Thursday, March 10, 2005


Ooh, I hate when this happens: they killed a bill in the Nebraska Unicameral Wednesday that would have gone a long way toward preventing autism and other learning disabilities, and a world of hurt for children and their families. What, are these big shots on drugs? Well . . . kind of, sort of.

The Health and Human Services Committee axed LB 569, sponsored by Sen. Dave Landis. It would have banned mercury and other heavy metals from childhood immunizations the way the States of California and Iowa have done, and many other states are about to.

As GoBigEd reported on Feb. 14 and Feb. 24, it is becoming more and more apparent that the presence of mercury in the vaccine preservative, thimerosal, is connected to the hideous spike in the rate of autism. That’s especially among boys.

It is thought that the mercury may also be related to the explosion in other learning disabilities, such as Attention Deficit Disorder / Hyperactivity. (See

Even though I have four girls, I’m still concerned because these are my future sons-in-law, and I want them healthy. I’m kidding: we’re talking about a significant portion of an entire generation here, since the government requires immunizations and very few people opt their children out.

We all know the fiscal and operational impact autism and other learning disabilities are having on our schools. Eww, eww, ewwwwww.

In the olden days, kids would get three, maybe four, total vaccination shots. But now, with the flu vaccines and all the rest, we’re going on 20. Shot after shot after shot, and even if each contains only a small amount of mercury, it has a cumulative effect. Itty bitty baby bodies can’t take much when there’s mercury involved, and apparently boys’ testosterone allows it to be more toxic than it is in girls’ bodies for the most part.

Anyway, all of this is obvious to everyone who looks in to it except . . . maybe politicians who receive campaign contributions from individuals and firms that depend on Big Pharma’s health-care dollars?

I’m just kidding when I said those politicians were “on drugs.” But drug companies, who have the most to lose if there are mega-lawsuits over the mercury-containing immunizations, do have a huge impact in political decision-making. They give research grants, political contributions, important jobs and other perks, to technically put politicians and others “on drugs” in terms of being finely-tuned to Big Pharma’s needs.

Now, I doubt sincerely that the Big Pharma companies have given directly to these committee members, who include some of the Legislature’s best people, including Sen. Jim Jensen of Omaha and Sen. Philip Erdman of Bayard.

But the influence of the pharmaceutical companies spreads far beyond direct donations to political war chests. Think of the grants to state university medical centers, and the pressure Big Pharma can put on doctors and owners of medical facilities such as hospitals and nursing homes to make things go their way. They, in turn, influence lawmakers. So indirectly, Big Pharma is one of the most powerful forces in politics on local, state and national levels.

So we have another typical situation where the grassroots little guys and gals can see clearly that banning mercury would help kids learn better, make teachers’ jobs easier, make the classroom a better place for kids who DON’T have learning disabilities because there’d be fewer kids who DO, and save beaucoup bucks for taxpayers in preventing autism and other difficult syndromes . . . but for whatever the reason, and that reason is green, the decision-makers don’t see those things.

Oh, well. Maybe next year.

In the meantime, parents, before your child’s next immunization appointment, call ahead and ask that the vaccine not contain any mercury. None! Alternatives are available.

Just to be sure, when you get there, before that needle pierces your precious child’s skin, ask to see the labeling information that came with the vaccination, and check it for “thimerosal.” Sometimes the pediatric staff doesn’t even realize it’s in there.

Parents are the ones most responsible for preserving their child’s future learning capabilities and lifetime productivity. Here’s one way you can do that. And let your elected officials know about mercury’s ill effects. You might just give a . . . shot in the arm . . . to the fight against learning disabilities.

Hi, Susan;
This really hits home, as my husband and I have a grandson who is 15 and autistic now. I remember the day it happened, as clear as day. He was 13, and he was going to start back to school in the fall. Was told he needed a MMR shot first, and he was given it. Came to visit us later that day, sicker than a dog and quite feverish.
He has never been the same since that day. Went from an active happy-go-lucky 13 yo to a withdrawn, skinny, pale boy who interacts only with one person in this entire world. Another boy his age. Not mother, grandparents, sisters, brothers, teachers, nada!
I am very sorry to read about this. I urge you to contact former Nebraskan Linda Weinmaster, LWeinmaster@sunflower.com, for some great advice on how to help him. One option might be chelation to get rid of the mercury in his body. Please keep me posted on his progress, and hang in there.
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