Sunday, November 19, 2006

Clinic Notes: Mercury and Autism

In 1971, Iraq was given 90,000 metric tons of wheat seed by the United States. The seed was supposed to be planted by the Iraqis and had been treated with the fungicide methylmercury. Unfortunately, the Iraqis ground the seed and baked it into bread. Six thousand people were hospitalized with mercury poisoning and 450 died. Pregnant women gave birth to children with mental retardation, seizures, and other birth defects. The number of children, if any, who developed autism, is unknown. Without question mercury causes brain damage in children and adults. And like other poisons size matters. The same dose can be 100 times more harmful in a child than an adult. Mercury is now a part of our environment. Common products such as tuna fish, as well as other fish, and many vaccines other than the MMR vaccine contain mercury. Mercury is also a byproduct of industry. The question is how much mercury can the body tolerate without damage. We have some guidance, such as eating fish no more than 2-3 times per week. But supposed you eat fish 2-3 times per week and also live in an area contaminated with mercury because of industrial pollution? The EPA estimates that 1 woman in 5 during their childbearing years have mercury levels in their blood that exceed EPA safety guidelines. Perhaps we should be worrying more about mercury levels in the environment and not just confine our worries to vaccines.

For more information read the article by Lidia Wasowicz


mcewen said...

There are other culprits.
Best wishes

Dr. Brown said...

I agree. Presently, we have submitted an article on several predictors of autism in males and females and we are currently analying data from 2500 surveys from mothers of children with autism and normally developing children.