Perhaps you were fortunate enough to attend the 2016 Weston A. Price Foundation conference in Alabama where my colleague Laura Hayes gave a presentation. Hayes is an anti-vaccine activist whose twenty-four-year-old son was severely injured by his “routine” childhood vaccinations during his infancy, toddlerhood and early childhood. Hayes began her presentation, “Vaccines: What Is There to Be ‘Pro’ About?” by defining the hallmark of ethical medicine: prior, completely voluntary and fully informed consent. She explained how vaccine mandates, with or without exemptions, violate this hallmark of ethical medicine, which is included in numerous international codes of ethics, all signed by the U.S.
Hayes also spoke about the complete absence of appropriate and properly performed vaccine safety studies. Despite this absence, the U.S. Food and Drug Association (FDA) has wrongly approved scores of vaccines over the course of many decades now, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has also wrongly recommended them. To make matters worse, all fifty states have either vaccine mandates or requirements for school-aged students (although some states offer philosophical or religious exemptions), and often also for daycare participants, based on inept and corrupt approvals by and recommendations of the FDA and CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), and at the unethical bidding of pharmaceutical and medical industry lobbyists.
An example of wrongful vaccine approvals and recommendations by agencies entrusted with public health is the use of aluminum in vaccines. It is used in the majority of today’s vaccines. Hayes explained that the FDA approves the use of aluminum-based adjuvants in vaccines, which are added to increase the body’s immune response to the vaccine, despite the fact that the agency has never clinically tested or approved aluminum, and despite the fact that aluminum is a known and undisputed toxin, neurotoxin and teratogen (an agent or factor that causes malformation of an embryo). As Hayes aptly stated, “Defying common sense and violating basic safety and ethics standards, the FDA approves vaccines that contain never-proven-safe and known-to-be dangerous ingredients.”
If you were to ask the FDA or the CDC which studies they use to determine the safety and recommendation of injectable aluminum, they would refer you to the only study done by an FDA scientist. “Updated Aluminum Pharmacokinetics Following Infant Exposures Through Diet and Vaccination,” by Dr. Robert J. Mitkus was published October 2011 in the journal Vaccine. While the title may sound impressive, this study was heavily flawed. Mitkus tested infused intravenously (rather than injected) aluminum citrate (rather than aluminum hydroxide) into adults (rather than infants). As J.B. Handley, co-founder of Generation Rescue, wrote, “Dr. Mitkus’ study is somewhere between a professional disgrace and a fraudulent disaster. In no other drug on the planet (except for vaccines) would safety standards ever be determined without using the actual product (aluminum hydroxide) administered the proper way (intramuscular injection) into the proper patient population (infants).”
This should give us all pause. How is it possible that aluminum has been used in vaccines for more than seventy years, yet the FDA has never conducted a single legitimate toxicity study proving the safety of injectable aluminum in human beings? To be fair, the FDA does receive studies from outside sources. However, those sources are pharmaceutical companies who manufacture and profit from the sale of vaccines, and permitting them to provide the FDA with their own scientific findings is allowing the fox to guard the hen house.
In 2014, the global vaccine market was worth over thirty-two billion dollars. According to Technavio, one of the leading technology research companies in the world, the vaccine market will be worth sixty-one billion dollars a year by 2020. With over two hundred seventy new “therapeutic” and “preventable” vaccines in the pipeline, companies are in a race to get their vaccines approved.
In addition to the FDA not doing its own studies, this governmental regulatory agency recklessly allows pharmaceutical companies to use another vaccine, an aluminum adjuvant or a combination of both as their “placebo.” This is beyond sloppy science. As a result, there is no credible vaccine safety or efficacy science used by the FDA or CDC when they make their vaccine recommendations.
