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Autism news & stories. News about autism, autism - mercury connection. Thimerosal in vaccines. Journalistic collections on autism.



Last Build Date: Sat, 04 Oct 2014 23:57:41 PDT

 



The Age of Autism: 'A pretty big secret'

Thu, 08 Dec 2005 20:29:13 PST

By DAN OLMSTEDUPI Senior EditorCHICAGO, Dec. 7 (UPI) -- It's a far piece from the horse-and-buggies ofLancaster County, Pa., to the cars and freeways of Cook County, Ill.But thousands of children cared for by Homefirst Health Services inmetropolitan Chicago have at least two things in common with thousands ofAmish children in rural Lancaster: They have never been vaccinated. Andthey don't have autism."We have a fairly large practice. We have about 30,000 or 35,000 childrenthat we've taken care of over the years, and I don't think we have a singlecase of autism in children delivered by us who never received vaccines,"said Dr. Mayer Eisenstein, Homefirst's medical director who founded thepractice in 1973. Homefirst doctors have delivered more than 15,000 babiesat home, and thousands of them have never been vaccinated.The few autistic children Homefirst sees were vaccinated before theirfamilies became patients, Eisenstein said. "I can think of two or threeautistic children who we've delivered their mother's next baby, and wearen't really totally taking care of that child -- they have special careneeds. But they bring the younger children to us. I don't have a singlecase that I can think of that wasn't vaccinated."The autism rate in Illinois public schools is 38 per 10,000, according tostate Education Department data; the Centers for Disease Control andPrevention puts the national rate of autism spectrum disorders at 1 in 166-- 60 per 10,000."We do have enough of a sample," Eisenstein said. "The numbers are toolarge to not see it. We would absolutely know. We're all family doctors. IfI have a child with autism come in, there's no communication. It'sfrightening. You can't touch them. It's not something that anyone wouldmiss."No one knows what causes autism, but federal health authorities say itisn't childhood immunizations. Some parents and a small minority of doctorsand scientists, however, assert vaccines are responsible.This column has been looking for autism in never-vaccinated U.S. childrenin an effort to shed light on the issue. We went to Chicago to meet withEisenstein at the suggestion of a reader, and we also visited Homefirst'soffice in northwest suburban Rolling Meadows. Homefirst has four otheroffices in the Chicago area and a total of six doctors.Eisenstein stresses his observations are not scientific. "The trouble isthis is just anecdotal in a sense, because what if every autistic childgoes somewhere else and (their family) never calls us or they moved out ofstate?"In practice, that's unlikely to account for the pronounced absence ofautism, says Eisenstein, who also has a bachelor's degree in statistics, amaster's degree in public health and a law degree.Homefirst follows state immunization mandates, but Illinois allowsreligious exemptions if parents object based either on tenets of theirfaith or specific personal religious views. Homefirst does not exclude ordiscourage such families. Eisenstein, in fact, is author of the book "Don'tVaccinate Before You Educate!" and is critical of the CDC's vaccinationpolicy in the 1990s, when several new immunizations were added to theschedule, including Hepatitis B as early as the day of birth. Several ofthe vaccines -- HepB included -- contained a mercury-based preservativethat has since been phased out of most childhood vaccines in the UnitedStates.Medical practices with Homefirst's approach to immunizations are rare."Because of that, we tend to attract families that have questions aboutthat issue," said Dr. Paul Schattauer, who has been with Homefirst for 20years and treats "at least" 100 children a week.Schattauer seconded Eisenstein's observations. "All I know is in mypractice I don't see autism. There is no striking 1-in-166," he said.Earlier this year we reported the same phenomenon in the mostlyunvaccinated Amish. CDC Director Dr. Julie Gerberding told us the Amish"have genetic connectivity that would make them different from populationsthat are in other sectors of the United States." Gerberding said, however,studies "could and should be done" in more representative u[...]



The Age of Autism: Nuts

Wed, 30 Nov 2005 10:53:52 PST

By DAN OLMSTEDUPI Senior EditorYou may have seen the brief news stories this week: A 15-year-old Canadian girl with a severe peanut allergy kissed her boyfriend -- and died.The New York Post perfectly captured the tabloid pathos. The headline: "Allergy teen's fatal kiss." The lead: "Her allergy to peanuts may have been the kiss of death for a Canadian 15-year-old who died after smooching with her boyfriend, who'd just had peanut butter, authorities said."Christina Desforges died last Wednesday in a Quebec hospital, where she was being treated for the allergic reaction to the kiss the weekend before. The fact is that even a trace amount can cause a severe reaction."A CNN reporter asked: "Could it really have been ... the kiss of death?" (Could it really have been ... a crass cliché worth avoiding?) The network quoted three people -- ages 13, 15 and 20 -- who all have severe peanut allergies and recounted near-death experiences as a result. It quoted a doctor as saying, "I've lost three patients due to anaphylaxis (severe allergic reaction). They're all teenagers. One was a baked good, one was Chinese food, one was a candy. None of them had epinephrine (antidote) available."Now, why are so many young North Americans suddenly at risk of death from eating common foods or kissing those who have?"Food allergy such as peanut allergy is an immune response," explains foodconsumer.org. "It differs from food intolerance which causes discomfort without provoking the immuno-response. What causes peanut allergy remains largely unknown. A study, published in the March 13 issue of New England Journal of Medicine, linked the acquisition of the condition with babies' using skin preparation containing peanut oil. Peanut allergy was also found associated with intake of soy milk or soy formula."Other possible factors cited in press accounts include more peanut-eating by pregnant and breast-feeding women and earlier peanut consumption by young children. That, it is surmised, could predispose them to severe allergic reactions later.Maybe. But omitted from the speculation is one other possibility, which explains why peanuts are the subject of this column about autism: There are studies and informed observations suggesting that a rise in peanut allergies -- and other severe allergic and autoimmune reactions in young people, both acute and chronic -- are associated with a rise in childhood vaccinations in the 1990s.Are you rolling your eyes yet? Please bear with us. Our purpose here is not to propose this as the most plausible hypothesis, but simply to point out -- yet again -- how nutty the discussion of the horrifying rise in childhood medical problems becomes when it does not look squarely at all possibilities.And vaccines are among those possibilities -- certainly right up there with peanut eating during pregnancy, to say the least. We refer you to this posting on the Web: www.vaccinationnews.com/DailyNews/March2002/Anaphylaxis&Vaccines.htm.It is a Nov. 6, 2001, letter from Rita Hoffman of Stirling, Ontario, to the Immunization Safety Review Committee of the U.S. Institute of Medicine, part of the prestigious National Academies."Re: Epidemic of Children with Anaphylaxis," it begins. "Thank you for the opportunity to submit the following information for your review of the possible association between multiple immunizations in newborns and infants and immune system dysfunction. We are writing in particular about the potentially life threatening allergic response called anaphylaxis."The letter, which Hoffman wrote on behalf of the group Anaphylaxis Action, sure looks like a serious piece of work to us. It cites one scientific journal study after another, beginning with the Archives of Internal Medicine, which reported in 2001 that "The occurrence of anaphylaxis in the US is not as rare as is generally believed. On the basis of our figures, the problem of anaphylaxis may, in fact, affect 1.21 percent (1.9 million) to 15.04 percent (40.9 million) of the US population."That's something that should trigger urgent res[...]



An Ill Wind Blows into a Child's Life

Wed, 30 Nov 2005 05:41:34 PST

Bioaccumulation of heavy metals in autistic childrenBy James Ottar GrundvigSpecial to The Epoch Times Most Americans remember with clarity where they were when they first heard the news of the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center.Life-defining moments like 9/11 are those rare events that reshape society and culture, forever changing how people take stock of their lives. This holds especially true for those who witnessed the tragedy firsthand.For me, a rooftop witness to the fire and smoke that poured out of the Twin Towers, the day after 9/11 has lingered in my mind with equal brilliance and anxiety. Confined at home with work closed, my son and I appeared safe in the shutdown city with Navy jets flying over the empty skyline. And why shouldn't I have felt that way? We lived Uptown at 94th Street and Third Avenue on the opposite end of the island, six miles away from the smoldering ruins of the collapsed buildings that made up the World Trade Center complex.Yet what happened that morning unnerved me. With our 14th floor living room window ajar, I began to smell an acrid, burning smoke that I had never smelled before. I raced around the apartment looking for the source of the fire. I found nothing. Watching my son, Fridrik, play by the open window, wondering where the pungent odor was coming from, I had a delayed reaction. The smoke that I saw drift east to Brooklyn on 9/11, blew north as the wind changed direction the next day. I closed the window. But my gut feeling told me it was too late.A Child SickensBy the next morning, Fridrik began to cough. It was a dry, hacker's cough as if he had smoked cigarettes for twenty years. Within a week, he developed an acute ear infection—the only one of his life. On the 25th of September, my wife and I took Fridrik to see his pediatrician. This was the same doctor who told us one year before that an infant's lungs develop over the first three years. So when we inquired about taking him swimming the only restriction the doctor emphasized was "no dunking." With the cough still persisting weeks after the insult, the pediatrician gave Fridrik his only prescription of penicillin in his life. It wasn't for the cough, but the ear infection. Although the cough dissipated over time, the thought about what toxic chemicals had invaded my son's lungs never left me.If pool water is bad for an infant, then how much worse would be the scorched air emanating out of Ground Zero? The answer came more than three years later, and almost two years after Fridrik had been diagnosed with autism.On Valentine's Day, we decided to forego the ritual romantic dinner and took Fridrik to see a doctor. The results were in for his red blood cell analysis test, which profile the metal makeup of a person's body—from essential (good) metals, like zinc and iron, to heavy metals that can be harmful. When we learned that our son was carrying high amounts of mercury, lead, cadmium, and arsenic in him, we were at a loss. How did he become so "dirty" at such a young age? Having done extensive research into the vaccine-thimerosal (a mercury-based preservative used in many vaccines), we knew we would find mercury in him, but not the other three neurotoxins.The Danger of Ground ZeroIt took only the subway ride home from the doctor's office for the burnt smell of 9/12 to come racing back. We began to research and interview people, including several New York journalists, to see if those heavy metals in Fridrik were present in the World Trade Center. In short, we discovered that computers carry high amounts of mercury; cadmium can be found in light fixtures; and arsenic and lead in the steel. The World Trade Center, which comprised a small city of 60,000 people, with computers on every desk and light fixtures in every room and corridor, became the focus for the secondary source of heavy metal poisoning.We learned that the EPA air monitoring stations were setup at the northern-most limit of 14th Street—a good eighty blocks from where we lived—but a poor locat[...]



