The Mushroom Cloud that Caused Autism

Opinion by: Kenneth Stoller, MD, FAAP with Anne McElroy Dachel


In the first article in this series on autism, a mercurial finger was pointed at the high level of mercury children received from their vaccines and the huge upswing in the autism rate. It was noted that the background level of mercury pollution from coal-fire power plants and other sources (such as dental amalgam) was so high that one in every six women in the US has a level of mercury in her body high enough to affect her children’s health.  The cost to society of these affected children amounts to billions of dollars annually, and the ultimate cost of caring for all those disabled will cost trillions. Lastly, the point was made that this isn’t so much about autism as it is about the future of human life on this planet if we don’t stop mercury pollution.

Concerning the issue of autism, the press has failed to present both sides in the heated debate over a possible link between vaccines and this devastating disorder.  The last word is often given to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, without any mention of the vast web of conflict of interest ties between CDC employees and the pharmaceutical industry.

The studies produced by the CDC and others haven’t ended the controversy.  The results from published population studies come under attack each time officials think they have the convincing science to settle the issue.

Using these epidemiological studies, the head of the CDC, Dr. Julie Gerberding, told the public, “What we know today is based on many studies that have looked at children in various populations around the world including the United States and have involved thousands of children that the preponderance of evidence consistently does not reveal an association between Thimerosal and autism. These studies have been looked at by some of the best and brightest scientists across the world and in the United States through our Institutes of Medicine and the National Academy of Sciences.” 

Who are “the best and the brightest”?

Studies by “some of the best and brightest scientists across the world” conjure up images of white-coated experts in state-of-the-art laboratories researching all the possible side effects that could result from using mercury in vaccines. Despite exhausting research, they just came up empty.

Notice the often-repeated phrase is “studies show no link” not, “research shows no link.” That’s an important distinction. The scientists in this case are statisticians sitting at computers running the numbers on children and vaccinations instead of in a laboratory doing testing on the toxicity of the mercury-based vaccine preservative Thimerosal, or in the field actually examining affected children. The figures these researchers come up with are the proof used to disprove any connection between vaccines and autism.

The official CDC position was also discussed in the first article and summarized herewith: Autism is genetic; Autism isn’t an epidemic in the U.S.; Autism didn’t explode coincidentally with the dramatic increase in mercury containing vaccines in the childhood schedule;  Autism can’t be cured, only treated with behavioral therapy and psychotropic drugs.

The CDC needs no convincing as to the truth about the autism epidemic, as the transcript from the secret Simpsonwood meeting held in June, 2000 reveal. (

The official position is a lie that is being used to convince the American public that mercury-containing vaccines haven’t affected a generation of children.  This is being done illegally, because it is illegal for a federal agency to propagandize the American public.

The law involved here is US code Title 18, Section 1001: “… whoever, in any matter within the jurisdiction of the executive, legislative, or judicial branch of the Government of the United States, knowingly and willfully—

(1) falsifies, conceals, or covers up by any trick, scheme, or device a material fact;

(2) makes any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or representation; or

(3) makes or uses any false writing or document knowing the same to contain any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or entry; shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 5 years or, if the offense involves international or domestic terrorism (as defined in section 2331), imprisoned not more than 8 years, or both.”

Yes, these are serious accusations, but this article and those that follow will lay out the facts in this case. This is a situation that must come to the public’s awareness for as was said, it’s not just about autism, it’s about a level of mercury pollution that could threaten human life on this planet. We may have less time to solve this problem than we have to stop global warming, although the two overlap to a great extent.

Journalist uncovers the truth about autism

Fortunately there are a few exceptions to the ruler, and one of those is a true journalist – Dan Olmsted, who is an investigative reporter for United Press International (UPI), and author of the “Age of Autism” series. One of the most outstanding things he did was answer the question, “Is there autism among non-vaccinated populations?”   Sounds like a simple task and normally, this would have been something our own CDC would have investigated, but they didn’t because they didn’t need to.  Again, the CDC already knew the mercury in vaccine was causing the disturbing increase in neurobehavioral disorders. They decided their job was to cover it up.

