• Tue, Feb 12 2008

The Wearying of the Green

Generation Rescue, an organization that says that “autism is mercury poisoning,” has taken out a full page ad in USA Today proclaiming that we need to “green our vaccines” and take “greater care” in administering them. By “greening” vaccines, Generation Rescue seems to mean that vaccines need to be—-like certain green cleaning products being promoted for use in New Jersey schools—safer. But today’s ad is merely the “same old same old” message the group has been putting out for the past years, and the “green” of their message is starting to wilt and wither.

In the past, Generation Rescue—and proponents of the hypothesis that vaccines or something in vaccines, such as thimerosal—have spoken out against vaccines; now, in a slight twist of rhetoric, their message is that vaccines need to safer (i.e., mercury-free). It’s not that Generation Rescue is “anti-vaccine,” but “pro-vaccine-safety“. Today’s ad also mentions ADHD—

The statistics speak for themselves. Since 1983, the number of vaccines the CDC recommends we give to our kids has gone from 10 to 36, a whopping increase of 260%. And, it, the prevalence of neurological disorders like autism and ADHD has grown exponentially as well.

Is Generation Rescue linking ADHD to vaccinations?!!??!—–things are getting a little out of hand here.

I understand that the parents behind Generation Rescue believe what they believe and believe that they have the best interests of children in mind. Nonetheless, surely there might be better ways to devote whatever sums went into paying for full-page ads in national newspapers, to help with (as today’s ad notes at the bottom), “the growing challenges of autism”—-the need to educate autistic children in schools and with services that take into account their individual learning differences and cognitive ability; the need to provide for autistic children’s education even after they turn (as in this article from the Doncaster Free Press) 16 and 21; the need to make sure that there are jobs and housing for autistic adults. The obsessive focus on mercury and vaccines and on sniffing out alleged (and very much imagined) government conspiracies of groups like Generation Rescue is starting to seem like, well, an obsession. Our children are growing up and the national conversation about autism needs to be focused on education and services, for autistic persons and to help others (such as law enforcement personnel) understand how best to help them.

And talking about about to create and fund such programs; how to get insurance companies to cover more costs for therapies; how to educate the public about autism is: For me, this is a constant work in progress, ever renewing, ever in need of revising and—-as I see how my son grows up and changes and keeps learning—-always offering some new, invigorating discovery.

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  • http://ppdnos.blogspot.com/ Laura

    The zeolotry turns me off. And I don’t believe there’s a causal link between autism and vaccines.

    That having been said, I do wonder about mercury in our fish. To be clear, I’m not positing that eating fish makes a child autistic. But I wonder what all of my years of sushi consumption did to my eggs, you know. You don’t have to be a conspiracy theorist to realize that something stinks (pun intended). The tuna lobby isn’t a figment of anyone’s imagination. Nor is the fact that autism barely exists in unpolluted third world nations.

  • Eileen

    I can’t help but make a connection between your previous post about the research behind there being an immune component behind regressive autism and the idea of vaccines playing a role. I have always felt that an immune component was a factor in my son’s regressive autism and I also feel that the amount of vaccines he received in his immune deficient infant body triggered his regression.

  • Ms. Clark

    The immune problem that the UCD scientists are sniffing around is in THE MOM, and in the MOM before the kid is conceived, or so they are thinking. That’s why they took antibodies from MOMS (not from autistic kids) and injected them into PREGNANT monkey MOMS, not into infant monkeys.

    There is absolutely no reason at all. Absolutely none to try to connect autism with vaccines. I would expect though to see babies suffering and possibly dying of vaccine preventable diseases thanks to this ad from Generation Rescue. I hope there will be full page ads incriminating JB Handley and his gang of self-centered fools for any deaths or maimings of children because the vaccine program has been undermined by them, that is if their ad is “successful” in getting parents to avoid vaccines as is their big **anti-vaccine** dream.

  • Matt

    The connection between “green” and the rest of the ad was not made very clearly. It came across to me as contrived.

    But, in the end, they aren’t trying to be correct, just effective in getting their message out. “Green” isn’t a real part of the message.

  • http://therunman.blogspot.com jypsy

    “The statistics speak for themselves”

    Like that mythical 1 in 10,000 statistic they’re using? Speaks volumes….

  • http://www.autismvox.com Kristina Chew, PhD


    that was my thought too—-nice rhyme too with ‘green’ and ‘vaccine

  • stopautismquackery

    “The obsessive focus [...] is starting to seem like, well, an obsession.”

    As in this kind, perhaps?
    Collective Obsessional Behavior

  • Regan

    (Just to corroborate Ms. Clark’s observations–
    The IgG’s in the MIND study are in the MOTHER prenatally and the effect is on the fetus, not after birth.)

