The United Methodist Church Resolves to Protect Children from Mercury in Drugs - Page 2

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The United Methodist Church Resolves to Protect Children from Mercury in Drugs
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Of particular concern to the church is the demonstrated toxicity of mercury. In addition, the parents of mercury-injured children were especially troubled by the government’s inaction on the issue of infant exposure to thimerosal in vaccines: “Thimerosal used as a preservative in vaccines is likely related to the autism epidemic. This epidemic in all probability may have been prevented or curtailed had the FDA not been asleep at the switch regarding the lack of safety data regarding injected thimerosal and the sharp rise of infant exposure to this known neurotoxin. Our public health agencies’ failure to act is indicative of institutional malfeasance for self-protection and misplaced protection-ism of the pharmaceutical industry.”

“I hasten to add, however, that based on the publicly available information…it appears there may be sufficient evidence to find a substantial likelihood of a substantial and specific danger to the public health caused by the use of thimerosal/ mercury in vaccines because of its inherent toxicity.”

The United Methodist Church is also concerned about the denial of informed consent whenever mercury is administered as a part of a pharmaceutical product to any patient, especially an unborn or newborn child. Finally, there is one other fascinating aspect of United Methodism’s landmark involvement in this issue: the Simpsonwood Meeting which took place June 7–8, 2000. At this meeting, which was held at Simpsonwood United Methodist Retreat Center, carefully selected members of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Food and Drug Administration, the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, and the World Health Organization, met with representatives of the pharmaceutical industry behind closed doors. Without any notice in the federal register, this meeting was called to discuss the Verstraeten Study (named after its lead author) which showed an association between the mercury children received in their vaccines and several serious harmful outcomes. The Simpsonwood meeting was held 3 weeks before congressional investigative hearings into the conflicts of interest between pharmaceutical companies and government agencies, like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) began. Vaccine safety advocates, who oppose the use of mercury in vaccines, have long charged that the meeting which took place at Simpsonwood was illegal and collusive. Because of a transcript obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, the public is becoming increasingly aware that those attending the meeting expressed great alarm behind closed doors about thimerosal-containing vaccines:

“…we have found statistically significant relationships between the exposures and outcomes… First, for two months of age, an unspecified developmental delay… Exposure at three months of age, tics. Exposure at six months of age, an attention deficit disorder. Exposure at one, three and six months of age, language and speech delays… Exposure at one, three and six months of age, the entire category of neurodevelopmental delays, which includes all of these plus anumber of other disorders.”

—Dr. Thomas Verstraeten, CDC.

“(the study) leads me to favor a recommendation that infants up to two years old not be immunized with thimerosal containing vaccines… My gut feeling? It worries me enough. Forgive this personal comment, but I got called out at eight o’clock, and my daughter-in-law delivered a son. Our first male in the next generation, and I do not want that grandson to get a thimerosal-containing vaccine until we know better what is going on.”

—Dr. Richard Johnston, University of Colorado.

Before the Verstraeten study was presented to the Institute of Medicine in 2001 and 2004, it was revised multiple times, until the associations between mercury and these adverse outcomes disappeared.

The General Conference resolution is a first step toward addressing what happened at Simpsonwood, and more importantly, it is a first step toward addressing what is happening to the children in an age when 1 in every 150 children is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder and 1 in every 6 children now has a developmental disorder or a behavioral problem. To weary advocates, especially the parents of mercury-injured children who have often despaired that the public would ever learn the truth about mercury in medicine, the General Conference resolution has given real and tangible hope.

Pathways Issue 21 CoverThis article appeared in Pathways to Family Wellness magazine, Issue #21.

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