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Thimerosal is the most common preservative that is used in vaccines and biologics that are marketed in the United States. Thimerosal is used to help prevent a vaccine from spoiling, for inactivating bacteria used to formulate several vaccines, and in preventing bacterial contamination of the final product. Several of the vaccines recommended routinely for children in the United States contain thimerosal. However, reports have surfaced linking thimerosal to mercury poisoning in infants often causing autism.
On July 7, 1999, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) issued with the US Public Health Service (USPHS) a joint statement alerting clinicians and the public of concern about thimerosal, a mercury-containing preservative used in some vaccines. The reason for the warning is that thimerosal contains a related mercury compound called ethyl mercury. Mercury is a toxic metal that can cause immune, sensory, neurological, motor, and behavioral dysfunctions.
The Food and Drug Administration suggested that some infants, depending on which vaccines they receive and the timing of those vaccines, may be exposed to levels of ethyl mercury that could build up to exceed one of the federal guidelines established for the intake of methyl mercury. Symptoms of mercury toxicity in young children are extremely similar to those of autism.
This can explain the recent increase in the numbers of children diagnosed with autism since the early 1990's. The numerous amount of children diagnosed with autism seems to directly correlate with the recommendation of both the hepatitis B and HIB vaccine to infants in the early 1990s. Autism is a neurological disorder that is characterized by impairments in language, cognitive and social development.
Autism symptoms are usually encountered in the first two years of life. In the past autism was considered a rare disorder with an incidence of occurrence of approximately 1-3 per 10,000 births. More recently however, Autism is being diagnosed much more frequently with an incidence of occurrence of 20-40 per 10,000 births and reports of 1 per 150 births have been reported in several states including New Jersey and California.
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