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Transcript of recent WFAA video clip (provided by Susan Pearce)

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Transcript of recent WFAA video clip (provided by Susan Pearce)

Thimerosal in Vaccines -- Congressional Hearing - June 20, 2002

Television video clip: http://www.wfaa.com/watchvideo/index.jsp?SID=3070133

[Male voice]: A U.S. Congressman tonight is calling for criminal penalties for any government agency that knew about the dangers of thimerosal in vaccines and did nothing to protect American children.

Last month a news ___(?) investigation disclosed allegations that some government officials may have suppressed documentation about these risks. And today some of those officials testified at a congressional hearing .

Channel 8's(?) Valerie Williams joins us now LIVE from the nation's capital with more. Valerie---------

[Valerie]: Well, obviously, the BIG concern is that thimerosal is linked to just a GROWING rate of autism among children in this country. We know from our own research that by 1972 the FDA had begun asking questions about the dangers of thimerosal. By 1992, it had been pulled out of dog vaccines and contact lens solution because of the risk, but it was not until last year that FINALLY it was removed from childhood vaccines.

Today, government health officials squirmed uncomfortably in their seats as more evidence emerged suggesting that they had mis-led the public.

[Congressman Burton]: "You mean to tell me since 1929 we've been using thimerosal and the only test that you know of is the one that was done in ' 29 and every one of those people had meningitis and they all died?"

[Valerie]: For nearly an hour, Burton repeatedly asked FDA and CDC officials what they knew, and when they knew it, and when memories seemed to be a bit fuzzy, the Congressman produced old memos as a refresher. This one from 1999 states that the FDA had an interim plan already in place for many years to get rid of thimerosal. The same e-mail also addresses the FDA's fear that it would (will?) be accused by the public of being asleep at the switch for decades by allowing a dangerous compound to remain in childhood vaccines.

Burton proposes bringing criminal charges if it's proven the government agencies were involved in a cover-up.

[Female voice (Valerie?) asking Burton]: "You're (we're?) talking about a government agency ---"

[Congressman Burton]: "Oh yes, I don't ---look --- I don't think it makes any difference whether it's a private company or a government agency; if they know they're harming somebody and they continue to let it happen then they should be held accountable."

[Valerie]: Government accountability is something that parents of autistic children have been asking for for years. Cooper Irp (sp.?) is seven. Before Cooper was three, he'd lost his ability to talk, and his mercury levels were off the charts. His parents say Cooper's only exposure to mercury was through his vaccines.

Today he has all the classic signs of autism, such as repeatedly hitting himself and fixating on things, like this spinning chair. His mother has one dream --- that one day Cooper will call her "Mommy", in a sentence. "I probably have that dream once a week, that he's speaking to me and . it would be wonderful."

What parents like Christy Irp (sp?) would like to ask this panel of government officials is, Why in eighty years, they have never ordered one clinical test on the effects of thimerosal in vaccines.

Congressman Burton asked the question several times today, but never got a direct answer. After the hearing, we tried ----

[Female voice (Valerie?)]: "Dr. Eagan (sp?), I'm curious. Why were studies never done on thimerosal?"

[Garbled response - female voice - possibly saying "the press"]

"Dr. Eagan ... Dr. Eagan. Can you please tell us why studies were never done?"

[No response]

Congressman Burton has a personal stake in this growing scandal. He says his grandson became autistic a few days after receiving nine inoculations. Thus far within the government, he has been a minority voice, but he has subpoena power and he keeps threatening to use it.

[Burton]: "So what you do, is you just keep making the case and you keep trying to get the message out to a broader and broader audience, so that people start saying 'Why?' And when enough people say 'Why?', then change starts to take place."

[Valerie]: Now, researchers say since the 1990s, autism rates in children have surpassed epilepsy, cerebral palsy, and mental retardation in this country. However, an FDA official today again insisted that he saw no problems with thimerosal in vaccines. Well, that's become kind of a two-edged sword because they have no studies to back that assertion up.

I'm Valerie Williams. Back to you, Missy (?) and John.

[Male voice]: Okay, Valerie, thank you .....

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