Critics question provision in vaccine plan

Wed, 30 Nov 2005 05:44:33 PST

Source: 13 Eye Witness News
Tom Walker/Washington Bureau Chief

Washington D.C., Nov. 29 - The government's strategy for fighting bird flu includes doing everything possible to keep it from becoming a pandemic in the first place.

President George W. Bush has said, "The best way to deal with it is to isolate and contain it in the region in which it begins."

In case that fails, Congress is working up a $7 billion plan to encourage production of potentially life saving vaccines.

But critics are now taking aim at a part of the plan they say would also give drug makers sweeping new protection from lawsuits, protection they say goes beyond bird flu.

"A couple of cases of measles could be considered an epidemic that then would be covered under this legislation." Barbara Loe Fisher runs the watch-dog group National Vaccine Information Center that she founded after her son developed learning disabilities she believes were related to childhood vaccine.

She and other critics of the pharmaceutical industry, including Indiana Congressman Dan Burton, are gearing up to oppose the liability provisions.

President Bush and others say the number of makers of vaccine has plunged, largely because of fear of lawsuits. And they argue that without protection companies won't make the drugs.

But there is growing opposition from groups, including the politically powerful Association of Trial Lawyers, that say

fear of pandemic should not close the courthouse door to those injured.

"Certainly when it happens to you or to a loved one," says Fisher, "when you're the one that gets hurt, things look very different."

This is shaping up as a bitter struggle that could have an impact on drug makers like Eli Lilly and Company that don't make vaccines, but could be ramping up production of other medicines that might be needed in a bird flu pandemic.

Legislation drafted by Republicans would only allow lawsuits against makers of pandemic vaccines if there were willful misconduct.



A New Ultra-Secret Government Agency

Wed, 30 Nov 2005 05:41:51 PST

Source: OMB WatchLegislation is moving in the Senate to create a new government agency to combat bioterrorism that will operate, unlike any other agency before it, under blanket secrecy protection.Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) has introduced the Biodefense and Pandemic Vaccine and Drug Development Act of 2005, S1873, that would create a new agency in the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to research and develop strategies to combat bioterrorism and natural diseases. While Congress has created several agencies recently in response to homeland security concerns, most notably the Department of Homeland Security, Burr proposes for the first time ever to completely exempt this new agency from all open government laws. The legislation has already passed out of the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions and is now before the full Senate.The Act creates the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Agency (BARDA) to work on countering bioterrorism and natural diseases. Apparently in an attempt to protect any and all sensitive information on U.S. counter-bioterrorism efforts or vulnerabilities to biological threats, Burrs has included in the legislation the first-ever blanket exemption from the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The legislation states that, "Information that relates to the activities, working groups, and advisory boards of the BARDA shall not be subject to disclosure" under FOIA "unless the Secretary [of HHS] or Director [of BARDA] determines that such disclosure would pose no threat to national security."Neither the CIA nor the Defense Department has such an exemption. Burr’s spokesperson argues that the exemption is necessary to protect national security claiming that "there will be times where for national security reasons certain information would have to be withheld." For instance, the BARDA should not, according to the spokesperson, be required to publicly disclose information pertaining to a deadly virus.FOIA, however, already includes an exemption for national security information, as well as eight other exemptions ranging from privacy issues to confidential business information and law enforcement investigations. If the public disclosure of information would threaten national security, then the government may withhold the requested information. "The well-established and time-tested FOIA provisions already address Burr's concerns," explains Sean Moulton, OMB Watch senior policy analyst, "thereby making the blanket exemption for BARDA unnecessary and unwise."Congress established and strengthened FOIA over the years to create a reasonable, consistent level of accountability among government agencies. Under FOIA, when the public requests agency records, the agency is compelled to collect and review the requested information. The only decision for the agency is whether specific records can or can not be released under the law based on the exemptions from disclosure written into the law. However, the Burr legislation reverses the process: it does not require BARDA to collect or review the requests for disclosure. Instead, the agency can automatically reject requests. Still more troubling, the law prohibits any challenges of determinations by the Director of BARDA or Secretary of HHS, stating that the determination of the Director or Secretary with regards to the decision to withhold information "shall not be subject to judicial review."Mark Tapscott at the Heritage Foundation writes that "BARDA will essentially be accountable to nobody and can operate without having to worry about troublesome interference from courts or private citizens like you and me."This move to restrict the reach of FOIA appears in stark contrast to the recent Senate vote to strengthen open government. Sens. John Cornyn (R-TX) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) co-sponsored FOIA reform legislation, passed by the Senate in June, that "will bring additional sunshine to the federal legislative process, and was another [...]



The Sickening Politics Of Vaccine Legislation

Mon, 28 Nov 2005 13:57:36 PST

By Richard S. DunhamBusiness Week OnlineEven in an era of hyper-partisanship, it should have been easy. Everyone on Capitol Hill, Republican and Democrat, understands that the U.S. needs emergency legislation designed to speed production of new vaccines aimed at combating future pandemics. Everyone knows drugmakers need a liability shield to protect against the lawsuits that will inevitably spring up when a vaccine is rushed to market. And nearly everyone wants Washington to help Americans who are injured by their shots.But in Washington nothing is easy, especially when it involves a clash between two bitter enemies -- Hill Republicans and the trial lawyers. The GOP and pharma lobbyists charge that the lawyers and their allies are pulling out all the stops to prevent any erosion of their cherished right to sue at the drop of a hat. But the plaintiffs' attorneys see the Republicans pushing broad relief from lawsuits under the guise of public health. "It's cynical to claim that this is what's needed to deal with avian flu," says Senator Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.). "The Republican leadership is trying to do another favor for the drug companies."Obscured by the overheated rhetoric, however, is a key issue: How much compensation should people damaged by these vaccines collect? Kennedy and the trial lawyers say they can support liability protections for drugmakers only if victims are promised full government indemnity. "We are not in any way trying to undermine the vaccine program," says Association of Trial Lawyers of America lobbyist Linda Lipsen. "In the event that individuals are injured [or] killed, there should be... compensation."Full indemnity could be a trillion-dollar commitment, but that's completely impractical and unaffordable, Republicans say. During negotiations between Kennedy and Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) on indemnity, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) summoned senators to his office to call off the talks. Indemnity will never fly, he said.Vague CompensationInstead, Industry and Frist are backing an effort led by Senators Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and Judd Gregg (R-N.H.). They would limit liability to vaccines designated as essential to fighting pandemic flu or other deadly new diseases and would direct the Secretary of Health & Human Services to create a compensation program, with details and funding to be determined later. "We just don't have enough information to set one up now," argues a GOP staffer.The pharmaceutical industry, not surprisingly, is firmly behind the GOP. Trial lawyers, advocates for vaccine victims, and others counter that a vague plan for a future compensation program is tantamount to none at all. Somewhere in the middle are public health experts. They want Congress to spur vaccine production while assuring the public it will have a safety net.When all the smoke clears, that's likely to happen. Supporters plan to attach the Burr liability provision to a spending bill that just enough Democrats -- especially those like Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), who have already backed some form of liability protection -- will be loath to oppose. It won't be pretty, it won't be easy, and it won't be truly bipartisan. But "it's all going to work out, despite the big bad trial lawyers," says a pro-industry lobbyist.By Richard S. Dunham and John Carey, with Lorraine Woellert and Eamon JaversCAPITAL WRAPUPBusiness Digs Deep For Pro-Trade DemsUnion leaders vowed to shut the fund-raising spigots for 15 House Democrats who broke ranks with their party in July to vote for the Central America Free Trade Agreement. But new Federal Election Commission reports indicate that business has more than compensated for labor's closed wallets.A BusinessWeek analysis of political action committee receipts for the first nine months of 2005 finds that unions provided an average of 16.1% of the PAC money raised by CAFTA Dems -- down from 22.1% in the 2004 election. But business don[...]



