Scientists warn of chemical-autism link
June 7th, 2011
06:43 PM ET

Scientists warn of chemical-autism link

Autism and environmental health experts called for greater scrutiny of chemicals found in the environment, which could potentially lead to autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders, in a conference call Tuesday.

"We live, breathe and start our families in the presence of toxic chemical mixtures and constant low-level toxic exposures, in stark contrast to the way chemicals are tested for safety," said Donna Ferullo, Director of Program Research at The Autism Society.

"Lead, mercury, and other neurotoxic chemicals have a profound effect on the developing brain at levels that were once thought to be safe," she said.

Autism spectrum disorders are being diagnosed at unprecedented rates, partly because of improved diagnostic tools and criteria, but also a host of other factors including what mothers-to-be are exposed and consequently their unborn children too, said Irva Hertz-Piccotto, Chief of the Division of Environmental Health at the University of California, Davis, and a faculty member at the Mind Institute.

About 1 in 110 children in the United States has autism, a group of developmental disorders that lead to impairments in behavior, communication and socialization. The cost of autism is staggering: $3.2 million for the care of a person with autism throughout his or her life; behavioral therapy can be hard to come by and be very limited,  and most medications don't help much.

Studies have strongly suggested a genetic component in the cause of autism, but it's becoming clear that genetics alone isn't the whole story; there could be interactions between susceptibility genes and environmental chemicals.

Recent research from her group, appearing in the journal Epidemiology, showed that prenatal vitamins taken prior to conception seem to interact with certain metabolizing genes that are inherited.  Those women who did not take the vitamins, and had the high-risk genotypes, were more likely to have a child with autism.  Still, this was a small study limited in scope, and more research should be done to confirm these findings.

The central nervous system of the fetus is sensitive to a wide range of chemicals, Hertz-Piccotto said.  Hormones, such as estrogens and androgens, are essential for proper brain development. Endocrine-disrupting compounds need more research, she said. Flame-retardant chemicals called PBDEs interfere with the body's hormones.  Even though many of them are no longer used in manufacturing, they can hang around in the environment and the human body for a long time.  The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is aware of concerns about these chemicals and is working on accessing substitutions (see the action plan).

Bisphenol A, present in plastic food packaging and water bottles, among other products, is another big concern, she said, because it could interfere with the body's natural estrogen system; antimicrobials added to soaps, toothpaste and other products can artificially enhance androgenic activity.

"That means that they could potentially play a role in autism or other neurodevelopmental disorders," Hertz-Piccotto said.

Moreover, many children with autism spectrum disorders have abnormal immune responses. The chemical messengers in the immune system interact with the receptors in the brain, so chemicals that affect immunity could also be implicated in autism.

Thyroid dysfunction is common in children with autism that psychiatrist Dr. Suruchi Chandra sees, even though that's not part of the classical symptoms of the condition.  She believes the abnormalities are due to the thyroid hormone disruptors such as BPA and flame retardants.

"Thyroid hormone is critical for brain development in early life, and even small alterations in hormone levels can have serious consequences; long-lasting and perhaps irreversible consequences in terms of brain function," she said.

Air pollution from traffic and certain pesticides have also been shown to have associations with autism, studies have shown.  Maternal conditions could partially result from chemicals in the environment.

Andy Igrejas, National Campaign Director of Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families, called for an update of the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act. Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) has proposed a stricter version that would require all industrial chemicals to be tested for safety.

UPDATE: Since so many of you have asked, I wanted to clarify that this discussion does not relate to vaccines. The scientific evidence available has shown again and again that vaccines do not cause autism.

soundoff (2,292 Responses)
  1. Anne McElroy Dachel

    It's amazing that CNN suddenly announces that scientists believe that toxins in the environment are causing autism. We're told that lead, mercury, and other neurotoxins may not be safe. Plastics, and flame retardants are mentioned. Noticeably absent from the list is any mention of the explosive controversy over vaccines and autism. It seems that toxins are still safe if they're injected directly into pregnant women and children.

    We're told that Senator Lautenberg wants to require that all industrial chemicals be tested for safety. Will that list include the mercury and aluminum used in vaccines that have never been tested by the FDA for toxicity? Or will we continue to rely on the pharma-funded epidemiological studies that show no evidence of harm from the ever-increasing toxic load in vaccines?

    Anne Dachel, Media editor: Age of Autism

    June 7, 2011 at 21:19 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Bob

      Anyone who wishes to carry on the conspiracy theories against vaccines are culpable for the deaths of children from the awful diseases we have never had to face because of their miracle. Even if 1 in 1,000 cases of autism was caused by vaccines, how many of those thousand would be dead from Polio (20-50), Rubella (25-40), Measles (3-30), Diptheria (50-100). So with just those four disease and with today's modern technology 98-220 of those children would not just be ill, but dead.

      June 8, 2011 at 07:54 | Report abuse |
    • Michelle

      Anne, wake up . I don't know where to BEGIN to tell you why your comment was beyond ludicrous. The amount of exposure to chemicals in vaccines is FAR LESS than the exposure you get daily from our polluted environment. For crying out loud, do you even know what's in vaccines, how they work, and how our bodies actually process those things? People scream about the formaldehyde in certain vaccines, for example. Did you know that a baby has ten times as much formaldehyde in his own little liver than the vaccine has? And that the human liver will naturally, efficiently, and harmlessly flush out that slight excess of formaldehyde in just a few hours or less? Of course you didn't know that.

      Ever-increasing toxic load in vaccines? They're constantly reducing the adjuvants and preservatives in vaccines.

      Controversy? THERE IS NO CONTROVERSY, except in the minds of nutbags and conspiracy theorists. The vaccines are NOT the cause of autism. The ONLY study that EVER suggested this was proven to be a complete HOAX. Is that what you're going to base your reality on? A known hoax? The saddest thing is that while you obsess over the vaccines, we're wasting time and effort that SHOULD be spent finding the real cause. But then, I'm sure science means nothing to you, and you'd rather consult your crystal ball for answers.

      You know... trying to talk to people like you is like talking to a brick wall. If you have kids, I feel bad for them, and I hope they don't die of preventable childhood illnesses because you refused to vaccinate them. People like you are too busy being hyped up on your own self-importance to actually look at evidence and take care of your children. I wash my hands of you.

      June 8, 2011 at 08:13 | Report abuse |
    • Neeneko

      That is because the vaccine link has been tested, and tested, and tested again and shown to be bunk.

