Remarks by Sen. John McCain about the potential that autism can be caused by thimerosal, a mercury-based preservative used in vaccines, are gradually drawing more attention. First reported by ABC News, McCain’s remarks came last week in town-hall meeting in Texas.
It’s indisputable that (autism) is on the rise amongst children, the question is what’s causing it. And we go back and forth and there’s strong evidence that indicates that it’s got to do with a preservative in vaccines.
No, there is NOT strong evidence that autism has anything to do with thimerosal. It is a claim made by some parents of autistic children, trial lawyers — of course — and demagogue activists like Bobby Kennedy Jr.
Walter Olson at Overlawyered.com has a good collection of commentary, links and resources about the false claims against thimerosal. He quotes Mark Kleiman, certainly no industry apologist, who has also written on the controversy:
[The] thimerosal-autism theory is as dead as phlogiston in respectable company. I’m not surprised that “respectable company” excludes a few ambulance-chasing lawyers looking for deep pockets and a some emotionally devastated parents looking for someone to blame.
But it’s distressing — to use no stronger term — that the presumptive Republican nominee for President, rather than looking at the evidence, has chosen to side with the panic-spreaders and pander to the emotions of the panic victims.
Yes. The fact is autism has continued to exist after the mercury-containing preservative was removed from vaccines, so…
Most discouraging about a presidential candidate lending credence to these claims is that it may prompt some parents to forego vaccinations for their children. So we get more illness, more long-term damage to children’s health, because the plaintiff’s bar has ginned up a medical controversy. Awful.
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