Gulf War Illness Tied To Cipro Antibiotics

Civilians suffering from Fluoroquinolone Toxicity Syndrome (an adverse reaction to a fluoroquinolone – Cipro/Ciprofloxacin, Levaquin/Levofloxacin, Avelox/Moxifloxacin, Floxin/Ofloxacin and others) have noted the similarities between Gulf War illness and Fluoroquinolone Toxicity Syndrome for years.  It is beyond likely, it is probable, that they are one in the same.

The Symptoms

The VA defines Gulf War Illness as “chronic, unexplained symptoms existing for 6 months or more” that are at least ten percent disabling.  The CDC case definition of Gulf War Illness “requires chronic symptoms in two of three domains of fatigue, cognitive-mood, and musculoskeletal.”

Fluoroquinolone Toxicity Syndrome is a chronic, unexplained illness with symptoms lasting for months, years, or, as the updated warning label notes, permanently.  The symptoms of Fluoroquinolone Toxicity Syndrome are too numerous to list, but a cursory glance at the warning label for Cipro/Ciprofloxacin will tell you that the effects include musculoskeletal problems and central nervous system issues.  Additionally, as  pharmaceuticals that damage mitochondria, the energy centers of cells, severe fatigue is often induced by Fluoroquinolones.

A 1998 study entitled, “Chronic Multisymptom Illness Affecting Air Force Veterans of the Gulf War,” found that the most commonly reported symptoms of Gulf War Illness are sinus congestion, headache, fatigue, joint pain, difficulty remembering or concentrating, joint stiffness, difficulty sleeping, abdominal pain, trouble finding words, (feeling) moody or irritable, rash or sores, numbness or tingling and muscle pain.

A 2011 study conducted by the Quinolone Vigilance Foundation found that the most commonly reported symptoms of Fluoroquinolone Toxicity Syndrome are tendon, joint, and muscle pain, fatigue, popping/cracking joints, weakness, neuropathic pain, paresthesia (tingling), muscle twitching, depression, anxiety, insomnia, back pain, memory loss, tinnitus, muscle wasting.

The symptoms are similar enough to raise a few eyebrows.  It should be noted that when a chronic, multi-symptom illness suddenly sickens a patient or a soldier, and he or she goes from being healthy and active to suddenly being exhausted and unable to move or think, it is difficult to pinpoint and describe exactly what is going wrong in his or her body.  Thus, even if the symptoms are identical, they may not be described in an identical way because of context and differing areas of focus.

For victims of fluoroquinolones, it is as if a bomb went off in the body of the victim, yet all tests come back “normal” so in addition to physical pain and suffering that the soldier/patient is going through, he or she has to suffer through dismissal and denial from medical professionals as well.  Neither Gulf War Illness nor Fluoroquinolone Toxicity Syndrome are detected by traditional medical tests and thus both diseases are systematically denied.  All blood and urine markers come back within the normal ranges, yet the patient or soldier is suddenly incapable of 90% of what he or she used to be able to do.  When a large number of patients or soldiers (nearly 30% of the soldiers serving in the Gulf reported symptoms.  Exact numbers of civilian patients suffering from Fluoroquinolone Toxicity Syndrome are unknown because of delayed reactions, misdiagnosing the illness, tolerance thresholds, etc.) experience adverse reactions that are undetectable using the tests available, there is something wrong with the tests.  The patients and soldiers aren’t lying and their loss of abilities isn’t “in their heads.”

Exposure to the same Poison

Another glaring similarity between Gulf War Illness and Fluoroquinolone Toxicity Syndrome is that everyone with either syndrome took a Fluoroquinolone.

Per a Veteran of the Marines who commented on healthboards.com about the use of Ciprofloxacin by soldiers in the Gulf:

“The Ciprofloxacin 500 mg were ordered to be taken twice a day. The Marines were the only service that I know for sure were given these orders. We were ordered to start them before the air war, and the order to stop taking them was giver at 0645 Feb 28th 1991 by General Myatt 1st Marine div commander. We were forced to take Cipro 500mg twice a day for 40 plus days. so the Marines were given NAPP (nerve agent protection pills) or pyridiostigmine bromide to protect us from nerve agent, and We were ordered to take the Cipro to protect from anthrax. We were part of the human research trial conducted by the Bayer corporation in the creation of their new anthrax pills. At that time they had no idea of the side effects of flouroquinolones. That’s the class of medications that Cipro falls into. After the Gulf War the FDA and Bayer co. started releasing the list of side effects.  You do need to know what was done to you so you will have to do your own research. Good luck to all of you and Semper Fi.”