      June 8, 2011 at 08:13 | Report abuse |
    • Rinsewind

      Perhaps vaccines were omitted from the article because scores of studies have failed to find any link between autism and vaccinations? You know, just a guess.

      June 8, 2011 at 08:17 | Report abuse |
    • Bryan

      The "science" behind your the vacinne claim has been disproven. It was all made up by a researcher who manipulated the data. Jenny McCarthy is not a scientist. Kids have died because of the lies about vaccines and autism.

      June 8, 2011 at 08:24 | Report abuse |
    • sharon z

      Thank you.

      June 8, 2011 at 08:25 | Report abuse |
    • Bobby

      add to it fluride in our drinking water

      June 8, 2011 at 08:48 | Report abuse |
    • Andrew

      GEEZ! The reason why it wasn't mentioned is because the vaccine-autism link has been thoroughly disproven. What is WRONG with you people?!!!!! How much time and energy do people need to spend on this? It's like trying to convince people the world is NOT flat. Get out of the stone ages.

      June 8, 2011 at 08:56 | Report abuse |
    • ya'll are ignorant

      THAT's because the chemicals that USED to be contained in vaccines DO NOT cause autism! I swear, it would be like pulling teeth out of a crocodile's mouth to convince the typical ignorant parent to actually look up a REAL study with some valid data! There are plenty of other chemicals, toxins, etc. in the environment that can still be researched if there turns out to be reason to believe that something other than genetics is at play. The one thing that has been certainly ruled out, however, is vaccinations. By the way, the very simple explanation for all those dumb parents' persistent claims that vaccines caused their kid's autism is that the symptoms of autism start to become apparent at the SAME DAMN time as the vaccinations are typically administered. It is routine for normal development to occur up until a point in time, at which time development halts/slows and regression rapidly occurs. Then, all the dumb mothers who worship Jennifer McCarthy (dumb money-hungry grub) just SWEAR, "Oh my!! Obviously the vaccines did it! My doctor, and all those researchers, are cruel, mean people!" Dumb As$es...

      June 8, 2011 at 09:32 | Report abuse |
    • TF

      Go tell that to the parents of the babies who died from whooping cough in California last year – solely because of people who wouldn't vaccinate their kids because they believed the complete lies about vaccines causing autism. The "theory" has been debunked, honey. Get real. Ever see anyone who was crippled from polio or blind from measles? I have. Ever see smallpox? Perhaps you should do some real research instead of believing junk science made up by a creep who wanted to sell books.

      June 8, 2011 at 10:02 | Report abuse |
    • Cheryl Keggan

      Noticeably absent from the list is any mention of the explosive controversy over vaccines and autism. It seems that toxins are still safe if they're injected directly into pregnant women and children.

      What? You obviously DID NOT READ The LAST LINE OF THE ARTICLE?? Thimerisol use is neglible anymore – but rates of Autism are RISING..... I'd say that is a DIRECT contradiction to your assertion that mercury in vaccines is the cause of autism.
      If that were true – autism rates would be DROPPING....
      What is QUITE clear about AUTISM is that there are many forms, and most likely MANY causes....

      June 8, 2011 at 10:08 | Report abuse |
    • john

      Exactly, Anne. Everyone knows all the best medical research comes from former Playboy bunnies.

      June 8, 2011 at 10:21 | Report abuse |
    • Anonymous Coward

      That's because there *is* no "explosive controversy" - there is a "study" that was proven to be a fraud, a Playboy model and occasional actress with no understanding of science using, or being used for, her fame, and parents who want a simple cause with an obvious villain they can lash out against instead of the convoluted, imprecise, and sometimes downright messy reality. The only "explosive controversy" is in the minds (and books) of people making money off it ... which, ironically, is what they claim everyone else wants to do.

      Autism is too critical to be a playtoy for the willfully ignorant, and anyone who buys into their conspiracy theories (or buys their stuff) is harming the very people they claim to want to help.

      June 8, 2011 at 10:30 | Report abuse |
    • Bucktooth

      Some vaccines ARE causing problems!people who have had actual childhood diseases, chickenpox, measles, mumps have developed the antibodies. The suppressing of these diseases is causing a ton of problems. We don'tknow what's in anything anymore! The food supply IS contaminated and people still don't get it..even chemically laden cosmetics, lotions have tons of additives that used on the skin over time will cause harm! Pregnant women rub lotions, etc over their bellies..HELLO! The fetus is getting that transfer of chemicals also. Think about the body is connected to it's other parts! We are influenced by environment, food, drink..if a person has Eczema and they adjust their diet will the condition get better? Absolutely! Why have Autism numbers risen in the last 10 years? Could it have somethingto do with drugs, food, etc! Everything is connected!

      June 8, 2011 at 10:40 | Report abuse |
    • Mojave Bob

      First, Science, by very definition, CANNOT prove or disprove anything. Proofs are mathematical, not scientific. The vaccine/autism "link" is an obvious hot-button on both sides, and is problematic for a number of reasons. Have vaccines reduced disease? Absolutely. Is there a risk in opting out of vaccines? Undisputably. Are vaccines dangerous? Again, no question - they are. Do vaccines cause autism? Well, not in any way that we have been able to identify. However, WAY too many parents have seen the blinds close in their child's eyes the same day they had the vaccinations. It simply is too common to chalk up to coincidence. There absolutely is some sort of link, but we don't know what it is, or why it only happens occasionally, or what other factors contribute. But the link exists. Science has not found the link to be with the mercury, but all that means is that it isn't reacting in the ways that they have tested for. Somewhere, somehow, there is a problem with some vaccines - the observational data of many, many parents (which is valid, admissible scientific evidence, as far as it goes) has provided strong evidence. There are ditches on both sides of the road, people...

      June 8, 2011 at 11:30 | Report abuse |
    • Neeneko

      @Mojave Bob

      Actually, it is sufficiently rare to chalk to up coincidence. The time period where vaccines are administered is the same time period where autism first manifests. There is no scientific reason to believe there is a link between the two at this point. There is no statistical connection, there is no theoretical connection. Just conspiracy theories that will not be satisfied unless the science shows what they want it to show and everything else is discounted. All because of one crooked (who is making millions off this) research and an actress who wanted someone to blame because the prediction her psychic gave her turned out to be false.

      June 8, 2011 at 11:39 | Report abuse |
    • paerki

      Enough with the vaccine nonsense. Give it a rest!

      June 8, 2011 at 11:39 | Report abuse |
    • BNS

      Bucktooth, Eczema would only improve from a diet change if it were caused by diet. Eczema has many causes other than foods. I know, personally.

