Cultural Encounters: A Journal For The Theology Of Culture Volume 11 Number 2 (Summer 2016) - Page 59

VOLUME 11, NUMBER 2 A JOURNAL FOR THE THEOLOGY OF CULTURE Figures 1 and 2) were low in the early part of the graph because of poor diagnostic recognition of autism back in the 1970s. By 2000, we could recognize autism just fine. And people working in the field of environment toxicology are confident that the rising rates are because of various environmental contaminants. Also, a new study came out very recently involving 970 children in Northern California. The bottom line is that the closer the mother lives to a farm, the higher the rate of autism. The whole autism and vaccination debate was based on one scientific paper about twenty years old, since retracted by the journal. There was a whole series of authors on that paper. All but one of the authors on it have reevaluated and decided they were wrong. The remaining author has been accused of data fabrication. It is the most debunked piece of science that has ever existed. And yet, there is this idea out there that vaccines cause autism. There is not a scientist in the country that believes that, but it got out in the popular press and people are very protective of their children. Autism is a very emotional thing. Frankly, if you’re a parent and your child is found to be autistic, you want someone to blame. And you’re going to find someone to blame if you can and people jump onto vaccinations. Autism is not caused by vaccination and yet measles kills children. That’s pretty straightforward. Why is this link between autism and pesticides not in the popular press? Well, because most people live in cities so this higher autism rate if you live next to a farm doesn’t resonate with a lot of people. Most of the people living in these areas are agricultural folks. They’re farm workers, or they own a farm. They’re probably not too happy about what they know about the pesticide exposure, but they’re making a living. And it’s not a risk to the general population. It’s to folks who get sprayed. Woman 6: What about mercury in vaccinations? I remember you talking about mercury in food. SK: There is no evidence that the amount of mercury in vaccinations has any effect on autism whatsoever. However, there is certainly a growing body of concern regarding heavy metal exposure in diet, whether it’s arsenic, lead, mercury, or a combination of those three things. Now you are talking about a much more substantial exposure to heavy metals than in a vaccination. Man 6: It’s much different in vaccines. The mercury in a vaccine is not by itself. It is a part of something else that helps the vaccine be effective against whatever you are trying to kill. 56