Confessions of a Quackbuster

This blog deals with healthcare consumer protection, and is therefore about quackery, healthfraud, chiropractic, and other forms of so-Called "Alternative" Medicine (sCAM).

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Vaccination-Autism Link Unproven

Vaccination-Autism Link Unproven

Friday, April 01, 2005
By Steven Milloy

Radio shock jock Don Imus (search) is on a rampage about the vaccine preservative thimerosal (search) allegedly causing autism (search).

A closer look at the facts, however, reveals that while thimerosal is safe, Imus unfortunately appears to be suffering from a case of Charlie McCarthy Syndrome, with his eco-crusader wife as the ventriloquist.

Since the beginning of March, Imus has been ranting about thimerosal, a mercury-based preservative used to prevent contamination from fungi and bacteria in countless vaccines administered to adults and children since the 1930s.

But in 1999, frenzied and junk science-fueled activists goaded wobbly-kneed pharmaceutical companies, federal public health agencies and the American Academy of Pediatrics to agree to reduce or eliminate thimerosal from vaccines as a precautionary measure.

Thimerosal was so dangerous, you see, that no one noticed it during more than 60 years of regular use -- that is, until the late-1990s, when the mercury-containing preservative was blamed by some parents for causing autism in their children.

Autism is a little-understood complex developmental disability that affects individuals in the areas of social interaction and communication. Symptoms of autism typically don’t become apparent until a child reaches 16-36 months in age and has trouble progressing from saying a few words to expressing more complex ideas.