      June 8, 2011 at 11:46 | Report abuse |
    • N

      @ Mojave Bob

      First, a definition of "prove" from merriam-webster:
      "to establish the existence, validity, or genuineness of"

      Second, I've never heard of anyone seeing "the blinds close in their child's eyes the same day they had the vaccinations". The associations that people claim come from some of these children being diagnosed in the weeks or months after receiving a round of vaccines (note: this is the diagnosis, not actually when they first show signs... there has been at least one study that retrospectively observed videos of children before they were diagnosed and noticed behaviors pointing to autism long before they got vaccines). So as Neeneko pointed out, the association is meerly a coincidence of timing, not a causative relationship.

      There is, however, a causative relationship between reduced vaccination rates and outbreaks of the targeted illnesses. So the babies who died of pertussis in CA? We all know who's to blame for that...

      June 8, 2011 at 12:00 | Report abuse |
    • A Father

      So chemicals in the environment are a link to autism. But chemicals in vaccines that are injected directly into the bloodstream have no connection to the rise in autism. How stupid do you think we are?

      The anti-vaccine movement will continue to grow as the number of children who are harmed or killed by vaccines continues to grow. It is a crying shame that vaccine safety studies aren't being conducted. And they won't be conducted because the 1986 vaccine injury compensation law protects doctors and vaccine manufacturers. There's no need to verify the safety of vaccines because there's no liability. It's a disgrace.

      June 8, 2011 at 12:15 | Report abuse |
    • Ross


      June 8, 2011 at 12:24 | Report abuse |
    • Steve Patz

      Wouldn't the statements

      "Lead, mercury, and other neurotoxic chemicals have a profound effect on the developing brain at levels that were once thought to be safe"


      "The scientific evidence available has shown again and again that vaccines do not cause autism. "

      be contradictory since the majority of childhood vaccines are preserved with mercury? True, it's not the vaccines that are the issue but how they are preserved.

      Smart parents insist that their children are immunized with vaccines not kept with mercury. They are more expensive, but worth the cost.

      June 8, 2011 at 12:27 | Report abuse |
    • Mojave Bob


      Websters also defines the scientific method as "The collection of data through observation and experiment." In other words, scientific method deals with probability, not proof, and with hypothesis, not fact.

      So, are you saying that because you have not heard of it, it doesn't exist? Intersting, because I have heard of it, and lots of other people have, as well. The vaccines result in a fever, and the child simply never comes back. Not every time, but often enough that we should take note and wonder what is going on.

      Again, what is the link? We simply do not know. What factors have to be present for it to happen? We do not know. Genetic predisposition? Undetected viral infection at the time of vaccination? Wrong brand of diapers? What about the vaccine is reacting in the child's body? We simply do not know. Yet, the collection of data by observation (scientific method, mind you, even if rudimentary) of the parents is screaming to us that we don't know all that we really need to know about what we are doing when we vaccinate. I'm not arguing the VALUE of vaccines. I just fear that we don't really understand fully how they interact with different bodies.

      June 8, 2011 at 12:32 | Report abuse |
    • linus

      Mojave Bob, “the observational data of many, many parents...has provided strong evidence.” Sorry, no. The plural form of “anecdote” is “anecdotes,” not “evidence.”

      June 8, 2011 at 12:33 | Report abuse |
    • One more for reason

      Mercury, etc that used to be in vaccines have been removed. Yet Autism still rises. Comparisons of populations with and without vaccines have similar rates of autism. The amount of time and energy being taken up by a disproven cause is actually taking time and energy away from the search for causes and treatments.
      All you have to do is go to an old grave yard and talk a walk. Read the headstones. Baby after baby, child after child are buried there. You who waste countless precious hours and dollars chasing a disproven myth have the luxury of doing so because of vaccines.
      However, you probably won't listen to this as well. I cannot begin to enlighten the unconscious. But put a few words in the mouth of a any blond bimbo who has made a living off of acting stupid and posing nude, then you get their attention.

      June 8, 2011 at 12:33 | Report abuse |
    • The one known as Longinus

      As a father of 2 autistic children, Anne your post is outrageous. Both of my kids were diagnosed BEFORE being vaccinated because my wife insisted that vaccines cause autism. After they were diagnosed then my wife realized that the truth they don't because they had been and were still diagnosed with autism. She put the lives of our kids in jepordy because of a lie that has been repeatedly disproven. I am happy to say that they have since both been vaccinated and at this point we are working to try and make their lives and ours tolerable.

      Anne, please stop disseminating lies and untruths...it doesn't help those that really need it, those that have this uncurable condition.

      June 8, 2011 at 12:35 | Report abuse |
    • Orange Pekoe

      As the author mentioned, there is no evidence whatsoever to indicate vaccines are a cause of autism. It does, however, endanger other children as well as your own, when parents refuse to vaccinate their children due to this unproven and irrational fear. And vaccines are not "toxins."

      June 8, 2011 at 12:38 | Report abuse |
    • Troy

      Wakefield invented you. He was shown to be wrong. Move on to something real so that parents of Autistic kids don't have to suffer through your faith in a lie.

      June 8, 2011 at 12:43 | Report abuse |
    • Katie

      To all of you people so against vaccination:

      You're crazy. You're dangerous. You endanger my child who cannot be vaccinated yet because of her age. You rely on everyone else to be vaccinated to keep you safe. That's ignorant.

      June 8, 2011 at 12:49 | Report abuse |
    • Ardath

      Anne, maybe you missed the recent German study that compared unvaccinated children to vaccinated children - there is now a large enough sample of both in Europe to do that, thanks to that disgusting quack Wakefield and the fraud he perpetrated. They found that there was absolutely no difference between vaccinated and unvaccinated children, except in one area: the unvaccinated children were more likely to contract the diseases that the vaccines were intended to prevent. That was the ONLY difference between them. Autism rates were identical. Intelligence curves were identical. Other health spectrum were identical. Vaccines do NOT cause autism. Give it up already.

      June 8, 2011 at 12:50 | Report abuse |
    • NKelly

      you cant be more of an idiot than Anne
      what a sorry human being

      June 8, 2011 at 12:56 | Report abuse |
    • Natural selection

      I mean, as macabre as it is, those who refuse to have their children vaccinated will have a greater probability that their child will be removed from the gene pool via disease. As such their paranoia will eventually die out. Unfortunately these children don't have the ability to decide for themselves and no degree of scientific evidence can dissuade these people. I guess the question really is, why on earth would anyone want to give tons of children autism? What could possibly be the motivation?

