June 25, 2007

Legislation Aims to Resolve Thimerosal Controversy

Legislation Aims to Resolve Thimerosal Controversy

Maloney Introduces Bill to Require Comprehensive Study to
Resolve the Question of a Possible Link between Mercury and Autism

WASHINGTON, DC – Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) introduced the "Comprehensive Comparative Study of Vaccinated and Unvaccinated Populations Act of 2007" (H.R. 2832), legislation that would require the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to conduct a comprehensive comparative study of vaccinated and unvaccinated populations, which would resolve the controversy about the possible link between autism and mercury or other vaccine components (click here for text of the legislation).

Many parents have raised concerns about the effect that thimerosal, which was widely used as a preservative in vaccines and is made of mercury - a known neurotoxin, may have had on a child's chances of developing autism and other neurological disorders. The study mandated by this new legislation would try to help resolve this controversy once and for all.

"Vaccines have been instrumental in reducing the incidence of many once-common diseases, but we owe it to parents and children to study and resolve the question of the possible link between thimerosal in vaccines and autism," said Maloney. "What is ultimately needed to resolve this issue one way or the other is a comprehensive national study comparing outcomes between vaccinated and unvaccinated children. As the most scientifically advanced country in the world, we should be jumping at the chance to conduct a comprehensive national study to resolve the questions that have been raised.

Parents deserve answers, and children deserve no less than absolutely certainty and safety."

"The time has come to put the questions about thimerosal behind us and get some concrete answers about possible dangers associated with this vaccine preservative. Vaccines are critical to protecting public health, but we must know for certain that at the same time doctors are providing children with life-saving medicine that they are not also exposing them to a substance that could make them more prone to developing autism. As the world leader in medical research, it is incumbent upon the United States to take the lead on this matter and launch a comprehensive study on thimerosal so we can make smarter decisions about vaccines in the future," said Congressman Maurice Hinchey (D-NY), an original co-sponsor of the bill. Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX) is the bill's other original co-sponsor.

This week, Generation Rescue is releasing a phone survey that offers a preliminary look at vaccinated versus unvaccinated groups. According to Generation Rescue co-founder J.B. Handley, "Our study was meant to highlight the critical importance of the research required by H.R. 2832. A sound study like the one proposed in the bill is needed to help resolve the issue of whether there is a link between vaccines and autism."

In the past, those who claim the preservative thimerosal has no effect on children have also claimed that a comprehensive study comparing vaccinated and unvaccinated populations could not be done in the United States because there was not a big enough unvaccinated population with which to compare the general vaccinated population. However, Dan Olmsted of UPI wrote a series of articles about the autism epidemic that identified a number of populations suitable for study, including: the Amish; children whose parents don't vaccinate for religious reasons; patients of Homefirst, an alternative medical practice in Chicago that does not vaccinate; and others. The Maloney legislation proposes comparing vaccinated populations with unvaccinated populations such as these.

A broad spectrum of vaccines containing thimerosal was manufactured for domestic use until 1999, and the nation's inventory of vaccines included some containing thimerosal for several years afterwards. Thimerosal is still used in most flu vaccines, and it remains in most vaccines administered to children in the developing world.


Maloney introduced similar legislation in the 109th Congress. Click here for more information.

Maloney also co-sponsored a bill with Congressman Dave Weldon, M.D. (R-FL) last year that would give responsibility for the nation's vaccine safety to an independent agency within the Department of Health and Human Services, removing most vaccine safety research from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Currently, the CDC has responsibility for both vaccine safety and vaccine promotion, which is an inherent conflict of interest that is increasingly garnering public criticism. Click here for more information.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Super great news. It would seem, there is another cohort that would make sense to study; namely, parents who have had one autistic child, and thereafter decided not to vaccinate subsequent children. This would also be quite useful, as these parents should be more likely to have autistic children due to genetic pre-dispositions.

- pD