Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Poisoning Our Kids? Thanks, President Bush.

I didn't intend on blogging about Bush so soon after last week, but I must make an exception.

Bush is soon expected to veto a ban on mercury in vaccinations.

Mercury is poison. If you ever broke a mercury thermometer as a child you might recall how much fun it was to watch the tiny, liquid-metal droplets roll across the floor. Perhaps you even played with them, allowing them to separate and then forcing the drops to jump back together. All of it was fun until you mother found you and harshly lectured about the toxicity of mercury, after which you would forever look apprehensively at any mercury thermometer placed in your mouth.

Recently mercury has been linked to brain damage and learning disabilities including autism.

Parents have been warned to limit the frequency in which they allow their children to eat fish because it contains traces of mercury. (By-the-way, mercury does not occur naturally in fish. Mercury pollutants released into the environment by factories and power plants filter into our water and then leach into the fish that live there. Read more about mercury pollution here.)

With this knowledge, you may wonder why drug companies continue to use mercury as an ingredient in thimerosal, a preservative used in immunizations. This chemical variant is outlawed in most countries, but not the United States. And, to add insult to injury, in 2002, a mysterious piggyback on the 2002 Homeland Security bill freed drug companies of liability in lawsuits regarding thimerosal.

To any parent this is disturbing news, especially to those who feel a pang of guilt when forcing their cheery, trusting, unsuspecting baby into a position to feel the painful prick of a shot. Now there is the additional worry of unintentionally poisoning our children.

Although our pediatrician assures me that all the shots given to our toddler are mercury-free, it just makes me wonder, "Why wouldn't Bush make sure that all parents have the same assurance?." Especially since there are certainly families that do not have the awareness to inquire about such a thing, or the means to find alternative health resources.

Is there any way to tell Bush that we value our health and the health of our children? Does he care that most Americans no longer support him and view his policies as outrageously foul?

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