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Know How Ohio Teenager Defined His Anti-Vaccine Mother, Believing It Caused Autism

Lindenberger first made headlines late last year when he posted a message on social media saying "My parents think vaccines are some kind of government scheme ... God knows how I'm still alive," and asked for guidance on how to protect himself.

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Ethan Lindenberger testifies during a Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, March 5, 2019, to examine vaccines, focusing on preventable disease outbreaks. VOA

An Ohio teenager who defied his anti-vaccine mother and received shots against several dangerous diseases was the star witness at a Senate hearing Tuesday.

Eighteen-year-old Ethan Lindenberger said he did his own research and concluded his mother is wrong in believing vaccines are unsafe and cause autism.

Sarah Myriam of New Jersey holds her daughter Aliyah, 2, as they join activists opposed to vaccinations outside a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, March 5, 2019.
Sarah Myriam of New Jersey holds her daughter Aliyah, 2, as they join activists opposed to vaccinations outside a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, March 5, 2019. VOA

Lindenberger said his mother’s “love, affection and care are apparent” but said his school in Norwalk, Ohio, saw him as a “health threat” because of the danger he could become sick with a contagious disease.

He testified that his own research convinced him vaccines are safe, but still failed to convince his mother.

Without her approval, Lindenberger got himself inoculated against hepatitis, influenza, tetanus, human papillomavirus, polio, and measles, mumps and rubella.

He said his mother still turns to what he calls “illegitimate sources that instill fear into the public.”

Ethan Lindenberger shakes hands with Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee chairman, Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., right, before the start of a hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, March 5, 2019, to examine vaccines.
Ethan Lindenberger shakes hands with Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee chairman, Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., right, before the start of a hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, March 5, 2019, to examine vaccines. VOA

Lindenberger first made headlines late last year when he posted a message on social media saying “My parents think vaccines are some kind of government scheme … God knows how I’m still alive,” and asked for guidance on how to protect himself.

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He said thousands of other kids posted similar statements and said he wants youngsters to know that they do not always need their parents’ permission to get vaccinated.

Tuesday’s Senate hearing on vaccines was called, in part, to address an outbreak of measles.

There are 200 known cases in 11 states so far this year with the Pacific Northwest hardest hit. (VOA)

Next Story

East African Countries Set to Ban Skin-Lightening Products Containing Hydroquinone

If bans are not backed by enforcement, they will have little effect on the use of the high demand skin-lightening products, despite the risk to health

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FILE - Aranmolate Ayobami, plastic surgeon at Grandville Medical and Laser clinic in Lagos, holds a tube of Skinlite a skin lightening product used at his clinic, on July 17, 2018, in Lagos, Nigeria. VOA

East African countries are set to ban skin-lightening products that contain hydroquinone, a medical agent linked to health problems when used in high concentrations. The East African Legislative Assembly last week passed a resolution calling for a region-wide ban on the manufacturing and importation of products containing hydroquinone.

At a beauty parlor in Arusha, 52-year-old Rose Mselle has been using skin-bleaching products since she was a teenager. She says women like her want to be beautiful. “And in the process of looking for beauty, or for our skin color to shine, we use things that we shouldn’t,” she added.

At a nearby market, 32-year-old clothing vendor Janet Jonijosefu used skin-lightening products that contain hydroquinone, a medical agent used to treat dark spots, for years. She stopped after her skin became fragile.

She said the beauty products containing hydroquinone badly affected her skin. She started developing patches on her face. She went to the doctor and was advised to stop using products containing hydroquinone and instead use aloe vera.

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FILE – A shop sells skin-lightening products in Accra, Ghana, on July 3, 2018. VOA

Skin-lightening products often use high concentrations of hydroquinone, which can cause skin problems or become toxic when mixed with other bleaching chemicals.

Ghana, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, and South Africa ban or regulate the agent in cosmetics. Tanzania bars imports. The East African Legislative Assembly last week passed a resolution on a region-wide ban of hydroquinone’s manufacture and importation.

Suzan Nakawuki, a member of the regional assembly from Uganda, noted that hydroquinone is not only used by women but also men. “We have seen men bleaching seriously even more than women,” she said. “But it’s becoming a problem. If we don’t regulate it, it is going to become very problematic.”

When used medically, hydroquinone can be an effective treatment for skin discoloration. Some East African lawmakers spoke out against a blanket ban. Aden Abdikadir, a lawmaker from Kenya, said he is concerned a blanket ban will cause “serious trade disruption” for cosmetics.

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If bans are not backed by enforcement, they will have little effect on the use of the high demand skin-lightening products, despite the risk to health. Wikimedia Commons

If signed by heads of state, the ban becomes law in all six East African Community states, which include Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda.

Critics point out bans on hydroquinone have failed to stop smuggled products from being sold openly. Cosmetics labeled as having hydroquinone are on display at shops in Arusha.

If bans are not backed by enforcement, they will have little effect on the use of the high demand skin-lightening products, despite the risk to health. (VOA)