By definition, everyone who suffers from Fluoroquinolone Toxicity Syndrome has taken a fluoroquinolone – Cipro/Ciprofloxacin, Levaquin/Levofloxacin, Avelox/Moxifloxacin or Floxin/Ofloxacin.  Civilians are also part of the “human research trial conducted by the Bayer corporation” as well as Johnson & Johnson, Merck and multiple generic drug manufacturers who peddle fluoroquinolones as “safe” antibiotics.

The Case Against Fluoroquinolones

Of course, there were multiple chemicals and poisons that Gulf War Veterans were exposed to in the 1990-91 Persian Gulf War and thus it has been difficult to pinpoint an exact cause of Gulf War Illness.  The ruling out of the following possible causes should certainly be questioned thoroughly, but “depleted uranium, anthrax vaccine, fuels, solvents, sand and particulates, infectious diseases, and chemical agent resistant coating” have been found not to cause Gulf War Illness.  Other potential causes of Gulf War Illness include oil fires, multiple vaccines, pesticides, and, of course, fluoroquinolone antibiotics (Cipro).  (It should be noted that non-deployed military personnel who served during the Gulf War period, but who were not deployed in the Middle East, have also been afflicted with Gulf War Illness and thus toxins that both deployed and non-deployed personnel have been exposed to should be the focus of investigations into the causes of Gulf War Illness.)

The Air Force Times article is one of the first official mentions of the relationship between Cipro and Gulf War Illness.  Officially, the link hasn’t been examined (though some very smart researchers are building a case as you read this).  Why Cipro hasn’t been looked at as a potential cause of Gulf War Illness is a question that I don’t know the answer to.  Perhaps it’s because most people think that all antibiotics are as safe as penicillin.  Perhaps it’s because most people have a tolerance threshold for fluoroquinolones and don’t react negatively to the first prescription that they receive.  Perhaps it’s because even today, more than 30 years after Cipro was patented by Bayer, the exact mechanism by which fluoroquinolones operate is still officially unknown (1).  Perhaps it’s because it is unthinkable that a commonly used antibiotic could cause a chronic syndrome of pain and suffering.  Perhaps it’s because the tests that show the damage done by fluoroquinolones aren’t used by the VA or civilian doctors’ offices.  Perhaps it’s because fluoroquinolones are the perfect drug – they take an acute problem – an infection, and convert it into a chronic disease-state that is systematically misdiagnosed as fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, an autoimmune disease, leaky gut syndrome, insomnia, anxiety, depression, etc. and turns formerly healthy people into lifetime customers of the medical establishment / pharmaceutical companies.  Perhaps it is simply widespread ignorance about the way these dangerous drugs work.

The Cliffs Notes version of how fluoroquinolones work is as follows:

The fluoroquinolone depletes liver enzymes that metabolize drugs (CYP450) (2).  When the enzymes are depleted sufficiently, the fluoroquinolone forms a poisonous adduct to mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) (3, 4), which destroys and depletes mtDNA (5).  While the mtDNA is being destroyed, the fluoroquinolone is also binding to cellular magnesium. (6, 7)  The mitochondria reacts to being assaulted by producing reactive oxygen species (ROS) (8, 9).  Some of the ROS, specifically hydrogen peroxide, combines with the excess calcium (there is a balance in cells of magnesium and calcium and the binding of the magnesium results in an excess of calcium) to induce the expression of CD95L/Fas Ligand (5) which then causes cell death (apoptosis) and immune system dysfunction (10) which leads the body to attack itself – like an autoimmune disease.

Damage is caused by every single step in the process.  Additional damage may be done by the fluorine atom that is added to fluoroquinolones to make them more potent.  It should be noted that the complexity of these cellular interactions is too vast to write up in this article.