I spent my first few years of medical school just a few miles from the Amish country in central Pennsylvania. I can tell you that the Amish have the same genetic makeup that the rest of us have, and are susceptible to all the same diseases. There is no reason to believe that the Amish have super-genes that prevent them from getting certain ailments.

Olmsted looked at the nation’s Amish population where parents almost never vaccinate children in his series “Age of Autism: A glimpse of the Amish.”  Olmsted reported on the Amish community in Pennsylvania and found a family doctor in Lancaster who had treated thousands of Amish patients over a quarter-century.   This doctor said he has never seen an Amish person with autism.

Olmsted also interviewed Dick Warner, who has a water purification & natural health business and has been in Amish households all over the country. “I’ve been working with Amish people since 1980.  I have never seen an autistic Amish child — not one,” he told Olmsted. “I would know it. I have a strong medical background. I know what autistic people are like. I have friends who have autistic children,” he added. (

Olmsted did find one Amish woman in Lancaster County with an autistic child but as it turns out, the child was adopted from China and had been vaccinated. The woman knew of two other autistic children but here again, one of those had been vaccinated.

On June 9, 2005, Olmsted reported on the autism rate in the Amish community around Middlefield, Ohio, which was 1 in 15,000, according to Dr. Heng Wang, the medical director, at the DDC Clinic for Special Needs Children. (

“So far,” according to Olmsted, “there is evidence of fewer than 10 Amish with autism; there should be several hundred if the disorder occurs among them at the same 150 to 1 prevalence as children born in the rest of the population.”

On December 7, 2005, “Age of Autism” reported that thousands of children cared for by Homefirst Health Services in metropolitan Chicago have at least two things in common with Amish children, they have never been vaccinated and they don’t have autism. (

Homefirst has five offices in the Chicago area and a total of six doctors. “We have about 30,000 or 35,000 children that we’ve taken care of over the years, and I don’t think we have a single case of autism in children delivered by us who never received vaccines,” said Dr Mayer Eisenstein, Homefirst’s medical director who founded the practice in 1973.

Olmsted reported that the autism rate in Illinois public schools is 38 per 10,000, according to state Education Department data. In treating a population of 30,000 to 35,000 children, this would logically mean that Homefirst should have seen at least 200 autistic children over the years but the clinic has seen none.

In Olmsted’s most recent article ( he pinpoints the location where many of the first cases of autism were concentrated before the disorder exploded nationwide.  He points out, “Ground zero was the nation’s capital, in particular the Maryland suburbs where cutting-edge government research in the 1930s and 1940s exposed families to the chemical that first triggered the baffling disorder.”

The U.S. Agriculture Department’s Beltsville research center in suburban Maryland, just outside the nation’s capital, was experimenting with plant fungi and ways to kill them using ethyl mercury fungicide — the exact kind also used in the vaccine preservative Thimerosal.

Ethyl mercury was patented in the 1920s through the work of Morris S. Kharasch. Kharasch was a chemistry professor at the University of Maryland in College Park, which is next to the Beltsville research center.

In 1943, Johns Hopkins University child psychiatrist Leo Kanner first diagnosed autism in 11 children born in the 1930s. Olmsted has found that these children seemed to have a parent either linked to cutting-edge research involving mercury or had exposures to ethyl mercury fungicides which were used to treat seeds, saplings and lumber in the 1930s.  Olmsted concludes, “To sum up: the first cases of autism seem to radiate outward from a central point — as big bangs tend to do. As those exposures expanded, so did autism. This suggests a new and deeply disturbing truth about the Age of Autism: our fate is not in our genes, Dear Brutus, but in the chemicals that increasingly pollute our world and our children.”

Olmsted is to be commended for his research and investigation into the cause of autism. He has done a tremendous service for the planet. He did what the CDC should have done, but again they didn’t need to do the research as they already know mercury is at the root cause of the autism epidemic.  The CDC has acted as a dissembler in this epidemic.

What did the government know, and when did they know it? 

An FDA panel in 1982 said Thimerosal was “toxic, caused cell damage, was not effective in killing bacteria or halting their replication” and that Thimerosal is “not generally recognized as being safe or effective.” (1982 Vol. 47, No. 2 Federal Register)

Learning disabled and autistic children are living the burden of proof of what the FDA panel concluded in 1982.  So, what happened?  Where was the precautionary principle? When something atrocious is done there always seems to be the justification that it was for a greater good.