Furthermore, for years pharmaceutical companies and public health authorities have been well aware of the dangers associated with vaccine adjuvants and preservatives. However, they have chosen to withhold, hide and deny this information, gravely and inexcusably endangering the public. Lucija Tomljenovic, PhD, a pioneer in vaccine safety research at the University of British Columbia, has published extensively on aluminum adjuvants and vaccine adverse reactions.1,2 In 2011, Tomljenovic provided evidence suggesting that health authorities and vaccine manufacturers made (as summarized by the reporter) “continuous efforts to withhold critical data on severe adverse reactions and contraindication to vaccinations to both parents and health practitioners in order to reach overall vaccination rates, which they deemed were necessary for ‘herd immunity.’”3 (Herd immunity is a theory that has never been scientifically tested, and the numbers believed needed to be vaccinated to achieve herd protection are a guesstimate, rather than based on science.)
THE THIMEROSAL EXAMPLE
A great example of this type of deception is the story of mercury (thimerosal) in vaccines. As parents became more hesitant and vocal during the late 1990s, the CDC began a highly publicized campaign announcing that they were “phasing out” mercury from U.S. childhood vaccines. By 2001, they declared that the manufacturing of thimerosal-containing vaccines had ceased. In reality, some of these vaccines were changed to “low-mercury.” Because childhood vaccines were deemed “essentially” mercury-free at this point, health officials were quick to assert that autism was not linked to mercury as autism rates continued to increase. What they didn’t tell the public was that during the so-called phase-out period, the CDC began recommending mercury-containing influenza vaccines to pregnant women. They also added four doses of the pneumococcal vaccine (PCV), which has a high aluminum content, to the childhood immunization schedule in 2000, and two doses of the aluminum-containing hepatitis A vaccine in 2005 (Table 1). These increases led to a 25 percent increased uptake of aluminum for babies by 2005. Additionally, in 2001, the CDC began recommending pregnant women receive the aluminum-containing pertussis vaccine (Tdap), despite the fact that studies show that aluminum crosses the placenta and accumulates in fetal tissue.
Perhaps the most shocking recommendation is the influenza vaccine, as the vast majority of these vaccines contain 25 micrograms (mcg) of thimerosal per dose. Unsuspecting parents who take their children to be vaccinated according to schedule will most likely submit their children to nineteen doses of mercury-containing influenza vaccines between six months and eighteen years of age. In other words, today’s children receive nearly as much mercury as prior to 2001 and they receive 25 percent more aluminum. Although the FDA and CDC vehemently deny a correlation, could this be why one in two children in the U.S. is chronically ill, one in six suffers from a neurodevelopmental disorder and one in thirty-six is autistic?
ALUMINUM AND MERCURY: SYNERGISTIC TOXICITY
Because of work done by Dr. Boyd Haley, former professor of medicinal chemistry and chairman of the chemistry department at the University of Kentucky, we know that the combination of mercury and aluminum causes synergistic toxicity. In 2005, Dr. Haley published a study in which he investigated combining aluminum hydroxide and thimerosal. “Mercury Toxicity: Genetic Susceptibility and Synergistic Effects” describes Dr. Haley’s findings: Cultured neurons showed a 10 percent cell death six hours after they were exposed to mercury and aluminum separately, as compared to a whopping 60 percent death rate when exposed in combination. This clearly demonstrated the synergistic toxicity of aluminum and mercury.
THE PRO-ALUMINUM ARGUMENT
Adding insult to injury, prior to the dangerously misleading 2011 Mitkus study, the FDA admitted they allowed the use of aluminum adjuvants in vaccines simply because they “assumed” they were safe. The most prominent pro-vaccine, pro-aluminum safety argument you will hear involves the amount of toxic materials in vaccines. According to its website, the FDA claims the amount of aluminum present in vaccines is low, therefore not harmful. They defend the use of aluminum in vaccines, stating that it is one of the most common metals found in nature and we get much more aluminum exposure from our air, food and water than we do from vaccines. Therefore, the amount of aluminum in vaccines is not dangerous. This reasoning however, is far from scientific, because the aluminum found naturally in the earth’s crust is tightly bound to other elements, making it inert and not bioavailable. The different routes of entry are not interchangeable for assessing toxic impacts. Inhaling and ingesting aluminum are not the same as injecting it. Aluminum injected via vaccination bypasses the protective barriers of the gastrointestinal tract and mucous membranes, entering directly into the muscle where it can enter the bloodstream and lymph, thus redistributing and accumulating in the bones, lungs and brain. It is absurd to assume that injected aluminum is safe because it is introduced in lesser quantity than say, ingested aluminum, 99.7 percent of which is not absorbed by the body.