Every symptom of Gulf War Illness is consistent with mitochondrial damage and oxidative stress (11), both of which have been shown to be brought on by fluoroquinolones.

Though the tests used in typical medical practice show no reason for victims of fluoroquinolones to be ill, that fact simply shows that the wrong tests are being used.  Tests of mitochondrial function, antioxidant/oxidant ratios and DNA will show the damage that is done by fluoroquinolones.  The way to determine whether Cipro is the cause of Gulf War Illness is to conduct a DNA mass spectrogram analysis on afflicted Gulf War Veterans.  If the DNA mass spectrogram analysis shows that quinolone molecules have adducted to the DNA of the Veterans, that’s a smoking gun of damage done by Cipro.

Millions of civilians have also been hurt by fluoroquinolones.  I can connect fluoroquinolones to almost every chronic disease that has increased in prevalence since the introduction of fluoroquinolones to the mass population in the mid-1980s.  Additionally, DNA is damaged and thus the effects are intergenerational and many of the chronic diseases that plague children can be linked to fluoroquinolone use by parents.

Some very well-respected researchers are working on more furthering  the case that Cipro is responsible for Gulf War Illness.  If any Gulf War Veterans want to take on Bayer before those studies are released, the way to do so is through obtaining a DNA mass spectrogram analysis and having it analyzed by a toxicologist.  It is proof of damage and it is necessary.  When that proof is obtained, I encourage all Gulf War Veterans to use it to fight those who poisoned them – Bayer and their corroborators in the DOD and the FDA.

To any Gulf War Veterans who read this – you are soldiers and you are warriors.  I know that you have been weakened, but you are still alive and those of you who can fight, should, because a grave injustice has been done to you.  It is an injustice that is also being inflicted on innocent civilians.  There is nothing okay about the poisoning of our military men and women, or the American public, with chemotherapy drugs masquerading as antibiotics.  I encourage you to fight Bayer and their corroborators like what they are – domestic terrorists.  It is a fight that you can win.  The truth, and a significant amount evidence, are on your side.

Post Script:  The author’s web site, with more information about fluoroquinolones, is www.floxiehope.com.  Further information about fluoroquinolones can be found through the Quinolone Vigilance Foundation – www.saferpills.org.

Numbered Sources:

  1. Inorganic Chemistry, “New uses for old drugs: attempts to convert quinolone antibacterials into potential anticancer agents containing ruthenium.
  2. FDA Warning Label for Ciprofloxacin
  3. The Journal of Biological Chemistry, “The Mechanism of Inhibition of Topoisomerase IV by Quinolone Antibacterials.”
  4. Findings of Toxicologist Joe King
  5. The Journal of Immunology, “Mitochondrial Reactive Oxygen Species Control T Cell Activation by Regulating IL-2 and IL-4 Expression: MechanismN of Ciprofloxacin Mediated Immunosuppression
  6. Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, “Effects of Magnesium Complexation by Fluoroquinolones on their Antibacterial Properties
  7. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States, Biochemistry, “Quinolone Binding to DNA Mediated by Magnesium Ions”
  8. Science Translational Medicine, “Bactericidal Antibiotics Induce Mitochondrial Dysfunction and Oxidative Damage in Mammalian Cells
  9. Journal of Young Pharmacists, “Oxidative Stress Induced by Fluoroquinolones on Treatment for Complicated Urinary Tract Infections in Indian Patients
  10. Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, “Ciprofloxacin Induces an Immunomodulatory Stress Response in Human T Lymphocytes
  11. Nature Precedings, “Oxidative Stress and Mitochondrial Injury in Chronic Multisymptom Conditions:  From Gulf War Illness to Autism Spectrum Disorder

 

Decades Later, One of the Biggest Environmental Disasters In US History Continues Harm Generations

In 1973, one of the biggest environmental disasters in US history occurred in St. Louis, Michigan. It continues to haunt many today, and ill-effects are being felt not only by those directly affected, but also by their children and grandchildren. Yet, most people haven’t heard of this environmental disaster, and many of the people who are affected by it—through ill-health of various types of cancer, birth defects, autoimmune diseases, etc.—don’t realize that their ill-health is due to this environmental disaster that happened more than 40 years ago.

