Friday, September 24, 2010

Mitch Daniels, the Coal Industry, and Indiana's Autism Epidemic

Mark Blaxill and Dan Olmstead's newly released book Age of Autism is ground-breaking. Their research into the histories of the earliest known cases of autism reveals what I have suspected since moving to Indiana nearly 8 years ago.

The difference in the children here is striking; these are the sickest kids I have ever seen. My suspicion that the coal industry has a lot to do with this fact was only strengthened by my involvement with Defeat Autism Now, and in my work with families of children who carry an autism spectrum disorders (ASD) diagnosis.

A highly disproportionate number of the children here who are so ill are children and grandchildren of coal miners. Those who do not have family histories of exposure to heavy metals through occupational exposure have been exposed through intergenerational accumulations of lead, mercury, and other heavy metals by virtue of the fact that they live in the lower Ohio Valley, which is "The Coal Burning Power-Plant Capital of the World."

I hope you will take the time to go through the information contained in this post. I hope you will share it widely with others who care about children with autism. I hope you will come to believe, as I do, that this situation is important and we must do something to change it.

Mitch Daniels is the former Vice President of Marketing Strategy for Eli Lilly. If you have read David Kirby's book Evidence of Harm you may recall that Mitch Daniels was a prime suspect when the Lilly Rider was secretly tacked onto the Homeland Security Act within hours of that bill going up for passage. The purpose of the Lilly Rider was to protect vaccine manufacturers from lawsuits filed by families of children who have been injured by vaccines. Mitch Daniels has denied being involved in the insertion of the Lilly Rider. He has denied knowing anything about it, and has denied ever even hearing about Thimerosal until after the insertion of the Lilly Rider became the source of public outcry. You will have to decide for yourself what your beliefs are on this issue. The present concern is not with what he did or did not do in the past. It is with what he is doing currently and what he is likely to do in the future.

Mitch Daniels is the current governor of Indiana. It is becoming increasingly clear that he intends to seek the presidency in 2012.

I am asking you to please view the information presented here and decide if you believe this would be a good move for America, or for the world.

Since taking office in January 2005, Mitch Daniels has improved the economic status in Indiana. The question is, "At what cost to Indiana's children?"

In 2007 Indiana ranked 6th in the U.S. for the number of children with an autism diagnosis in the public schools. At that time the rate was 1 in 106. And that number doesn't count children who are home-schooled, or children who are not yet identified by the school system.

Since taking office, Mitch Daniels has consistently pushed for more and bigger coal burning power plants in the state of Indiana, comparing Indiana's coal reserves to Saudi Arabia’s oil reserves.

This graphic depiction shows the results of a study that was conducted in Texas, comparing the rates of autism with proximity to sources of environmental mercury from coal plants. The box at the upper right shows the results. For every 1,000 pounds of mercury released into the environment from coal burning power plants, there was a 61% increase in the rate of autism....AND, the closer in proximity, the higher the autism rate.

In southwestern Indiana, we are surrounded.

It's not just mercury we have to worry about. The effects of toxins are not only additive and cumulative over time, they are synergistic. That means they interact with each other in such a way that the effect of two different toxins in small amounts is much more damaging than the effects of either one in larger amounts. It's like drinking alcohol and taking prescription drugs. Either one will hurt you if you take enough of it, but if you take them together, they will hurt you in much smaller amounts.

Vanderburgh County is where Evansville is located. This county has for the last few years, had the highest suicide rate in the United States. An article in the local newspaper from September 21, 2010 documents the latest death by suicide and confirms what I have suspected: The drastic increase coincides with Mitch Daniels' ownership of the governor's office in the state and the resulting increases in heavy metals in the environment here.

The rate of suicides in Vanderburgh County is 4 times the national average - AND it's also 4 times the rate of the state of Indiana. WHY?

What role does the environment, and specifically heavy metals in the environment, play in the high rate of suicide? Could the high rates of suicide and the high incidence of autism be linked to a common factor?
Note: Use this link to go the the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) website’s database for the Toxic Release Inventory (2008) information for the state of Indiana.

Note: I have been told that there are 17 coal-fired power plants within a 50-mile radius of Evansville. I was only able to find information for 15, using the EPA TRI data, so that is the number I am using.