THE VACCINE SCHEDULE
The lack of FDA safety standards is particularly disturbing if you consider that the majority of early childhood vaccines, which are given at birth and mandated for school in every state, contain aluminum adjuvants. If parents follow the current, out-of-control CDC-recommended vaccine schedule, their children will receive seventy doses of sixteen different vaccines by age eighteen, while injecting a potential 4,925 mcg of accumulated aluminum by age eighteen months alone (Table 2). Because the FDA has only studied IV solutions and injectable medications containing aluminum (not vaccines), they cannot possibly be a reliable source to determine safe levels of aluminum in vaccines. This said, the FDA does set limits on aluminum content in parenteral drug products (again, not vaccines) and requires labels on package inserts that state: “WARNING: This product contains aluminum that may be toxic. Aluminum may reach toxic levels with prolonged parenteral administration if kidney function is impaired. Premature neonates are particularly at risk because their kidneys are immature, and they require large amounts of calcium and phosphate solutions, which contain aluminum.” The FDA also states, “Research indicates that patients with impaired kidney function, including premature neonates, who receive injections greater than 4 to 5 mcg per kilogram of body weight per day, accumulate at levels associated with central nervous system and bone toxicity.”
Babies are injected with 1,225 mcg of aluminum instantaneously at 2 months of age and 4,925 mcg of accumulative aluminum by 18 months of age. Source: The vaccine manufacturers’ product inserts and the CDC’s 2016 childhood vaccination schedule. © NZM.
The FDA, however, does not require labels on vaccines warning about the dangers of aluminum toxicity. Do the math, and you’ll find that a twelve-pound baby at two months of age could potentially receive 1,225 mcg of aluminum at their well-baby visit if the commonly used, highest-aluminum brands of vaccines are administered along with the hepatitis B vaccine. As Neil Z. Miller demonstrates in his paper titled: “Aluminum in Childhood Vaccines Is Unsafe,” published November 4, 2016 in the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons, using the FDA’s own figures, 11-14 mcg of injected aluminum would be toxic to a six-pound baby with impaired kidney function, yet infants are routinely given 250 mcg of aluminum within twelve hours of birth via the hepatitis B vaccine.
Table 2. Babies are injected with 1,225 mcg of aluminum instantaneously at 2 months of age and 4,925 mcg of accumulative aluminum by 18 months of age. Source: The vaccine manufacturers’ product inserts and the CDC’s 2016 childhood vaccination schedule. © NZM.
Miller also makes the point that “babies are not the only age group exposed to high levels of aluminum in vaccines.” For example, the HPV vaccine (indicated for the prevention of cervical and anal cancers and genital warts associated with some strains of human papillomavirus) is recommended for use in both males and females, nine through twenty-six years of age. According to package inserts, each 0.5-mL dose of Gardasil 9 (HPV vaccine) contains approximately 500 mcg of aluminum and two to three doses are recommended over a six- to twelve-month period based on age.
It’s important to know that Gardasil was fast-tracked through the FDA. Safety trials did not include a true placebo as “control groups” were also injected with aluminum and pharmaceutical researchers masked a cascade of adverse reactions. To date, there have been over fifty-five thousand adverse reactions reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), including four hundred six deaths.
