No link between the Thimerosal used in vaccines and autism

June 17, 2009 | By | 5 Replies More

In 2005, when I read Robert F. Kennedy’s Rolling Stone article about  the supposed link between autism and Thimerosal (a mercury-based preservative)  found in childhood vaccines, I was deeply concerned.   I send copies of that persuasive and detailed article to several friends.  New evidence strongly there is no link, however.   Even more than the epidemiological studies, consider this observations, as reported by Discover Magazine:

[A]lthough thimerosal is no longer present in any recommended childhood vaccines save the inactivated influenza vaccine—and hasn’t been, beyond trace amounts, since 2001—no one is hailing the end of autism. “If you thought thimerosal was related to autism, then the incidence of autism should have gone down,” Harvard’s McCormick explains. “And it hasn’t.”

Given that we haven’t been injecting our children full of Thimerosal since 2001, we should be seeing a significant decrease in autism (if the anti-Thimerosal crowed were right).   We aren‘t seeing any decrease in rates of autism, however.  This lack of correlation seems compelling to me.   As indicated in the Discover article, there are many reasons for getting your young children vaccinated.

Image by Keithfrithkeith at (with permission)

Image by Keithfrithkeith at (with permission)

The CDC estimates that thanks to vaccines, we have reduced morbidity by 99 percent or more for smallpox, diphtheria, measles, polio, and rubella. Averaged over the course of the 20th century, these five diseases killed nearly 650,000 people annually. They now kill fewer than 100.

There is now one less big reason for refusing to do get your children vaccinated:  There is no link between the Thimerosal used in childhood vaccinations and autism.   As reported by the Discover article, however, the urban legend prevails that Thimerosal causes autism.


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Category: Education, Health, ignorance, Medicine

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

Comments (5)

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  1. Niklaus Pfirsig says:

    In my studies of autism research topics, I quickly dismissed Thimerasol as a smokescreen issue. There are several obvious reaseon why it failed to explain the symptoms. Most people have considerably more mercury from eating seafood or dental fillings than the amount from all mercury laced vaccines they would take for a lifetime.

    On of the earliest observations concerning autistic was that a significant number of infantile autism victims (as I recall 70 or 80 percent) possessed a gene in the major histocompatibility complex that controls the expression of a protien called C4 beta (C4B)

    C4b is a component complemet to a protien CD46, which along with component CD4, form one of many immune system triggers againt viral attacks. In laymans terms, when a virus gets into the blood, it attached to a hormone receptor and uses it to inject its DNA into the cell where it manfuactures replicas of itself using the rnn from the cell as materials. CD46 mimics a receptor, but instead of metering electrolytes into the cell, it breaks down into smaller proteins that trigger the T cells to respond. The neat think is that you own hormones will trigger the receptor and three different immune system components which will break down into different simple proteins that cancel out each other.

    An additional item of note is that many parents of autistic, dyslexic, and ADHD children report a lot of middle ear infections in the first 2 or three years.

    In infnatile autism, these middle ear infections cease after regression. I suspect the middle ear infections are the result of chronic RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus) infection. RSV attacks very young infants with symptoms similar to the common cold, and in a few cases remains dormant in the middle ear, occasionally flaring up with the symptoms of media otitus (Middle ear infection) for three or four days. In most cases the flare ups are misdiagnosed as bacterial or yeast related, antibiotics are prescribed and since the symptom go away in a few days, it is assumed that the antibiotics worked.

    RSV interacts with the CD4 component. Measle has been proven to suppress CD46 and if you have a genetic deficit of C4b then you have little defense angainst a specific group of viruses, including measles, RSV, and parainfluenza.

    The measle vaccine component of MMR is an attenuated live virus (ALV) Atennusated means that the virus is know to be less virulent and cause few if any symproms. A virus is attenuated by culturing it in a hostile environment that forces it to mutate until desired qualities that devine attenuation are observed in tests. the strain is then isolated and cultured to provide the vaccine.

    which leads us to the interactions of the vaccine, wild virii and genetic suceptability.

    Let's say little Bobby get a bad cold at 3 months. He gets over it and seems okay. Unkown to his parents, he has really just had RSV. The RSV stay in his body, and regular flareup mimic a middle ear infection. At 15 months, shortly after one of thes flareups, he gets the MMR vaccine. Since his immune systme is compromised, the normal mechanism that should create mesles antibodies sort of fizzles, and little Bobby gets sick.

    The measle virus, which has an affinity for the 5ht5a serotonin receptor (found throughout the body but concentrated in the amygdala, the part of the brain that processes sensory info for the rest of the brain. The attenuated measles virus infects Bobby, and when the immune system recovers from the RSV flareup, it triggers against the viral proteins that are now embedded in the 5ht5a receptors and intefers with the normal functioning of those receptors.

    Serotonin is the master sleep hormone and controls numerous body and neurological function through 27 different receptor subtypes. The immune system effectively deprives the amygdala of serotonin resulting in a hypersensitivity of all senses, and the brain compensates by producing more serotonin causing gastro intestinal problems, irritability, motor neuron problems and so on. Since the 5ht5a receptors control the flow of calcium as an electrolyte, little bobby developes insatiable cravings for calcium, focuson on eating dairy produce and inedibles such as chalk and diatomaceous earth.

    There is evidence that much of this caould be avoided with proper screening and an alternative vaccine. But since the political push is to find a specific autism gene that will not implicate vaccines or immunization policies.

  2. Mindy Carney says:

    I just came across this article by pediatrician Harvey Karp, regarding toxic environmental chemicals and autism. I have a strong gut feeling that they are going to find some definite connections as this study (finally) moves forward. Once again, thanks to Bushco, good research is beginning nearly a decade after it should have.

  3. Erich Vieth says:

    Mindy: Investigating the effects of the chemicals with which we fill our homes and workplaces should be a national priority. I agree that the Bush Administration acted disgracefully for 8 years. See here:

    Who knows what damage these chemicals are doing to us and to our children? Shouldn't we knock Michael Jackson off the front page for a few months while we ask these hard questions and demand answers?

    When we finally took the time to ask questions about BPA, we found out that it was bad news to expose our children to all of those hard clear plastics.

    Knowledge = power. The inverse: lack of knowledge = lack of power = putting yourself and your family in danger.

  4. Mindy Carney says:

    Exactly. I knew about that about the BPA risks in general, but did not realize a potential connection to autism had been spotted. Of course the DI folks were on it while I wasn't paying attention!!

  5. Niklaus Pfirsig says:

    I, for one am happy to see real science being used to investigate autism and other ailments that are on the increase. I can only hope it doesn't degrade into the popular unproven theories-du-jour of the past.

    More research is needed in the pathology of these diseases before these hypotheses are published. over the years I have seen several autism "Theories" published along with "cures"

    A fellow by the name of John Wobus, who has an autistic son, had maintained a large list of collected knowlege of autism and autism reasearch, theoretical causes and treatments at . I suggest starting with the FAQ.

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