The environmental disaster, which resulted in a human health disaster, that I’m referring to is the contamination of tons of animal feed with a fire-retardant chemical called PBB (polybrominated biphenyl). PBB is a highly toxic endocrine disrupting chemical, which dissolves in fat and persists in human and animal bodies for decades. It also persists in the environment, and continues to cause harm long after direct exposure has ceased.

In 1973, the Michigan Chemical Corporation (MCC) produced both Firemaster, a PBB flame-retardant, and Nutrimaster, a magnesium-based agricultural feed additive. Human error led to the two being mixed-up:

“MCC had a system where each product was safely packaged in color-coded sacks, so there were no chances of mistakes being made. The system worked well until early 1973, when an inventory supply problem led to a temporary shortage of color-coded sacks, and plain sacks had to be used instead. By coincidence, a new formulation of Firemaster was being trialed at the same time, and this new formulation was almost identical to Nutrimaster in appearance. Murphy’s law came into full effect, and a truckload of the reformulated Firemaster was inadvertently delivered to Michigan’s largest cattle and poultry feed manufacturer. By the time the mistake was discovered, poisoned animal feed had already been distributed to farmers statewide and had been fed to their livestock.” (source)

1.5 million chickens, 30,000 cattle, 5,900 pigs, and 1,470 sheep then consumed this feed, became contaminated with PBBs. Thousands of cattle, pigs, sheep, and chickens died horrible, painful deaths, and many more were euthanized. This excerpt from the film, Cattlegate, shows the toll that the PBB mix-up had on animals and their human keepers:

Before the mix-up was discovered, hundreds of contaminated cattle and chickens were slaughtered, and their meat was used for human consumption. Milk from contaminated dairy-cows was also consumed by humans. When the PBBs got into the human food-chain, more than 8 million people, mainly in Michigan, consumed PBB-contaminated meat and dairy, and the mix-up transformed from an environmental disaster to a human-health disaster.

“Initial data gathered from the PBB cohort study revealed other health problems among the hundreds of families and thousands of individuals recruited. Like other infamous toxicants such as bisphenol A and dioxin, PBB is classified as an endocrine disruptor, meaning that it interferes with the body’s array of natural hormones. Growing concern about endocrine disruptors since the 1990s has spurred an avalanche of research linking these chemicals to thyroid problems, diabetes, obesity, fertility problems, changes in pubertal development, and hormone-sensitive cancers such as breast and prostate cancer.” (source

Many of the health problems caused by PBB exposure didn’t emerge immediately. The health issues listed in the quote above—thyroid problems, diabetes, obesity, fertility problems, changes in pubertal development, and hormone-sensitive cancers such as breast and prostate cancer—take time to develop. Just as worrisome as the time-bomb of diseases caused by direct PBB exposure, are the epigenetic consequences of PBB exposure. The children, and maybe future grandchildren, of people exposed to PBB appear to have worse health outcomes than the children of people who haven’t been exposed to PBB. (The extent of the health differences between the offspring of people exposed to PBB and people not exposed to PBB is still being studied.) There are harrowing stories from people who were exposed to PBB, and who had children who were exposed to PBB in-utero, including this comment:

“My first wife was pregnant with our second child at the time of the cover up. My wife, following doctor’s instructions, was on a fairly high fat diet including lots of milk, cheese and other dairy foods. Our child was a full term stillborn with massive deformities including spina bifida, sexual ambiguity, and a unformed skull bone that was open.” (source)

The people who lived in Northern Michigan in 1973, especially those in the agricultural communities near the MCC Plant, likely know whether or not they were directly exposed to PBB at the time, and many, like the commenter above, tell harrowing stories of the effects of PBBs on the health of their children. They should be believed, no matter how difficult it is to quantify the epigenetic effects of an environmental disaster that occurred more than 40 years ago. Additionally, anyone who suffers from the diseases associated with exposure to PBBs and other endocrine disrupting persistent organic pollutants, including but not limited to, thyroid problems, diabetes, obesity, fertility problems, changes in pubertal development, and hormone-sensitive cancers such as breast and prostate cancer, should question whether they, their parents, or even their grandparents, were exposed to PBB. PBBs got into the food-supply, and many people ate PBB-contaminated meat and dairy products without realizing that they had been exposed.

