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Why there are four times as many autistic boys as girls
Mercury expert Professor Boyd Haley is concerned that the huge increase in autism may be due to exposure to mercury from mothers’ dental amalgam fillings while in the womb. He also believes that an interaction between the mercury based vaccine preservative thimerosal and the male hormone testosterone may play a part. His testimony before the US House Government Reform Committee (14.11.02) included the following:
  • Mercury in the mouth and intestines can mutate into more toxic organic mercury compounds like methyl mercury, facilitating its uptake by babies in the womb [1,2,3]

  • Methylthiol, one of the major neurotoxins produced during gum diseases, reacts immediately with the mercury ion Hg2+, creating extremely dangerous organic mercury-thiol compounds. Like methyl mercury, these can easily penetrate the blood/bowel and blood-brain barriers of adults, children and foetuses. This latter might explain why gum disease in the mother is the main risk factor for pre-term low birth weight babies

  • Raised mercury levels in mothers' fluids have been linked with even higher levels present in the cord blood and in the meconium (faeces) passed by the baby during the first days after birth [4]

  • Levels of mercury in the ‘birth hair’ of autistic children are usually lower than in normal children, whilst their blood levels of mercury are higher. In normal children, the level of mercury in ‘birth hair’ increases in line with the number of amalgam fillings in the mother’s mouth. In autistic children there is very little excretion of mercury into the ‘birth hair’ no matter how many dental amalgam fillings their mother has. When children with autism are exposed to mercury in tests, they retain higher amounts in the body than normal children. This all suggests that the bodies of children with autism are less effective at excreting mercury [5]

  • The mercury based vaccine preservative thimerosal kills neurons, particularly when inorganic mercury, aluminium, lead or cadmium are present

  • Whereas the female hormone oestrogen decreases thimerosal’s toxic effects, the male hormone testosterone greatly increases its toxicity. Exposing neurons to even a tiny concentration of either thimerosal or testosterone alone killed 5% in three hours. Three hours exposure to the same concentration of thimerosal with just one nanomolar of testosterone added killed all 100%. This may explain the four-to-one ratio of boys to girls that become autistic and the fact that boys represent the vast majority of the severe cases of autism

  • Some children are born autistic. Others develop autism, possibly due to exposure to mercury in early childhood from vaccines, food or pollution. In a normal child, it is quite plausible that protective compounds in the body such as glutathione and metallothionine (which bind with mercury and other heavy metals), would prevent neurological damage. However, when a foetus is exposed to mercury its stores of these compounds are reduced

  • These compounds also decrease in the body with age, disease, other toxic exposures, oxidative stress and genetic susceptibility, possibly explaining why Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s have, until recently, been primarily diseases of older people

N.B. It is the mercury retained in the body’s cells that causes damage, not the mercury which has been excreted in the urine, hair and faeces.

MMR - a hypothesis
Boyd Haley also found that the MMR triple jab (which does not contain thimerosal) was far less neurotoxic than any thimerosal-containing vaccines. If, however, it was given to a child whose blood/bowel or blood/brain barrier had already been damaged by exposure to, say, mercury from the mother’s dental amalgam fillings or an earlier vaccination containing thimerosal, the live measles virus in particular could easily penetrate the gut or brain where it could trigger substantial damage. Boyd suggests that this may be one of the causes of ME CFS.

Ed.- (i) Recently published research found that children with autism had significantly lower levels of glutathione, homocysteine and other amino acids essential for protecting the body against heavy metals like mercury. [6]

(ii) A copy of the US International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology’s list of ‘dental amalgam free’ dentists may be obtained from the Green Health Watch office. Please send a large stamped addressed envelope. It can also be downloaded from website: www.amalgam.ukgo.com/ukdent.htm

An individual’s ability to excrete mercury may be determined by genetics, the presence of other toxins like lead and pesticides, or reduced immune function due to age (ed.- young or old) or disease.

Test your levels of mercury
Low or zero levels of mercury in hair or nail samples, faeces or urine can mean that either the body contains very little mercury or that the body is not very good at excreting it, testing these cannot tell us much. Nor can a blood test be a reliable indicator (mercury does not always circulate in the blood stream, often sticking to body tissues) and testing mercury levels in the mouth only shows how much is leaking from dental amalgam fillings, not what is being stored in the body.

The most accurate way to determine the amount of mercury stored in your body is a 'chelation challenge' test. This consists of a urine test performed before and after taking a chelating (binding) agent. If there is mercury stored in the body, some of it will bind to the chelator and be released via the urine. The one Green Health Watch recommends is the Kelmer test (available (£42) from Biolab - see below). To establish your body’s ability to excrete mercury, the Kelmer result is compared to the finding of a Sweat Mineral Analysis with Mercury test, which measures the amount of mercury in your sweat. If the Kelmer test finds high mercury levels but the sweat test finds low levels, your body is not good at excreting mercury. The Sweat Mineral Analysis with Mercury test, also from Biolab, again costs £42.00.

