Autism and Vaccines: Is there a link?
Today, nearly one out of every 110 children born will be diagnosed with some form of autism (Saskatchewan 1). Autism is a rapidly growing development disorder. It is known as Classical Autism in the group of ASD’s which is commonly known as Autism Spectrum Disorders. Children with autism have problems with social situations, repetition, sensitivity to sound, texture, and pain, and restrictive patterns or routines (“What is Autism?” 24). With the number of diagnoses rapidly increasing day by day, parents and physicians attempting to find a cause for the disorder that is affecting children at an epidemic-like rate. While no known cause has been found, there is one question that is speculated over and over again: is there a direct link between the diagnosis of autism and the vaccination preservative, Thimerosal?
Both the articles “Vaccines and Autism: A Tale of Shifting Hypotheses” by Jeffery Gerber and Paul Offit and “Autism and Vaccines” by Carol Polovoy focus on factual claims and flaws in studies conducted about the correlation between autism and the preservative, Thimerosal, found in vaccinations. Thimerosal is a 50% ethylmercury antibacterial compound that has been used in vaccine preparations for more than 50 years (Gerber, Orfitt 458). Before the US Food and Drug Association mandated the Modernization Act, in which identification and quantification of mercury in all food and drugs was established, it is believed that infants could have been receiving as much as 187.5ug of mercury within the first 6 months of life. In1999, after the Modernization Act was put into effect, all vaccines were required to have any trace of mercury removed. Parents took this as a sign that Thimerosal caused Autism, and a world-wide movement of fear towards vaccinations began. The first speculated link of Thimerosal to autism is mentioned in Gerber and Orfit’s article, and was discovered by British gastroenterologist Dr....
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