The increase in reported cases of autism has not only slowed, but
actually reversed now that thimerosal, a mercury-based vaccine
preservative, has finally been removed from childhood vaccines.
Studies of two government databases indicate that autism rates went
up as thimerosal dosages increased, then began to decline as thimerosal
From 240 to Close to Zero
The average exposure of a young child to thimerosal dropped from 240
micrograms in 1999 to almost nothing four years later. Autism rates
among children declined at a similar rate.
Dr. Robert Davis, director of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)
immunization safety group, argues that this cannot "... really be taken
to provide any evidence one way or the other." Solid evidence of a link
between thimerosal and autism could result in serious repercussions for
government agencies and drug companies.
If new recommendations requiring annual influenza vaccinations for
children are followed, their average dose could increase back to 60
Behind the Scenes
Documents newly released under the Freedom of Information Act
indicate that the CDC was actually discouraging thimerosal's removal
behind the scenes, despite their public call for removal. The CDC at one
point rejected a proposal by drugmaker SmithKline Beecham to produce
thimerosal-free vaccines, and the CDC's commitment to banning thimerosal
has often seemed half-hearted since that time.
A federal health official, who has requested anonymity, believes that
there were other considerations besides safety guiding the CDC's
actions, including protecting the economic interests of drug industry
partners. The industry's stockpiled thimerosal-based vaccines would have
become worthless had there been an immediate ban on the substance.