Are Vaccines to Blame

July/August 2009

By now, most Americans are likely to have heard about the major question surrounding autism spectrum disorders (ASDs): what causes autism? The debates surrounding this question are highly politicized and often acrimonious. Is there an autism epidemic? Is autism caused by purely genetic factors, purely environmental factors, or a combination of both? Is autism preventable and treatable? Is the increasing number of vaccines recommended for children putting them at risk?

The more contentious of these controversies is whether there's a link between Thimerosal (a mercury-based vaccine preservative) and autism. Several well-publicized studies reported in mainstream medical journals have found no evidence of a connection. However, because of parental concerns, in 2001, the FDA began to reduce the amount of…

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