When my producing partners and I set out to reveal the truth about aluminum in our documentary about vaccines, The Greater Good, we visited world-renowned aluminum expert Dr. Christopher Shaw at the University of British Columbia. As the first to test the biological impact of aluminum adjuvants in 2007, Dr. Shaw and fellow researchers took the same aluminum hydroxide used in vaccines and injected it into the muscles of mice to see what would happen when they tried to mimic the vaccine schedule. What they found was rapid behavioral symptoms, including not only behavioral deficits of motor function, but cognitive deficits as well. Later when they sacrificed the animals and looked into their brains and spinal cords, they found massive damage to motor neurons. As Dr. Shaw explained, they “may be creating conditions for Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease, maybe not immediately, but ten, twenty, thirty years down the road.” When we as filmmakers asked the FDA for a response to Dr. Shaw’s study, they said they did “not believe this particular paper brings to light the need for additional research that is not already underway.” My question to the FDA today would be, “where is that research now that a decade has gone by?”
Joining the ranks with Dr. Shaw, many additional independent scientists have made groundbreaking discoveries regarding aluminum adjuvants and potential injury. Some of the most prominent in the field include Dr. Shaw’s colleague, Dr. Lucija Tomljenovic, PhD, of the University of British Columbia; Dr. Christopher Exley of Keele University; Drs. Romain Gherardi and Guillemette Crépeaux of Université Paris-Est Créteil; and Dr. Yehuda Shoenfeld of Tel Aviv University.
Because of their work, we now know that aluminum adjuvants may result in autoimmunity, long-term brain inflammation and associated neurological complications. We also know that aluminum exposures are connected to autoimmune diseases such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, Gulf War syndrome, type 1 diabetes, macrophagic myofasciitis and chronic fatigue syndrome, as well as a spectrum of neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s, ALS and autism spectrum disorders (ASDs).
GOOD WORKS BY CMSRI
Perhaps the best library of peer-reviewed, published studies on aluminum can be found at Children’s Medical Safety Research Institute (CMSRI) at cmsri.org. In fact, CMSRI, founded by Claire Dwoskin, not only has a comprehensive website featuring the most important studies, they are dedicated to funding independent research in hopes of providing answers to our growing, worldwide epidemic of chronic disease and disability. Recently, two very important aluminum studies were made possible by CMSRI. Funding from Dwoskin’s organization provided Dr. Christopher Exley, researcher and professor at Keele University, and his co-workers the means to examine the effects of aluminum in deceased Alzheimer’s and autism patients.
One of these studies used fluorescence microscopy, which revealed extremely high levels of aluminum in the brains of twelve familial Alzheimer’s disease (AD) victims. “Aluminum in Brain Tissue in Familial Alzheimer’s Disease,” published December 9, 2016 in the Journal of Trace Elements in Medicine and Biology, not only confirmed the presence of aluminum in familial AD brain tissue, it also gave rise to two other important conclusions. First, based on their admittedly “striking” results, the authors suggest that genetic predisposition to AD may be accompanied by “a higher propensity to accumulate and retain aluminum in the brain.”
Second and equally important, the authors report that high aluminum concentrations are “highly likely” to contribute not only to early onset and aggressive progress of familial AD but to “all forms of AD under certain conditions.” (Alzheimer’s disease is expected to affect one in two Americans by 2050.)
The November 2017 issue of the Journal of Trace Elements in Medicine and Biology published another study by Dr. Exley and team titled: “Aluminum in Brain Tissue in Autism.” Researchers examined the brains of five deceased individuals who were diagnosed with ASD and found them to contain among the highest levels of the toxic metal aluminum ever recorded. In fact, they had up to ten times more aluminum in their brains than healthy adults.
Clearly, many recent studies outline concerns over the use of aluminum adjuvants in vaccines. As Handley states, “versus ten years ago, scientists now know that aluminum adjuvant can 1) impair brain development, 2) remain in the brain much longer than thought, 3) is brought into the brain by macrophages that grab the aluminum from the vaccine injection site and recirculate it, 4) may actually be worse when injected in small doses (as happens in vaccination), and 4) there’s remarkably high levels of aluminum in the brains of people diagnosed with autism.” Add Dr. Exley’s findings on aluminum and Alzheimer’s, and the public should be very concerned.
