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2007 California Thimerasol Conclusions Premature?

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Parents Say California Autism Study is Flawed

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Critics say the premise of a newly published study that discounts thimerosal's link to autism is flawed.

The study, published in the Archives of General Psychiatry, finds that the number of autism cases among California children continued to increase from January 1995 to March 2007 despite the discontinuance of the mercury containing preservative in vaccines.

Therefore the California Department of Developmental Services (DDS) concludes that, “__The DDS data do not show any recent decrease in autism in California despite the exclusion of more than trace levels of thimerosal from nearly all childhood vaccines__. The DDS data do not support the hypothesis that exposure to thimerosal during childhood is a primary cause of autism.”

Critics say the premise of the study is wrong.

Rick Rollens tells IB News, “The conclusions in the study are flawed and premature, and does nothing to exonerate vaccines, particularly mercury containing vaccines, as a cause of California's autism epidemic," he said.

Rollens is the father of a 17-year-old son with autism.

He is also the co-founder of the University of California Davis M.I.N.D. Institute and a member of the California Legislative Blue Ribbon Commission on Autism, which helped craft a 2006 law in the state mandating that all of the mercury-based preservative be removed from childhood vaccines.

Not until Governor Schwarzenegger of California mandated the preservative be removed from childhood vaccines in December 2006 under penalty of law did the real recall begin, says Rollens.

Prior to that, a “formal request” was made by the American Academy of Pediatrics in 1999 to vaccine manufacturers “for a clear commitment and a plan to eliminate or reduce as expeditiously as possible the mercury content of their vaccines.”

And because no one can know for sure whether vaccine makers followed the “formal request,” Rollens says it’s too early to see any changes in autism rates.

IB News posed the question to the California Department of Developmental Services about the premise of the study-that thimerosal was removed from vaccines by 2001.

Lea Brooks, a department spokesperson emailed IB News that “Exposure to mercury in vaccines was minimal at the time the law came into effect.”

Amy Carson of Moms Against Mercury says thimerosal stayed in vaccines because no one was checking.

“The story is so flawed for so many reasons” she tells IB News.

Carson’s son started spiraling downhill after his 12 month shots she says.

“When the law went into effect in California in December 2006, women and children under three were still receiving mercury containing vaccines. They still had vaccines up until the year of 2005 with expiration dates but the law didn’t come into effect until 2006.”

Records show that fearing an influenza vaccine shortfall, California as late as 2006, allowed that traditional thimerosal-preserved vaccines would be continued for all pregnant women and children under the age of three.

Rollens says no one knows how even “traces” of mercury found in thimerosal may impact a child’s developing nervous system. According to Carson, “There is zero tolerance for lead, why not thimerosal?”

When asked to verify the premise of the study that the children in the data of his study were not exposed to thimerosal, Dr. Robert Schecter, who conducted the study provided a link to the CDC Web site.

The majority of children with autism enter California's developmental services system between the ages of 3 + and 9 years old.

Rollens says do the math.

"Today, those children born after the ban took effect are between 4 months old and one year of age. California's developmental services reporting system DOES NOT include children under the age of three years old," Rollens tells IB News

"It will not be clear what impact California's law banning mercury in vaccines has had on the rate of new cases of autism until at least 2009-2010 and later.”

“If by 2009-2010 there has not been ANY change in the rate of increase of new cases of autism entering California's developmental services system, then we can scratch mercury in vaccines off our list of agents contained in vaccines as a cause, and; then begin concentrating on the numerous other poisons and toxic agents in vaccines such as aluminum, formaldehyde, MSG, live viruses,etc., and most importantly, the interaction of these and other toxic agents contained in the 34 doses of vaccines children receive from birth to two years old today” he says.

Thimerosal is a neurotoxin that alters learning and social development. Autism is a chemical imbalance in the brain that affects more boys than girls. The cause remains a mystery. Today estimates are 1 in 150 children suffer from autism in the U.S.

The good news according to Rollens is that California’s reporting system is the “gold standard” for tracking autism, Asberger syndrome, cerebral palsy and other developmental disorders.

At a 2000 meeting of top government science and health officials, Robert Kennedy Jr. uncovered through a FOIA request some of the following comments about CDC research into the thimerosal-autism link:

“We are in a bad position from the standpoint of defending any lawsuits,” says one participant.

“The research results will have to be handled” says another and another says the research is,“statistically significant.”

This study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry, a publication of the Journal of the American Medical Association. #

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