The information at the top in blue includes all 15 sites. When I separated the totals for Indiana and Kentucky, the Kentucky numbers went down considerably, which resulted in the decrease in the overall total.
The number in red at the bottom is Indiana's performance with the impact of Kentucky plants factored out.

The information at the top in blue includes all 15 sites.
The number in red at the bottom is Indiana's performance with the impact of Kentucky plants factored out.

Total for Indiana and Kentucky combined is at the top.
Indiana's total is at the bottom, with Kentucky factored out.

Total for Indiana and Kentucky at the top.
Indiana without Kentucky in red at the bottom.

Indiana and Kentucky at the top.
Indiana alone at the bottom.

Indiana and Kentucky combined at the top.
Indiana alone at the bottom.

Remember way back at the beginning of this post when I asked if the environmental heavy metals may be a common factor related to the high suicide rate and the high rate of autism? Vanadium excess, in particular, bears further examination.

• Vanadium depletes Lithium.
• Lithium (the prescription drug) has been the drug of choice for the treatment of bipolar disorder for decades.
• Bipolar disorder is THE psychiatric disorder with the highest incidence of suicide.
• Officials in Vanderburgh County will tell you that a large percentage of the suicide victims were also abusing drugs and alcohol.
• Patients diagnosed with bipolar disorder have a very high rate of comorbid (co-existing) substance abuse and addictions.


With regard to autism…
• Lithium deficiency (the mineral) is extremely common among children diagnosed with autism.
• Elemental lithium (the mineral, in very small doses) is a natural anti-viral with specific action against herpes viruses.
• Children with a diagnosis of autism frequently have viral infections in the herpes family, especially HHV-6.
• Research has revealed a subset of children with autism who have high viral titers for HHV-6 and Measles. Research also indicates that this combination of factors appears to result in the formation of auto-antibodies to specific brain proteins (myelin basic protein and neuron-axon filament protein).

Follow this link to read the full text
of my letter to Governor Daniels.

For more on Mitch Daniels, Eli Lily, and the 2012 presidential election, you may want to check out this recent article from Steven Higgs of The Bloomington Alternative.

The coal-burning power plants in Indiana are not only situated extremely close to schools, where our children run around on the playgrounds, increasing the uptake of heavy metals into their bodies. As this photo depicts, the heavy metals are also going into the environment where a substantial amount of food is being grown. This impacts everyone because these crops are exported to other states and other countries.

For more about the toxic air and the impact on school children, check out these articles from USA Today and The Bloomington Alternative.

This is an actual hair analysis performed on a four year-old boy diagnosed with ASD, and living in SW Indiana.

The top part of this report shows elevations in toxic metals that are present in coal and released into the environment by coal-fired power plants.

The bottom of this graph shows the dysregulation of essential minerals. This is the signature of heavy metals poisoning.

Mercury is not elevated, which is very common for children with autism, ADHD, and other neurodevelopmental disorders. Research has shown that children with autism often have lower levels of mercury in their hair when compared to children who do not have an autism diagnosis. Researchers believe the reason is because in order for it to show up in the hair, the children have to be able to excrete it. Children with autism frequently have trouble with the excretion of mercury. Instead of excreting it, mercury is stored in the brain, liver and kidneys.

Exposure to mercury depletes metallothioneine, which is necessary for detoxification of metals. This sets the stage for extreme toxicity for children who live in areas that are polluted with heavy metals (like Southwestern Indiana).

As long as the amount of heavy metals in the environment continues to increase, the rates of autism will also increase, even if we stop vaccinating. Our children are being poisoned. If we continue to vaccinate them at the current rate, the damage will be worse for children who live in environments like Southwestern Indiana. The effect is synergistic and cumulative.

Mitch Daniels wants to be president.
With a 70% approval rating and being tagged as a "rising star" in the Republican Party, it could happen.


  1. typo - it's Eli Lilly not Lily :-)

  2. Thank-you!
    I have corrected the error wherever possible.

  3. Thank you for posting this, Marcella. It is very informative. We don't want a man like this to be our President. The people have to take their country back, somehow. I am from Illinois, and they stopped mining coal at one point--late 80's?--which really hurt the economy in Southern Illinois, but was for the best. I haven't lived there in so many years, I don't know if they started mining it again. Again, thank you for sharing this valuable information.


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