Boyd E. Haley, is a retired professor of chemistry at the University of Kentucky with real knowledge of chemistry and a rather reputation-marring involvement in the mercury scare (the University of Kentucky seems to have distanced themselves from Haley). As it has been put, rather laconically, Haley’s “views about mercury and dental amalgams go against the consensus held in the medical community.” As such, Haley has been one of the leaders of the idea that Thimerosal in vaccines is not only involved in the etiology of autism, which Haley has called “mad child disease”, but also the toxic agent involved in the Gulf War syndrome. Haley has also argued that there is a link between people with dental amalgams containing a high level of mercury and the level of mercury in the blood and urine, and has, as such, been one of the primary forces behind the amalgam scare as well – he is, for instance, behind the organization Toxic Teeth. To top it off, he has speculated that gold salts may induce a wide range of improvements in overall health, in a manner similar to that of chelation therapy, and also be useful in the treatment of autism.
Well, we can all be wrong, of course. Crackpottery is defined not by being wrong, but by one’s reaction to the fact that one is, indeed, wrong. Haley, of course, responded by going vocal (but then, it is a little unclear whether he ever knew how to measure evidence to begin with).
In 2007, Haley registered the corporation Chelator Technologies with the Kentucky Department of State. Subsequently, at conferences attended by parents of autistic children and medical professionals who share his unorthodox convictions regarding autism causation, he revealed that he was developing a new drug for the purpose of mercury detoxification, OSR#1 (Oxidative Stress Release), officially (I’m not sure he mentioned that) marketed for cats. Basically, Haley was pumping children full of an industrial chelator. Eventually the practice drew the attention of the FDA (Haley, as expected, consistently expressed irritation that people other than the converted would express curiosity about his treatment). The FDA, of course, ordered him to stop illegal marketing of the drug as a treatment (also here), which is, apparently, probably a conspiracy.
Former Indiana Representative and legendary patron saint of all things woo, Dan Burton, was a fan of Haley (he was also a fan of Rashid Buttar, which tells you a bit about where he came from).
Diagnosis: One of the grand old cranks of the mercury scare and enormously influential. Though the amorphous blob of woo that is antivaxx has slithered away from Haley’s original claims to the newest fashionable species of quackery, Haley is still a substantial presence. Extremely dangerous.