As the evidence continues to mount on what may be the largest iatrogenic (physician caused) public health disaster to affect this nation, so too does it appear that the apparent justification for deliberately allowing this to continue was about protecting the vaccine program’s viability (or profitability).  Such rationalizations however, have propelled matters down a slippery slope. What little altruism there is in this justification belies individuals protecting careers, status and reputations. This disaster did not come out of nowhere, and ultimately it will be found that it could have been mitigated if not for the irresponsible use of power and influence by an unholy alliance between corporation and state. It also calls into question whether this public health fiasco is an isolated scenario

In 1999, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the U.S. Public Health Service (PHS) issued a joint statement that said because “any potential risk is of concern, the Public Health Service, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and vaccine manufacturers agree that Thimerosal-containing vaccines should be removed as soon as possible.”  They would admit only “that some children could be exposed to a cumulative level of mercury over the first six months of life that exceeds one of the federal guidelines on methyl mercury,” and they reassured the public that “there are no data or evidence of any harm caused by the level of exposure that some children may have encountered in following the existing immunization schedule. Infants and children who have received Thimerosal-containing vaccines do not need to be tested for mercury exposure.” 

A report several years later didn’t sound so convincing.  In 2003, a report complied by the Staff of the Subcommittee on Human Rights and Wellness Committee on Government Reform (United States House of Representatives) was presented to then Chairman, Dan Burton. It was entitled, “Mercury in Medicine -Taking Unnecessary Risks.”   The report concluded that:

“given the importance of vaccination in our overall public health strategy, it is imperative that the Department of Health and Human Services adequately addresses the concerns of families of whose children have possible vaccine-induced autism. The continued response from agency officials that “there is no proof of harm” is a disingenuous response. The lack of conclusive proof does not mean that there is no connection between Thimerosal and vaccine-induced autism. What the lack of conclusive proof indicates is that the agency has failed in its duties to assure that adequate safety studies were conducted prior to marketing. Furthermore, in the last two decades, after determining that Thimerosal was no longer ‘generally recognized as safe’ for topical ointments, the agency did not extend their evaluation to other applications of Thimerosal, in particular as a vaccine preservative.”

“The Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) mission is to ‘promote and protect the public health by helping safe and effective products reach the market in a timely way, and monitoring products for continued safety after they are in use. However, the FDA uses a subjective barometer in determining when a product that has known risks can remain on the market. According to the agency, ‘at the heart of all FDA’s product evaluation decisions is a judgment about whether a new product’s benefits to users will outweigh its risks. No regulated product is totally risk-free, so these judgments are important. FDA will allow a product to present more of a risk when its potential benefit is great — especially for products used to treat serious, life-threatening conditions.

This argument – that the known risks of infectious diseases outweigh a potential risk of neurological damage from exposure to Thimerosal in vaccines – is one that has continuously been presented to the Committee by government officials. FDA officials have stressed that any possible risk from Thimerosal was theoretical, that no proof of harm existed.  However, the Committee, upon a thorough review of the scientific literature and internal documents from government and industry, did find evidence that Thimerosal did pose a risk.

Thimerosal used as a preservative in vaccines is likely related to the autism epidemic. This epidemic in all probability may have been prevented or curtailed had the FDA not been asleep at the switch regarding the lack of safety data regarding injected Thimerosal and the sharp rise of infant exposure to this known neurotoxin.”  “Mercury in Medicine – Are We Taking Unnecessary Risks?” Hearing Before the Committee on Government Reform; 106th Congress; July 18, 2000;  Serial No. 106-232

It’s ironic that we live at a time where the dissemination of a known poison and the disinformation surrounding it is being used against us as if we were the enemies in some military campaign. This goes beyond just individuals who don’t want to lose their jobs or accept responsibility that might injure their careers. Removing Thimerosal from vaccines won’t destroy the vaccination program, but it does require the infrastructure to change, and there are organizations that simply do not want that change to take place.  These organizations are making sure it stays in the vaccine schedule in the form of the flu vaccine, and that the multi-dose vials that contain Thimerosal for the other vaccines continue to stay licensed in the USA even though they are not used here.  That allows the World Health Organization (WHO) to use them in second and third world countries. The vaccine makers are reluctant to totally eliminate mercury just as the fossil-fuel industry doesn’t want to scrub mercury out of the smoke stakes of coal-fire power plants and dentists don’t want to stop using mercury amalgam filings.

