According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 110 children have autism spectrum disorders, which is strikingly more than just two decades ago. (ASDs are a group of developmental disabilities that can cause communication, behavioral and social challenges.) The National Autism Association calls the 644 percent increase of ASDs among U.S. children since the early 1990s "a tragic epidemic of autism."
Many attribute the increase in the rate of ASDs to children's being exposed to significant quantities of thimerosal, a mercury-based compound that has been used since the 1930s as a preservative in certain vaccines and pharmaceutical products to prevent bacterial and fungal contamination.
According to the CDC's website, however, "to date, the studies continue to show that vaccines are not associated with ASDs. ... The most recent and rigorous scientific research does not support the argument that thimerosal-containing vaccines are harmful. ... Is thimerosal in vaccines safe? Yes."
But PR Newswire reported recently that the Coalition for Mercury-free Drugs exposed a federal cover-up between the CDC and vaccine researchers. Despite the fact that the CDC received an email from CoMeD in 2002 that revealed a causal relationship between the removal of thimerosal from vaccines and a decline in the rate of autism, the CDC encouraged the publication of a study in Pediatrics that ignored certain data and misled the medical community and public by insinuating that thimerosal in vaccines does not increase the risk of autism.
Almost inconceivably, the study in Pediatrics actually purported that autism rates increased after thimerosal was removed. And to add insult to injury, PR Newswire reported, "One coauthor, from Aarhus University, Denmark, was aware of the omission and alerted CDC officials in a 2002 email, stating 'Attached I send you the short and long manuscript about Thimerosal and autism in Denmark ... I need to tell you that the figures do not include the latest data from 2001 ... but the incidence and prevalence are still decreasing in 2001' (emphasis added)."