by Sayer Ji
A controversial new study published in Biomed Research International titled, "Methodological Issues and Evidence of Malfeasance in Research Purporting to Show Thimerosal in Vaccines Is Safe," has exposed convincing evidence of wrong-doing on the part of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in actively covering up the causal link between mercury in vaccines (Thimerosal) and harm to infants and children.
According to the review, "There are over 165 studies that have focused on Thimerosal, an organic mercury (Hg) based compound, used as a preservative in many childhood vaccines, and found it to be harmful. Of these, 16 were conducted to specifically examine the effects of Thimerosal on human infants or children with reported outcomes of death; acrodynia; poisoning; allergic reaction; malformations; auto-immune reaction; Well's syndrome; developmental delay; and neurodevelopmental disorders, including tics, speech delay, language delay, attention deficit disorder, and autism." [references for the 16 studies can be found here: #3-16]
While the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states there is "no relationship between [T]himerosal[-]containing vaccines and autism rates in children," the researchers pointed out that a study conducted by CDC epidemiologists found a 7.6-fold increased risk of autism from exposure to Thimerosal during infancy.
Moreover, "The CDC's current stance that Thimerosal is safe and that there is no relationship between Thimerosal and autism is based on six specific published epidemiological studies coauthored and sponsored by the CDC.
Owing to this glaring contradiction the review sought out to examine closely these six CDC conducted studies to find out how their results conflict with the findings of 75+ years of past research performed by multiple independent research groups that did find clear evidence of harm.
A closer look at the review
The review references 16 studies that show Thimerosal exposure is associated with the subsequent diagnosis of neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism. This brings to the fore the obvious question: 'how does the CDC conclude that there is no evidence of that relationship?' According to the review, there 6 studies the CDC references which deny the link:
"These studies include (1) the Madsen et al. ecological study of autism incidence versus Thimerosal exposure in Denmark, (2) the Stehr-Green et al. ecological study of autism incidence versus Thimerosal exposure in Denmark, Sweden, and California, (3) the Hviid et al. study of autism incidence versus Thimerosal exposure in Denmark (also ecological), (4) the Andrews et al. cohort study of autism incidence and Thimerosal exposure in the United Kingdom, (5) the published Verstraeten et al  CDC cohort study of autism incidence and Thimerosal exposure in the United States, and (6) the more recent Price et al. case-control study of autism incidence and Thimerosal exposure in the United States. Although the CDC cites several other publications to purport the safety of Thimerosal, only these six specifically consider its putative relationship to autism." The review of these six studies found that there were serious methodological issues present, listed as follows:
The reviewers pointed out that all but one of these CDC 'commissioned' studies were likely influenced by conflict-of-interest/malfeasance, owing to their consistent methodological errors, their running contrary the body of evidence showing mercury in vaccines do harm, and the implications their questionable results have for the CDC's aggressive pro-vaccine agenda: "[F]ive of the publications examined in this review were directly commissioned by the CDC, raising the possible issue of conflict of interests or research bias, since vaccine promotion is a central mission of the CDC. Conceivably, if serious neurological disorders are found to be related to Thimerosal in vaccines, such findings could possibly be viewed as damaging to the vaccine program."
The only CDC-sponsored study that found a clear link between mercury in vaccines and neurodevelopmental disorders including autism -- The Verstraeten et al. (2003) Study -- had 5 phases, with each successive phase seemingly manipulated to show less harm. Email evidence obtained through the US Freedom of Information Act of 1950 also indicates that lead researcher may have been pressured to water down the study results.
The study's five phases:
In the first phase, a subset of medical records were obtained from databases for several of the HMOs whose records were maintained in a central data repository, the Vaccine Safety Datalink: "Results from the first phase of the study released in an internal presentation abstract by Verstraeten et al.  (mentioned earlier) using records from four (4) HMOs showed that infants who were exposed to greater than 25μg of Hg in vaccines and immunoglobulins at the age of one month were 7.6 times more likely to have an autism diagnosis than those not exposed to any vaccine-derived organic Hg. Within the same abstract, Verstraeten reports that the risk for any neurodevelopmental disorder was 1.8, the risk for speech disorder was 2.1, and the risk for nonorganic sleep disorder was 5.0. All relative risks were statistically significant.
