The CDC estimates that 1 in 68 children have autism, and that 1 in 6 has some form of neurological developmental
delay. The rate of autism is 4 to 1, males over females. The outcome of the high statistics is that children were
receiving hundreds of times the recommended safe doses of mercury. Most children were able to excrete these
large doses of mercury, while other children were susceptible to bad immune reactions from the vaccinations.
Autism spectrum disorders continue to rise in the United States even after mercury-containing thimerosal was
removed from childhood vaccines, suggesting that exposure to the compound may not be the only cause of autism,
as claimed by many groups. And yet, even though vaccines containing thimerosal are no longer used, studies have
revealed that the incidence of autism continues to rise. This increase may possibly be due to better recognition and
diagnosis on the part of health professionals.
In the last decade, speculation over immunizations having a link to autism is due to two theories one is the measles
component of the triple measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, the other the amount of exposure to the
preservative thimerosal which contains ethyl mercury. These are the findings of a study published an issue of the
journal Archives of General Psychiatry. Thimerosal is 49 percent ethyl mercury. A closely related form of mercury,
methyl mercury, is a known toxin.
Today, through immunizations given in the first two years of life, we can protect children from 16 diseases,
preventing 33,000 deaths and 14 million illnesses per year. People do have questions about why certain ingredients
are contained in vaccines. Some ingredients, like aluminum, help make the vaccines effective; others, like
preservatives, prevent the growth of harmful germs in vials containing more than one dose.
The CDC is working on many aspects when it comes to autism. They’re currently conducting the largest study to
investigate the potential causes of and risk factors for autism. This study, called the SEED study, looks at genetic,
environmental and hormonal factors, as well as selected mercury exposures. They work along with government
agencies, private organizations and parent groups to organize the autism research plan for the country.
Autism and the MMR Connection
Some parents and families of children with autism believe that the Measles/Mumps/ Rubella (MMR) vaccine caused
their children’s autism. These parents report that their children were “normal” until they received the MMR
vaccine. Only after getting the vaccine, did their children begin to show symptoms of autism. Because the
symptoms of autism start to arise around the same time as the child’s MMR vaccination, parents and families see
the vaccine as the cause of the autism.
The MMR vaccine controversy is over the safety of the MMR vaccine. Critics of the vaccine say that the incidence
of autism has greatly increased and that the vaccine is a primary cause of this increase. They suspect that the
vaccine can harm the young immune system, which they believe is often already overwhelmed from the effects of
other environmental irritants such as exposure to heavy metals. Critics also say that the live measles virus in the
formulation of the MMR harms susceptible individuals in a way that wild measles does not. The general belief of
the medical and scientific community is that the benefits of the vaccine greatly outweigh the risks, and that there is
no scientific evidence to support the critics' claims.
Autism and MMR Link
Although children receive many other vaccines in addition to the MMR vaccine, these other vaccines have not been
identified as possible causes of autism. To date there is no definite, scientific proof that any vaccine or combination
of vaccines can cause autism. In the UK, the MMR vaccine was the subject of controversy after publication of a
1998 paper by Andrew Wakefield who reported a study of 12 children mostly with autism spectrum disorders with
onset soon after dosing of the MMR vaccine. During a 1998 press conference, Wakefield suggested that giving
children the vaccines in three separate doses would be safer than a single vaccination. This suggestion was not
affirmed by the paper, and several resulting studies have failed to show any association between the vaccine and
autism. Wakefield has been heavily criticized on scientific grounds and for triggering a decline in vaccination rates
as well as on ethical reasons for the way the research was conducted.
In 2004 the MMR and autism interpretation of the paper was formally recanted by 10 of Wakefield's 12 co-authors.
The CDC, the National Academy of Sciences, and the UK National Health Service have all concluded that there is
no evidence of a link between the MMR vaccine and autism. A scientific review by the Cochrane Library concluded
that there is no credible link between the MMR vaccine and autism, that MMR has prevented diseases that still
carry a heavy burden of death and complications, that the lack of confidence in MMR has damaged public health.
Thimerosal In Vaccines
The thimerosal controversy is surrounded by claims that thimerosal containing vaccines cause or contribute to the
development of autism and other brain developmental disorders, and the general medical perspective, which is that
no scientific evidence supporting a link between thimerosal and autism. Even after thimerosal was removed from
infant vaccines, the autism rate has continued to climb. The number of reported cases of autism increased
dramatically in the 1990s and early 2000s.
In 1999, thimerosal was in 30 U.S. vaccines including, the DTaP, Hib, and hepatitis B vaccines, given to infants. In
July 1999, the Federal government asked vaccine manufacturers to work towards eliminating or reducing the use
of thimerosal, a preservative which contains small amounts of mercury, in any products currently available on the
market. The exclusion of thimerosal from childhood vaccines in the United States was initiated from 1999 to 2001.
The Immunization Safety Review Committee of the Institute of Medicine has recommended supervision of patterns
in autism as exposure to thimerosal during early childhood has decreased. Today, all routinely recommended
pediatric vaccines manufactured for the U.S. market contain no thimerosal or only trace amounts. It was gradually
replaced by other non mercury compounds, and some vaccines have been formulated so they don't need
preservatives. However, the preservative is still used in multiuse vials of flu vaccines.