Another reason that people today should be concerned about the PBB disaster of 1973 is that PBBs are PERSISTENT organic pollutants, “a large class of compounds that includes chemicals like DDT, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and dioxins that resist being broken down in the body and the environment” (source). Persistent organic pollutants resist natural processes of decay and essentially never biodegrade. They move around the environment, in air and in water, and they move up and down the food-chain as they are consumed, the consuming animal dies, and they are consumed again. They tend to accumulate in the bodies of carnivores, and in the polar regions of the world, causing the most damage in the top predators, especially the top predators in the polar regions. Persistent organic pollutants can be contained, but inadequate measures to contain PBBs have been taken. Many of the euthanized animals that were directly harmed by PBBs were incinerated—sending PBB molecules into the air, and it is unknown where they landed. Other euthanized animals were buried, and though burial is one of the better ways of containing persistent organic pollutants, it is imperfect, as the animals’ bodies disintegrated and the PBBs seeped into the water table.

The harmful effects of persistent endocrine disrupting pollutants is described in the wonderful book, Our Stolen Future: Are We Threatening Our Fertility, Intelligence, and Survival? A Scientific Detective Story, where it is noted that:

“Much of the concern about hormonally active synthetic chemicals arises from the persistence that many of them have in the environment. Many don’t readily degrade into benign components. A generation after industrial countries stopped the production of the most notorious of these persistent chemicals, their legacy endures in food and in human and animal bodies. Some will be in the environment for decades, and in a few cases even centuries.” 

Shortly after the uncovering of the disastrous mix-up at the MCC Plant, the use of PBBs was discontinued in America. However, their harmful legacy continues, and the children and grandchildren of those affected by the PBB disaster continue to experience ill-health related to their exposure. Because of the persistence of PBBs, the ill-effects they caused didn’t end when they stopped being manufactured. The release of tons of PBBs directly into the human food-supply in 1973 is still causing health problems for those exposed, and likely for many people who don’t realize that they have been exposed. The legacy of the PBB disaster is ongoing, and will likely continue for many decades, if not centuries. It is one of the most significant environmental and human health disasters of modern times, yet too few people know about it. When it comes to endocrine disrupting persistent organic pollutants, ignorance isn’t bliss, and though there’s not a lot that people can do to mitigate exposure, knowledge is empowering. The PBB disaster had far-reaching consequences—consequences that continue to haunt us today.

Sources

https://undark.org/article/pbb-michigan-epigenetics/

http://michiganradio.org/post/researchers-find-serious-health-effects-toxic-pbb-mix-michigan

http://www.mlive.com/news/index.ssf/2016/05/velsicol_superfund_st_louis_pb.html

http://michiganradio.org/post/40-years-after-toxic-mix-researchers-continue-study-michiganders-poisoned-pbb

The American Academy of Pediatrics Is Calling for Hepatitis B Vaccination of ALL Newborns Within 24 Hours

On August 28, 2017, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) called for the administration of the hepatitis B vaccine to all American newborns within 24 hours of birth. This decision shows that the AAP is completely incapable of performing a risk-analysis, that they don’t know the basics of germ-theory, and that they don’t even give lip-service to individualized medicine.

Diseases, including vaccine-preventable diseases like hepatitis B, are caused by exposure to pathogens. Simply put, you cannot get a disease if you are not exposed to its pathogen — it’s germ-theory 101. Hepatitis B is caused by the hepatitis B virus, so if you are not exposed to the hepatitis B virus, you cannot get that disease. Hepatitis B is NOT caused by a lack of hepatitis B vaccination. A hepatitis B vaccine can train your immune system to attack and resist hepatitis B virus if it is exposed to it, but you still can’t contract it unless you are exposed.

