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Thimerosal and Autism Spectrum Disorders: Alleged Misconduct by Government Agencies and Private Entities

Written by Pathways Magazine   
Saturday, 01 December 2007 00:00

Executive summary of the report of the ranking member on alleged miscinduct by government agencies and private entities related to thimerosal in childhood vaccines.

Here is a brief summary of the release of an 18-month Senate investigation into alleged government misconduct regarding Thimerosal in childhood vaccines and its causal association with autism lead by Senator Enzi (R-Wyoming), Ranking Member of the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.

The Committee’s investigators concluded that allegations that autism researchers were clouded by conflicts of interest, that the CDC interfered in vaccine studies, and that public health agencies covered up evidence linking vaccines to autism, could not be substantiated.

“While I recognize there are active scientific debates regarding a possible connection between thimerosal in childhood vaccines and autism, Congress is not in a position to substitute its judgment for that of scientists,” Enzi said. “Therefore, my investigation focused not on the possible link between thimerosal and autism, but on the allegations of misconduct by government officials and private entities in connection with the thimerosal controversy.”

The investigation did find:

  1. “FDA inappropriately utilized Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) guidelines regarding the dangers of mercury in vaccines containing thimerosal.” Thus, the FDA may have miscalculated the toxicity of thimerosal in vaccines routinely administered to millions of pregnant women and children.
  2. Senator Enzi acknowledged that a CDC-organized meeting, held June 7 and 8, 2000, at the Simpsonwood United Methodist Retreat Center, to discuss a study showing a link between mercury exposure through vaccines and autism, was questionable: “The CDC’s failure to invite to Simpsonwood representatives of advocacy groups, in combination with injudicious remarks by several Simpsonwood participants, did give rise to an appearance of impropriety.”
  3. Oversight agencies characterized by conflict of interest: The Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, which reviewed the evidence and found no link between mercury exposure from vaccines and autism, inappropriately screened “potential committee members for possible conflicts of interest.”
  4. Government data used to assess the link between vaccine-related mercury exposure and autism was “…less than open and accessible to all researchers.”
  5. Despite mercury being decreased in some vaccines given to American children, no such decrease has been affected in vaccines manufactured and distributed to developing countries: “The contention that thimerosal is used in vaccines provided to third-world and developing countries is accurate.”

“This report, released by Senator Enzi, is another in a long line of reports by government officials addressing the toxicity of mercury in medicine and reflecting the institutional malfeasance for self-protection and misplaced protectionism of the pharmaceutical industry by US public health officials,” states the Coalition for Mercury Free Drugs’ news release on the investigation’s conclusion.

For more information on the science supporting a link between vaccines and autism, including other chronic diseases, visit http://www.generationrescue.org/misinformation.html.

To read a summary of the Senate report visit: http://help.senate.gov/Min_press/autism.pdf National Vaccine Information Center: www.nvic.org

Pathways Issue 16 CoverThis article appeared in Pathways to Family Wellness magazine, Issue #16.

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