"In the second phase of the study, a different approach was taken: exposure was compared at 3 months of age, rather than one month. Results of this phase showed that children exposed to the maximum amount of organic Hg in infant vaccines (62.5 μg) were 2.48 times more likely to have autism diagnosis compared to those exposed to less than 37.5 μg of Hg in vaccines. These results were also statistically significant. No assessment against a "no exposure" control was apparently completed in this study phase."
"In the third phase of the study, in which more data stratification methods and different inclusion/exclusion criteria were applied to the analysis, the relative risk of autism for children at three months of Thimerosal exposure dropped to 1.69. At this point, evidence in an email from Verstraeten, the lead investigator, written to a colleague outside of the CDC (obtained by the authors via the US Freedom of Information Act of 1950 as amended), suggests that Verstraeten could have been receiving pressure within the CDC to apply unsound statistical methods to deny a causal relationship between Thimerosal and autism. In this email, Verstraeten states (Figure 1), "I do not wish to be the advocate of the anti-vaccine lobby and sound like being convinced that thimerosal is or was harmful, but at least I feel we should use sound scientific argumentation and not let our standards be dictated by our desire to disprove an unpleasant theory."
The fourth and fifth phase of the study used records from only two of the original HMOs and incorporated a third HMO, Harvard Pilgrim, into the analysis. Some critics of the study questioned the use of Harvard Pilgrim, as this HMO appeared to be riddled with uncertain record keeping practices, and the state of Massachusetts had been forced to take it over after it declared bankruptcy. In addition, the HMO used different diagnostic codes than the other two HMOs used in phases 2 and 3. Other criticisms include that the study used younger children, from 0 to 3 years of age, even though the average age for an autism diagnosis at the time was 4.4 years. Since half of the children receiving an autism diagnosis would be over 4.4 years of age, far greater than the maximum age in the study at 3 years, this analysis excluded more than 50% of all autism cases from this HMO. Also, the cohort from this HMO contained 7 times fewer individuals than the main cohort from the previous study (i.e., HMO B), and there was no apparent attempt to assess the power of this HMO to show any statistically significant effect."
Clearly, this new review indicates what is on the line when it comes to the clear and present danger associated with injecting mercury into infants and children, over and above the already questionable practice of injecting hundreds of active and 'inactive' vaccine antigens into our offspring at their most critical and sensitive developmental window. The conventional medical establishment still maintains that there is a scientific consensus on mercury's safety in vaccines, despite the fact that it began to be phased out from the routine vaccination schedule in the United Sates, European Union, and other affluent countries, in 2005, in order to assuage popular and presumably irrational fears among irrational parents and so called 'anti-vaxxers.'
The fact that autism and autism spectrum disorder diagnoses have continued to expand, despite Thimerosal's 'precautionary' phase out in 2001 in the 'developed world,' is often used as 'evidence' that mercury was never a contributing factor. What may be more salient is the phase out reflected a tacit acknowledgment that Thimerosal was indeed a factor in the accumulating evidence for unintended, adverse health effects of vaccines. Also, mounting research now points to substituted vaccine adjuvants like aluminum hydroxide continuing to contribute to an epidemic of autoimmunity in immunized populations, including damage to the nervous system consistent with an explanation for vaccine-induced autism and related neurodevelopmental conditions.
What this study shows is there was never a consensus on its safety, but rather smoke in mirrors generated in response to a signal of harm. And insofar as the CDC appears to have actively manipulated the results it uses as 'evidence' to support its hardline policies and increasingly obvious agenda of mandatory vaccination, we owe it to ourselves to continue to exercise extreme caution in defaulting to faith in 'authority' over the scientific evidence and commonsense itself.