC vaccine program), Dr. Marie McCormick (head of the IOM panel that dismissed the thimerosal theory), Dr. Paul Offit (a leading pediatrician who passionately derides the theory) or any other prominent person who insists that there is no evidence of harm from injecting organic mercury directly into the systems of infant children at levels far in excess of federal safety limits: Let’s talk. You pick the time, place and speakers. You can even set the ground rules. All I ask is that you come forth, and let's get this over with.


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