    How much is one of these ads?
    I would love to see a full page ad, such as
    THANK YOU WALGREENS for giving our our differenced citizens a chance!


    I like the suggestion in the GR ad that the CDC and AAP/Pediatrics are not doing any research. It seems to me that alot of research is going on, it’s just that the results are not that which the particular advocacy groups want to see.

  • Regan

    “I like the suggestion in the GR ad that the CDC and AAP/Pediatrics are not doing any research.”
    That was meant to be facetious/sarcasm, but the emoticon didn’t come through.

  • Matt

    How much is one of these ads?


    they are $118,000 for a full page ad, weekday.

    A lot could have been done with that money. Some reasonable research is possible in that price range.

  • http://www.autismvox.com Kristina Chew, PhD


    Regarding autism prevalence in “third world countries”—it could also be argued that understanding about autism and the notion of autism as a diagnosis are much less, hence there are fewer children (currently) being diagnosed.

    I guess that’s why there are vegetarian and California rolls!

  • http://enemiesofthelibrary.blogspot.com Justthisguy

    Laura, I think white folks from Northern Europe are borderline-autistic by the standards of most other ethnys and places. We’re famous for being grumpy loners. With guns.

  • http://daisymayfattypants.blogspot.com Emily

    You know that’s spelled “thimero…”….oh–nevermind. ;)

  • http://enemiesofthelibrary.blogspot.com Justthisguy

    You’re right, Matt, that money could have paid for lots of practical help for autistic folks, the kind that rich old ladies traditionally get in novels.

    That is, the rich old lady, who has not a clue about business, often has her “man of business” or lawyer, or secretary, or whatever, to take care of the vexing annoyances of life.

    In the novels, anyway.

  • http://enemiesofthelibrary.blogspot.com Justthisguy

    P.s. Or, as Jerry Newport has pointed out, Temple Grandin may only have escaped institutionalisation by virtue of her parents being stinkin’ rich.

  • http://www.tismylife.com ange

    I just signed up for a listserve for families against restraining and seclusion as I embark on my campaign for that issue…and one of the first e-mails I received was from someone so excited about the gen rescue ad and to pass it on. All I could think at the time was: crap. I can’t get away from it!!!!

  • grenouille

    A little bit off topic, but did anyone see the Today show with the child who had selective mutism?

    The psychologist said that the prevalence of SM, in forms mild to severe, is 1 in 100 kids. A true hidden horde, I guess…

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  • BA

    Selective mutism as 1 in 100 is way over the estimates that I’ve seen. Though there is no question that many children are less motivated to speak, the differential diagnosis of autism/selective mutism is and should be difficult. Autism involves deficits in responding to social cues which is related to an insensitivity to social stimulation.

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  • Dan Fergo

    How many of you are so clueless and callous in your remarks.

    My wife and I know our son was poisoned by his MMR shot. Whatever it was, themerisol, mercury, etc. it doesn’t matter.
    What matters to us is to get our son recovered. And y’know what, our son is recovering, thanks to following the Defeat Autism Now! (DAN!) doctor protocol, extensisve ABA therapy, speech, occupational and physical therapy. And thanks for Jenny McCarthy for giving us a clue. Until you live with a child who is ‘atypical autistic, you’re no expert in our eyes, us parents are. We now see results of him becoming the fun loving boy he was at 1.5 years of age and his speech and cognitive skills improve each day. This is not self-mutism, he was poisoned if you saw his stimming and his ‘spaced out’ look.

    I ask any one of your to do some research and come up with definitive written proof of a study that has been done within the last 5 years proving themerisol has been completely removed from any vaccine. Not trace amounts, but completely removed as stated would be done by pharmaceutical companies , the CDC and NIH by 2005. I’ll save you some time, you won’t find one. Prove me wrong.

    Abd about the ad, while you can critique it all you want and while it may not be perfect, it should make you ask the questions shouldn’t we know exactly what goes into vaccines and how they are tested and shouldn’t we have better studies to know if and when a vaccine is introduced that there aren’t any increases in any diseases/afflictions?

    I use to think like many of you, it’s hogwash, over-reaction, but now I know…it’s not.


  • http://www.autismvox.com Kristina Chew, PhD

    Sounds like your son is doing well and hope he continues to make progress. As you know, even though thimerosal has been removed from most childhood vaccines, the prevalence rate of autism has continued to rise. Very best.

  • Monica

    “they are $118,000 for a full page ad, weekday.”

    That is sickening to me. I have two autistic boys, the younger one with many more challenges than the older. The help I could get for both of my boys, for that amount of money…what a waste!

    Never mind the harm being done to the kids of the “fence-straddlers” on vaccines by such a thing.