Health & Nature

From Autism To Alzheimer’s

The Mercury Connection

Two seemingly disparate conditions, autism occurring in the very young and Alzheimer’s occurring in the very old, may be caused or exacerbated by the same substance, mercury. Even though we know mercury is toxic, we know it’s in our vaccines, we know it’s in our dental fillings, somehow we’re not recognizing how much it can affect our health. Mercury itself is second only to plutonium in toxicity. The amount in one mercury thermometer is enough to pollute a small lake. Kids often break mercury thermometers and play with the little beads and they can absorb some of that.

Mercury Is Linked To Disease

Research shows that chronic exposure to small amounts of mercury can affect everything from the nervous and immune systems to brain and kidney functioning. The toxicity of mercury has been linked to arthritis, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, lupus, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, autism, bipolar disorder, depression, learning disabilities and schizophrenia. What is the connection? It is neurotoxic to the brain and nervous system. It is stored in the brain and can’t get back out. It causes an overload on the liver trying to detoxify it. It causes an overload on the kidneys. When mercury enters the kidneys, it causes a great release and loss of magnesium and calcium, which then triggers many other diseases.

Contaminated Water

Unfortunately, water is becoming more and more contaminated with heavy metals, prescription drugs and especially antibiotics and the statin drugs. People don’t realize that when you take a drug, sometimes it isn’t metabolized and it goes down the toilet. Mercury is contaminating fish all over the world. The wild Alaska salmon seem to be the safest. Deep sea fish are probably better than farmed fish, farmed salmon or fresh water fish. And eating contaminated fish can cause lasting brain damage in utero to the baby.

An 18-year study published in February, 2004 in the Journal of Pediatrics examined 1000 mothers and 800 children. They found lasting brain damage in mothers who were eating three servings of fish a week and also in their babies. Clearly, the allowable mercury levels in food are unrealistic. An America study by the National Academy of Sciences found that mercury contamination resulted in a risk for abnormal neurological development in children.

Sources Of Mercury In The Environment

During 9/11, the whole area was contaminated with the hundreds of thousands of fluorescent tubes that broke. They all contained a certain amount of mercury which got into the atmosphere and was distributed as a fine powder all over Lower Manhattan. Mercury comes from crematoriums because of the dental amalgams in our mouths. Mercury comes from coal burning plants because all coal contains a certain measure of mercury. In any fire or explosion, mercury will be released from thermostats and fluorescent tubes. The safe level of mercury is a very, very tiny amount. We know from studies on rats and sheep that mercury is neurotoxic at a level of 1 nanogram.

Commercial And Industrial Use

They knew when they first mined mercury that it was dangerous, because people became moody and had mental disturbances, tremors and involuntary shaking. You’ve probably heard of mad hatter disease where felt hat makers dipped the brim of the hat in mercury solutions and shaped it with their hands. They absorbed the mercury and eventually it caused neurotoxic problems and they became “mad hatters”. The moment we take it out of one industrial product or medical product, it’s put in another.

Right now it’s used in global positioning systems and, in some cases, in the lights in your kid’s sneakers! One of the major sources in Canada is the production of chloralkali. A number of areas in Canada, the St. Clair River and around Sarnia had a big mercury dumping which affected the fish industry and Grassy Narrows, a whole Indian reservation. It created such a problem with Grassy Narrows and the St. Clair River system, that the whole area was shut down.

In Japan, a place called Minimato had an incredible epidemic of neurological disease that took 15 years to diagnose. It was caused by a chloralkali plant that was dumping mercury into Minimata Bay and contaminated the fish which became so toxic that when people ate the fish, they became poisoned. It was really quite an incredible disaster but, in spite of that and in spite of Grassy Narrows, mercury continues to be used.

Dental Amalgams

Dentists have been using mercury in fillings since the l820s because mercury is very malleable. Because dental amalgams have been used for so long, everybody assumes they’re just fine. People have been ignoring the fact that they are actually putting mercury into their mouths. A recent survey found that 79% of dentists are still using amalgams. If they were trained in that way and are still practicing, they continue that practice. The American Dental Association says that less than 1% of the population is hypersensitive to amalgams – that’s all they will admit in the amalgam controversy.

Dr. V. Schneider at the University of Calgary Faculty of Medicine did a chewing gum study with humans and a study in which sheep were fitted with amalgams and the mercury vapor coming out of their mouths when they chew was measured. When you chew your amalgams, you release mercury and you can breathe in and it is almost totally absorbed throughout the body.