      June 8, 2011 at 13:05 | Report abuse |
    • SqueakyVoice

      Ann you're an idiot. There's no conspiracy, CNN "suddenly" put up this story after a conference call. Reading comprehension is your friend, but if you're still clinging to that misguided idea about vaccines causing autism I guess reading comprehension isn't your strong suit.

      Reading this article I can only think of the farm family I know with 2 autistic kids. They use plenty of pesticides and herbicides. Even though the Missus isn't in the fields she's washing her husbands clothes, cleaning up after his muddy boots, etc. Plenty of second hand exposure with a bun in the oven. They think they are being safe, but are they really?

      June 8, 2011 at 13:08 | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      The biggest threat to children is wealth disparity, not chemicals. If you really care about children you would be promoting higher taxes on the wealthy so that we can fund more programs like Head Start. But, no, the evangelicals and the libertarians and the tea party people and republicans in general don't like that idea because to them the giant mansions owned by the selfish CEO's are more important than the health and well being of the nations children.

      June 8, 2011 at 13:11 | Report abuse |
    • M.

      The unfortunate part of parents refusing to vaccinate their children because of unfounded fears is those children have a risk of obtaining fatal diseases as well as spreading them to young children who are not yet finished with vaccines given in multiple steps. It's a risk taken not just for their child but for someone else's young child.

      My daughter as autism. My aunt is also a teacher for special needs children (specifically kids with autism). Environmental factors have long been suspected, though not proven, of having an affect on the rate of autism. This article is the closest I've found to something that feels likely to me. My daughter was vaccinated, and I wouldn't take that back. The chance of you as a parent noticing something obviously wrong with your child's development comes after the first year, or just after major vaccines, simply because that's when obvious developmental milestones are supposed to start. However I do have developmental disability in my family and the idea that environmental factors and genes and contribute would make absolute sense to me.

      June 8, 2011 at 13:24 | Report abuse |
    • N

      @ Mojave Bob

      I wasn't actually debating the specifics of the scientific method, I was merely pointing out that your interpretation of the meaning of "prove" was overly narrow. It is possible to scientifically prove things, perhaps you could read up on another scientific concept, Koch's postulates. If you say that someone who goes through that has not proven their hypothesis, then I'm guessing you're a conspiracy theorist. Of course, given your position on vaccines, it wouldn't surprise me if you were.

      I would appreciate if you would share where you found these reports of children suddenly become autistic precisely when they received vaccinations. I'm certainly willing to consider both sides of an arguement, but thus far I have yet to see any scientific research that supports the theory that vaccines cause autism. What I do see is a small proportion of people who are grasping for anything to blame their child's autism on. I truly have sympathy for these parents, and understand the desire to have something to blame, but continuing to point fingers at something which has been repeatedly demonstrated to not be linked is not productive for anyone (except lawyers). We should be focused on investing that time and energy into researching the condition itself, so maybe we CAN get some answers.

      As for the collection of data from these parents you mention... If you actually understood how scientific research is supposed to be done, you would understand that data collection should be as unbiased as possible. The source you refer to would be extremely biased. There have been proper unbiased collections of data, and they all lead to the same conclusion: there is no link between vaccines and autism.

      June 8, 2011 at 14:18 | Report abuse |
    • Poppy

      Anne Dachel: dummy

      June 8, 2011 at 15:45 | Report abuse |
    • Pelle Schultz, PhD

      Anne,get your head out of your behind and take a look at the latest issue of Neuron: http://www.cell.com/neuron/

      Perhaps you'll find some real answers instead of flogging discredited B.S.

      June 8, 2011 at 20:51 | Report abuse |
  2. Maurine meleck

    We've seen these kind of stories before. They continue to hide tthe fact that vaccines are full of dangerous toxins.. They also seem to say that mercury and lead in the environment we breathe in, but it's safe to inject mercury into a 6 month old baby. It makes no sense, but to the major drug companhies, gov't health officials, the AAP etc. it's a terrific vaccine bonanza
    that cannot be altered, no matter how many6 children are affected by injected toxins. Let's have that fully vaccinated vs fully unvaccinated study of children right now. If almost 2 percent of young unvaccinated boys in this country have autism like the vaccinated ones,, we will have our answer. Maurine Meleck, SC

    June 7, 2011 at 22:56 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Neeneko

      Wrong kind of mercury.... in chemistry, what an element bonds with makes all the difference. Not all chemicals that have mercury in them are dangerous... just like not all chemicals that contain chlorine are toxic gasses nor chemicals that contain sodium are explosive.. otherwise we would not have table salt.

      June 8, 2011 at 08:17 | Report abuse |
    • Andrew

      You know – if you said this 10 or even 5 years ago, you would have been forgiven. I t was an intriguing idea – and definately needed to be studied more. But you should know better by now. With all the research disproving the connection, I don't know why people hang onto the vaccine-autism link so desperately.

      Also, you should know that virtually no vaccines for children contain mercury any more – and autism has actually increased. BURNED.

      June 8, 2011 at 08:59 | Report abuse |
    • JeramieH

      Table salt has chlorine in it, which is profoundly poisonous.

      June 8, 2011 at 11:18 | Report abuse |
    • doughnuts

      When will you idiots stop listening to Jenny McCarthy?! She is not a scientist of any kind. She was only notable for look good while naked, and her willingness to be photographed while in that state.

      The Jenny McCarthy body-count web site lists 728 deaths and 75,995 illnesses that cound have been prevented had the children been vaccinated. And so far, there are ZERO cases of autism that have been proven to be linked to having been vaccinated.

      June 8, 2011 at 12:09 | Report abuse |
    • phoenix1920

      Here's that study, which was conducted on more than 13,000 children. It shows no difference in the rate of autism, but a HUGE difference in the unvaccinated children getting the very diseases that would have been prevented by the vaccines. Shocking! What is more shocking is that you didn't find this very evidence you see with a quick search.

      Schmitz R, Poethko-Müller C, Reiter S, Schlaud M:
      Vaccination status and health in children and adolescents—findings of the
      German health interview and examination survey for children and adolescents
      (KiGGS). Dtsch Arztebl Int 2011; 108(7): 99–104.

      June 8, 2011 at 13:28 | Report abuse |
  3. michele

    "Moreover, many children with autism spectrum disorders have abnormal immune responses. The chemical messengers in the immune system interact with the receptors in the brain, so chemicals that affect immunity could also be implicated in autism."


