Letter to the Editor

Report ignored body of evidence

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

To the editor:

I am grateful the Southeast Missourian's story included comments from some who disagree with the conclusions of the Institute of Medicine's report saying there is no connection between the mercury-based vaccine preservative thimerosal and rising numbers of neurological disorders among children. The institute's report not only flies in the face of common sense, but it ignores the overwhelming scientific data presented at the institute's February meeting.

Along with many parents of mercury-poisoned children around the nation, I attended this meeting and heard conclusive evidence from well-credentialed researchers that thimerosal, even at extremely low levels, causes brain damage. But the institute chose to ignore this evidence in favor of the studies presented by researchers with ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

Rather than admit that a huge medical blunder has occurred, the institute has joined forces with the drug companies to obscure, deny, cover up and lie to the American public.

It is ironic that amidst the near-daily warnings we receive regarding mercury exposure from eating fish, the public has been conned into throwing its common sense out the window in accepting the direct injection of a potentially even more toxic form of mercury as safe. We must demand that the institute and government regulatory agencies distance themselves from the pharmaceutical industry and call a spade a spade. Neurological damage of epidemic proportion to the children of the 1990s is real, and thimerosal did it.

RITA CAVE SHREFFLER

Board member, National Autism Association

Nixa, Mo.