According to the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC):

HBV is transmitted through activities that involve percutaneous (i.e., puncture through the skin) or mucosal contact with infectious blood or body fluids (e.g., semen, saliva), including

  • Sex with an infected partner
  • Injection drug use that involves sharing needles, syringes, or drug-preparation equipment
  • Birth to an infected mother
  • Contact with blood or open sores of an infected person
  • Needle sticks or sharp instrument exposures
  • Sharing items such as razors or toothbrushes with an infected person

The ONLY one of the risk-factors listed above that should apply to an infant is being born to a mother who is infected with the hepatitis B virus. All infants that are born to mothers with the hepatitis B virus should get the hepatitis B vaccine. However, according to the CDC, only 1,000 of the 4,000,000 infants born in the U.S. each year are born to mothers with hepatitis B. That means that only 0.025% of American newborns are at risk of acquiring hepatitis B from their mother.

So, why is the AAP calling for ALL infants to be vaccinated against hepatitis B regardless of the viral status of their mother? Why is the AAP calling for an invasive medical procedure to be performed on ALL infants when far fewer than 1% of American-born infants are at risk of exposure to the virus?

I think it’s an absurd recommendation, but in an attempt at empathy, I’ll give you a couple potential reasons why an organization of presumably smart people might make a recommendation along these lines:

  1. They think that the hepatitis B vaccine is harmless, and that we “may as well” give it to all infants “just in case” they’re exposed to the disease.
  2. Greed, greed, and more greed. Pediatricians are paid to “fully vaccinate” the children in their practice. Pediatrics is not the highest paying medical specialty, and recommending over-vaccination is a way that the AAP can financially support its members.
  3. They don’t have the time or resources to ask about every mother’s hepatitis B status, so they assume that everyone is hepatitis B positive (even though very few people are).
  4. “The AAP justifies the ridiculous extremity of vaccinating everyone’s children, regardless of hepatitis B status, on the day of their birth, with the fact that approximately 90% of infants who contract perinatal hepatitis B (there were 37 infants who contracted perinatal hepatitis B in the U.S. in 2015) would go on to develop chronic hepatitis B infections in the absence of treatment. That chronic hepatitis B in combination with cirrhosis (much more likely with high levels of alcohol consumption) could put those children at significant risk of liver cancer someday. In other words, the AAP is telling us that we all need to vaccinate our newborns immediately to keep them from being among the 33 infants per year who could drink themselves into liver cancer someday.” (source)

Possibility #1 is likely the one that resonates most with parents of newborns, while possibilities #2 and 3 are self-explanatory, and possibility #4 is just ludicrous. When most parents agree to have their newborn vaccinated against the hepatitis B virus on the day of their birth, they are attempting to protect their child. They think that the possibility of being exposed to the hepatitis B virus is high, and the possibility of suffering from an adverse-reaction to the hepatitis B vaccine is low to non-existent. Is that true though?

Again, per the CDC, the activities that put a person at-risk for exposure to the hepatitis B virus are:

  • Sex with an infected partner
  • Injection drug use that involves sharing needles, syringes, or drug-preparation equipment
  • Birth to an infected mother
  • Contact with blood or open sores of an infected person
  • Needle sticks or sharp instrument exposures
  • Sharing items such as razors or toothbrushes with an infected person

Don’t let your infants have sex with anyone — much less an infected partner, don’t let them inject drugs, don’t let them have contact with blood or open sores of an infected person (typically IV drug users and sex workers), and tell them not to share toothbrushes or razors with anyone. That’s parenting 101.

Yes, there are horrible situations that can happen — a child could get raped by a hepatitis B infected person, or a dentist could fail to clean her tools properly and infect your child with hepatitis B (or HIV). These things could happen. But they are incredibly unlikely, and they are even less likely when a child has parents who are desirous of keeping him or her safe.

But the vaccine is completely, 100%, unassailably, infallibly, safe, right? No, of course not. No pharmaceutical, medical device, or vaccine is perfectly safe for everyone. Every single medical intervention has “side-effects” — including vaccines. They may be “rare” but they are not impossible. Your child may have an immune-system disorder, kidney disorder, liver disorder, or genetic predisposition that makes him or her unable to properly process the hepatitis B vaccine, and he or she may suffer from an adverse reaction to it. Additionally, vaccinating on the day of a child’s birth makes it impossible for parents and physicians alike to know whether or not an infant is healthy, or whether his or her immune system, kidneys, liver, etc. are operating as they should.

