In respect of the report that certain TDs are demanding special education classes for autistic children, I recall that some years ago, the Irish Independent reported that the National Adult Literacy Agency claimed that more that 400,000 people in this country had some level of difficulty in reading and writing and that the problem is causing an amount of alarm.
Included were an increasing number of brain-damaged autistic children euphemistically classed as "slow learners". Autism is still on the increase worldwide, and nobody is asking why. We should be concerned about prevention and not education and we no longer can ignore the pharmaceutical link to autism and other infant disorders since the dangers of mercury in infant vaccines
have been known for decades. In the US, where vaccination is compulsory, autism is now an epidemic with an increase of 1,354pc and $90bn (€59.4bn) annual health care costs.
In 1976, one in 10,000 children were diagnosed with autism. By the year 2004 the figure was an one in 166.
Mercury is extremely dangerous to vulnerable infants. We need to bear in mind that when the Hep B and HiB vaccines were added to the recommended schedule of infant jabs the cumulative amount of mercury to which infants were exposed nearly tripled.
At the 2004 Autism One Conference in Chicago, Jeff Sell, the personal injury trial attorney on behalf of vaccine injury litigants, produced a copy of an email written on June 29, 1999 by a former scientist for the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Peter Patriarca, which stated:
"I will raise questions about FDA being 'asleep at the switch' for decades, by allowing a potentially hazardous compound to remain in many infant vaccines, and not forcing vaccine firms to exclude it from new products. I will also raise questions about various advisory bodies' aggressive recommendations for use.
"We must keep in mind that the dose of ethyl mercury was not generated by 'rocket science'; conversion of the percentage of Thimerosal to actual micrograms of mercury involves 9th-grade algebra."
PATRICK J CARROLL
I dashed off a quick comment, working to keep it less than 1000 characters as mandated by their software.
1. Autistic people are neither 'brain damaged' nor necessarily, 'slow learners.'
2. The evidence shows that actual autism rates are not increasing.
3. The diagnostic criteria for autism were widened between 1976 and 2004, meaning more people are eligible for the autism label.
4. The proponents of a vaccine link to autism have no evidence to back this claim. Many large scientific studies have failed to make such a connection. The 'Archives of Disease in Childhood' Feb 2008 paper by Baird et al shows no evidence of an MMR-autism link.
5. Thiomersal is no longer used in childhood vaccines in Ireland, or in the USA. It has never been used in the MMR vaccine.
6. The ethyl mercury in thiomersal, is quickly excreted. (see Paediatrics, Feb 2008)
7. A 9 year old email of questionable veracity is of no relevance to these issues.
8. Mercury poisoning bears no resemblance to autism.
9. More children are getting preventable infectious diseases as vaccination rates decrease. Sadly, some die.
If space had allowed, I'm sure I'm sure I could have come up with more. But perhaps it's best I didn't get the opportunity to express what I really think of Mr Carroll's correspondence. It wouldn't have been too lady-like.