I haven’t written here before on this pet issue of mine, though I’ve talked to folks at Metafilter about it. Anyway, routine infant vaccination has a lot of critics, and the loudest of them are those who feel the national vaccination program has resulted in the epidemic of autism in this country. This position has been discredited at every turn by pediatricians and public health folks, but now in the New York Times we find this: The Not-So-Crackpot Autism Theory by Arthur Allen.It’s worth reading if you’re at all interested in the vaccination debate, but I’ll highlight some key points.and
The article profiles Neal Halsey, a former American Academy of Pediatrics chairman, who is acknowledging that the thimeresol, a mercury-based preservative, in vaccines may be causing brain damage and autism. The quantities of mercury kids have been getting in their vaccines are orders of magnitude above the EPA-approved maximum exposure.
Most significantly, research into mercury exposure is beginning to show that, like lead, there is almost no lower limit for ill effect. In other words, even trace amounts are bad, especially for small children.
As good as it feels to be vindicated by these new findings, I’m not confident that it will produce a rethinking of the whole vaccine program. They’ll just find a non-mercury preservative and declare that now everything is A-OK. There’s no change in philosophy to be seen, and no greater humility. Just listen to this guy:
Thanks to D.M. for the link.