How likely are adverse reactions to the hepatitis B vaccine given to infants on the day of their birth? That’s a tough question to answer. It’s difficult to tell when an infant is having an adverse reaction to a vaccine given to him or her at birth. Neither parents nor pediatricians have any notion of what is “normal” for that particular baby. If the baby is crying incessantly, it may be having a bad reaction to the vaccine, or it may just be a fussy baby. Vaccinating on the day of birth means that there is no baseline of health for the baby.

Since one can’t do a before/after test of an infant that receives a hepatitis B vaccine on the day that infant is born, we must look toward epidemiological studies to give us an idea of the risks of the hepatitis B vaccine. Epidemiological studies point toward increased incidents of neurological problems for children who receive the hepatitis B vaccine at birth.

A 2007 study found that odds of requiring early intervention services for developmental disabilities were nine times greater in boys who had received three doses of hepatitis B vaccine than in boys who had received zero. A 2010 study found that boys who received the birth dose of hepatitis B had a threefold risk of autism when compared with boys who didn’t.

Neurological problems in children are far more common than perinatal hepatitis B transmission. Approximately 11% of children ages 4-17 have been diagnosed with ADHD (also according to the CDC), and 1:68 children are on the autism spectrum. The chance of hepatitis B transmission at birth is less than 1%.

Which do you think is more likely, that your child is going to be exposed to hepatitis B (whether from a rapist IV drug-user, or from a negligent dentist, or from you) or that he or she is going to have a neurological disorder? Basic math and commonsense tell you that a neurological disorder is more likely. Certainly, there are other causes of neurological disorders, but vaccination for hepatitis B at birth is linked to neurological disorders, and even if it being a causal agent is truly rare, it’s still more likely than encountering a negligent dentists, or a drug-addicted, hepatitis B infected, rapist attacking your infant — at least for most people.

Even if you dismiss all evidence linking administration of the hepatitis B vaccine at birth to later neurological problems, the chances of hepatitis B infection of an infant born to a mother who is not infected with hepatitis B are so slim that it’s not even worth the pain caused by the jab itself, much less the aluminum adjuvants, intentional immune system activation (that is what vaccines are intended to do), and other side-effects of the vaccine.

The AAP recommendation that all infants be vaccinated against hepatitis B on the day of their birth is absurd. A risk-analysis using data and information directly from the CDC shows that children born to uninfected parents are unlikely to be exposed to the hepatitis B virus, and though the risk of experiencing an adverse reaction to the vaccine is difficult to establish, there are certainly reasons to think that adverse reactions are more likely than hepatitis B virus exposure.

One of the more offensive and obnoxious things about the AAP recommendation is that it doesn’t take into account any individual differences in disease-status or lifestyle. Neither I, nor the AAP, know the risk factors in your life, and I encourage everyone who has children, or even who is thinking of having children, to do their own risk analysis before taking any medication, or accepting any vaccination.

We don’t routinely vaccinate against yellow fever in the U.S. because yellow fever is a tropical disease that doesn’t exist in the U.S., and therefore it is not necessary for us to vaccinate against it unless we’re travelling to a place where it does exist. Hepatitis B exists in the U.S., but it is rare, and vaccinating every infant against it, on the day of their birth, is crazy. It’s disappointing that an organization like the AAP, that is presumably full of intelligent people, is advocating for it as a routine practice.

I’m sure that there will be many disparaging comments and accusations of being an “anti-vaxxer” thrown in my direction, but just to make sure that I make everyone on both sides of the vaccination fence mad, I want to close by saying that I’m not opposed to the hepatitis B vaccine. If you are engaged in high-risk activities, such as IV drug use or unprotected sex with various partners, getting vaccinated against the hepatitis B virus is smart and responsible. Infants who are born to mothers who are infected with the hepatitis B virus should receive the hepatitis B vaccine. However, it is absurd to vaccinate every infant, regardless of risk, against a sexually transmitted disease that he or she has close to zero risk of exposure, on the day of his or her birth. Every pharmaceutical, including every vaccine, has risks, warnings, and contraindications. Exposure of every infant born in the U.S. to those risks, is ridiculous, thoughtless, and wrong. The AAP has made a recommendation that is somewhere between thoughtless and negligent, and they should rescind and change course.