Pharma's Poisoned Generation

Sun, 27 Nov 2005 06:14:05 PST

by Evelyn PringleOpEdNews.comA growing number of professionals in the health care field are reporting that a relationship exists between the epidemic in neurodevelopmental disorders of autism, attention deficit hyperactive disorder, and speech or language delay all across the country, and the use of thimerosal, the mercury-based preservative used in childhood vaccines.Vaccines are the only medicines that Americans are mandated to receive as a condition for attendance in school and day care, and for some types of employment. Parents who receive federal assistance are also required to show proof that their children have been vaccinated.While the mandate for which vaccines must be included on the vaccine schedule is a state mandate, it is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and its Advisory Committee that make the recommendations to which the majority of states adhere when determining mandates. The current epidemic actually began in the late 1980s when a large number of new vaccines were added to the schedule.The blame is at least partially attributable to the failure of government officials to keep track of the cumulative amounts of mercury as they added triple-dose-vaccines to the schedule and the amount of thimerosal was multiplied by three.Each new vaccine contained 25 micrograms of mercury and according to Professor Lynn Adams, of Radford University, who specializes in autism, by 1999, a study determined that the average child received 33 doses of 10 different vaccines by the age 5.Elected lawmakers first became aware of the problem in 1999, when the House Committee on Government Reform initiated an investigation into the dangers of mercury exposure. An alarm rang early about the exposure of children to thimerosal.By October 25, 2000, Committee Chairman, Dan Burton (R-IN), was trying to get the substance out of vaccines as quickly as possible and sent a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services, asking the director to get the FDA to recall all vaccines with thimerosal.“We all know and accept that mercury is a neurotoxin, and yet the FDA has failed to recall the 50 vaccines that contain Thimerosal,” Burton wrote. “Every day that mercury-containing vaccines remain on the market is another day HHS is putting 8,000 children at risk,” he said.“I implore you to conduct a full recall of these products,” he wrote. “If the only action ... is a gradual phase out, children will continue to be put at risk every day,” Burton warned. “These vaccines will continue to be injected in children for years to come - putting our nation's most vulnerable population ... at risk for mercury poisoning," he added.The Reform Committee soon discovered that regulatory agencies were still allowing thimerosal to be used decades after the recognition that it was harmful. The Committee was told that the Food and Drug Administration, (FDA), uses a subjective barometer in determining when a product that has known risks can remain on the market. According to the agency:"at the heart of all FDA’s product evaluation decisions is a judgment about whether a new product’s benefits to users will outweigh its risks. No regulated product is totally risk-free, so these judgments are important. The FDA will allow a product to present more of a risk when its potential benefit is great—especially for products used to treat serious, life-threatening conditions."The argument that the known risks of infectious diseases outweighs any potential risk of neurological damage is one that has continuously been used by officials. The FDA claims that any risk from thimerosal is theoretical because no proof of harm exists.However, after its review of scientific literature and listening to the testimony of witnesses, the Committee found plenty of evidence to support the fact that thimerosal posed a grave risk. "The possible risk for harm from either low dose chronic o[...]



Investigate This

Wed, 30 Nov 2005 05:48:10 PST

by Rich TuckerTownhall.comOh goody.Patrick Fitzgerald, the special prosecutor who’s been investigating the supposed outing of a CIA operative, plans to present evidence to another federal grand jury. “The investigation is continuing,” Fitzgerald announced, just weeks after most assumed it -- almost two years old and counting -- had finally ended.This will be the second grand jury called to investigate whether or not Joe Wilson’s wife Valerie Plame was outed. In the long run, though, few Americans will care about -- or even be aware of -- the outcome of Fitzgerald’s probe (assuming it eventually ends). But as long as we’ve got a grand jury impaneled, let’s have it ask some questions about something that actually affects countless American lives. Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).There are more questions than answers about autism. But unfortunately, it’s no longer unusual. In her new book about manners, author Lynne Truss writes that we’re living in “an age of social autism, in which people just can’t see the value of imagining their impact on others.”Imagine reading that sentence two decades ago. In 1985, an estimated 4 in 10,000 children were diagnosed autistic. Most people went through life without meeting an autistic person. Autism then was similar to schistosomiasis -- even if you had heard of it, you probably didn’t know what the symptoms were. Today the Centers for Disease Control says as many as 1 of every 166 children is on the autism spectrum. Autism today is something that afflicts a son, nephew or cousin.Everyone knows what it means to be “autistic.”Still, the government seems stumped. “There are no effective means to prevent the disorder, no fully effective treatment and no cure,” the National Institute of Mental Health admitted in its February 2005 annual report on autism to Congress. And on its Web page, the CDC lists three things it is “doing about ASDs.” Two are studies tracking the number of children with autism in the Atlanta area and in Brick County, New Jersey. The third is funding various state projects. “These state projects look at how common ASDs are in children. Some of the projects also study what factors make it more likely that a child will have an ASD,” the CDC says.Well, that’s a start, but a slow one.Let’s use the grand jury to dispell some of the fog and ask some difficult questions. For example, in his book “Evidence of Harm” author David Kirby writes that thimerosal, a preservative long used in many vaccines, “never underwent any of the rigorous safety trials now required for FDA approval.” Thimerosal is 50 percent mercury, and mercury is a known toxin.A grand jury could subpoena records to find out if the government (which approved thimerosal) or drug companies (which included the preservative in their vaccines) ever ran any tests to determine if it really was safe to inject it into infants. And if there were no such tests, perhaps a grand jury could find out why not.This isn’t simply an academic exercise. While it’s been removed from most childhood inoculations, thimerosal remains in one vaccine: The flu shot we’ve heard so much about.The American Academy of Pediatrics says flu shots are critical. “Since young children are at such high risk of getting the flu, the AAP recommends the flu vaccine regardless of whether it contains thimerosal, a mercury-containing preservative,” the group says on its Web site. “To date, there is no scientific proof that mercury in vaccines caused autism despite years of study.” That’s true, but it’s also true that thimerosal has never been proven safe, either. Our grand jury could ask the AAP if medical standards have changed -- is it now all right to inject a substance that may be dangerous, as long as it hasn’t been proven dangerous?The jurists might also want to hear from some experts who questio[...]



Mercury in vaccine poses a danger

Wed, 30 Nov 2005 05:49:15 PST

Journal Standard.com
Opinions

Dr. Amy Johnson's comments in The Journal-Standard on the mercury-containing flu vaccine for children contain serious flaws.

Dr. Johnson may say that "there is no evidence of harm," but she's basing that on the CDC's easily flawed and manipulated population studies to "prove" mercury is safe when injected into babies. What about the government's own testing of thimerosal?

Introduced by Eli Lilly in 1930, thimerosal was tested only once, on 22 adult patients suffering from meningitis. There was no chance for follow-up to observe long-term effects, as all of the patients in this "study" died. Even if follow-up had been possible, damage to the developing brains of very young children would have remained an unknown. Thimerosal was pronounced "safe" and later grandfathered in when the FDA was created.

Starting in the late 1980s more and more vaccines with mercury were added to our children's list of required vaccines, without any regard for the total mercury exposure children were receiving. Finally in 1999, the federal health agencies and the American Academy of Pediatrics added up all the mercury children were receiving and realized it was over 100 times EPA limits for mercury exposure. They then urged vaccine makers to stop using it. In 2004, the AAP put out an "autism alarm" because of the epidemic increase in autism.

In 20 years, the rate has gone from one in 10,000 to one in every 166 children. Furthermore, one in every six schoolchildren now has a diagnosis of attention deficit or some other learning disability.

The medical community seems to focus on denying that this is in any way related to mercury in vaccines.

The first 11 cases of autism ever documented, in 1943, were in children who were among the first to be vaccinated with mercury. The federal government has never conducted specific tests on the neurotoxicity of thimerosal, although hundreds of published studies and documents attest to its extreme toxicity. Our CDC and FDA should be utterly embarrassed to make safety claims based on such a pathetic history of oversight.

Our federal health agencies are also the ones whose members have over 700 conflict-of-interest waivers for direct financial ties to the vaccine makers.

Evidence of Harm is the new book by David Kirby on the autism controversy. Mr. Kirby spent two years researching the history of thimerosal use and its relationship to thimerosal. He writes, "... many research) documents dating back to the 1930s, each raising a red flag about thimerosal." (EOH 207-209). Mr. Kirby chronologically lists over 70 years of scientific research on the damaging and deadly effects of thimerosal that was willfully ignored by Eli Lilly and the CDC. http://www.evidenceofharm.com/

We need to take a serious look at the generation of American children exposed to mercury. A person would need to weigh 275 pounds by the EPA's own standards to be able to eliminate the 12.5 mcg of mercury in the children's flu vaccine for this year.

This is hardly a "low dose" of mercury. By anyone's standards, it is unconscionable to inject a known neurotoxin into babies and toddlers.

