Vaccine Industry Watchdog Responds to Forbes Defense of Mercury-Laced Vaccinations


Dr. Brian Hooker, PhD, says Forbes misrepresented congressional records and CDC studies

CHARLOTTE, N.C., Feb. 28, 2014 /PRNewswire-iReach/ — Last week, PhD biochemist Brian Hooker created a stir when he announced he had obtained sensitive documents from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) through Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. According to Hooker, these documents implicated the vaccine preservative Thimerosal (50% mercury by weight) in causing autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders, revealing what he says CDC officials had long known, but never disclosed publicly: a 7.6-fold increase in autism during infancy after exposure. Emily Willingham, who frequently editorializes in support of the vaccine program, responded in Forbes by criticizing a news story that went viral on the subject of Dr. Hooker’s FOIA revelations.


Dr. Hooker methodically itemized “misrepresentations and outright errors” that he says appeared in “Willingham either confused two CDC studies or intentionally deceived Forbes’ readers,” said Hooker. “There was one concealed study that found a very high association between Thimerosal and autism. That was the study that was kept from the public which I obtained. And there was a later study by the same researcher – CDC-paid epidemiologist Thomas Verstraeten – who had watered down the results of the earlier study to appear as if there were no association between Thimerosal and autism. That second study was made public even though it was fraudulent.  Willingham pointed to the conclusions of the later study and implied that they came from the earlier study.”

Although Willingham denies that the CDC researcher, Dr. Verstraeten, was under pressure to alter the results of the earlier study, Dr. Hooker points out that Verstraeten’s own email written at the time (an internal CDC document obtained through FOIA) reveals otherwise. Verstraeten’s subject line, “It just won’t go away,” refers to his difficulty in making the statistical association between Thimerosal and autism disappear.

Making an example of how he says Dr. Verstraeten hid that association in his reanalysis of the data on 400,000 infants, Dr. Hooker says Verstraeten did not include clinics within HMOs where there was a strong correlation between Thimerosal exposure and autism incidence. According to Hooker, “Willingham brazenly disregarded Verstraeten’s own chilling words: ‘All the harm is done in the first month [of life]…’ He wrote those words about the study I obtained.”  The abstracts of Verstraeten’s two studies and further comment on the controversy can be viewed here.

Dr. Hooker says Willingham misrepresented the congressional record when she selected quotes from a 2007 U.S. Senate report which falsely asserted that allegations of a cover-up are unsubstantiated. He considers the U.S. House of Representatives’ 2003 report titled Mercury in Medicine (the result of a 3-year investigation) a “scathing, 80-page indictment of the CDC regarding the Thimerosal coverup.”  The report concludes, “Our public health agencies’ failure to act is indicative of institutional malfeasance for self-protection and misplaced protectionism of the pharmaceutical industry.”

Willingham treated Verstraeten’s final, watered-down results as solid epidemiological evidence, when, according to Hooker, the final version of the Verstraeten study is fraught with statistical flaws, primarily “overmatching.” He provided an example:  the cases and controls received the same vaccination schedule and the same Thimerosal dosage; thus, no true comparison could be made.  Hooker says this invalidates all of the analyses (done separately for HMOs A, B and C).

Willingham quoted Verstraeten’s  2004 letter in the journal Pediatrics regarding his later, diluted study, omitting the fact that the CDC has used the study to exonerate Thimerosal despite Verstraeten calling the study “neutral.”  In addition, the 2004 Institute of Medicine (IOM) Immunization Safety Review (ISR) committee report used this as the only U.S. epidemiological study (among the 5 studies) as the basis to reject the Thimerosal-autism hypothesis, shutting the door on any further research.

“In light of Ms. Willingham’s enthusiastic defense of mercury in vaccines despite conclusive evidence of its harm to children, it is ironic that the tagline for her column is ‘I write about the science they are selling you.'” remarked Dr. Hooker. Thimerosal is still administered to pregnant women and infants via the flu shot.

Brian Hooker, PhD, PE is an associate professor of biology at Simpson University. His over 50 science and engineering papers have been published in internationally recognized, peer-reviewed journals. He has a son, aged 16, who developed normally but then regressed into autism after receiving Thimerosal-containing vaccines. Dr. Brian Hooker’s investigative research is sponsored by the Focus Autism Foundation, which is dedicated to informing the public about the cause(s) of the autism epidemic and the rise of chronic illnesses. To learn more, visit and,  an educational website sponsored by Focus Autism.

AutismOne is co-sponsoring this message and is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that provides education and supports advocacy efforts for children and families touched by an autism diagnosis. To learn more, visit

Media Contact: Angela Medlin, A Shot of Truth, 1 866-498-2768,

News distributed by PR Newswire iReach:


SOURCE Brian Hooker, PhD, PE


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25 Thoughts on “Vaccine Industry Watchdog Responds to Forbes Defense of Mercury-Laced Vaccinations

  1. White Rose on March 3, 2014 at 4:47 pm said:

    Well done A.I .
    At last some serious articles over on AoA by the dedicated John Dan Stone .

    The Offits of this world have just taken a major body blow and they know it .

    I really think this could be the straw to break the camels back .

  2. Larry on March 4, 2014 at 11:11 am said:

    @WhiteRose – given that this information is over a decade old and has been superseded by much more accurate information, I really don’t think anyone (besides anti-vaccination folks) cares.