    June 8, 2011 at 00:19 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Michelle

      Vaccines do NOT cause an abnormal immune response. In fact, they very specifically stimulate a perfectly normal, NATURAL immune response, allowing the immune system to create antibodies to a virus without being exposed to the real, live, dangerous virus that could actually kill them. That way, if that person is ever exposed to the real thing later in life, he or she already has a built-in defense mechanism, as if he or she had already survived the virus once. It's the same thing as how a kid who gets chicken pox naturally (like I did) will almost certainly be immune as an adult. There ARE exceptions, because everyone's immune system is slightly different, but that principle works for almost everyone.

      Do you understand how a vaccine works? Do you understand that it's not a shot of "toxins," but of the killed or weakened virus? It's like showing your immune system a practice target on a shooting range. Your body learns the target without having to fight the real thing unprepared. That's what a vaccine is. I'd use technical terms, but I doubt you'd understand them. Try doing some reading that doesn't come out of a tabloid.

      You're angry because the article didn't mention vaccines? Why should it? That stupid rumor has been totally debunked. There's no evidence whatsoever to support the idea that vaccines are in any way related to autism.

      There is NO vaccine controversy except in the minds of nutbags and obsessive conspiracy theorists. Some people are allergic to components of vaccines, sure, but some people are also deathly allergic to peanuts. Should we ban peanuts as a dangerous, toxic substance? And true allergies to vaccines are exceedingly rare. Sometimes, people get a little sore spot at the injection site, but I personally get far more discomfort from a mosquito bite. (Oh my god, mosquitoes are toxic! Ban mosquitoes!)

      June 8, 2011 at 08:23 | Report abuse |
    • Andrew

      Would you like an article on the earth to mention that the world is flat? No, because no rational person believes this any more based on the evidence.

      June 8, 2011 at 09:01 | Report abuse |
    • Anonymous Coward

      Remember, folks, capslock is cruise control for cool.

      June 8, 2011 at 10:32 | Report abuse |
    • Jamie


      The virus itself bar the preservatives can have an effect on the brain...There is conflicting evidence as to when the blood brain barrier fully forms and a host of environmental effects that can retard the formation...most viruses do not enter directly into the body via an injection...by bypassing one of the immune processes (initial mucosal response) and not having a fully developed or functional blood brain barrier there may be neural disruption in an infant, child or even a young adult...everyone is subjective in their physiological response to outside agents...please do not claim to be objective when you clearly have an agenda. There is no doubt that vaccines are effective and have profound beneficial merit for people. However, there is inherent risk associated with them. People are not statistics and statistics do not keep individuals safe. Knowledge is the key and at the moment no one has all the pieces to the puzzle.

      June 8, 2011 at 10:33 | Report abuse |
    • Troy

      Wake up to the science! Vaccines don't cause Autism.

      June 8, 2011 at 12:47 | Report abuse |
  4. oaksavanna

    mercury was taken out of vaccines years ago in canada and the autism rate continues to climb there anyway

    June 8, 2011 at 07:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Dean

    And here come all of the crazies pushing the anti-vaccine agenda...

    This is a story about someone looking into the causes of autism with an open mind and not with this obsession toward a single cause yet it gets attacked by the anti-vaccuine tinfoil hat brigade. Let the scientists try and find a cure without having an agenda pushed upon them.

    June 8, 2011 at 07:53 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Michelle

      It's really sad... because these conspiracy theorists who are SO obsessed with the idea that vaccines cause autism are so busy barking up that tree that they refuse to even look for other causes. As an analogy: I imagine it like a pirate, obsessively digging in one spot for buried treasure, refusing to look around and see the jewels and coins and treasure chests strewn about around him. "ARRR! It MUST be in this spot, I say! The others are fake! It's a trick!" These idiots are going to miss the real answer because they refuse to look away from something that's already been disproven. I'm just glad real scientists are still looking with an open mind.

      June 8, 2011 at 08:28 | Report abuse |
    • Anonymous Coward

      @Michelle: That is an excellent analogy. I'm so going to steal it. And it's exactly right: Autism is too important to have nutcases who have decided, based on the opinions of a Playboy model, that they know the "real cause" and refuse to consider anything that MIGHT actually be some element of the cause. They know The Truth (even though nobody with any actual scientific credentials agrees with them - y'see, everyone except a bunch of people on the Internet is a part of the conspiracy). This wouldn't bother me in the slightest if these people were only hurting themselves, but they're hurting the kids. They're hurting the most vulnerable kids. That's just wrong.

      June 8, 2011 at 10:39 | Report abuse |
  6. Greg McColm

    Nowadays, a typical pregnancy occurs in a sea of teratogens. This obsession with vaccines is like gagging on gnats.

    June 8, 2011 at 07:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. lauren

    @oaksavanna, It's not just the mercury in the vaccines, it's the plethora of other toxins present in the injections that interact with the immune system. take a look at the ingredient list. it's basically a list of poisons.

    June 8, 2011 at 08:02 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Toxico

      It's obvious that you know very little about what poison actually is. One of the first things you learn as a toxicologist is the classic phrase from Parcelusus, (updated) "The toxicity is in the dose" Everything, including water is toxic if you take in too much of it. Also toxicity depended on the nature of the compound. Mercury itself is not all that toxic in its inorganic state but when it's conjugated with an organic compound you get ethyl or methyl mercury which are extremely toxic in minute doses. As someone else pointed out sodium and chlorine are explosive and toxic by themselves, but when you combine them, you get table salt.

      June 8, 2011 at 13:08 | Report abuse |
    • Ardath

      Lauren, are you aware that there are now tests that identify autism in children prior to reaching vaccination age? Explain how vaccines figure into that.

      June 8, 2011 at 13:24 | Report abuse |
  8. iminim

    Even if you believe vaccines cause autism (despite valid scientific research to the contrary) what is wrong with looking for "other" causes? If no one was doing the research to look for different causes you would be saying "If vaccines aren't the cause why isn't anyone investingating other potential causes." Are the anti-vaccine commenters here so obsessed with pushing their agenda that you have forgotten that the goal is to help our children & future children?

    June 8, 2011 at 08:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Bryan

    How many kids have been killed by one manipulated study and all of the conspiracy theorists who latched onto the rants of Jenny McCarthy? Sad stuff.

    June 8, 2011 at 08:37 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Andrew

      jennymcarthybodycount website. Honestly – brilliant idea. Can't post the actual address of course since CNN wouldn't post it, but i do think she and others like her are responsible for a lot of deaths.