Anne McElroy Dachel
Chippewa Falls, WI



Pharma To Republicans - Time To Pay Up Again

Thu, 24 Nov 2005 16:27:19 PST

By Evelyn PringleScoop Independent NewsThe generation of children injured by vaccines containing the mercury-based preservative thimerosal is now reaching puberty. Many of these children will require life-long care and support. The cost to their parents by today's standards, will reportedly exceed $2 million dollars for each child.An ever-growing number of health care professionals point to thimerosal as the culprit behind the explosion in cases of autism and other neurological disorders. The only common thread connecting these damaged children to one another is their exposure to mercury through childhood immunizations.Accountability from vaccine makers is something that parents of injured children have been seeking for years; but accountability appears more illusive with each year's passage. On October 27 2005, the Hartford Courant reported that "Congress is considering a bill that would allow the government to order that vaccines be given to every U.S. citizen in a national emergency, even if a vaccine has previously harmed some people."The Biodefense and Pandemic Vaccine and Drug Development Act of 2005 (S 1873), is being pushed through Congress without giving voters the chance to make their objections known to their elected officials.Nicknamed "Bioshield Two," the bill's primary sponsor, Senator Richard Burr (R-NC), claims the Act will give the Department of Health and Human Services "additional authority and resources to partner with the private sector to rapidly develop drugs and vaccines."Co-sponsored by Senators Bill Frist (R-TN), Mike Enzi (R-WY), and Judd Gregg (R-NH), the Act will in truth, eliminate current regulatory and legal safeguards applied to vaccines.What kind of profits need protecting? A good example is GlaxoSmithKline, which predicts that some of its new vaccines will become blockbusters with projected sales of more than $1 billion a year, according to Reuters on June 30, 2005. Glaxo aims to launch five major vaccines by 2010, it said.ADVERTISEMENTAnother example, for people who believe there’s no profit in vaccine making, “tell it to Wyeth, a big drug maker whose vaccine Prevnar ... costs more than $250 for the four-dose treatment given to infants,” says Kristine Severyn, PhD, author of the report, Profits, Not Science, Motivate Vaccine Mandates Vaccine Policy Institute.Despite the price, "the government has recommended that all infants get the vaccine, and insurers generally pay for it - as does the federal Vaccines for Children program for low-income families. Prevnar, with sales expected to top $1 billion this year," says Severyn.Severyn's predictions were right on. According to Wyeth's 2005 first quarter earnings report, Prevnar achieved net revenue of $391 million, more than double the first quarter earnings in 2004.Bush’s FY2006 budget proposes to improve access to vaccines by allowing underinsured children to receive Vaccines for Children at state and local health clinics. The Department of Health and Human Services estimates that cost of the proposal will be $140 million in 2006, and $700 million over the 2006-2010 period.How much does this sort of government protection cost? For starters, according to the Center for Public Integrity, the Pharmaceutical Researchers and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), is the industry's trade organization and it has topped the list of pharmaceutical lobbying spending since 1998, shelling out $74 million. Its members include 16 of the industry's 20 largest companies and their subsidiaries and its current president is Billy Tauzin, is a former Republican congressman from Louisiana.In the 2002 election cycle, PhRMA gave $3,505,052 with 95% going to Republicans. The top recipient in the Senate was none other than Senator Richard Burr, who received $288,684, according to the non-partisan Center for Responsive Po[...]



Protective mind coating

Thu, 24 Nov 2005 19:04:51 PST

UCLA researchers learn how a nerve-tissue wrap in the brain, myelin, impacts behavior

BY JAMIE TALAN
Newsday

Abnormal development of the protective insulation that wraps around the wiring of the brain's nerve cells could result in a range of behavioral problems - including autism, attention deficit disorder, drug abuse and schizophrenia, according to a new study.

Dr. George Bartzokis and his colleagues at the University of California in Los Angeles have studied brain scans in living humans and autopsied brains to unravel the role of myelin, the insulation material. The thicker and heavier the wrapping, the faster and more effective nerve cells can communicate.

Bartzokis is the scientist who first discovered that myelin production continues to grow throughout the first four decades, then peaks at 45 and goes down from there. "We are truly adults at our 50th birthday," he said.

In his latest study, published in Adolescent Psychiatry, Bartzokis and his colleagues map out a picture of the younger brain undergoing myelination and what can happen if those connections don't develop normally.

He believes that humans myelinate different circuits at varying points throughout life, which could explain why the brain diseases of young people are so different from those of older ones.

For instance, if myelin is disrupted early in life, basic circuits that govern language and social communication might not develop normally, hence autism.

If the problems develop in school-age children, the inability to process information fast and effectively could pave the way for attention deficits. Even later in adolescence, problems with myelin can impair a person's ability to think clearly, a common feature of schizophrenia.

So what's a brain to do?

Myelin is a fatty acid, and Bartzokis said that there may already be medicines, certain foods and fish oil supplements high in fatty acids that promote myelination. He likens it to a high-speed Internet connection. Without proper myelination, the brain "can't get online," he said.

Only vertebrates have myelin, and humans have the most - about 20 percent more than chimps. It increases the speed of transmission of information, expands the brain's bandwidth and allows the brain to go online.

The California scientist said that this finding could explain why it is virtually impossible to see any obvious brain damage in many of these developmental disorders.

"There's no dead anything on autopsy," Bartzokis said. "Those brain connections just never developed normally."

If people are working offline because of myelination problems, Bartzokis said, "it's not that they are bad or dumb. It's that they are not able to bring all of their knowledge to bear."

That's why a teenager's knowledge about the dangers of driving while drunk might not help when he or she is in a high-risk situation.

Barzokis' brain scans of healthy people from 19 to 76 show a myelination growth curve. In middle age, when myelin is on the decline, a number of new brain diseases emerge.

Genes, environmental toxins and even diet appear to influence the myelination process, Bartzokis said.

Good news for the female brain: His studies show that female brains are making better myelin, which could explain why young boys are at greater risk for problems.



The Age of Autism: Flu shot flashpoint

Sat, 19 Nov 2005 13:08:24 PST

By DAN OLMSTEDUPI Senior EditorIt's flu shot season, and that simple fact is sharply focusing the debate over a possible link between vaccines and autism. The reason: Most flu shots contain thimerosal, the mercury-based preservative that some suspect caused a huge rise in autism cases beginning in the 1990s.Federal health authorities say science has ruled that out. But to be on the safe side, the U.S. Public Health Service -- along with groups representing pediatricians and family doctors -- urged manufacturers in 1999 to phase thimerosal out of childhood vaccines as soon as possible.Most such vaccines are now thimerosal-free or contain trace amounts. An exception is the flu shot, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends for pregnant women and for infants 6 to 23 months old.The counter-argument: Why take a risk when thimerosal-free shots are also available and cost just three or four dollars more? The CDC has declined to express a preference for those shots on the theory that there wouldn't be enough to meet demand.On Monday, as this column reported, a New Mexico pediatrician appeared before the state Board of Pharmacy to urge it to immediately warn residents that most flu shots do have mercury. He also wants the state ultimately to ban it from vaccines for kids and pregnant women, something six states have already done -- with bans taking effect in future years. A dozen states are actively debating the issue.The pediatrician, Dr. Ken Stoller, said the board decided to seek an advisory opinion from the New Mexico attorney general about its jurisdiction in the matter. It meets again in two months."The recent meeting was, I have to confess, a little disappointing from the standpoint of truth-in-labeling as set out in the New Mexico Drug Act," Stoller wrote the board in a follow-up letter."I presented clear, accurate and precise information on how a preservative that contains the known neurotoxin, ethylmercury, exists in the flu and other vaccines at a level that exceeds several safety limits as set forth by more than one Federal agency."Perhaps because of the growing number of state bans -- which mean, self-evidently, that they don't want their children and pregnant women exposed to mercury in flu shots -- the issue is percolating this year in a way that it simply hasn't before.In a Chicago Tribune piece titled, "A contradiction taints flu shots among infants," writer Julie Deardorff said that as a mom, she was concerned that health experts are now recommending a shot that in most cases contains an ingredient they suggested removing six years ago."It was eliminated from nearly all vaccines with one exception: the flu vaccine. Now the academy (American Academy of Pediatrics) wants us to immunize infants with a vaccine that contains an ingredient that it suggests should be removed," Deardorff wrote.She quotes an Illinois AAP spokesman about the apparent contradiction:"The amount (of thimerosal) in the multidose influenza vaccine (12.5 micrograms) is well below even the most conservative standards for mercury exposure. ... There's no evidence that thimerosal in vaccines is dangerous, and the benefits kids get from being protected against the flu are substantial."Still, it needs to be noted that the immunization schedule calls for two 12.5 microgram shots a month apart for the 6-to-23-month olds. That total of is the same amount that was in vaccines some parents believe triggered their child's autism. And some of them believe in utero exposure to mercury via the pregnant mother might be the most dangerous exposure of all.Directly to the north, a senior chemist at the University of Wisconsin has been trying to get the attention of the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection."Unfortun[...]



EMERGENCY ALERT, DAY 2!