Thousands of lawsuits have been filed in the U.S. to seek damages from alleged toxicity from vaccines, including
those assumed from thimerosal preservatives. The parents of a 9-year-old girl with autism said that their accusation
that her illness was caused by childhood vaccines has been vindicated by the federal government's decision to
compensate them. "We are very pleased with the government's decision," Hannah Poling's father, Dr. Jon Poling, a
neurologist in private practice in Athens, Georgia.
A federal program intended to compensate victims of injuries caused by vaccines concluded last November that
Hannah Poling's underlying illness that had predisposed her to symptoms of autism was "significantly aggravated"
by the vaccinations she received as a toddler and that her family should therefore be compensated. The government
has made absolutely no statement indicating that vaccines are a cause of autism," said Dr. Julie Gerberding, director
of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "This does not represent anything other than a very specific
situation and a very sad situation as far as the family of the affected child."
Parents should continue to get their children immunized, she said: "This is proven to save lives." The CDC,
American Academy of Pediatrics, Institute of Medicine and other prestigious medical organizations maintain there is
no known link between vaccines and autism. Studies published in the New England Journal of Medicine and
elsewhere also have found no link.
Concerns with Autism and Vaccines
Recently, many parents have raised questions about the timing and number of vaccines. Most vaccines are given at
an early age because that's simply when children are most vulnerable to infectious diseases and need the added
protection. Although some may call it a "one size fits all" approach, the recommended vaccine schedule is flexible,
and it does account for instances when a child should not receive a recommended vaccine or when a recommended
vaccine should be delayed. Those decisions, however, are best made in consultation with the child's doctor, and
parents shouldn't be afraid to discuss any concerns.
There are many speculations when it comes to autism and vaccines. It is believed that some children may not be
able to get rid of the mercury, and this poison invaded their brains and other body organs, producing symptoms
that look like autism. It has been proven that these children were mercury poisoned, and this fact was first
recognized by a devoted group from Safe Minds who published an article comparing the symptoms of autism with
the symptoms of mercury poisoning.
The government has slowly removed mercury from childhood vaccines, yet it’s encouraged to give flu vaccines to
children. The flu vaccine which still contains thimerosal is also recommended for pregnant women.
Religious sectors have been hesitant about vaccines ever since they were introduced, even when vaccination is
required. Early Christian activists appeal that if God had established that someone should die of smallpox, it would
be a sin to hinder God's plan through vaccination. The Family Research Council, a conservative U.S. Christian
group, opposes mandatory vaccination their belief is diseases typically spread via sexual contact, maintaining that
the possibility of disease discourages sexual promiscuity. Many jurisdictions allow parents to choose not to
vaccinate their children for religious reasons; some parents falsely claim religious beliefs to get vaccination
The number of young children who are not fully vaccinated for preventable diseases has been steadily increasing
over the last decade. More and more, parents are claiming non-medical exemptions from routine vaccinations in
turn leaving their children, their children's classmates, and other children in their communities vulnerable to
diseases. The only individuals who are exempt from vaccinations is a child who has had an organ transplant, has
HIV, or for some other reason has a compromised immune system, these children should not get a live vaccine.
There are also some immunizations that are made with egg whites, so children who have egg allergies should avoid
Autism and Vaccines Link
Medical experts say there is no link between autism and childhood vaccines, but some groups continue to disagree.
Researchers from the state Department of Public Health found the autism rate in children rose continuously during
the 12-year study period from 1995 to 2007. The preservative thimerosal hasn’t been used in childhood vaccines
since 2001, but is used in some flu shots.
Doctors say there is no link between thimerosal exposure and autism risk and reassure parents that the disorder is
not caused by vaccinations. If there was a risk, they said, autism rates should have dropped between 2004 and
2007. Health officials insist that current research definitively shows mercury in vaccines doesn't trigger autism.
Meanwhile, public health officials struggle to end the whole vaccine-autism debate.
Vaccinations have provided lifesaving miracles in public health. However, it's acknowledged that they are also
responsible for many serious adverse events including brain disorders and, rarely, deaths. Trying to maximize the
potential benefits of vaccines and minimize the harm shouldn't be seen as a threat to the nation's immunization
program; it's simply a reasonable step ahead.
No Connection Found Between Autism and Vaccines
Several credible scientists, government agencies and the medical community have said there is no connection
between autism and mercury once used to preserve vaccines. The Centers for Disease Control says "There is no
convincing scientific evidence of harm caused by the low doses of thimerosal in vaccines, except for minor
reactions like redness and swelling at the injection site."
The American Academy of Pediatrics says "No scientific data link thimerosal used as a preservative in vaccines
with any pediatric neurologic disorder, including autism.
"The Institute of Medicine’s Immunization Safety Review Committee concluded "that the body of epidemiological
evidence favors rejection of a causal relationship between thimerosal-containing vaccines and autism" and a study
of California Department of Developmental Services indicated that there was "an increase in autism in California
despite the removal of thimerosal from most vaccines."
There is much diversity by the suggestion that autism may be triggered by any combination of genetics, impaired
detoxification, major disruptions in gut and immune system dysfunction. Based on genetic evidence a percentage of
children have an extremely difficult time detoxifying heavy metals, described as a sensitivity to mercury. Genetic
predisposition, mercury and other toxins, plus the number of vaccines administered at once, including the fact that
there are more vaccines today then years ago all these factors may contribute to the increase in autism.