      June 8, 2011 at 09:04 | Report abuse |
    • Neeneko

      Too many. I guess no body count is too high as long as Wakefield makes money and McCarthy does not have to confront the fact she does not have magical powers.

      June 8, 2011 at 09:37 | Report abuse |
    • Chartreux

      Here's the address:


      June 8, 2011 at 13:30 | Report abuse |
  10. Johnn

    Vaccines in and of themselves have worked amazingly well; smallpox, polio, eliminated with very few if any side affects or deaths realted to the millions of baby boomers who took them. And the levels of mercury were far higher in 1955 vaccines than today. The combination shots that are prescribed today with 2 or 3 different vaccines in one seems like overkill. My daughter has decided to immunize by eliminating the combos and stretching out the time between shots. It seems to me that this authors point about environmental toxins is well taken as there are hundreds these days; pcb's, bisphenol in plastic bottles, hormones in milk and meat and the host of home cleaning products that were not around in the fifities – when soap was soap and plastic was glass.....Be prudent with vaccinations but do'n't be stupid and stop using them – you'd be better off avoiding plastic bottles and eating medicated meat

    June 8, 2011 at 08:40 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mike C

      Exactly. I personnally use pyrex (glass) containers for all my leftovers when reheating them. Think about the next time you microwave something in plastic, small amounts of those plastics are leeching into your food each time. What's really scary is that we know BPA can be an endocrine disrupter, but what about what plastic companies are using now as a replacement? Something has to be added to make the plastic stronger, yet we have no idea what it is or have any research on what it does to your body.

      June 8, 2011 at 13:15 | Report abuse |
  11. Linda

    As a parent of an Aspergers child (autism) it would be great if they could tell us what caused it. Maybe someday they can tell me if I took an asprin or something that did this to her. High functioning she may be but autism it is.

    June 8, 2011 at 08:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Jason

    You may be right about vaccines not causing autism, but there are medical professionals out there that think it is ok to inject 5 vaccines into an infant, that it won't cause problems. That's not true, any parent will tell you multiple vaccines will cause a fever and in some instances the fever can cause siezures. Now the siezures can cause brain problems. Parents need to know that they don't have to get the shots all at once, space them out, one or two every other month or so, and make sure you do your homework. The vaccines are good just stop stacking them up! Spread them out!

    June 8, 2011 at 09:00 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Neeneko

      Actually, most parents will not tell you that. A tiny percent of parents will, but they are loud and they cluster on boards and try to convince each other they are the majority because only they are there.

      June 8, 2011 at 11:42 | Report abuse |
  13. Jason

    Parents remember, you have the right to tell your doctors/nurses what shots your children get. Don't be afraid to make them mad, there are other doctors out there.

    June 8, 2011 at 09:03 | Report abuse | Reply
    • tara

      Jason, at my baby's last well visit I was terrified to tell my doctor that I wanted to space out the vaccines. To my surprise, she said "Oh that's no problem, we have an alternate schedule, a lot of parents do this!" You can imagine how relieved I was that my baby wouldn't have to have four needles!

      June 8, 2011 at 09:30 | Report abuse |
    • spm422

      We also opted for an alternative vaccination schedule. NOT becaue I had concerns about autism (there is no link!!) but had any of our girls had a side effect from a vaccination I would prefer to have had less injections on the same day to be able to determine which may have caused the side effect. Our pediatricians are fabulous and very open to alternative schedules – all vaccines were still completed!!

      June 8, 2011 at 10:19 | Report abuse |
    • ieat

      many peds are open to alternative schedule because they have seen things happened before.

      June 8, 2011 at 13:40 | Report abuse |
  14. mk46

    So, basically they're telling us they don't know what chemicals are directly associated with autism, or what products should be avoided. This article is old news. It is uninformative, even by internet news standards. It is also somewhat misleading and alarmist; it implies that mothers should keep their babies in a bubble because just about everything in the environment is potentially harmful. Foster a healthy lifestyle and home environment for your child and avoid the threats you know. That's part of being a good parent. But if you teach your kid to fear what we don't understand, then you are contributing to a different kind of sickness: ignorance.

    June 8, 2011 at 09:17 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Chartreux

      That's one interpretation, I suppose. Of course, another is: here's some information. It's not complete, but we know the problem cannot be caused by vaccines. You might want to consider feeding your family more organic foods if you can do. Try to avoid chemicals in your environment.

      It's handy for those who are pregnant or nursing their children. For myself, having a 23-year-old son who is just this side of severely Autistic, this news is bittersweet. I had information about the chemicals when he was an infant but I thought it was barmy and wacko. I decided our normal food supply was healthy and good to feed my child. Clearly I was mistaken.

      Hopefully we'll be able to turn these rates of Autism around and lower the numbers somehow. This trend is terrifying and we must change it.

      June 8, 2011 at 13:38 | Report abuse |
  15. nosirrahm

    Jason – I'm a mother and my daughter is up to date on ALL her vax. Matter of fact, this past Saturday, she just got her final HEP A so she can attend Kindergarten in August. Not once has she ever had a fever or anything else from getting vaxed. So, I am a parent that will tell you that multiple shots do NOT cause fever. Oh, and my daughter is one of the healthiest children you will ever meet.

    June 8, 2011 at 09:38 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Rocksor

      so are all of your vaccine boosters up to date too?

      June 8, 2011 at 12:38 | Report abuse |
  16. etheria888

    Ok, first of all the studies showing the autism-vaccine link is bunk, are in themselves bunk. Most of them were funded/conducted by scientists with links to a danish group called sssi (?), a group that are vaccine component manufacturers! Hello funded by drug companies. The researcher in charge of researching the vaccine-autism link for the CDC, a Dr. Paul Thorsen, was recently indicted on 13 counts of fraud, and 9 counts of money laundering because, you guessed it, he took money from the drug companies. So the claim that the link has been discounted is based on poorly researched and corrupt evidence. Secondly the neurological symptoms of mercury poisoning are identical to the symptoms of autism. Thimerisol, a preservative still used in some vaccines is MERCURY. Until a few years ago (and it may still be I do not know) it is was in all sorts of vaccines. Hello, mercury, the reason for the phrase mad as a hatter, quicksilver, I could go on. We are injecting this at ridiculous rates into the bodies of babies, because the amount of required vaccines has tripled in the last 30 years, where most of the diseases we are vaccinating against are not really life threatening. I know, I sat down with a nurse and made her go through all the package inserts and all the diseases themselves these vaccines were for. With the exception of the biggies, MMR & DPT, they are forcing parents to get these vaccines, with the mercury in them for things that have little or no chance of being fatal or injurious .
    You specifically cite mercury in this article, yet mercury is still present in at the very least the H1N1 vaccine if not more.

