Sources in the Conspiracy-Pseudoscience category may publish unverifiable information that is not always supported by evidence. These sources may be untrustworthy for credible/verifiable information, therefore fact checking and further investigation is recommended on a per article basis when obtaining information from these sources. See all Conspiracy-Pseudoscience sources.
- Overall, we rate the Children’s Health Defense a strong conspiracy and quackery level advocacy group that frequently promotes unsupported claims. We also rate them low for factual reporting due to the promotion of propaganda as well as several failed fact checks.
Factual Reporting: LOW
World Press Freedom Rank: USA 45/180
Founded in 2016 as the World Mercury Project which was renamed Children’s Health Defense, is an anti-vaccine nonprofit pseudoscience organization. It was founded and is chaired by Robert F. Kennedy Jr who is an American environmental attorney, author, and opponent of vaccination. Kennedy is a son of Robert F. Kennedy and nephew of former president John F. Kennedy. He is the president of the board of Waterkeeper Alliance, a non-profit environmental group that he helped found in 1999.
Funded by / Ownership
The Children’s Health Defense is a 501c3 nonprofit advocacy organization. Revenue is derived through donations and $ 10-lifetime memberships. According to 2017 IRS 990 they have a total revenue of $727,175.
Analysis / Bias
In review, Children’s Health Defense primarily publishes news and information that is skeptical of vaccines and their safety. The website also features a research section that typically does not align with the consensus of science regarding vaccines and other scientific matters. For example, they routinely publish information claiming the dangers of accumulated Mercury and Thimersol such as this Generation Zero: Thomas Verstraeten’s First Analyses of the Link Between Vaccine Mercury Exposure and the Risk of Diagnosis of Selected Neuro-Developmental Disorders. According to the Centers for Disease Control, “Reputable scientific studies have shown that mercury in vaccines given to young children is not a cause of autism.”
Besides promoting anti-vaccination propaganda the Children Health Defense has also promoted the debunked conspiracy that fluoride lowers the IQ in children. At this time there is not enough evidence to make that claim. Other conspiracies and/or pseudoscience promoted on this website include the dangers of 5G, and during the 2019–20 coronavirus pandemic, the group accused the United States government of supporting research on a vaccine as part of a plan to increase revenues for the pharmaceutical industry.
Failed Fact Checks
- Williamson Misleads on Children’s Health, Vaccines – False
- “Vaccine Injuries Ratio: One for Every 39 Vaccines Administered” – Unsupported
- “the autoimmune diseases and menstrual cycle problems and fertility problems […] and all of the other things that we’ve now seen are associated with the [HPV] vaccine” – Unsupported
- “[It] is nearly impossible to categorize post-vaccine deaths as vaccine-related” – Unsupported
- Vaccinated children are more likely to have adverse health outcomes like developmental delays, asthma, and ear infections compared to unvaccinated children. – Unsupported
- “vaccinated children appear to be significantly less healthy than the unvaccinated” – Unsupported
- “Thousands of COVID Vaccine Injuries and 13 U.S. Deaths Reported in December Alone”; “In December, 3,916 COVID vaccine-related adverse events, including 13 deaths, were reported to VAERS” – Unsupported
Overall, we rate the Children’s Health Defense a strong conspiracy and quackery level advocacy group that frequently promotes unsupported claims. We also rate them low for factual reporting due to the promotion of propaganda as well as several failed fact checks. (D. Van Zandt 4/24/2020) Updated (01/19/2021)