House Rules

I’m reading the book “House Rules” by Jodi Picoult. I’ve just started, but already a few pages have taken by breath away. It’s as if she took the words right out of my mouth: (quoted from her character Emma)

“Ask the mom of one autistic kid if vaccines had anything to do with her child’s condition, and she will vehemently tell you yes. Ask another, and she’ll will vehemently tell you no. The jury’s still out, literally. Even though a handful of parents have sued the govenment — alleging that vaccinations caused their children’s autism — I haven’t gotten my class action suit check in the mail, and I’m not banking on it.
Here are the facts:
1. In 1988, the Centers for Disease Control recommended a change to infant immunizations schedules in America, adding three hepatitis B shots (including one at birth) and three haemophilis B shots, all given before the baby is six months old.
2. Drug companies stepped up to the challenge by providing multiple-dose containers of vaccines preserved with thimerosal, an antibacterial made up of 49 percent ethyl mercury.
3. Although the effects of mercury poisoning had been identified in the 1940s, the Food and Drug Administration and the CDC didn’t consider the effects of the dosage that newborns would receive because of these shots. The drug companies didn’t raise a red flag, either, even though the new regimen meant an average two-month-old at a well-baby checkup got a single-day dose of mercury one hundred times greater than the government’s longterm safe exposure level.
4. The symptomology of autism looks an awful lot like the symptomology of mercury poisoning. To give you an example: when scientists studied the migration of mercury into the primate brains, they noticed that the primates began to avoid eye contact.
5. Between 1999 and 2002, thimerosal was quietly removed from the majority of childhood vaccines.

There’s the opposing argument, too. That ethyl mercury — the kind in the vaccines — leaves the body faster than methyl mercury, the kind that is a poison. That in spite of the fact that most vaccines are now mercury-free, autism is still on the rise. That the CDC, the World Health Organization, and the Institute of Medicine completed five large studies, none of which have found a link between vaccines and autism. Those facts are compelling, but the next one is all I needed to convince me there’s some sort of connection:

1. My son looked like any other two-year-old until he had a round of shots that included DTaP, Hib, and hepatitis B.

I don’t think it’s a casual link. After all, out of 100 children receiving the same vaccine schedule, 99 will never become autistic. But just like we probably all have markers for cancer in our genes, if you smoke two packs a day you’re more likely to develop it than if you don’t. Kids with a certain predisposition in their genes can’t get rid of mercury as easily as most of us can and, as a result, wind up on the spectrum.

I’m not one of those parents who swings so far to the other side that she eschews immunization…. in my opinion, the benefits of vaccination still outweigh the risks.
I believe in vaccines, I do. I just believe in spreading them out.”

Amen to Jodi Picoult and her character Emma. Well written on behalf of thousands raising children with autism.


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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. Sounds like a great book…even though the statistics are very disturbing. Thanks for your passion to get this info out and educate so we can make the changes we need to make in this world!

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