    And yes, when the mercury levels are ten times that of the CTC (cronic toxicity criteria) limit in most waterways in this country if not more, I'm going to go out on a limb and say that yup, this is coming from environmental factors as well. I will say I am glad to see some common sense finally being injected into the thought cess-pool of western medicine, but you all have a long way to go when you are still accepting the fraudulent science of the drug companies, that flies in the face of common sense, when it comes to vaccines.

    June 8, 2011 at 09:53 | Report abuse | Reply
    • FLZunner

      Hey way to go! Why don't you just kiil a few more children by keeping the Vaccine theory alive. The vaccince companies are not the only ones that have debunked this theory. People like you are dangerous and any child that dies of a preventable childhood disease, their blood is on your hands,

      June 8, 2011 at 10:21 | Report abuse |
    • MD

      I most certainly hope that you never develop rheumatoid arthritis or cancer or coronary artery disease and you are never in a need on any of “fraudulent sciences of the drug companies”

      June 8, 2011 at 13:27 | Report abuse |
  17. Brian

    to all of you who come down hard on Anna, if you haven't had direct contact with a child or a family who has an autistic child, you don't know what their road has been like. You have to live it to understand why they reach for anything that pops up. The vaccine issue has been dubuncted. But in the end of the day, parents of autistic children deal with challenges and worries that most will never know or understand. So if they hang on to tea leaves or other beliefs, they just want to be 150% sure that whatever is a possible cause is clearly found one way or another because they want to prevent anyone else to have to go through what they live with every day.

    June 8, 2011 at 10:11 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Anonymous Coward

      The parent of an autistic child should want FACTS, not fairy stories. They should want TRUTH, not an actress's opinions. They should want the best and most effective research available. They should be ready to examine any possibility, and discard any (even their most cherished beliefs) if it turns out to be a false lead. That's not the case with the people raging about vaccines, though. They know the Truth and choose to look nowhere else, at nothing else.

      June 8, 2011 at 10:48 | Report abuse |
    • Neeneko

      This is just another variant of the 'I was abused, so it is ok if I abuse others' mentality. I don't care how hard their lives are, it is no excuse for pushing the anti-vax garbage.

      June 8, 2011 at 11:44 | Report abuse |
    • Ardath

      Brian - I'm on the autism spectrum. I know what it's like a whole lot better than you do. But concocting crazy theories and telling parents that they're being heroic for failing to protect their children from deadly diseases? That's not helping things. In fact, as far as I'm concerned, it's child abuse.

      June 8, 2011 at 13:28 | Report abuse |
  18. Ringo

    It's obviously a combination of all factors- genetic and chemical. Just like cancer and many other problems. No one thing does this. There are a wide array of factors, both known and unknown. But as a parent of an autistic child, I know how it helps to have a reason. It's not that simple, though I wish it was.

    June 8, 2011 at 10:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Dogma

    Folks, I have a 15 yr old with a ASD...My ex brother-in-law who used to farm told me that they raised tobacco which had been genetically engineered to produce Roundup. He said they did the same thing with corn. They also used methyl bromide to prepare the soil and eradicte pests and weeds before they planted. Methyl bromide is a DEADLY chemical. I say this not to go after any companies, but to say that we are being subjected to many, many chemical substances that we as consumers don't even know about.

    We wittingly and unwittingly shove all kinds of chemicals into our bodies and those of our children. Maybe we need to take a step back and evaluate where we are and be a little less trusting of these companies and ask more questions.

    I am not an attorney nor do I play one on TV. I also have no desire to sue anybody. I would just like to see my son grow up and be able to live a happy, healthy, productive life and find out what is causing this autism epidemic.

    June 8, 2011 at 10:19 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Sasha

      Amidst all the "conspiracy theories" and the shouting on this board your post comes as a positive surprise. Thanks for your level headed input. It is a good reason to consider going organic.

      June 8, 2011 at 10:51 | Report abuse |
    • Poppy

      I grew up on a farm too and farmed for a significant period of my life. The chemicals we used to use were nasty. Bioengineered plants that are resistant to round up have made the world a much safer place. Round up is one of the safer herbicides espcially when you compare it to things like atrizine. You would think that if herbicides were causing the problem then farm families would have an epidemic of autism but I would bet its not higher than any other group of people out there. As a farm kid you are bathing in herbicides and pesticides on a daily basis in the spring. They are in the water in the air everywhere you walk.

      June 8, 2011 at 14:02 | Report abuse |
  20. FLZunner

    Environmental Chemical exposure has much more credit the the Vaccine theory. We are exposed to toxins in what we drink, eat and breathe every day. Mankind is slowly poisoning themselves. But, as long as the industries using these chemicals can make more money, our children are of no concern. The FDA and EPA have failed in preventing these issues.

    Is it even possible to grow anything truly organic these days. Everything has been exposed to some chemical or radiation.
    Time to find another planet to destry.

    June 8, 2011 at 10:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Jamie


    The virus itself bar the preservatives can have an effect on the brain...There is conflicting evidence as to when the blood brain barrier fully forms and a host of environmental effects that can retard the formation...most viruses do not enter directly into the body via an injection...by bypassing one of the immune processes (initial mucosal response) and not having a fully developed or functional blood brain barrier there may be neural disruption in an infant, child or even a young adult...everyone is subjective in their physiological response to outside agents...please do not claim to be objective when you clearly have an agenda. There is no doubt that vaccines are effective and have profound beneficial merit for people. However, there is inherent risk associated with them. People are not statistics and statistics do not keep individuals safe. Knowledge is the key and at the moment no one has all the pieces to the puzzle.

    June 8, 2011 at 10:30 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Michelle

      An agenda? For the love of... Let me explain my "agenda."

      I'm a biologist. I do NOT work for any pharmaceutical company. I work in HAZMAT and safety. I've had interest in the impact of environmental pollutants on human health since I was in high school. On my own time, I've studied the effects of endocrine disruptors and pesticides on the human reproductive and immune systems, as well as on other animals.

      Most people would consider me a "liberal hippie" in my views on environmentalism and such. I hate big pharma. I distrust large portions of our medical system. However, I studied immunology in a laboratory setting, and know HOW vaccines work, and ABSOLUTELY KNOW that they DO work. I also know the chemicals that are in vaccines, and your anti-vax paranoia is completely unfounded.

