Link Between Neurodevelopmental Disorders and Thimerosal Remains Unclear | Oct. 1, 2001 #AutisticHistory #AutismMyth

[Note: Shared for #AutisticHistory archive purposes. This is NOT An Autistic Ally.]

Fact: Vaccines Do Not Cause Autism.

Link Between Neurodevelopmental Disorders and Thimerosal Remains Unclear

WASHINGTON — Current scientific evidence neither proves nor disproves a link between the mercury-containing preservative thimerosal and neurodevelopmental disorders in children, says a new report from the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies. While very few vaccines given to children in the United States today still contain thimerosal, prudence dictates that precautionary measures be taken to decrease thimerosal exposure even further.

Thimerosal is used in some vaccines and other pharmaceutical products to prevent bacterial contamination. Vaccines against measles, mumps, and rubella; varicella; and polio have never contained the preservative. However, until recently, several other vaccines on the recommended childhood immunization schedule in the United States did. They are now manufactured without thimerosal, but an unknown, probably small number of vaccine doses for hepatitis B; diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis; and haemophilus influenzae type B, a form of bacterial meningitis, are still on clinic shelves. These supplies should not be used when alternatives are available, said the committee that wrote the report.

“Most children in the United States being immunized today and in the future are unlikely to receive a vaccine that contains thimerosal,” said committee chair Marie McCormick, professor of maternal and child health at Harvard School of Public Health, Boston. “In those few cases where only supplies containing the preservative are available, the vaccines should be administered rather than foregoing immunization. While the health effects of thimerosal are uncertain, we know for sure that these vaccines protect against real, proven threats to unvaccinated infants, children, and pregnant women.”

A connection between exposure to certain forms of mercury and nervous system abnormalities has long been recognized. People exposed to high mercury levels can experience difficulties with coordination, vision, and learning. Most studies of the effects of low-level exposure have focused on methylmercury from fish and seafood products. Thimerosal contains a different chemical form called ethylmercury.

The committee’s comprehensive assessment of the scientific literature on thimerosal included analyses of published and unpublished studies proposing an association with disorders such as autism, and it found them to be inconclusive. No evidence currently exists that proves a link between thimerosal-containing vaccines and autism, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder, speech or language delays, or other neurodevelopmental disorders.

Mercury can build up in the body with each additional exposure, whether from vaccinations or other sources, such as fish consumption. It is medically plausible that some children’s risk of a neurodevelopmental disorder could rise in part through increased mercury exposure from thimerosal-containing vaccines. Because safety guidelines were established specifically for methylmercury, however, it is not clear whether additional exposure from ethylmercury could result in an unsafe cumulative level.

However, as another precaution, policy-makers in the United States should consider changing existing policies to reduce exposure to thimerosal as much as possible. For example, professional societies and government agencies should review their policies about nasal sprays, eye drops, and other products that contain thimerosal and are used for infants, children, and pregnant women, the report says.

For more than half a century, thimerosal was added to some vaccines that protected children against serious diseases. In 1999 the U.S. Public Health Service, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Academy of Family Physicians issued precautionary recommendations limiting mercury exposure of infants and young children, a measure that prompted development of thimerosal-free versions of routine childhood vaccines. By mid-2000, thimerosal-free vaccines against hepatitis B and bacterial meningitis were widely available. A combination vaccine for diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus also is available today without thimerosal. 

The preservative is still used in a few vaccines, including influenza vaccine, which is given annually during the viral flu season to adults and some children. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that protecting pregnant women and high-risk children during flu season take precedence over any possible risk from thimerosal exposure.

Public trust in vaccine safety must be maintained, the committee said. To this end, it is important to understand more fully the possible effects of thimerosal. Future research should include population studies of the occurrence of neurodevelopmental disorders before and after thimerosal was removed from most vaccines. Levels of women’s prenatal and postnatal mercury exposure from medicinal products and sources such as fish consumption should be examined as well. Clinical research also should examine how the bodies of children, including those diagnosed with neurodevelopmental disorders, absorb and process heavy metals like mercury and which medical therapies are effective in ridding the body of them. This second study in a series on vaccine safety was sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. The Institute of Medicine is a private, nonprofit institution that provides health policy advice under a congressional charter granted to the National Academy of Sciences. A committee roster follows. Copies of Thimerosal-Containing Vaccines and Neurodevelopmental Disorders are available from the National Academy Press; tel. (202) 334-3313 or 1-800-624-6242 or on the Internet at The cost of the report is $25.00 (prepaid) plus shipping charges of $4.50 for the first copy and $.95 for each additional copy. Reporters may obtain a copy from the Office of News and Public Information (contacts listed above).

Board on Health Promotion and Disease Prevention

Immunization Safety Review Committee

Marie McCormick, M.D., Sc.D.* (chair)
Professor and Chair
Department of Maternal and Child Health
Harvard School of Public Health

Ronald Bayer, Ph.D.
Division of Sociomedical Sciences 
Joseph L. Mailman School of Public Health 
Columbia University
New York City

Alfred Berg, M.D., M.P.H.*
Professor and Chair
Department of Family Medicine 
University of Washington School of Medicine

Rosemary Casey, M.D.
Associate Professor of Pediatrics
Jefferson Medical College, and
Lankenau Faculty Pediatrics
Wynnewood, Pa.

Joshua Cohen, Ph.D.
Senior Research Associate
Harvard Center for Risk Analysis
Harvard School of Public Health

Vernice Davis-Anthony, M.P.H., R.N.
Senior Vice President
Corporate Affairs and Community Health
St. John Health System 

Betsy Foxman, Ph.D.
Department of Epidemiology
University of Michigan School of Public Health, and
Center for Molecular and Clinical Epidemiology of Infectious Diseases
Ann Arbor, Mich.

Constantine Gatsonis, Ph.D.
Professor of Medical Science and Applied Mathematics, and
Director, Center for Statistical Sciences
Brown University
Providence, R.I.

Steven Goodman, M.D., M.H.S., Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Oncology, Pediatrics, Epidemiology, and Biostatistics
Johns Hopkins Schools of Medicine and Public Health

Ellen Horak, R.N., M.S.N.
Chief of Local Health Services
Office of Local and Rural Health
Kansas Department of Health and Environment

Michael Kaback, M.D.*
Professor of Pediatrics and Reproductive Medicine
University of California 
San Diego 

Gerald Medoff, M.D.
Professor of Medicine and Microbiology and Immunology, and Senior Adviser to the Chairman of the Internal Medicine Department
Washington University School of Medicine
St. Louis

Rebecca Parkin, Ph.D., M.P.H.
Associate Research Professor
Department of Occupational and Environmental Health
School of Public Health and Health Services
George Washington University Medical Center
Washington, D.C.

Bennett A. Shaywitz, M.D.
Professor of Pediatrics and Neurology and Chief of Pediatric Neurology
Yale University School of Medicine, and
Yale Center for the Study of Learning and Attention
New Haven, Conn.

Christopher Wilson, M.D.
Professor and Chair
Department of Immunology 
University of Washington 


Kathleen Stratton, Ph.D.
Study Director

* Member, Institute of Medicine


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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