By day: mum of an autistic tot. By night: mum of an autistic tot.

40 Reasons – Part 3

13-18 and 21 I’m going to take the next few of Charterjee’s ravings as a block as they all relate to mercury.

Before I even attempt to go through the nuggets of nonsense one thing needs to be made clear: there isn’t nor ever was elemental mercury in vaccines. What was present, and is still in some influenza vaccines is ethyl mercury in the form of a compound called thimerosal (or thiomersal in the UK). See if you can spot the difference:

Mercury (Hg)


As it is abundantly clear, thimerosal is not mercury.

This is thimerosal: C9H9HgNaO2S
This is mercury: Hg

To call thimerosal mercury is as ridiculous as saying you chlorinate your food every time you add salt.

13.  In 1999, the US Government instructed vaccine manufacturers to remove mercury from vaccines “with immediate effect”. But mercury still remains a part of many vaccines. The vaccines with mercury were never recalled and were given to children up to the year 2006. “Mercury free” vaccines contain 0.05mcg of mercury, enough to permanently damage a infant.

 Thimerosal was included in many vaccines until the late 1990s. It is an excellent preservative that has an anti-microbial action therefore reducing  contamination of multi-dose vials. It was removed as a “precautionary measure” in the main to protect public confidence in vaccines. Stocks were not recalled because they posed no known danger but some were destroyed. It is estimated that the last of the stocks that remained had been used by 2001. Thimerosal is still present in some influenza vaccines but by no means all.

Mercury free vaccines can contain trace amounts of mercury ≤0.3 µg Hg/0.5mL dose far too little to cause any damage to even the tiniest baby. It is important to note that mercury poisoning is the result of chronic, prolonged exposure to mercury not occasional receipt of minuscule amounts even while very young. Never has mercury poisoning been noted in relation to ethyl mercury. Therefore the final statement that ” 0.05mcg of mercury, enough to permanently damage a infant” is yet another lie.

21.   As per a Tehelka article on Autism, children are receiving 250 times more mercury through vaccines than they can possibly tolerate. The same article states that if one considers the WHO limit for mercury in water, they are receiving 50,000 times the limit. The limits set, incidentally, are for adults and not infants.

Here is the article to which Chatterjee refers. In the same 2006 article, our esteemed author of the 40 reasons, claims to have regressed into autism at the age of 17 years (yes, years)  following vaccination: Wrong Medicine: Autism could Come Cheap for Children

“A child who has undergone a full vaccine schedule in India receives a total of about 375 to 450 micrograms of Thimerosal. This is 50,000 times more than the limit prescribed in drinking water by WHO.”

Let’s be clear. The WHO’s recommendations relate to environmental mercury, that is, methyl mercury. The mercury in vaccines is ethyl mercury.

” Mercury is present in DPT, Hepatitis B, Haemophililus influenza and combination of vaccines to the extent of 25-50 micro grams per 0.5 ml paediatric dose.”

15. In a reply to then President Sri Abdul Kalam, the Health Ministry informed, “mercury is required to make the vaccines safe”. To the authors query that “what are these vaccines that it requires the second most dangerous neurotoxin, mercury, to make them safe?”, there was no reply.

In some vaccines thimerosal (not mercury, dear) was indeed used to make them safer. It is still used for that very purpose – an antimicrobial preservative – in some ‘flu vaccines. I’m wondering if the author  did not receive a reply to their question because it is stupid and makes him look like an idiot. No use in arguing with idiots.

First, and let me stress, just once more, mercury is present in some vaccines and was present in others as part of a compound called thimerosal. No one refers to water as hydrogen, or, as I’ve stated, to chlorinating food when you season it so referring to thimerosal as mercury is just scaremongering. There are 6 elements in thimerosal, 1 is mercury. There are 23 atoms in a molcule of thimerosal. 1 atom is mercury.

Let’s look at it another way. There are 6 elements in thimerosal, 1 is sulphur. There are 23 atoms in a molcule of thimerosal. 1 atom is sulphur. Let’s call thimerosal sulphur! Arrgh!

