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No Link Between Mercury in Childhood Vaccines and Autism

Autism prevalence increased in California despite removal of thimerosal from vaccines

MONDAY, Jan. 7 (HealthDay News) -- In California children, the prevalence of autism has continued to increase despite the removal of thimerosal from most vaccines, suggesting that mercury exposure is not a primary cause of autism, according to an article published in the January issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry.

Robert Schechter, M.D., of the California Department of Public Health in Richmond, and a colleague used an ecologic design and data from the California Department of Developmental Services to study time trends in the prevalence of autism between Jan. 1, 1995 and Mar. 31, 2007.

Throughout the study period, even after the discontinuation of thimerosal-containing vaccines in 2001, the researchers found continuous quarterly increases in the prevalence rate of autism. The authors conclude that the rate of autism should have decreased after 2004 if there had been any risk association between thimerosal-containing vaccines and autism.

"Parents of autistic children should be reassured that autism in their child did not occur through immunizations," states the author of an accompanying editorial. "Their autistic children, and their siblings, should be normally vaccinated, and as there is no evidence of mercury poisoning in autism, they should avoid ineffective and dangerous 'treatments' such as chelation therapy for their children."

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