Have we done chelation for autism before? It feels like I’ve been over this territory before, and I know that others have.
Here’s a primer, chelation therapy is used legitimately to treat heavy metal poisoning. That said, there’s more than a few dubious medical claims made for chelation. Chelation plays nicely into alt-med weirdness – it removes real toxins. But it is also dangerous.
Chelation (the chemical action) is also used in treatment of soil to remove industrial pollutants – and one of the chemicals, OSR#1, is also used by by Kim Stagliano as a delicious morning addition to her gluten-free waffle sandwich breakfast. Mmmm, gluten-free waffles with a dash of OSR#1 -which is the same as MET-X, used for decontaminating mines, metal plants, and the like.industrial clean-up. Sign me up, sir.
In case you don’t know Kim Stagliano, she’s one of the wonderful brains behind Age of Autism, who blames vaccinations (with “toxins”) for her three autistic children (the third one, by the way, was totally unvaccinated).
As the ever-respectfully insolent ORAC points out in a wonderful post here :
Imagine if you will, that a pharmaceutical company examined a chemical used for industrial purposes. Imagine further that the chemical this pharmaceutical company decided to look at originated as an industrial chelator designed to separate heavy metals from polluted soil and mining drainage. Imagine still further that that pharmaceutical company wanted to use that chemical as a treatment for autism, a chelator to be given to children. Finally, imagine that the drug company was giving this chemical to children without anything resembling any sort of competent preclincal testing or toxicology testing. Then suppose that, in order to avoid having to obtain FDA approval, the pharmaceutical company rebranded its chelating agent as a “supplement,” using the DSHEA of 1994 to bypass any need for extensive clinical trial testing for safety and efficacy in order to be able to market this chemical directly to consumers. What do you think the reaction would be of the crew at Age of Autism and other anti-vaccine blogs?
I think I know. They’d scream bloody murder. That’s what they’d do. And they’d be absolutely right.
Ahh, the DSHEA, (Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 for those following at home), the work of legislation that gave us the Quack Miranda Warning and gave us all sorts of products like colas working as supplements, crackers that cure, ingredients that don’t have to be tested (or even actually exist in the product) and the wonderful “structure and function” claims.
Not that OSR#1 has complied with even the limbo-low bar set before it: “to establish that the product can be expected to be safe.” No testing has been done, other than feeding it to a few rats (not these rats apparently), and when the FDA requested safety data last year, none was given.
Seems like a double standard to me. After all, even us skeptics who supposedly spend all our time defending dangerous “allopathic medicine” at the behest of Big Pharma would go nuts over something like this: Like Ben Goldacre has over Merck publishing it’s own science journal, such as many other medical skeptics have done over the many real problems in modern medicine.
Ah well. More weight on the shoulders of AoA and the anti-vaccine movement. I can’t imagine how much longer it can sustain itself.