A GLIMMER OF HOPE
It’s worth mentioning here that research points to a way of helping those burdened with a heavy load of aluminum. Several studies have shown the essential nutrient silica may effectively detoxify and help excrete aluminum. “Silicon-Rich Mineral Water as a Non-Invasive Test of the ‘Aluminum Hypothesis’ in Alzheimer’s Disease,” by Dr. Exley was published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, 2013. Taurine and curcumin have also been shown to reduce aluminum neurotoxicity as evidenced in a study titled “Therapeutic Affect of Taurine Against Aluminum-Induced Impairment on Learning, Memory and Brain Neurotransmitters in Rats,” published February 4, 2014 in the journal Neurological Sciences. Vitamin E and selenium have also been found to be protective against oxidative stress and injury stimulated by excessive intake of aluminum.
Because scientific evidence published in recent years shows that vaccines have great potential for causing brain and immune system injury, the only responsible actions are what Hayes called for in her WAPF presentation—a complete moratorium on vaccines, the repeal the 1986 National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act (which protects vaccine manufacturers from all product liability lawsuits) and the overturning of the 1905 Jacobson vs. MA decision, which is often cited as justification for vaccine mandates, even though the 1947 Nuremburg Code should have made that decision null and void. Mandates for children are particularly disturbing as studies show children are at far greater risk from aluminum adjuvants because of the combination of rapid growth, an incomplete blood-brain barrier and limited ability to eliminate toxins.
I will go so far as to say, and I know Hayes would agree, it is no longer acceptable for anyone within the medical community who administers vaccines to overlook the serious safety concerns that recent studies raise. While findings of peer-reviewed, published studies receive little coverage in the mainstream media, leading scientists and research institutes worldwide are recognizing the implications and indictments of aluminum and aluminum adjuvants. It is time for health professionals to do the same and to cease giving vaccines until they are proven safe. After all, isn’t “first do no harm” one of the most valued guiding principles of medical care?
As for the FDA, they need to start requiring the same rigorous pre-licensing safety testing for vaccines that they require for other drugs. Likewise, it is not acceptable for the CDC to recommend aluminum-containing vaccines (or any vaccines for that matter, as no vaccines have ever gone through proper safety studies and all have potentially devastating side effects). I believe the actions of these two agencies are nothing less than criminal, and I would be thrilled to see more people stand up like Hayes, who is not afraid to speak the truth, and like Dwoskin, who strives to find unbiased answers though scientific research.
Aluminum may be praised for its vital use in the aerospace industry and for its contributions to the transportation and building industries worldwide; however, it does not have any business being in our vaccines. Additionally, aluminum does not belong in our household products, food (including baby formula), food packaging, cosmetics and skincare products including sunscreen, deodorants and prescription and over-the-counter medicines. Aluminum may be a “natural” substance found in the earth’s crust, air, soil and water, but it does not have any biological function in any living organism, and it presents a danger to all living creatures, including human beings.
As Hayes so poignantly said in her WAPF talk, “Together, we must protect the health of our children, people of all ages, and the future of our country.” We must all be arbitrators of the truth. We must be our own health advocates. We must do our homework and learn the facts about aluminum and all vaccines. After all, our lives and those of our children depend upon it.
1. Tomljenovic L, Shaw CA. Do aluminum vaccine adjuvants contribute to the rising prevalence of autism? J Inorg Biochem 2011;105(11):1489-1499.
2. Tomljenovic L, Shaw CA. Aluminum vaccine adjuvants: are they safe? Curr Med Chem 2011;18(17):2630-2637.
3. Mihalovic D. Committees on vaccination found to withhold critical data on adverse reactions from both parents and health practitioners. Prevent Disease.com, Sept. 16, 2013. https://preventdisease.com/news/13/091613_Committees-on-Vaccination-Found-To-Withhold-Critical-Data-On-Adverse%20Reactions-Parents-Practitioners.shtml.
This article appeared in Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts, the quarterly magazine of the Weston A. Price Foundation, Spring 2018.