Disinformation surrounding this issue is as much a danger as the mercury. The public can only perceive what is shown to them and there’s been a massive effort to keep the American people uninformed. Regrettably, it seems we have entrusted public safety to those who place compromising interests above public welfare.

In June 2000, a meeting was held at the Simpsonwood Conference Center in Norcross, Georgia.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention called this meeting.  There were people there from the Food and Drug Administration, the World Health Organization, and the major vaccine makers, including GlaxoSmithKline, Merck, Wyeth and Aventis Pasteur.  The meeting wasn’t open to the public, nor were reporters invited.  The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the results of a study done by Thomas Verstraeten, a CDC epidemiologist. He had found a statistical correlation between mercury exposure through pediatric vaccines and neurological disorders in children including autism, ADHD, stuttering, tics and speech and language delays.

Minutes of the meeting were obtained through the Freedom of Information Act.  In those minutes was the glaring example of the how seriously health officials have failed the American people.  Dick Johnston, M.D. University of Colorado School of Medicine was one of the attendees.  The information about the effect Thimerosal was having on U.S. children was so alarming that Dr. Johnston related this to the others, “Forgive this personal comment, but I got called out at eight o’clock for an emergency call and my daughter-in-law delivered a son by C-section. Our first male in the line of the next generation, and I do not want that grandson to get a Thimerosal-containing vaccine until we know better what is going on.  It will probably take a long time. In the meantime, and I know there are probably implications for this internationally, but in the meantime I think I want that grandson to only be given Thimerosal-free vaccines.”.

The obvious omission was the failure to say, “I do not want any more U.S. children to get a Thimerosal-containing vaccine until we know better what is going on.  We need to recall any and all vaccines with Thimerosal and alert doctors and health care providers to the danger.” 

Others were equally concerned about the ramifications of the information.  Dr. Bob Chen, head of vaccine safety for the CDC, was relieved that they had “been able to keep it out of the hands of, let’s say, less responsible hands.”

Dr. John Clements a vaccine advisor from WHO expressed regret that the study had been done in the first place.

Maybe the real concern for those at the Simpsonwood meeting was best expressed by Dr. Robert Brent, a pediatrician at the Alfred I. du Pont Hospital for Children in Delaware who said:

We are in a bad position from the standpoint of defending any lawsuits.”

The Simpsonwood attendees were told the information they discussed was “embargoed” and no one was to reveal their findings with the public. Verstraeten was immediately hired by one of the vaccine makers (GlaxoSmithKline) in Belgium.   Over 3 years later he went on to publish the results of his analysis in the journal Pediatrics, only by this time he had diluted his findings 4 times with corrupted datasets and the significance of his original report discussed at Simpsonwood had disappeared.

( He did not list a conflict of interest and told the journal he was an employee of the CDC when he had been an employee of GlaxoSmithKline for three years (in 2004 an errata was published online).

The policy of the vaccine division of the CDC is to promote the safety of Thimerosal and to keep it in the vaccine schedule no matter what – to “stay the course.” To do so, more than one law has been broken and the public trust violated.  The rationalization for this fraud was that a certain level of morbidity (side effects) must be tolerated for the good vaccines do for the greater population.  However this was not their decision to make. The CDC is in charge of vaccine safety which should have superseded all other responsibilities because vaccines are federally mandated.

The decision was made to make irrational arguments to defend injecting a known neurotoxin into the world’s children, to lie about what resulted, and to encourage the publication of falsified data in order to cover up what was known to be the truth.

Kenneth Stoller, MD, FAAP is medical director of the Hyperbaric Medical Center of New Mexico ( and the Hyperbaric Oxygen Clinic of Sacramento ( He is President of the International Hyperbaric Medical Association. He can be reached 

Anne McElroy Dachel of Chippewa Falls, WI is a member of A-CHAMP (Advocates for Children’s Health Affected by Mercury Poisoning) and the National Autism Association (NAA). She can be reached at: