Do Vaccines Cause Autism?

The debate over the safety and efficacy of vaccines is not new. While vaccines seem to be very effective in eradicating many terrible diseases, they are closely tied to the development of other serious health and developmental problems, including autism. It would appear that by using vaccines we have not improved the overall health of our children, but simply traded infectious disease for chronic disease.

Vaccines contain many suspect ingredients known to cause serious health problems. At the top of that list is mercury, an extremely toxic substance. Mercury makes its way into vaccines through a preservative called thimerosal. Thimerosal is not a necessary ingredient in vaccines. It is used as a preservative so that vaccines can be packaged in multi-dose bottles and used on multiple children without becoming contaminated with bacteria. Single-use packaging eliminates the need for the toxic preservative.

The amount of mercury in typical doses of vaccines, given to infants, can be as high as 400 times the amount which is considered safe for adult exposure.

The link between autism rates and vaccination rate is very clear and simple, as the number of children who are vaccinated has risen, and as the number of vaccines that children receive has risen, so have the number of children with autism. A late as the 1970's when children still received very few vaccines, autism affected about one in 10,000 children. By the year 2000, children were receiving 22 mandatory vaccines before the age of two. Autism now affects about one in 500 children.

Adding more suspicion to the vaccine-autism link is the correlation to socio-economic groups. Initially, autism rates began to grow in children from wealthier families, during the same time period that vaccinations were fairly expensive and it was primarily wealthier families that had the opportunity to take advantage of them. As the federal government prioritized vaccinating and started programs to make vaccinations available to those who could not previously afford them, the autism epidemic began to spread across all socio-economic groups. This is in reverse to the distribution of most health problems which tend to affect those who are economically depressed more prominently than those who have access to the most advanced medicine and best nutrition.

The third, and possible most obvious link, is in the symptoms. The symptoms of autism and the symptoms of mercury poisoning are the same. In the mid 1980's the development of autism showed a significant change. Instead of showing possible signs of autism early on, children were developing normally until the reached about 18 months old, then suddenly started showing signs of autism. Most of the 30 vaccines that infant receive are given during the first 18 months of life.

Although many countries eliminated the use of thimerosal 20 years ago, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) claim that there is no evidence that thimerosal causes any health problem, except for possible injection site reactions. However, in 1999 the FDA, CDC, National Institutes of Health (NIH), Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), and the American Academy of Pediatrics jointly asked vaccine manufacturers to reduce or eliminate thimerosal from vaccines, in an effort to reduce mercury exposure in infants and children.

The use of thimerosal in vaccines has been reduced. Fewer vaccines are produced with the preservative at all, and some are produced with lower levels mercury. However, your child is still at risk for receiving a toxic, autism-inducing dose. You can reduce this risk by demanding that your child be given vaccines from a single-use bottle or syringe, only.

If your child has developed autism or the symptoms of autism, after receiving vaccinations, you should consider contacting an experienced personal injury attorney to evaluate a potential claim.