Childhood-autism Lawsuits


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What is the Thimerosal Problem?


Many parents presently filing Thimerosal-cases across the country claim that a child might receive a dose of mercury up to 100 times higher than the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s recommended safety guideline for a vaccination shot. Doses are based on a child’s weight. In adults, that kind of exposure can generally handled safely by the body, but in children the effects can be devastating - and long term.

The use of mercury-containing preservatives has declined in recent years because of the development of new products formulated with alternative, or even no, preservatives. However, the damage has already been done. Maryland recently released their Special Education Census Data, which showed that the overall population increased only 7 percent from 1990 to 1998, autism increased by an incredible 513 percent from 1993 to 1998, while mental retardation increased 13 percent. Coincidence? Surely not. This is the basis for a handful of Thimerosal-lawyers to bring Thimerosal-cases against the vaccine manufacturers.

To quote the United States Food and Drug Administration’s “Thimerosal in Vaccines" paper:

The toxicity of methyl mercury was first recognized during the late 1950s and early 1960s when industrial discharge of mercury into Minimata Bay, Japan, led to the widespread consumption of mercury-contaminated fish (Harada 1995). Epidemics of methyl mercury poisoning also occurred in Iraq during the 1970s when seed grain treated with a methyl mercury fungicide was accidentally used to make bread (Bakir et al. 1973). During these epidemics, maternal exposure to high levels of methyl mercury resulted in infants exhibiting severe neurological injury including a condition resembling cerebral palsy, while their mothers showed little or no symptoms. Sensory and motor neurological dysfunction and developmental delays were observed among some children who were exposed in utero to lower levels of methyl mercury.

While Thimerosal contains ethyl mercury, which is slightly different to methyl mercury, the FDA “considered ethyl- and methyl-mercury as equivalent in its risk evaluation."

As a precautionary measure, the Public Health Service (including the FDA, National Institutes of Health, Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the Health Resources and Services Administration, and the American Academy of Pediatrics issued joint statements in 1999 and 2000 urging vaccine manufacturers to reduce or eliminate Thimerosal in vaccines as soon as possible. In 1999 after an 18-month study, the European Agency for Evaluation of Medicinal Products, concluded “It would be prudent to promote the general use of vaccines without Thimerosal."

The data is presently in controversy and many believe that Thimerosal is not the culprit in causing Autism. For example:

  1. The link between thimerosal and autism apparently has been refuted in a number of major studies, most recently in two studies published in Pediatrics in September 2004. Several of the existing studies are non-US studies, as they are sponsored by government health plans in various European countries.
  2. The link between mercury and autism is also far from proven; mercury is a known neurotoxin and certainly responsible for a variety of developmental disorders, but its typical effects are more in the spectrum of mental retardation and learning disability, rather than autism.
  3. Thimerosal has been removed from vaccines available in the United States as of 2001, however, stockpiles of the old vaccines are still being used up in developing countries.
  4. Damage is done by mercury. Perhaps the biggest source of mercury in our children's environment is coal-fired power plants, which abound in my home state of Pennsylvania. Another worthy target might be the food-industry sponsored (and atrociously named), which claims that only "alarmists" would tell anyone to avoid eating fish for fear of mercury contamination. Fatty ocean fish are one of the largest sources of mercury for pregnant and nursing women and their developing children.


Thimerosal Do I have a Thimerosal case?


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