Secondly, mercury is not ” the second most dangerous neurotoxin.” The award for the most potent and deadly neurotoxin belongs to botulinum toxin – the stuff in botox. Second is ricin, which can be extracted from castor beans, third place is often given sarin which has been used in terrorist attacks such as the one perpetrated on the Tokyo underground in 1995. These agents are potent and deadly. Mercury, on the other hand, would make a particularly poor bioweapon.

For hoots and giggles have a look at this:

Ten neurotoxins you should avoid (as opposed to chug, I suppose?)

Even this crazy, wrong headed list puts mercury at #5 with aspartame as #1. Which neurotoxin is most dangerous is, it seems, all a matter of agenda.

16.  Mercury used in vaccines is second in toxicity only to the radioactive substance, Uranium. It is a neurotoxin that can damage the entire nervous system of the infant in no time.

Taking the last part first: “in no time” is vague, as vague as many of Chatterjee’s other points. As previously stated, mercury poisoning occurs as a result of prolonged exposure – the “long” bit of the word gives you a clue as to how
“long” it takes. If we’re talking about neurological damage to “the entire nervous system”  then botulinum toxin, ricin and sarin will do the job in no time for an infant, a child or a strapping 200lb rugby player.

Now mercury is just behind uranium in it’s toxicity. Well, no. It isn’t even the most toxic of the non-radioactive metals. Toxicity is, partly a function of solubility as well as potency making lead far more toxic on both scores and cadmium more toxic still. So, here’s the top ten most toxic metals (running from most to least toxic):

  1. Antimony (a metalloid)
  2. Arsenic    (a metalloid)
  3. Barium
  4. Beryllium
  5. Cadmium
  6. Lead
  7. Mercury
  8. Osmium
  9. Thallium
  10. Vanadium

Besides which, if we’re talking about the dangers of radioactive metals, well, then Chatterjee has got it wrong about uranium being the most dangerous. It limps in at a mere third after actinium and thorium.

I’m going to reverse the order of the next wto points so that I don’t have to keep repeating myself:

18.  The mercury used in vaccines is ethyl mercury. According to Indian doctors this is 1000 times more toxic than the usual methyl mercury.

 Half right. Ethyl mercury is in thimerosal. Ethyl mercury is far, far less toxic than methyl mercury which is also known as environmental mercury and is the same form of mercury that caused disability and death in Minimata Bay. Ethyl mercury, by contrast, was used to treat bacterial meningitis in Indiana in 1929. 2million micrograms were injected directly into thousands of  people. It was useless in treating the disease but was well tolerated and there was no, zero, none, nada, dim cases of mercury poisoning resulting from its administration.

This is a bit more subtle, probably too subtle for our friend Chatterjee but here we go:

Methyl/environmental mercury (left)and Ethyl mercury (right)

To put it another way: the difference between these two forms of mercury is akin to alcohol. A couple of shots of ethyl alcohol (eg whiskey) might go to your head. A couple of shots of methyl alcohol can make you dead. Get it?

17.  Mercury accumulates in fat. The brain being made entirely of fat cells, most of the mercury accumulates there giving rise to the peculiar symptoms of the autistic children.

I’m going to take this one very slowly for Mr Chatterjee’s benefit seeing as his brain is made up “entirely of fat cells,”

These are fat cells                                           These are brain cells                                      

A lot of brain cells are, indeed, covered in a fatty sheath made out of a substance called myelin. It is somewhat like the rubber insulation on an electrical cable: it insulates the electrical signals carried along neurones (brain and nerve cells) and speeds up their conduction. Diseases where demyelination (loss of myelin) occurs can be very serious and even life threatening but none such have been shown to be caused by vaccines. Moreover, ethylmercury is not fat soluble.

Being as mercury causes autism, according to Chatterjee (guess what, it doesn’t), you might expect mercury poisoning to have similar features to autism so let’s compare the two

Hg Poisoning Autism
Motor symptoms Ataxia (lack of co-ordination) repetitive movements
Head circumference Below average Above average
Speech dysarthria (slurred speech) Delayed speech


pragmatic difficulties

repetitive vocalisations
Vision Narrow field of vision Unusual use of peripheral gaze
Sensory issues Peripheral neuropathy Hyper or hypo reactivity

So not much like mercury poisoning then.

<<<Part 2

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