That's because she's not going anywhere. I can't remember why she's taking it, but it is for medicinal purposes. I'm pretty sure it's not for syphilis…
Anyway, much BS has been written about arsenic. Most of the more recent stuff has been coming from the left as part of their continuous program of slandering George W. Bush and the Republicans. You see, a regulation that Bill Clinton blessed about the time he was writing all those questionable pardons suddenly became a high priority for environmentalists once Bush took office. Then, being the underhanded partisan that he is, Clinton proceeded to demagogue about arsenic poisoning against Bush, with the backing of green groups (who showed once more that they always place partisanship ahead of environmental concerns).
It's not as if there's no arsenic out there, as this map shows. But the stuff doesn't kill you by its mere existence - as we've known for centuries, the dose makes the poison. So my friend can take appropriate doses of arsenic without harm, and under certain conditions it can be beneficial.
Lately arsenic terror has been upstaged by mercury, in the form of thimerosal. If you've been watching Dr. Manhattan here, here and here and sundry others, you know that
- thimerosal is a substance added to vaccines to control fungal growth,
- it contains mercury,
- Mercury can cause neurological impairment,
- there allegedly has been a sudden increase in the number of cases of autism
- some want to blame thimerosal for this, although there currently is no demonstration that this is true.
- Thimerosal has been removed from childrens' vaccines for several years now, but older stocks could have been in use for a while after
- Recovery for damages from vaccine problems is limited by an act passed in the 1980's to assure that vaccine producers would not be sued out of existence by opportunistic trial lawyers
- Trial lawyers don't like this, and are trying to work their way around it
- To nip this in the bud, the Homeland Security bill includes an item that is intended to assure that any recovery for damages by thimerosal will be limited by that act
- Trial lawyers are the biggest donors to the Democrats
- The Democrats try to screw Republicans with BS issues every chance they get, and they're trying to sell this one as Republicans Count Their Money And Smile As Eeevil Corporations Poison The Children!
Anyway, at this point there is no conclusive evidence of connections between the presence of mercury and the alleged autism problems. What's more, mercury is still used with govt approval for a number of applications such as dental amalgams. It can be tolerated, albeit in small quantities, and its mere presence means nothing.
I don't envy people whose children are autistic. But it's interesting that this comes up when it does, how people have tried to implicate incoming Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, and that the parents I've seen writing about it all have other issues with Republicans. That's what makes this reek of more cynical Democrat politics.
UPDATE: More from Derek Lowe.