Evelyn Pringle August 13, 2006
On May 21, 2003, after a three year investigation, "The Mercury in Medicine Report" was released by the House Committee on Government Reform, and stated in part:
"Thimerosal used as a preservative in vaccines is likely related to the autism epidemic. This epidemic in all probability may have been prevented or curtailed had the FDA not been asleep at the switch regarding a lack of safety data regarding injected thimerosal and the sharper eyes of infant exposure to this known neurotoxin. The public health agencies' failure to act is indicative of institutional malfeasance for self protection and misplaced protectionism of the pharmaceutical industry."
The Congressional report also said that the CDC, due to its "biases against theories regarding vaccine-induced autism," had chosen to fund researchers "who also worked for vaccine manufacturers to conduct population-based immunologic studies. . ." and stated:
"The CDC in general and the National Immunization Program are particularly conflicted in their duty to monitor the safety of vaccines, while also charged with the responsibility of purchasing vaccines for resale as well as promoting increased immunization rates."
The autism epidemic cannot be denied. On February 15, 2005, the GAO, released a Report titled, "Special Education Children With Autism," that revealed the number of children ages 6 through 21 diagnosed with autism receiving special education services has increased more than 500% over the past 10 years.
In a transcript, obtained under the FOIA, of a secret meeting attended by officials from the FDA and CDC in 2000, Pediatrician Bill Weil, acknowledged the epidemic and stated, "There are just a host of neurodevelopmental data that would suggest that we've got a serious problem.... The number of kids getting help in special education is growing nationally and state by state at a rate we have not seen before."
Thimerosal is a mercury-based preservative that was developed in the 1930s by Eli Lilly, and has been used regularly in vaccines ever since basically to boost vaccine maker profits by allowing drug companies to package vaccines in large containers instead of a single dose.
However, years ago children only received a small number of vaccines that were injected with a period of time in between and one dose at a time. Since 1988, the number of vaccines given to children before the age of two has tripled.
Lisa Blakemore-Brown, a psychologist in the UK, has been investigating the vaccine-autism link for years and says the reason the epidemic in autism did not occur sooner is because before the 1990s children "were given single vaccines with single amounts of mercury."
"But with the introduction of triple vaccines," she explains, "the amount of mercury contained within the preservative was multiplied and the cumulative effects are only just now being discovered by the public."
The increasingly number of children with this disorder is forcing public school systems to provide more special education classrooms to meet their needs. Autistics are the fastest-growing segment of special ed students and schools lack the trained professionals with knowledge of how to work with autistic children. Schools were caught completely unprepared for this epidemic.
Unlike normal children, children with autism do not learn by watching other people and must be taught even the simplest skills such as making eye contact, waiting in line, following directions or how to hold a conversation which often requires one-to-one mentoring.
Skills, behaviors and abilities vary with each child and about half of autistic kids have few or no language skills. Some kids also suffer from other problems that impair learning such as hearing loss or epilepsy and many are not toilet trained.
In a program that serves Minneapolis students, each classroom usually has 6 students and requires one licensed special ed teacher and two special ed assistants. Toddler classrooms are smaller with 4 students and require one licensed special ed teacher and one special ed assistant.
Services by speech and language clinicians, occupational therapists, social workers and adapted physical education teachers are also available at each site based on student needs. And the educational services reflect only part of the expense. Other costs include tuition for summer school to help kids retain skills, transportation costs, and psychological and behavioral evaluations.
In 2003, the California National School Board Association reported that the number of autistic students in California had doubled over four years and represented 13% of the state's student population of 20,377, at a cost of up to $60,000 per student.
In July 2005, a San Mateo County California civil grand jury released a report warning that increasing numbers of autistic children and the high cost of their education was causing a significant drain of resources for school districts.
The report said the number of autistics in the San Mateo county had doubled since 2000, to more than 5,000, and the county needed to find cheaper special ed alternatives since federal and state funding had not kept up with spending.
The grand jury pointed to a pilot project at a school in San Bruno, that paired four aides and one teacher with a small class and said it was cheaper than one-on-one mentoring, which could cost $50,000 per student.
In one year, the number of children treated for autism at centers operated by the California Department of Developmental Services increased 13% between 2003 and 2004. Autism now accounts for more than half of the new cases handled at the centers, which treats various developmental disorders, with the vast majority of cases being kids 13 and younger. The number of autistics treated at the centers rose from 5,000 in 1993, to more than 26,000 in 2005.
And the numbers are the same all across the nation. The Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services estimates that in 2006, about 25,000 Kentuckians have autism spectrum disorders, an increase from about 1,500 in 1990.
The US Department of Education all total spends about $53 billion a year on grades K-12 education. If the government provides $60,000 per year to educate the currently identified school-age autistics, the tab will run about $7 billion a year, or 13% of its entire budget. And each year the costs will rise as the number of autistics entering the system increases.
On December 10, 2002, Dr David Baskin, a neurosurgeon and Professor of Neurosurgery and Anesthesiology at the Baylor College of Medicine, testified at a Congressional Hearing and told the panel that most autistic children will grow up and require lifelong care because they cannot live independently. He described what he referred to as a "horrible" fact and said:
"Over one-half will never speak. Many of them will never be able to look at their parents and tell them they love them. It's worse than Alzheimer's Disease. There's been a tremendous focus on Alzheimer's Disease, but these children never had a chance to enjoy life before they lost it."