The increase in reported cases of autism has not only slowed, but actually reversed now that thimerosal, a mercury-based vaccine preservative, has finally been removed from childhood vaccines.
Studies of two government databases indicate that autism rates went up as thimerosal dosages increased, then began to decline as thimerosal was removed.
From 240 to Close to Zero
The average exposure of a young child to thimerosal dropped from 240 micrograms in 1999 to almost nothing four years later. Autism rates among children declined at a similar rate.
Dr. Robert Davis, director of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) immunization safety group, argues that this cannot "... really be taken to provide any evidence one way or the other." Solid evidence of a link between thimerosal and autism could result in serious repercussions for government agencies and drug companies.
If new recommendations requiring annual influenza vaccinations for children are followed, their average dose could increase back to 60 micrograms.
Behind the Scenes
Documents newly released under the Freedom of Information Act indicate that the CDC was actually discouraging thimerosal's removal behind the scenes, despite their public call for removal. The CDC at one point rejected a proposal by drugmaker SmithKline Beecham to produce thimerosal-free vaccines, and the CDC's commitment to banning thimerosal has often seemed half-hearted since that time.
A federal health official, who has requested anonymity, believes that there were other considerations besides safety guiding the CDC's actions, including protecting the economic interests of drug industry partners. The industry's stockpiled thimerosal-based vaccines would have become worthless had there been an immediate ban on the substance.