Wed, 16 Nov 2005 17:14:32 PST

POWER OF PARENTS CALL-IN CAMPAIGNWITH YOUR HELP, WE JAMMED PHONE LINES ON CAPITOL HILL YESTERDAY TO PROTECT VACCINE-INJURED CHILDREN’S RIGHTS—WE MUST KEEP UP THE PRESSURE!!!Pharmaceutical Liability Protection Language is now EVERYWHERE in pending legislation on Capitol Hill, and we must speak up NOW on behalf of our children.We need to get on the phones again today and tomorrow to fight the most sweeping threat so far to our children’s rights.THIS IS WORSE THAN THE FRIST LEGISLATION. OUR CHILDREN WILL GET NOTHING.Our sources in Washington tell us that Pharma-protection language will be inserted into as much legislation as possible between now and Thursday. There are already ten different bills on Capitol Hill -- S3, S975, S1437, S1828, S1873, S1880, HR650, HR3154, HR3970, HR4245 -- that contain provisions which will let drug companies off the hook for injuries resulting from vaccines and other products.Other appropriations bills are being considered for similar provisions. If the provisions are attached to an appropriations bill WE CANNOT STOP IT!!!HERE’S WHAT WE NEED TO DO:THE POWER OF PARENTS CALL-IN CAMPAIGN, DAY 2Get on the phone ASAP!!!Our ONLY defense is to prevent anything from being attached!Tell the legislators listed below plus your own senator and representative that they must not support any of the bills that take away your child’s rights and that you demand that drug companies not be rewarded for their disregard for safety.Remind them that their constituents are watching them very closely and will remember who supports the children, and who supports Big Pharma. They cannot have it both ways—they are either for our injured children, or they are against them.Time is of the essence and it ties up their phone lines.The results are immediate.If you have time for faxing, below is a sample letter you can change to fit your situation, or just write your own brief note.We need everyone possible to get involved—in-laws, neighbors, friends, and anyone else you can think of. Send this action alert to everyone in your address book. This is their best chance. WE MUST STOP THEM!A-CHAMP will send out updates on the situation on Capitol Hill as they receive them.________________________Dear Senator (or Representative) _________:Re: SAY NO TO UNFAIR AND UNNECESSARY LIABILITY PROTECTION FOR VACCINE MANUFACTURERSI respectfully request that you act to protect the rights of vaccine injured children by blocking the unfair liability immunity giveaway proposed for pharmaceutical companies.There are ten bills that we know about that contain language that unnecessarily limits the rights of children injured by vaccines. These include S3, S975, S1437, S1828, S1873, S1880, HR650, HR3154, HR3970, and HR4245. I am shocked to learn that similar provisions are being slipped into proposed legislation, including Appropriations bills, in a manner similar to the provisions snuck in the dead of night into the Homeland Security bill in 2002. If any of these provisions is enacted, a vaccine-injured child's right to have his or her day in court will be unnecessarily and unfairly taken away. Enactment of this legislation will be a dark day for the tradition of fair play and equity in the American justice system.As a voter and one who cares deeply about children injured by vaccines, I oppose legislation that provides unprecedented immunity to a vaccine industry that has caused tragic injury to some children. Such liability protection is unnecessary.Current laws adequately protect vaccine manufacturers. There have been very few vaccine injury claims against vaccine makers over the past 30 years. The true reason for the apparent lack of vaccine manufacturing capacity is the pattern of merger and consolidation in the p[...]



Some responses to Paul Offit

Thu, 17 Nov 2005 07:01:51 PST

LETTERS TO THE EDITORThe HILLIn response to an article by Paul Offit.Mercury-autism link can’t be dismissed so easilyFrom Anne McElroy Dachel, media-relations coordinator, National Autism Association: Dr. Paul Offit promotes the success of vaccines in eradicating diseases and lightly dismisses the growing controversy linking the mercury-based neurotoxin thimerosal to the epidemic of autism in the United States (“Vaccine history shows need to update VICP law,” Nov. 15). Nowhere, however, does Dr. Offit note the explosion in the rate of autism that directly coincides with the increase in mercury-containing vaccines in the childhood schedule. In the past 20 years, autism has increased from 1 in 10,000 to 1 in every 166 children. Furthermore, one in every six schoolchildren now has a diagnosis of attention-deficit or some other learning problem. The best our federal health agencies can tell us is that it’s all due to “better diagnosing.”Dr. Offit may think that science disproves any link between mercury use and neurological disorders, but our Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) can only point to easily flawed and manipulated population studies to “prove” mercury is safe when injected into babies. What about the government’s own testing of thimerosal?Introduced by Eli Lilly in 1930, thimerosal was tested only once, on 22 adult patients suffering from meningitis. There was no chance for follow-up to observe long-term effects, as all of the patients in this “study” died. Even if follow-up had been possible, damage to the developing brains of very young children would have remained an unknown. Thimerosal was pronounced “safe” and later grandfathered in when the FDA was created. The first 11 cases of autism ever documented, in 1943, were in children who were among the first to be vaccinated with mercury. The federal government has never conducted specific test on the neurotoxicity of thimerosal, although hundreds of published studies and documents attest to its extreme toxicity. Our CDC and FDA should be utterly embarrassed to make safety claims based on such a pathetic history of oversight. Our federal health agencies are also the ones whose members have over 700 conflict-of-interest waivers for direct financial ties to the vaccine makers. The Hill article describes Dr. Offit as “the chief of infectious diseases at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia,” but it should be noted that he is also someone who’s been on the vaccine approval board of the CDC and is himself is a vaccine patent holder. In addition he is paid by Merck Pharmaceutical Corp. to promote vaccines. His conflicts should be noted in any article where he is cited as an expert. Chippewa Falls, Wis.Children need answersFrom Liz Birt:As a parent of a child who has documented measles vaccine in his gastrointestinal tract and his cerebral spinal fluid, as well as immune-system and metabolic disorders, I find Dr. Paul Offit’s recent article disturbing.It is very difficult, as the parent of a child who has been injured from vaccines, to get a decent remedy from our system. To do away with the current “opt out” system would protect the vaccine manufacturers from liability associated with known problems from their products.We must have a counterbalance in our system; if not, then those that are in power and have the most influence in Congress will be protected in spite of those who are suffering.We are suffering today in this country with an epidemic of children with neurological disorders. This is not the luck of the cards. This increase is directly related to the increasing dose of mercury that was injected to our children.The onl[...]



Frist Inoculates Drug Makers for Any Vaccine Liability

Wed, 16 Nov 2005 17:59:06 PST

Frist Inoculates Drug Makers for Any Vaccine Liability After Industry Won Him Senate & He Himself Said Anthrax Was ProblematicTo: National DeskContact: Jamie Court, 310-874-9989; Carmen Balber, 310-392-0522 ext 324SANTA MONICA, Calif., Nov. 16 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist is seeking a last-minute amendment to an appropriations bill that would remove legal liability from a drug company if the Bush Administration declares its vaccines are needed to respond to a public health threat. The Associated Press reports Frist is behind the eleventh-hour change.The pharmaceutical industry that makes the vaccines was the largest industry donor to Frist's National Republican Senatorial Committee, the political arm of Senate Republicans that was key to winning a GOP majority in the Senate. The Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights (FTCR) called on Frist to withdraw the amendment based on his own conflict of interest - the industry he is helping is his biggest donor and he has himself condemned the safety of the anthrax vaccine."How can we trust an administration that does not know what a weapon of mass destruction is to take away our legal rights when it sees a so-called public health threat?" said Jamie Court of the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights. "This is a total giveaway to the GOP's biggest donor using national security as cover. It's a terror dividend for Big Pharma, which handed Senator Frist and the GOP the third branch of government."Under the legislation the Frist amendment is based on, the Bush Administration could declare a real or potential public health emergency, classify any vaccine or product as necessary to respond to a public health threat and provide its manufacturer almost virtual immunity from prosecution. The immunity provisions are so broad that any product that can be considered a "countermeasure," not just vaccines, would be included under its protection.Frist himself has acknowledged problems with the anthrax vaccine: "The (anthrax) vaccine is a dated vaccine, it's an old vaccine. There are very real and potentially serious side effects from the vaccine and anyone who elects to receive the vaccine needs to be made aware of that.""I do not recommend widespread inoculation for people with the vaccine in the Hart Building," Frist said. "There are too many side effects and if there is limited chance of exposure the side effects would far outweigh any potential advantage." (CNN.com, 12/20/01, http://archives.cnn.com/2001/US/12/18/anthrax/ )After a secret attempt to provide liability protection for the makers of Thimerosal in 2002 under the cover of an amendment to Homeland Security legislation, Congressional leaders are again promoting sweeping protections for the drug industry while no one is looking. Frist denied involvement in the Thimerosol amendment in 2002 but the backlash forced the Senate to remove the immunity provision. The 2002 amendment was based on parallel legislation Frist carried.Frist's blind trust listed personal investments with Abbot Labs and Johnson & Johnson, each in the $15,000 to $50,000 range, through 2004. Frist himself had a close relationship with Eli Lilly, maker of Thimerosal, which not only topped the list of drug maker contributors to the Senator's PAC but also bought 5,000 copies of Frist's book on bio-terrorrism.FTCR filed an ethics complaint with the Senate Select Ethics Committee last April charging Senate Majority Leader Frist (R-TN) with a conflict of interest for promoting medical malpractice liability limits while retaining stock worth millions in HCA. The Frist family-founded hospital chain owns HCI, the nation's fourth largest malpractice insurer. The comm[...]