    • It’s been superseded with watered-down tobacco science; read my article. In no further iterations of Verstaeten et al. were there comparisons made for the highest mercury exposure category (>25mcg, first month) compared to an unexposed group, which yielded the 7.6-fold increased risk for autism. Meanwhile, the research result was concealed from the public by CDC until it was discovered in FOIA-obtained documents.

      For CDC and its collaborators, such research misconduct is par for the course. As far as no one other than us “anti-vaccination folks” caring, I’d say Emily Willingham cares quite a bit – enough to write three blog posts about it within the span of a week.

  3. White Rose on March 4, 2014 at 9:37 pm said:

    But then again it took AoA several days to even acknowledge the biggest development in recent Autism times . And then it was straight back to the readers competitions .

    I don’t think AoA is serious about Autism . Or perhaps AoA is serious about diverting Autism , channelling angry parents over to a quiet sideline somewhere .

  4. Letthembegot on March 4, 2014 at 10:42 pm said:

    So Why after a strange delay has AOA finally caught up and jumped on the Brian Hooker train !

    Have you seen the Mark Blaxill video by Ben Swann- I aint for turning its a watered down message again.
    I could well believe MB was trying to get to the front of Brian Hookers story to try to keep a lid on it.
    So many intelligent people putting so much effort into so many sensible lines of research and information sharing on AOA but I just dont believe they will ever make a difference over there until the leadership is changed.

  5. Letthembegot on March 4, 2014 at 10:51 pm said:

    Larry you are quite mistaken……….there are tons of us who care.

    My word are you aware of the number of well educated parents ‘I ‘alone have convinced to side step vaccines on the grounds of protecting their children. These parents are graduates many of them are science graduates who can read and digest the research. It doesnt take all that much research to sift through the rubbish being pedaled about vaccines being safe. The general public are becoming more and more informed each and every day…….you cannot hide from the truth…

    Many many people care ……Isnt that why you waste your time over here ?

  6. White Rose on March 5, 2014 at 8:22 pm said:

    So Larry , this 10 year old data from the CDC archive , talk about embarrassing for you ? no ?
    Surely this data was meant to be destroyed , buried and forgotten a long time ago .

    A study conducted by the CDC themselves that says Vaccines Cause Autism , oh dear , oh dear .
    What else might we uncover with the FOIA I wonder .

    Vaccines are a crime against humanity , and a holocaust has been perpetrated .

  7. White Rose on March 5, 2014 at 9:15 pm said:

    Yep also just watched the Ben Swann video . Mark Blaxill is trying to dilute the message all the time .
    Dan Burns , John Dan Stone , Ginger and all the rest of you at AoA , Mark Blaxill is a working against the interests of the VaccineAutism lobby . More worryingly is there is no way that you guys cannot see that .
    Wasn’t it MB who was involved in the scuppering of the 5000 parent omnibus .

    Shame on you Mark Blaxill . How much are they paying you ?

  8. Larry on March 5, 2014 at 11:37 pm said:

    @WhiteRose – given that this was public information first released over a decade ago & has since been superseded by more refined information (as this was only preliminary)….you really do seem to be barking up the wrong tree here…not to mention that Thimerasol isn’t even used in the vast majority of pediatric vaccines (in fact, is only used in a couple of Flu Vaccines – which aren’t nearly as universally given as regular vaccines).

    Again, I have no idea why you keep harping on a dead issue.

    • It was information that was never intended from the public and hidden for five years and the corresponding scientific abstract for 14 years. Only recently was it discovered that CDC scientists planned to present the increased autism risk at its annual EIS conference before deciding to conceal the finding altogether.

  9. Larry on March 6, 2014 at 12:32 am said:

    @Jake – you should know better, given your area of study. In many instances, the first pass at more general information gives you less than precise information, which is then refined with follow-up studies….and in this case, follow up studies with more accurate information didn’t show what was original thought.

    Again, this is a dead issue – because not only was there no link between thimerasol and autism a decade ago, but there is less than no link now, because thimerasol has been removed from all pediatric vaccines (with the exception of two varieties of flu vaccine).

    • Before this information even came out CDC denied the existence of this information. To now suddenly claim it was “preliminary” is not consistent with what was previously claimed. Since no subsequent analysis ever compared autism’s incidence in children exposed to over 25 micrograms of mercury in the first month of life relative to those who received none in that same time frame, none of the later analyses could be considered valid evidence to refute what Verstraeten and his colleagues initially found.

  10. Bayareamom on March 6, 2014 at 1:46 am said:

    Just out of curiosity Larry, what’s your dog in this race? Why do you persist in coming over here spouting your absolute nonsense re: pro-vaccine agenda? I’m all for discourse on this subject, but your rhetoric is quite honestly, juvenile.

  11. Larry on March 6, 2014 at 2:37 am said:

    Hmmmm…..juvenile compared to a person that claims that vaccines are the new “Holocaust” and that pro-vaccine individuals should be lined up in the street and shot?

    Wow, I really just don’t know how to take that.

    Functionally, I prefer to say that I am anti-disease and suffering – whereas you appear to be both pro-disease and pro-suffering.

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  13. Carol on March 8, 2014 at 8:28 pm said:

    7.62 to 1.58? That gives new meaning to the word “refinement.”

    Jake, if it’s the abstract that just became available, what other parts of the paper were available previously? Looking at pp. 408 and 409 of the paperback _Evidence of Harm_, there’s quite a bit of information there. Where did that come from?


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