Dr. Schneider also tested pregnant sheep where they exposed the mothers to mercury and they found damage in the fetuses and in the baby sheep. Their mercury vapor study in rats has been shown to produce brain neuron degeneration and neurological damage leading to Alzheimer’s disease. The way mercury damages the neuron is identical to the diagnostic damage of Alzheimer’s disease. If mercury is so bad, why don’t dentists suffer? In fact they do. Dentists experience mercury-related health problems to a far greater extent than the general population.

Medical Applications

How did mercury use come into being and why is it still being used? Doctors used mercury in the treatment of syphilis from 1490. Mercury is an antibiotic; it will kill just about anything. Over time, the side effects of mercury were actually much worse than the disease. It was used in face whitening powders, and since the 1850s as a teething powder for infants and it wasn’t stopped until the l940s. A condition developed in these children where they had pink hands and feet and their cheeks went rosy pink. So they called it Pink Disease. It was indistinguishable from autism. Mercury was used in contact lens solutions, eye drops, eardrops and Mercurochrome, and it is absorbed by the skin.

The Vaccine Controversy

Since l999, vaccine manufacturers have been taking thymerosal which is 50% mercury, out of vaccines, but it was done voluntarily; it wasn’t mandated. Recently, it has finally been mandated, because it wasn’t really followed by everybody. In Canada, thymerosal is still added to multi-dose vials but it is not in the individual ampoules. They are sterilized individually because they’re in a single ampoule dose and don’t require a preservative. Flu vaccines still contain mercury and are being recommended for the general population, including children. There has never been any safety data on thymerosal. I looked into this in more detail to find out why the FDA has allowed the use of mercury since the 1930s.

In 2001, the FDA published a paper called “Thymerosal in Vaccines”, which was actually a study sponsored by Eli Lilly, by K.C. Smithburn, on a group of about 18 patients who were dying from meningo-coccal meningitis in l929. They injected mercury into the patients; they didn’t do any urine tests or blood tests, I guess they were looking for them to drop dead and since they didn’t drop dead the very next day, they promoted this very flawed report as a safety trial on thymerosal. Ever since, that study has been touted as proof that thymerosal is safe. The FDA in this 2001 paper, quoted another seven studies. None of them used injections of thymerosal into animals or humans. They just tested superficially because it was being used for eye drops and eardrops and they said it was safe to be used in the eye and in children’s vaccines.

Autism And Mercury

Current research shows that one of the triggers to autism and related conditions like ADD can be mercury. In the past ten years, the number of required vaccines, prior to age two has risen from eight to 22. From 1960 to the present, there has been an epidemic escalation in the incidence of autism, Autism Spectrum Disorder and ADD. A Minnesota study showed that we now have about one in 250 children affected; whereas it used to be only three per 10,000 children affected. There’s a dramatic increase. Statistics show that the rise in the use of vaccines mirrors the rise in the incidence of autism.

Dr. Bernard Rimland, Ph.D., who had an autistic child in 1967 made the connection between autism and mercury vaccines in children. In this instance, we’re referring to regressive autism, a condition where a child is born normally, seems to be developing normally, attains speech and social interactions, and then around 18 months begins to regress. From the time of 18 months when they get a series of vaccinations, including MMR, a certain percentage of children go downhill, lose their speech, lose their social interactiveness and develop gastrointestinal disorders and headaches. They bang their heads trying to release tension in their brain. There is also autism at birth, caused by certain syndromes that can damage the brain at birth and cause autism, or by mothers who have amalgams or mercury poisoning. In one case of a mother who ate tuna fish every day of her pregnancy, her child was born autistic. They were put on a chelation program and the child is now in school. Even autism at birth can, in fact, be a mercury problem.

Safe Minds

An amazing group of people, SAFE MINDS (Sensible Action for Ending Mercury-Induced Neurological Disorders) wrote a very important paper: “Autism: A Unique Type of Mercury Poisoning”. You can find it on the SAFE MINDS website, They took all the available research on autism and on mercury, all the literature on Pink Disease, demonstrated the comparison and made a perfect case for mercury being a causative factor in autism.

Autistic Children Can’t Excrete The Mercury

If mercury is so bad, why don’t all kids have autism? Autistic children are those children who can’t excrete the mercury from their cells back into the blood stream and release it through their kidneys. They retain the mercury in their cells and neurons.

Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s is the most common cause of dementia among people age 65 and older. By age 85, up to 50% of people now have Alzheimer’s disease and that’s a very high number. Three percent of people between 65 to 74 have it. Alzheimer’s disease is not a normal part of aging. It’s been confused with senility and aging, but post-mortem autopsies on the brain can distinguish Alzheimer’s. Are people with Alzheimer’s Disease poor excretors of mercury? Is it a final toxic overload that causes the disease, do they have more amalgams, are they eating more fish? All these things have to be studied.

Government standards of toxic levels of mercury are set much too high. Alzheimer’s patients’ brains, on autopsy, had twice the level of mercury compared to normal. An Alzheimer’s patient slowly becomes mercury-toxic from chronic exposure through amalgams, vaccinations and other environmental sources and we know that, until recently, it was mainly people over 65 who were advised to have annual flu shots and the flu vaccine has an amount of thymerosal that is highly toxic. The standard level is said to be safe over a six-month period but when you get it all in one day, it is very unsafe and your body retains most of it.

Government Legislation

We have the science to prove that mercury is harmful and we should do something about it. In 2001, the U.N. Executive Director of a new global mercury assessment working group said, “We live now in the 21st century and there can no longer be any excuse for exposing people and the natural environment to dangerous levels of toxic chemicals. In the case of mercury, which has destroyed the lives of thousands of people, we need to make mercury poisoning a thing of the past.”

In America we have bills now that call for discontinuing consumer products that contain mercury. There are over 65 bills in 24 States about health and environmental impact, and California was the first state to require dentists to inform their patients that amalgam fillings may cause birth defects. We take two steps forward and one step back, however. In the Clear Skies initiative, May 2003, the EPA tried to cut back on the legislation of a few years ago to stop the mercury emissions from coal tar plants. It’s purely an economic problem. The coal burning industry doesn’t want to spend the money to put the barriers on their exhausts, which will prevent the mercury from being released. It will allow a total discharge of 300 more tons of mercury between 2007 and 2018. We still have hopes of rescinding that bill though.

In 2001, a doctor on the U.S. Vaccine Advisory Panel in the Institute of Medicine, Dr. Neal Halsey admitted that they had assumed that the small percentage of thymerosal in vaccines was sufficiently low to be safe, and that’s all it was.¬†They just assumed. There was no testing¬†They failed to understand that mercury is toxic at the nanogram level and Dr. Halsey said, “I feel badly that I didn’t pick it up”. Unfortunately, because of commercial interests and the ban on suing vaccine companies, we’re unable to properly diagnose and treat this condition because we don’t have the support of the government or the medical establishment. The CDC doesn’t want to admit it. If vaccine companies are found to be a cause of autism, they will be sued. That is why the government is trying to pass so many bills now to make sure that you can’t sue the manufacturer of a vaccine if you have a harmful reaction.

Private Research

Government studies and scientific research bodies are enumerating these problems and finding the parallels, but the main work is really being done by researchers like Dr. Rimland, who have autistic children, and they can’t find answers so they go out and do the research themselves. The Autism Research Institute has a think tank of approximately 30 cutting-edge scientists and physicians, neurologists, etc. who are determined to prove the causes for autism and find the treatment.


Exercise your brain. Exercise your body. Sweat out toxins and poisons; sauna therapy can be very helpful for getting rid of even something as serious as mercury. Lower your intake of saturated fats. The fish that have the highest amount of mercury are the fatty fishes. Fat stores mercury. Detoxification is important for both Alzheimer’s and autistic children. Intravenous chelation should be explored. Use an organic, moderate protein, low grain, high vegetable, low fruit diet.

Use food-based supplements instead of the synthetic supplements which the body can’t really recognize. When they’re synthetic, they have a different confirmation and the body looks upon synthetic supplements as foreign material. If you choose to go for mercury removal, you must see a dentist who specializes in this practice, because if you start drilling out these amalgams, you can release mercury into your body. One very good chelator is also alpha lipoic acid.

Dr. Carolyn Dean

Dr. Dean graduated from Dalhousie Medical School and interned at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto. During her medical training she studied acupuncture and nutrition at the U.C.L.A. Pain Control Clinic and the U.C.L.A. School of Public Health. She has appeared as a guest on more than 100 seminars, radio and television programs. She has written articles for medical journals and published a popular book, When you Can't Reach the Doctor. Another book is in press, her controversial sugar book, Sugar: Pleasure or Poison. At present Dr. Dean is conducting research in the United States using non-toxic medicines in the treatment of AIDS patients. She believes that scientific research is the only way to persuade the establishment about the validity of non-drug forms of therapy.

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