Archived | Autism Speaks: Policy Statement on Mercury and Autism | Circa 2007 #NotAnAutisticAlly #AutisticHistory

Fact: Vaccines Do Not Cause Autism.

Policy Statement on Mercury and Autism


Mercury is a ubiquitous environmental toxin. Exposure to all three of its forms, organic, inorganic, or elemental, can have adverse effects on the developing nervous system. Medical science has known of potentially grave effects of high dose mercury exposure since the late 19th century. Only recently, however, have questions arisen regarding possible associations between mercury exposure and autism. 

The debate over mercury and autism escalated quickly because of thimerosal, a synthetic form of organic mercury used as a preservative and antimicrobial agent in vaccines. Thimerosal has been an ingredient in vaccines and biologicals since the 1930s but, with increases in recommended childhood immunization doses, by the 1990s it became possible for a six month old infant to have been exposed to a cumulative dose of organic mercury that exceeded certain limits set by government health agencies. This, paired with the immense growth in numbers of children diagnosed with autism in the 1990s prompted many in and out of the autism community to wonder if there could be a connection. 


The body of evidence gathered through epidemiologic research to date does not currently support a causal relationship between thimerosal in childhood vaccines and autism risk. However, it is very difficult for even the best epidemiologic study to rule out the existence of small susceptible subgroups of children with autism in whom thimerosal exposure may have played a causal role. Unfortunately, there are currently no means of identifying individuals with increased mercury susceptibility nor are there proven methods allowing researchers to separate individuals with autism into groups more or less likely to have different sets of causes. 

The thimerosal question has highlighted a number of points whose further consideration should significantly advance autism research. First, although genes are believed to play a major role in autism, more attention needs to be paid to mechanisms where genes exert their influence by altering susceptibility to environmental exposures and mechanisms by which environmental exposures may alter gene expression. Second, there is a great need, when studying environmental exposures, to find ways of identifying highly susceptible individuals. And, third, because autism is a complex condition possibly having multiple causes, researchers need to find reliable ways to distinguish autism subgroups with distinct etiologies. 


Autism Speaks plans to strongly support a multidisciplinary research agenda on environmental exposures and autism. We believe that projects acknowledging the role of gene-environment interaction and incorporating markers of exposure susceptibility and etiologic heterogeneity will be the most productive in the long-term. Given present knowledge, there is a fairly broad array of neurotoxic environmental exposures worthy of further study but, moving forward, the type and timing of exposures under investigation should continue to comport with emerging developments in autism neurobiology. 


Goldman LR. Technical Report: Mercury in the Environment. Pediatrics
108(1); 197-205:2001 Institute of Medicine. Immunization Safety Review * Vaccines and Autism.
National Academies Press, Washington DC, 2004.
National Research Council. Toxicological Effects of Methylmercury. Washington, DC: National Academies Press, 2000. Lawler CP, Croen LA, Grether JK, Van de Water J. Identifying Environmental Contributions to Autism: Provocative Clues and False Leads. Ment Retard Dev Disabil Res Rev. 10(4):292-302; 2004 

For a fact sheet from The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia on “Thimerosal: What You Should Know” click here (PDF).


Autistic people have fought the inclusion of ABA in therapy for us since before Autism Speaks, and other non-Autistic-led autism organizations, started lobbying legislation to get it covered by insurances and Medicaid. 

ABA is a myth originally sold to parents that it would keep their Autistic child out of an institution. Today, parents are told that with early intervention therapy their child will either be less Autistic or no longer Autistic by elementary school, and can be mainstreamed in typical education classes. ABA is very expensive to pay out of pocket. Essentially, Autism Speaks has justified the big price tag up front will offset the overall burden on resources for an Autistic’s lifetime. The recommendation for this therapy is 40 hours a week for children and toddlers.

The original study that showed the success rate of ABA to be at 50% has never been replicated. In fact, the study of ABA by United States Department of Defense was denounced as a failure. Not just once, but multiple times. Simply stated: ABA doesn’t workIn study after repeated study: ABA (conversion therapy) doesn’t work. 

What more recent studies do show: Autistics who experienced ABA therapy are at high risk to develop PTSD and other lifelong trauma-related conditions. Historically, the autism organizations promoting ABA as a cure or solution have silenced Autistic advocates’ opposition. ABA is also known as gay conversion therapy.

The ‘cure’ for Autistics not born yet is the prevention of birth. 

The ‘cure’ is a choice to terminate a pregnancy based on ‘autism risk.’ The cure is abortion. This is the same ‘cure’ society has for Down Syndrome. 

This is eugenics 2021. Instead of killing Autistics and disabled children in gas chambers or ‘mercy killings’ like in Aktion T4, it’ll happen at the doctor’s office, quietly, one Autistic baby at a time. Different approaches yes, but still eugenics and the extinction of an entire minority group of people.

Fact: You can’t cure Autistics from being Autistic.

Fact: You can’t recover an Autistic from being Autistic.

Fact: You can groom an Autistic to mask and hide their traits. Somewhat. … however, this comes at the expense of the Autistic child, promotes Autistic Burnout (this should not be confused with typical burnout, Autistic Burnout can kill Autistics), and places the Autistic child at high risk for PTSD and other lifelong trauma-related conditions.

[Note: Autism is NOT a disease, but a neurodevelopmental difference and disability.]

Fact: Vaccines Do Not Cause Autism.

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