Can poison make you healthier?
Shocking news that might change American medicine forever
I’m not above eating crow if a situation calls for it. I don’t think I have to get out my knife and fork just yet, but there has been some interesting-even shocking-news lately about the role of mercury in vaccines. Up until now, I’ve been operating under the knowledge that mercury is a toxin that goes to the brain and tens of millions of children have been injected with it. I thought “How could the mainstream be so irresponsible and callous?” You can argue against immunization on a scientific level, but the mercury-poisoning kicker makes them look downright insane, if not evil.
A colleague of mine who is well-qualified chemically and medically made the following remarks on this issue: “I don’t like mercury, and I do believe that it sometimes causes problems. It has become an emotional issue, however, creating a mass fear-based hysteria among parents of autistic children and a whole population of patients with multiple chemical sensitivities, yeast- related problems, neurological diseases of unknown cause, chronic fatigue, etc., and even among alternative practitioners and greenie bureaucrats who should know better.”
Guess I was among those ranks of people who should have known better, because now it looks like the “mercury-is-bad” theory might have to be put in the trash can of greenie propaganda, along with “DDT-is-bad” and “the-Amazon-is-shrinking.” New research suggests that the mercury added to the shots, thimerosal, may not be a threat in the small dose present in immunizations.
Have we cut off our nose to spite our face?
The first piece of news we should address is a study that measured the levels of mercury in the blood of infants who received thimerosal-containing vaccinations. In an interview, lead researcher Dr. Michael Pichichero said “we looked at the [blood] level of mercury in children who received thimerosal-containing vaccines. Not a single child had a blood mercury level approaching the lower safety limit established by the EPA.”
Apparently, the mercury is metabolized and eliminated from the body very quickly, so it’s not there long enough to cause problems.
Thimerosal was initially added to vaccines as a preservative. But when questions about its safety came into play, it was removed and replaced with other preservatives. Now that we know we might have been wrong about thimerosal, attention is turning to the safety of the replacements.
Dr. Pichichero said: “The potential toxicity of using newer preservatives is unknown. The new preservatives in U.S. vaccines are presumed to be safe [but] I don’t know the extent of background research supporting this presumption.”
The decision to remove thimerosal from American vaccines was entirely political, based on pressure from doctor organizations like the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and lay groups with great passion and inadequate data, if any. The zero tolerance philosophy drives them, the AAP and other know-nothing organizations, to make irrational demands and propagate fear, both of which end up hurting us all. The result of this fiasco? Higher costs for all vaccines and added unknown risks because of new, unproven preservatives now being used. The rest of the world will continue to enjoy the benefits of thimerosal while we are exposed to unknown risks.
Yes, you read that last part right-I did say “benefits of thimerosal.” Another recent study shows that not only is thimerosal in vaccines not dangerous, but it actually might improve the health of infants who receive it.
The secret to great health could be a scientific theory you’ve never heard of
Dr. Dennis Jones of the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry in Atlanta recently presented findings from a study of 100,000 infants. All of those infants were given a mercury-containing vaccine. Dr. Jones reported that this very low-level of mercury exposure actually lessened the children’s chances of developing neurological problems and other diseases.
It has been said that this small dose of mercury in the shots strengthens the case for homeopathy. But actually, this theory is called hormesis, and it’s gaining more and more support in scientific circles. I know you probably aren’t losing any sleep over this issue, but it is really important to understand the difference between a healthful additive and a dangerous contaminant.
Hormesis is based on the idea that poisonous substances can stimulate the immune system-sort of “waking it up” so the result is even better health than if the poison had never been introduced into the system. This differs from homeopathy in a number of ways, but, for simplicity’s sake, I’ll just share a couple of the main ones right now. First, homeopathic remedies are always used to treat a problem, while hormesis can be preventive. And, the toxin doses in homeopathic remedies are extremely small. Hormesis, on the other hand, requires higher exposure levels. This is what makes it so controversial-finding the right dosages that will help you, not kill you, is a gamble not many people are willing to take.
But with the news about thimerosal, I think we’ll be hearing a lot more about hormesis. For now, this issue isn’t settled and I’m not selling out-or eating crow. But I think I’ll lay off thimerosal until further review. RH
“Mercury concentrations and metabolism in infants receiving vaccines containing thiomersal: a descriptive study,” Lancet 2002; 360(9,347): 1,737-1,741
“Is Radiation Good for You?” Discover 2002; 23(12)
“Mercury in Vaccines: A Newsmaker Interview with Michael E. Pichichero, M.D.” Medscape (www.medscape.com), 12/3/02