Lawmakers weigh preventing drugmaker suits

Wed, 16 Nov 2005 13:44:26 PST

By KEVIN FREKINGAssociated Press WriterLast Updated: November 16, 2005, 12:33:42 PM PSTWASHINGTON (AP) - People injured by a vaccine against bird flu or anthrax would have to prove willful misconduct to bring a claim for damages against drug manufacturers or distributors, according to legislation being drafted behind the scenes by Republicans.A 10-page draft of the legislation obtained by The Associated Press says it would be up to the Health and Human Services secretary to declare that such misconduct occurred. If that declaration is made, the case must be heard in federal court.The measure, which would be included in a spending bill, would bar any punitive damages and limit awards for physical and emotional pain and suffering and other noneconomic damages to a maximum of $250,000.The draft legislation was provided to the AP separately by two parties opposed to its provisions, who did not want to be identified.An aide to Sen. Bill Frist, R-Tenn., confirmed the majority leader was looking to add the liability protections to a spending bill.Amy Call said the legislation is important because "it would be a pity to appropriate $7.1 billion to purchase vaccines and antivirals but have no capacity to produce them."She said Frist is seeking clearly defined standards for an industry that is already heavily regulated."We would only provide liability protection in a serious situation and for a set period of time and for a specific purpose," Call said. "The protection would only go into effect if the secretary makes a declaration that we are grave danger and the public is advised to take the product."President Bush's plan for dealing with a flu pandemic called on Congress to give drug manufacturers sweeping immunity against lawsuits. "In the past three decades, the number of vaccine manufacturers in America has plummeted, as the industry has been flooded with lawsuits," Bush said last month. "Today, there is only one manufacturer in the United States that can produce influenza vaccine."Lawmakers from both political parties also have cited a need to grant the industry some protections. However, the protections described in the draft are quite broad, and some say they would make it extremely difficult for those harmed by a medicine to get any financial compensation."The Republican leadership in Congress is trying to do another special favor for the drug companies by slipping a provision into a massive spending bill to absolve the pharmaceutical industry of any responsibility to patients injured by dangerous drugs or vaccines, with no compensation for those who are harmed," Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., said in a statement.He called for an open debate on the issue.Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., chairman of the Senate's health committee, favors liability protections for drug manufacturers, but not as part of an appropriations bill, according to spokesman Craig Orfield."He does not want to address biodefense in a piecemeal fashion," Orfield said.Trial lawyers said they oppose having to prove "willful misconduct" to get financial compensation from an injury."Basically, as an average person, I would have to prove some scientist at Merck or some CEO somewhere had made a determination to hurt me," said Chris Mather, a spokeswoman for the Association of Trial Lawyers for America.Willful misconduct, according to the draft legislation, would occur if manufacturers or distributors of a particular product knew that it presented "a significant or unreasonable risk to human health" and there was a "conscious failure to act" to avoid that risk.If the HHS secretary rules against the petition, then those claiming to be harmed could seek judicial revie[...]



CHEAP TRICK! LEGISLATORS ARE TRYING TO SNEAK IN UNFAIR LIABILITY PROTECTION – AGAIN!

Wed, 16 Nov 2005 06:20:19 PST

STOP THE NEW "ELI LILLY RIDER" LEGISLATIVE GAMBIT Take Action!STOP THE LATEST CHEAP LEGISLATIVE TRICK THAT AIMS TO GIVE LARGE CORPORATIONS UNFAIR AND UNNECESSARY LIABILITY PROTECTIONCALL, FAX, and SEND AN EMAIL THROUGH A-CHAMP'S AUTOMATED SYSTEM.FAX & TELEPHONE Numbers of key legislators are Listed Below. Call and send faxes to them and send emails to your Senators and Congressman through A-CHAMP's system.THIS TIME YOU NEED TO DO ALL THREE TO SEND A STRONG MESSAGE!POWER OF PARENTS CALL-IN CAMPAIGNWITH YOUR HELP, WE CAN SWARM WASHINGTON WITH PHONES CALLS TO PROTECT VACCINE-INJURED CHILDREN’S RIGHTS!!!Pharmaceutical Liability Protection Language is now being placed in in multiple pieces of pending legislation in Congress; there is an all-out effort by the pharmaceutical industry to sneak unfair liability protection legislation into larger pieces of legislation, like appropriations bills.We need to get on the phones through Thursday, Nov. 17, to fight the most concerted effort thus far to take away our children’s rights.THIS IS WORSE THAN THE FRIST-SPONSORED LEGISLATION OF PAST YEARS. IF UNFAIR LIABILITY PROTECTION PASSES OR CHILDREN WILL LOSE THEIR LEGAL RIGHTS (right to sue, right to jury trial, right to just compensation).We have learned that liability protection language that will unfairly give pharmaceutical companies legal immunity never before known under U.S. law will be quietly inserted into as multiple bills between now and Thursday. These unfair and unnecessary liability protection provisions have already been inserted into ten separate bills: S3, S975, S1437, S1828, S1873, S1880, HR650, HR3154, HR3970, HR4245 -- these provisions let drug companies off the hook for injuries resulting from vaccines and other products.Similar provisions will be inserted into general Appropriations bills in the House and Senate. If these provisons are attached to an Appropriations bill WE CANNOT STOP IT!!!HERE’S WHAT WE NEED DO:Get on the phone ASAP!!!Our ONLY defense is to prevent anything from being attached to an Appropriations bill!Tell the legislators listed below plus your own Senator and Representative that they must not support any of the bills that take away your child’s rights and that you demand that drug companies not be rewarded for ignoring safety.Remind your legislator that constituents are watching their actions closely. We will remember who supports the children, and who supports vaccine manufacturers. Our legislators cannot have it both ways—they are either for our injured children, or they are against them.Time is of the essence and it ties up their phone lines.The results are immediate.If you have time for faxing, below is a sample letter you can change to fit your situation, or just write your own brief note. In addition, use our automated email system to send messages to your representatives and other key Senators.We need everyone possible to get involved—in-laws, neighbors, friends, and anyone else you can think of. Send this action alert to everyone in your address book. This is their best chance. WE MUST STOP THEM!We will send out updates on the situation on Capitol Hill as we receive them.____________________________________Dear _________:I respectfully request that you act to help protect the rights of vaccine-injured children by blocking the unfair liability immunity giveaway proposed for pharmaceutical companies.There are ten or more bills that contain language that severely limits the rights of children injured by vaccines. I am shocked to learn that similar provisions are being slipped into proposed legislation-including Appropriations bills- in a manner similar[...]



Bird Flu Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

Wed, 16 Nov 2005 06:13:22 PST

In the middle of the night, without a hearing or debate, friends of big drug companies have plans to attach to an unspecified conference report a pandemic disease proposal that instead of protecting the public health and safety would award special interest protections to the pharmaceutical industry. If their proposal is so essential to the public health, why are proponents attempting to add it stealthily, while the American public isn’t watching? The truth is their proposal has nothing to do with public health and safety and everything to do with unnecessary giveaways to drug companies. The proposal includes language not included in any House or Senate passed bill—language that provides the drug companies with sweeping legal protections, releasing them from virtually all accountability. The proposal is so broad that it applies to a wide range of commercial drugs and products that may have nothing to do with bioterrorism or a potential pandemic. It even applies to commercial drugs already on the market for which drug companies are making billions of dollars.Under the proposed language, drug company immunity is triggered if the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) 1) declares an actual or potential public health emergency and 2) declares a drug, vaccine, or device a “countermeasure” or qualifying “pandemic or epidemic product.” Once this occurs, drug companies are virtually immune from all liability. The proposal:Applies to a wide range of drugs, vaccines, and other products. The proposal provides that any “drug, biological product or device that is used to mitigate, prevent, treat, or cure a pandemic or epidemic or limit the harm such pandemic or epidemic might otherwise cause…” may be covered and given immunity. The proposal does not, in any way, limit its application only to new drugs or vaccines used in a pandemic context. The scope of the proposal is so broad that it could include drugs like Tylenol, Advil or Vioxx.Immunizes drug companies by erecting insurmountable barriers to the court system. Citizens can’t go to court unless the Secretary of HHS gives them permission. The proposal bars injured individuals from filing a claim against a manufacturer of a covered product, even in cases of gross negligence. The only exception to the grant of wholesale immunity is in the case of “willful misconduct.” An injured person may ask the Secretary of HHS to find that the manufacturer acted with willful misconduct and allow a case against a drug company to go forward. The Secretary has the sole discretion to investigate or to simply decline the petition. Because the Secretary is bound by an entirely new definition of “willful misconduct” it is virtually impossible for the Secretary to ever allow a claim to go forward. The proposal mandates the Secretary of HHS, together with the Attorney General, promulgate regulations defining what is meant by “willful misconduct” and requires them to find that the drug company had actual knowledge that their product would harm the petitioning individual. This requirement means that only conduct that would also constitute assault, battery or murder would be sufficient for the Secretary to find “willful misconduct.”Includes severe restrictions even if a claim is allowed. In the unlikely event the Secretary allows a claim to go forward because he has found sufficient evidence a drug company intentionally and willfully injured or killed a person, the following restrictions would still apply: An exclusive federal cause of action, barring individuals from filing a claim in their own state court unde[...]



Parents Swarming Capitol Hill with Phone Calls

Wed, 16 Nov 2005 05:43:14 PST

PRESS RELEASE
For Immediate Release:
November 15, 2005


Contact:
Rita Shreffler, NAA (Nixa, MO) 417-818-9030
Wendy Fournier, NAA (Portsmouth, RI) 401-632-7523



PHARMA-FRIENDLY POLITICIANS THREATEN TO STEAL AWAY CHILDREN’S RIGHTS WITH MULTIPLE BILLS

WASHINGTON DC – Advocacy organizations kicked off a new campaign today that promises to over-load Capitol Hill’s phone lines.

The Power of Parents Call-in Campaign hopes to stop pharma-friendly legislation in its tracks. For years, politicians like Senator Bill Frist and Judd Gregg have routinely inserted language that removes liability from vaccine-makers, which ultimately eases safety guidelines and dismisses injuries some children suffer from vaccines.

In 2002, an anonymous party inserted the now-famous secret rider to the Homeland Security bill, a provision that gave Eli Lilly and vaccine manufacturers liability protection from a toxin used in vaccines. The rider was later repealed.

But sources in Washington say that the liability language is back and fiercer than ever. Over ten pieces of legislation now contain liability-protection language that will slam the door on children injured by vaccines. Some language is expected to enter the appropriations committee. If it passes, the language cannot be removed.

Just yesterday, Dr. Paul Offit, a friend to big pharma, widened his own PR campaign by stating in The Hill that the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (NVICP) needed updated. He proposed the removal of what’s called “opt out,” a right that a claimant has to enter civil court if the NVICP doesn’t provide what’s necessary for care.

However, the NVICP has been updated several times over the past decade. Some of the more common injuries have been removed from the table, ensuring less awards to claimants. The Department of Justice has been given more fire-power to fight cases that enter the NVICP, and many claimants call the program a complete waste of time.

To protect the opt-out, which keeps the NVICP in check, and to prevent other legislative language that destroys children’s rights and loosens safety guidelines, parents will call their senators and congressmen now through Thursday.

To learn more, visit http://www.nationalautism.org/.

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Think Autism. Think Cure.







EMERGENCY ALERT! POWER OF PARENTS CALL-IN CAMPAIGN

Tue, 15 Nov 2005 13:37:59 PST

From the National Autism Association WITH YOUR HELP, WE CAN SWARM WASHINGTON WITH PHONES CALLS TO PROTECT VACCINE-INJURED CHILDREN’S RIGHTS! Ø Pharmaceutical Liability Protection Language is now EVERYWHERE in pending legislation on Capitol Hill, and it’s getting worse by the minute. Ø We need to get on the phones today, tomorrow, and Thursday to fight the most sweeping threat so far to our children’s rights. Ø THIS IS WORSE THAN THE FRIST LEGISLATION. OUR CHILDREN WILL GET NOTHING. Ø Our sources in Washington tell us that Pharma-protection language will be inserted into as much legislation as possible between now and Thursday. There are already ten different bills on Capitol Hill -- S3, S975, S1437, S1828, S1873, S1880, HR650, HR3154, HR3970, HR4245 -- that contain provisions which will let drug companies off the hook for injuries resulting from vaccines and other products. Ø Other appropriations bills are being considered for similar provisions. If the provisions are attached to an appropriations bill WE CANNOT STOP IT! HERE’S WHAT WE DO: THE POWER OF PARENTS CALL-IN CAMPAIGN. Ø Get on the phone ASAP! Ø Our ONLY defense is to prevent anything from being attached! Ø Tell the legislators listed below plus your own senator and representative that they must not support any of the bills that take away your child’s rights and that you demand that drug companies not be rewarded for their disregard for safety. Ø Remind them that their constituents are watching them very closely and will remember who supports the children, and who supports Big Pharma. They cannot have it both ways—they are either for our injured children, or they are against them. Time is of the essence and it ties up their phone lines. The results are immediate. If you have time for faxing, below is a sample letter you can change to fit your situation, or just write your own brief note. We need everyone possible to get involved—in-laws, neighbors, friends, and anyone else you can think of. Send this action alert to everyone in your address book. This is their best chance. WE MUST STOP THEM! We will send out updates on the situation on Capitol Hill as we receive them. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Dear Senator _________: VOTE YES to helping vaccine-injured children and NO to pharmaceutical companies. I am aware of at least ten bills that already contain language that will severely limit the rights of my injured child and understand that even more bills are being targeted for similar provisions and will be slipped in like the Homeland Security Provisions. If any one of these bills is allowed to pass, my child’s right to have his day in court will forever vanish, all in the name of corporate greed. As a citizen, voter and parent of a vaccine-injured child, I am appalled at the overwhelming amount of legislation currently on the table that will allow complete immunity to the very industry that has caused tremendous pain to my entire family. I urge you to place the interests of injured children above those of the pharmaceutical industry. Along with hundreds of thousands of voters across the country, I realize that an industry already known for placing profit over safety will no longer have any incentive whatsoever to be concerned about injuries from their products should any of these various bills pass. All of us parents of vaccine-injured children[...]



Compensation and safety essential to immunization

Tue, 15 Nov 2005 13:44:04 PST

By Rep. Dave Weldon (R-Fla.)The HillThe year: 1976. The last time our nation faced the serious threat of a nationwide flu epidemic.The administration mobilized the vaccine industry, Congress provided liability protection, and more than 150 million doses of swine-flu vaccine were produced to inoculate all Americans.Only three weeks into that vaccination campaign, the city of Pittsburgh suspended all vaccinations because of public fears that the deaths of three elderly vaccine recipients were linked to the vaccine. As nationwide reports of other adverse reactions surfaced, the nation’s vaccination campaign came to a screeching halt after only a fraction of Americans had been immunized.Fortunately, the deadly swine-flu epidemic in 1976 never materialized. Though most Americans did not receive a swine-flu vaccination, only one death was attributed to swine flu.For today, the question is: What lessons have we learned from history should an avian flu pandemic hit our nation in the next few years? Will we escape as easily?The administration’s influenza-pandemic preparedness plan involves expanding vaccine manufacturing capacity and stockpiling essential medical supplies, including anti-viral drugs. As was the case in 1976, an essential component of this preparedness plan involves liability protection for vaccine manufacturers.However, we in Congress must recognize that by indemnifying manufacturers we are assuming responsibility for problems that will undoubtedly emerge in the course of seeking to protect Americans under such extraordinary circumstances. We must accept this responsibility with integrity by (1) ensuring that the safety of pandemic countermeasures is independently researched and reviewed and (2) by providing fair compensation for individuals who experience adverse reactions to the vaccines or drugs they receive.Liability protection for industry must be accompanied by an independent, robust vaccine-safety research program and a fair compensation program prior to an outbreak of pandemic influenza. This will help give both the manufacturers and the public the confidence they need to participate fully in our nation’s preparedness plans. Had all of these elements been in place before undertaking the swine-flu vaccination program in 1976, that program might not have been terminated.Research later demonstrated that the 1976 deaths of the three elderly vaccine recipients from Pittsburgh were unrelated to the vaccine, but the data emerged far too late to salvage the vaccine campaign. Investing now in a robust and independent vaccine-safety infrastructure, like that contained in H.R. 4245, will provide the tools necessary for answering future public concerns more thoroughly and efficiently.The swine-flu vaccination campaign was also undermined by nationwide reports of a rare neurological condition known as Gullian-Barré syndrome (GBS) in vaccine recipients. A scientifically credible research enterprise dedicated to understanding the varied responses to vaccines and other countermeasures may allow us to better discern genuine adverse reactions. Developing screening tools to identify those most at risk for adverse reactions will further assure the public that the federal government is taking these safety issues seriously.Furthermore, considering the growing concerns that some Americans have about routine vaccinations, we must recognize that building public confidence requires that the countermeasure-safety research program be completely independent of those recommending and adminis[...]



Americans must trust vaccines for avian-flu plan to be a success

Tue, 15 Nov 2005 00:53:22 PST

By Rep. Dan Burton (R-Ind.) The HillOn Sept. 14, 2005, during the high-level plenary meeting of the United Nations General Assembly, President Bush announced the creation of the International Partnership on Avian and Pandemic Influenza.In a continued response to the growing concerns of a pandemic, two weeks ago President Bush made another critically important and timely speech before the National Institutes of Health on “Safeguarding America Against Pandemic Influenza.” In his speech, the president laid out a national strategy to prepare for and hopefully prevent an outbreak of the deadly H5N1 virus strain of the avian flu, better known as the bird flu.The president outlined a $7.1 billion proposal builds upon three decisive steps that the government and the citizens of the United States must take to ensure that America is fully prepared to deal with the threat of a pandemic. I applaud the president’s steadfast leadership and commitment to America’s health, and now members of Congress have the responsibility to review the plan and move swiftly to enact the most effective preparedness measures we can in order to address this threat.However, I’m concerned that the administration’s proposal did not go far enough to address one critically important question — namely, what do we do if a vaccine causes dangerous side-effects and ends up injuring millions of Americans? The president did discuss the need for tort reform to protect the domestic vaccine industry as key to ensuring America’s safety, but he didn’t address the reasons behind the lawsuits, namely the injuries caused by vaccines.Members of Congress must remember that the vast majority of lawsuits brought against the vaccine industry are a result of the thousands of Americans who have been injured or who are currently suffering from vaccine-related illnesses. Furthermore, recent studies indicate that more than half of pediatricians have encountered at least one family that has refused all vaccines, while 85 percent said they’d had a parent turn down at least one shot. Whether it’s because of fear that mercury, used as a preservative in childhood and adult vaccines, causes autism and other neurological disorders or that the dangers of immunizations far outweigh their benefits, the facts are clear: More and more American families fear immunization.While many still dispute the science, I firmly believe that some of the concerns of parents — particularly concerns about the mercury-based preservative known as thimerosal found in many vaccines — are well-founded. While chairman of the Government Reform and Oversight Committee (1997-2002) and as chairman of the Subcommittee on Human Rights and Wellness (2003-2005), I held numerous hearings involving the vaccine industry’s use of mercury in vaccines.Based upon credible scientific evidence, we concluded that there was a biologically plausible, almost unequivocal linkage between mercury in vaccines and the increase in autism rates throughout America. And the facts bear this out. In the 1980s, roughly 1 in 10,000 American children were diagnosed with an autism-spectrum disorder. Today, that number has risen to 1 in 166, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.When we laid out our scientifically based conclusions, I personally pleaded with the pharmaceutical companies, even speaking with many of their CEOs, about the need to remove all traces of mercury from their vaccines and to support reform of the National Vaccine Inj[...]



Americans must trust vaccines for avian-flu plan to be a success

Wed, 16 Nov 2005 05:45:54 PST

By Rep. Dan Burton (R-Ind.)The HillOn Sept. 14, 2005, during the high-level plenary meeting of the United Nations General Assembly, President Bush announced the creation of the International Partnership on Avian and Pandemic Influenza.In a continued response to the growing concerns of a pandemic, two weeks ago President Bush made another critically important and timely speech before the National Institutes of Health on “Safeguarding America Against Pandemic Influenza.” In his speech, the president laid out a national strategy to prepare for and hopefully prevent an outbreak of the deadly H5N1 virus strain of the avian flu, better known as the bird flu.The president outlined a $7.1 billion proposal builds upon three decisive steps that the government and the citizens of the United States must take to ensure that America is fully prepared to deal with the threat of a pandemic. I applaud the president’s steadfast leadership and commitment to America’s health, and now members of Congress have the responsibility to review the plan and move swiftly to enact the most effective preparedness measures we can in order to address this threat.However, I’m concerned that the administration’s proposal did not go far enough to address one critically important question — namely, what do we do if a vaccine causes dangerous side-effects and ends up injuring millions of Americans? The president did discuss the need for tort reform to protect the domestic vaccine industry as key to ensuring America’s safety, but he didn’t address the reasons behind the lawsuits, namely the injuries caused by vaccines.Members of Congress must remember that the vast majority of lawsuits brought against the vaccine industry are a result of the thousands of Americans who have been injured or who are currently suffering from vaccine-related illnesses. Furthermore, recent studies indicate that more than half of pediatricians have encountered at least one family that has refused all vaccines, while 85 percent said they’d had a parent turn down at least one shot. Whether it’s because of fear that mercury, used as a preservative in childhood and adult vaccines, causes autism and other neurological disorders or that the dangers of immunizations far outweigh their benefits, the facts are clear: More and more American families fear immunization.While many still dispute the science, I firmly believe that some of the concerns of parents — particularly concerns about the mercury-based preservative known as thimerosal found in many vaccines — are well-founded. While chairman of the Government Reform and Oversight Committee (1997-2002) and as chairman of the Subcommittee on Human Rights and Wellness (2003-2005), I held numerous hearings involving the vaccine industry’s use of mercury in vaccines.Based upon credible scientific evidence, we concluded that there was a biologically plausible, almost unequivocal linkage between mercury in vaccines and the increase in autism rates throughout America. And the facts bear this out. In the 1980s, roughly 1 in 10,000 American children were diagnosed with an autism-spectrum disorder. Today, that number has risen to 1 in 166, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.When we laid out our scientifically based conclusions, I personally pleaded with the pharmaceutical companies, even speaking with many of their CEOs, about the need to remove all traces of mercury from their vaccines and to support reform o[...]



Autism: Genetic Disorder Or Mercury Poisoning?

Tue, 15 Nov 2005 13:40:29 PST

Lindsay Puccio
Charlottesville Newsplex

1.5 million children are affected by autism in the United States, but nobody is certain exactly where it comes from.

Autism is defined as a developmental disability that by age three will effect children's non-verbal and verbal communication.

But, the question that has yet to be answered is how these seemingly perfect children come down with such a debilitating disorder?

Dr. Sue Anderson said years of population studies have shown that it's in their genes.

"There seems to be a genetic component. We know there are some families in which more than one child is affected or first degree relatives are affected," said Dr. Anderson, of the Kluge Children's Hospital.

The President of the Virginia Chapter of the National Autism Association said it's absurd to think that this disorder is only caused by genes.

"There is no way for there to be a genetic epidemic, it's just impossible because it takes too many generations for there to be a jump from 1 in 20,000 kids to 1 in 166 kids today having Autism," said Kathy Young.

That number includes her own daughter, Anna. At 15 months old she started showing the signs of Autism.

"At three [years old] this is when she was kind of the sickest. [She] started withdrawing, started isolating herself. She started doing repetitive behaviors like opening and closing doors," said Young.

Young attributes her daughters Autism to something environmental - mercury poisoning. Thimerasol, which is a mercury mixture, was put in children's vaccines so they can be inexpensively mass produced and during a 4 year period the number of Thimerasol filled vaccines increased from 8 to 20.

"1989 to 1992 was when we started to get three times as much mercury as you were getting in the years before," said Dr. Kyle Van Dyke, a Pediatrician.

More scientific evidence based research has been collected and those studies suggest Autism is caused by a combination of the two.

"The research that we're seeing now would seem to indicate that Autism is a disease characterized by a genetic pre-disposition with an environmental insult," said Dr. Van Dyke.

Like his son, Ryan, it is thought that some children are born with a pre-disposition for not being able to get rid of toxins in their body - and all it took was a shot filled with mercury to act as a trigger.

Parents and physicians alike, all agree there needs to be more research done to find the true culprit. But there have been changes made in the meantime. By Congress' recommendation in 1999, Thimerasol was taken out of children's vaccines. Currently, there are several lawsuits pending regarding the government's knowledge of Thimerasol's side effects.

What Young wants isn't a fight, she just wants the truth.

"I truly just want it to come out, I want it to stop so that we can get treatment for our child and so no other family has to go through this," said Young.

Thimerasol continues to be put vaccines including flu shots. A recent California study shows the number of children being diagnosed with Autism has declined in recent years.



The Age of Autism: Showdown in Santa Fe

Mon, 14 Nov 2005 13:09:11 PST

By DAN OLMSTEDUPI Senior EditorA pediatrician had an appointment Monday with the New Mexico Board of Pharmacy to deliver a blunt message: Its members need to warn state residents that the mercury in flu shots could be harmful to children -- or risk being remembered for failing to do their job.The request by Dr. Kenneth Stoller, an assistant clinical professor of pediatrics at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine, opens a new front in an escalating war over the use of a mercury-based preservative in medical products. He is medical director of the Hyperbaric Medical Center of New Mexico and uses hyperbaric oxygen to treat autism.Six states -- including heavyweights New York, California and Illinois -- have banned the preservative, called thimerosal, from vaccines intended for children and pregnant women. It has been voluntarily phased out of most childhood immunizations but remains in most flu shots.The American Academy of Pediatrics opposes an outright ban, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has declined to express a preference for the thimerosal-free version of the flu vaccine.The dynamics are complicated, but the basic issue is whether it's reasonable to fear that thimerosal might cause autism. Stoller says it is; the AAP and the CDC say it is not."There is an acute public health issue that very few understand even though several states have banned or limited the use of vaccines containing thimerosal," says a copy of Stoller's speech he provided Age of Autism. "In the months and years to come this iatrogenic (doctor-induced) poisoning of Americans and New Mexicans will be fully understood and what you decide to do here today will be noted in the not too distant future."We have a responsibility to perform here and the Board of Pharmacy has the regulatory power to perform it," he said. "I am requesting that you issue an immediate advisory so that all New Mexicans who desire to receive the current flu vaccine receive information about what is being injected as there has been a labeling omission (violation). And lastly, I request that you prohibit the use of this flu vaccine that contains thimerosal to all pregnant woman and children under 50 pounds."Stoller's concern is emphatically not shared by the physicians group, which has opposed such a ban in other states. Before New York Gov. George Pataki signed a thimerosal ban in August, a state chapter of the AAP urged its rejection."This bill, designed to protect individuals from alleged adverse effects of thimerosal which contains ethyl mercury, is completely unnecessary," said the AAP statement. "To legislate based on fear and misinformation is an anathema to those of us who work tirelessly for the health and welfare of our communities."To enact this legislation implies that the vaccines that have virtually eradicated many diseases, constituting one of the greatest public health accomplishments of the past century, are dangerous. This bill denigrates our informed scientific and medical communities while supporting all of the anti-vaccine factions in our society. This legislation potentially jeopardizes our most vulnerable communities."The CDC says concerns about thimerosal have been allayed by numerous studies. "As the Institute of Medicine concluded in a recent report, the vast majority of studies, which have involved hundreds of thousands of children in a number of countries, have failed to find any ass[...]