In an interview with Paul A. Offit, MD, chief of the division of infectious diseases at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, the interviewer asked Dr. Offit about the toxicity of mercury contained in some vaccines in the form of the organic compound known as Thimerosal.1 The context of the question had to do with the specific type of mercury called ethylmercury and whether it is excreted from the body or remains in the body and enters organs, including the brain. The interviewer referenced a study2 by Thomas M. Burbacher, PhD, an environmental and occupational health sciences researcher at the University of Washington, Seattle.3 He asked Offit:
The Burbacher study, what Burbacher appears to be saying is ethylmercury is not eliminated from the body, it just clears the blood, it goes to the organs. Is that new information or is that disputed information?1
No, what Burbacher found is that it is possible for mercury, either as ethylmercury or methylmercury to exist in the brain as essentially inorganic mercury—that the ethyl or methylmercury molecule gets cleaved off. Is that toxic, is that dangerous? There’s no evidence that that’s true. His study in experimental monkeys showed something that is interesting but has, to my knowledge, no correlate and harm.1
So Offit largely discounts the Burbacher study by saying it doesn’t prove anything regarding the degree of inorganic mercury’s toxicity to the human body—although it should be noted that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states that “all forms of mercury are quite toxic,” be they elemental mercury, inorganic mercury compounds, or organic mercury compounds.4 He continues:
I mean, it’s certainly known that organic mercury in the form of methylmercury can be harmful, or logarithmically higher quantities of ethylmercury… logarithmically higher than one is getting in vaccines is harmful. But the important thing is… the proof is in the pudding. If it was harmful, then it should be shown in a study to be harmful, and the most sensitive way to answer that question is with an epidemiological study, not with an animal model study, not with a cell study of cells in the laboratory. If you want to know whether something is harmful in children, test it in children, and that’s been done redundantly.1
Again, the EPA says all mercury is toxic. But Offit suggests that epidemiological studies have shown that mercury in the form of Thimerosal-containing vaccines has been tested on children and there has been no proof that it is harmful. Remember, though, this is not the same as saying mercury has been proven to be safe in children. Just that it has not been proven to be harmful.
The interviewer follows up and asks, “So you’re saying elemental mercury in the brain is not a problem, a problem that you know of? Offit replies, “I don’t know, I mean it’s an interesting finding… “1 Then he backtracks and acknowledges mercury’s toxicity, but offers that it’s the degree of toxicity that’s important, and that it depends on the amount of the mercury that is involved.
I mean, mercury certainly is a toxin, there’s no doubt about it. But as Paracelsus said in the 16th century, ‘The dose makes the poison.’ I mean, that’s always true.1
So, according to Offit, it’s the dose of mercury that matters, not so much the mercury itself. The thinking is that, while a lot of mercury might be lethal, a tiny little bit is harmless. It’s a fascinating idea. But then you’d have to explain the logic behind giving a baby the same dose of a vaccine as would be given to an adult. If, in fact, it’s the dose that matters, then it would be illogical and downright irresponsible and dangerous to treat children the same as adults when it comes to vaccines and their toxic ingredients such as mercury. A child certainly can’t handle the same amount of alcohol as can an adult, so why would vaccines be any different?
Of course, the problem with pediatricians like Offit, and physicians in general, is that they’re not experts in toxicology. According to Dr. Boyd Haley, a biochemist from the University of Kentucky:
[Medical students and doctors] get very little training in toxicology. I mean, no courses are specifically designed, such as a PhD student in toxicology would have or a PhD student in biochemistry. They don’t understand it at all. They are not trained to evaluate the toxic effect of chemicals, especially at the research level. One, they don’t do research programs, they don’t have the insight that’s developed and required for someone writing a PhD thesis in toxicology or biochemistry of materials that inhibit enzymes. They just don’t understand the science and the chemistry at that level, and certainly pediatricians don’t.1
And therein lies the danger of physicians acting as if they were experts on the potential toxic effects of vaccines on the human body and brain, particularly those of infants, older children, and teenagers still in the process growing and developing. They just don’t understand that kind of science. And Offit’s application of the quote by Paracelsus is perhaps one of the clearest examples of this danger, because when it comes to the chemical properties of toxic metals such as mercury and how they react with each other, Offit apparently doesn’t have a clue. Here’s what Haley has to say about this:
The dose makes the toxin, which was stated several hundred years ago. And he’s right, but he doesn’t understand synergistic toxicity. For example, we know that if you take a non-lethal dose of mercury that would kill 1 of 100 rats, and you add to that a level of lead that would kill less than 1 in 100 rats, that mixture will kill 100 of 100 rats. So the presence of lead at very low levels can enhance the toxicity of a known level of mercury over a hundred fold. So then add to that cadmium and other toxic metals, aluminum, etc., and you don’t know what that is in each child that comes in, or each person that gets the vaccination. So no one can predict what the level of toxicity is for each individual human being…1
Synergistic toxicity “refers to the effect that when exposed to two toxins, the toxicity level is far greater than the additive toxicity levels of the two toxins.”5
Think about it. Doctors are going around assuring their patients that the levels of mercury, aluminum, formaldehyde, and numerous other toxins in vaccines are negligible and thus totally safe to be injected into muscle tissue and ultimately into the bloodstream. Nothing to worry about. Yet they don’t know how these ingredients interact with each other. They don’t understand synergistic toxicity. How often do these synergistic toxic effects occur? And who is most vulnerable? That’s a huge knowledge gap among those many of us entrust with our health, and more importantly… the health of our children.
1 Vaccines Are Not Safe. YouTube.com published Mar. 13, 2014.
2 Burbacher TM, Shen DD, Liberato N, Grant KS, Chernichiari E and Clarkson T. Comparison of Blood and Brain Mercury Levels in Infant Monkeys Exposed to Methylmercury or Vaccines Containing Thimerosal. National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine Apr. 21, 2005.
3 Thomas M. Burbacher, PhD. University of Washington, Department of Environmental & Health Sciences.
4 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Mercury Compounds, Hazard Summary—Created in April 1992; Revised in January 2000.
5 SafeMinds. Synergistic Toxicity.