Robert F. Kennedy Jr. promotes a dangerous and unscientific position on thimerosal

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512px-Robert_Kennedy_Jr._1Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is putting out a book called, Thimerosal: Let the Science Speak: The Evidence Supporting the Immediate Removal of Mercury a Known Neurotoxin from Vaccines. In the United States, where we've started to see a re-emergence of diseases once thought to be eradicated because of vaccines, the ludicrous assertion of thimerosal s toxicity has the potential to be extremely dangerous, not because of its nefarious attack which is so clearly specious, but to further confuse and frighten parents about vaccine safety in general.

Kennedy, in his book, states that dangerous quantities of Thimerosal continue to be used [in vaccines], posing a significant threat to public health and leading to a crisis of faith in vaccine safety. However, ACSH trustee, Dr. Paul Offit, says, This hypothesis ... about thimerosal was raised 15 years ago and answered 5 years ago -- it's done. It doesn't matter what Bobby Kennedy, Jr. does -- the only thing is what the data show. The question is, are the levels [of mercury] contained in vaccines shown to be harmful? And the answer is no. Thimerosal is ethyl mercury, not environmental mercury, and it's excreted from the body far more quickly ... Breast milk contains far higher [mercury] levels than you would ever get from vaccines.

Despite the obvious scientific evidence supporting the safety of vaccines, there is no reasoning with people like Kennedy who are so emotionally invested in the subject, no matter how strong the argument against their beliefs, Dr. William Schaffner, professor of preventive medicine and infectious diseases at Vanderbilt University, told MedPage Today.

ACSH s Dr. Elizabeth Whelan had this to say: In light of this book, it is important to remind people about the safety of vaccines. A figure such as Kennedy who commands a strong following has the potential to negatively influence the public with these anti-scientific and dangerous views. We in the public health community must make sure that his message does not influence parents to leave their children unvaccinated. Both the American Academy of Pediatrics and the World Health Organization agree that thimerosal is safe as it is currently used in those few vaccines which still have it in trace amounts.

She goes on, It is mind boggling the amount of damage that has been done by the false link of thimerosal (and vaccines themselves) to autism and it is horrifying to consider how much illness and death may potentially result should people choose to listen to the message in Kennedy s book.