If you have reason to suspect you are sensitive to mercury it is best to start by having a mercury sensitivity test (Lymphocyte Test). This will indicate whether you are normally or highly sensitive to mercury and the best next steps to take to remove the mercury from your body. If you are highly sensitive to mercury, for instance, it may not be wise to take the Kelmer test, which releases mercury from the tissues into the blood stream and could make you iller. Someone highly sensitivity to mercury may suffer from all the adverse effects of mercury toxicity even though their body level is very low sensitivity. (Also available from Biolab at £53.00)

Biolab Medical Unit (UK) is a medical laboratory that specialises in nutritional and environmental medicine. You will need to be referred by a medically qualified doctor or dental surgeon. If your GP or dentist won’t refer you, Biolab has a list of private doctors specialising in nutritional and environmental medicine and allergy who may. For more information about the tests contact: Dr Mark Howard, Biolab Medical Unit, The Stone House, 9 Weymouth Street, London W1W 6DB, UK Tel: 0207 636 5959 email: info@biolab.co.uk website: www.biolab.co.uk



[1] Kingman et al. Journal of Dental Research 1998;V77(3):461
[2] Mackert,JR & Bergland,A. Critical Revues in Oral Biology and Medicine 1997;8(4):410-36 (states it would take 450-530 amalgam surfaces to produce 30 micrograms mercury/g creatinine of urine mercury per day (roughly estimated as 0.067 to 0.057 mg/day/surface)
[3] Holmes,A et al. International Journal of Toxicology 2003;V22:4
[4] Ramirez,GB et al. Pediatrics 2000;V106(4):774-81
[5] see e.g., Razagui,IB et al. Biological Trace Element Research 2001;81(1):1-19
Drasch,G et al. European Journal of Pediatrics 1995;154(7):585-86
Lorscheider,FL et al. Neuroreport 2001;12(4):733-37
[6] Saxe et al. Journal of American Dental Association 1999;V130:191
[7] Frustaci et al.
Journal of the American College of Cardiology 1999;v33(6):1578-83
[8] see e.g., Lorscheider,FL et al. FASEB Journal 1995;9:504-08
[9] see e.g., Kingman,A et al.
Journal of Dental Research 1998;77(3):461-71
[10] Chew,CL et al. Clinical Preventive Dentistry 1991;13(3):5-7
[11] see e.g., Reinhardt,JW.
Advances in Dental Research 1992;6;110-113
[12] see e.g., Nylander,M et al.
Journal of Swedish Dentistry 1987;11:179-187 and 1989;13:235-43
Zander,D et al.
Zentralblatt fur Hygiene und Umweltmedizin 1992;192(5):447-54
[13] Haley,B. Nordisk Tidsskrift for Biologisk Medisin 2003
[14] see e.g., Opitz,H. Clinical Neuropathology 1996;15(3):130-44
[15] see e.g. Echeverria,D et al. FASEB Journal 1998;12(11):971-80
Aschner,M & Aschner,JL.
Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews 1990;14(23):169-76
[16] see e.g. Hua,MS et al. Brain Injury 1996;10(5):377-84
Siblerud,RL. Psychological Reports 1992;70(3 Pt 2);1139-51
[17] see e.g. Heintze,U et al.
Scandinavian Journal of Dental Research 1983;9(2):150-52
[18] Heintze et al.
Scandinavian Journal of Dental Research 1983;V91:150
Rowland et al. Experientia 1975;V31:1064
[20] Leistevuo,J et al. Caries Research 2001;V35(3):163
[21] see e.g. Siblerud,RL.
The Science of the Total Environment 1990;99(1-2):23-25
Zentralblatt fur Hygiene und Umweltmedizin 1996 Nov: 199)1): 69-75

(10890) Nick Anderson and Jenny Spinner. Green Health Watch


Mercury and modern illnesses

One of the most sensitive markers of mercury poisoning is the level of porphyrin in people’s urine - the higher the toxicity in the body, the higher the level. Without sufficient porphyrin, the body cannot produce the iron-bearing substance haem or, therefore, haemoglobin. Haemoglobin, carried round the body in red blood cells, is the substance which delivers the iron and oxygen all cell batteries (mitochondria) need to provide their cell with energy.

Haem itself:

  • is critical to the electricity flow in every cell
  • helps the P450 enzymes in the liver to detox the body. Many ‘illnesses of our time’ have been associated with poor P450 enzyme function and/or chronic lack of energy
  • stops protein fragments called beta-amyloid building up between nerve cells in the brain. A build-up of beta-amyloid plaque is characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease

A recent study [1] found that 53% of autistic children had raised urine porphyrin levels similar to those found by another study in dentists exposed to mercury.

[1] Nataf,R et al.
Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology 2006;214(2):99-108

(12524) Professor Boyd Haley. Medical Veritas 2006;3:921-34