      My ONLY agenda is to see deadly and devastating diseases wiped out. That's it. The damage done by polio, measles, mumps, smallpox, and more, before the discovery of vaccine technology, was DEVASTATING.

      In the meantime, we continue to dump excessive amounts of dangerous chemicals into the environment. It's stuff that doesn't break down, and slowly builds up in human tissue. Even in microscopic doses, those chemicals (DDT, dioxins, plastic softeners, and so on) can completely mess up your body. THAT needs to be our focus, not the vaccines.

      Seriously, you're going to start jumping at your own shadow if you think *I'm* trying to push an agenda on you.

      June 8, 2011 at 12:52 | Report abuse |
    • Jamie

      I will say that you do squawk like a "liberal hippie"...I wasn't disputing vaccinations just pointing out that there are valid issues that can arise from injection based vaccinations as well as oral that both sides should take in to account when spouting the end all to be all. Your post is so emo that you lose credibility from a scinetific standpoint even if you do hold the illustrious credentials of Hazmat tech who studies immunology in their spare time.

      June 8, 2011 at 16:33 | Report abuse |
  22. A mom

    Your update was interesting. Most families do NOT believe vaccines cause autism. Most families do believe that exposure to vaccines harms children with compromised immune systems. Your article actually mentions that children with autism have abnormal immune responses. Which is the point exactly. Not every child should be immunized the same. A simple immunity test could tell pediatricians if a child was ready or capable of handling vaccines – with and without autism.

    We also believe exposure to chemicals affects children with autism. CNN has showed many articles lately about the harm dyes and preservatives and pesticides have on all children and their behavior. Obviously a child with a compromised or abnormal immune system would no be able to filter these chemicals.

    Again, no child is exactly like any other child. Decisions should be made one child at a time.

    June 8, 2011 at 10:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Conrad Shull

    I would think that children (and everyone) would have been exposed to a lot more lead and mercury in the past (more than 50 years ago) than today or the recent past.

    June 8, 2011 at 10:48 | Report abuse | Reply
    • mason

      then maybe the mercury from the past screwed up our genetics and now we're seeing the results in our children. yes, the world is a "cleaner" place but it wasn't always this way.. people who are 30 to 50 now grew up in a different world..

      June 8, 2011 at 12:51 | Report abuse |
  24. William

    Finally... things are moving towards blaming chemicals in the environment for autism. From Roundup being sprayed on everything to phthalates (which mimic estrogen) being in all our soaps and shampoos we need exhaustive studies to at the very least...rule these out.

    The theories that bad genetics or vaccines cause autism are an industry smokescreen to divert attention away from chemicals as a cause. Monsanto and Johnson&Johnson must not have been able to rewrite this story.

    June 8, 2011 at 10:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. mkn00

    As a mother of a son who is on the Autism Spectrum and also has sensory processing disorder, I don't agree with not giving children vaccines. Thats just ludicrous and is putting my child and yours at risk for some potentially deadly diseases and viruses. Vaccines are not the reason we are having what people are calling an "Autism" epidemic. By doing research, looking at my family genetics, I have learned that it is something that can be passed down in my family and is not really associated with our environment.

    I really wish people would stop acting like autism is something bad. People who have autism just use their minds differently. I just wish people would embrace it more. There are people through out history who were thought to be on the Autism Spectrum, look at John Elder Robison, Jim Henson, Einstein, Thomas Jefferson, Bill Gates, all of them have contributed to our world greatly because their brains were wired a bit differently. Once people stop having this negativity towards Autism and embrace it the more they will understand that it isn't a bad thing. When I first noticed that my son was behaving "differently", I learned as much as I could about my family history and did research on my own and eventually spoke to a professional, by me doing research and changing the way I think it changed both of lives for the better. Don't get me wrong life isn't always a picnic, somedays I think may go bald early from pulling my hair out but I know I've got one cool kid and I'm on one heck of journey. I can't wait to see the amazing things he's going to do in his life.

    June 8, 2011 at 11:10 | Report abuse | Reply
    • mkn00

      I would also like to add Temple Grandin to my list. She changed the entire cattle slaughtering industry. Different but amazing people none the less.

      June 8, 2011 at 11:15 | Report abuse |
    • ali

      That was wonderful to read... Thank you very much. Good luck to you and your family in the future, I'm sure that your son is absolutely amazing and he's very lucky to have a mom like you!

      June 8, 2011 at 11:26 | Report abuse |
    • Neeneko

      autism is fine if you have someone willing to clean up the mess or if it is combined with something that allows the person to make lots of money (in which case all is forgiven).

      Taking care of people who have low income potential or are dependent for the rest of their lives sucks.

      June 8, 2011 at 11:47 | Report abuse |
    • Meg

      Like I said to a young woman who was going on and on about how she wasn't going to vaccinate her kids because of the autism threat, "Autism won't KILL you". Then I pointed to my beautiful, smiling, happy little boy..who has autism. I don't know if I changed her mind or not, don't really care. I stated the truth.

      June 8, 2011 at 12:52 | Report abuse |
  26. El Kababa

    Why is it that conspiracy theorists will believe anything but the truth? People want to believe all that vaccine nonsense, I guess, because then they can blame their physician. If we accept the very plausible idea that environmental chemicals cause or provoke autism, then there is no one to blame. The blame is in the air we breathe, in the water we drink, in our food, in cosmetics, etc.

    I can only imagine how frustrating it is to have an autistic child.

    June 8, 2011 at 11:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. T Campbell

    I am the mother of a child with Autism and have always believed that the environmental pesticides that I was exposed to during my pregnancy were to blame. I never believed the vaccine bunk.

    June 8, 2011 at 11:37 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Poppy

      Did you grow up on a farm? I dont know any farm kids that have autism and we were almost bathing in herbicides and pesticides on a daily basis

      June 8, 2011 at 13:40 | Report abuse |
  28. shannon

    I think one thing that very few people know is that ALL but one brand of commercial infant formula use bisphenol A in their packaging!!! the one company who doesn't use it refuses to disclose what they use in its place. I am not saying that this is the sole cause of any harm to babies/children but it does make up their whole nutrition for their first year of life if they are not breastfed. No one is talking about this in our new bpa obsessed culture!

    June 8, 2011 at 11:48 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Angie

      Well.....what's the brand?????????????? Geez, why keep us in suspense?!

      June 8, 2011 at 12:33 | Report abuse |
    • shannon

      in one of mead's brands

      June 8, 2011 at 13:26 | Report abuse |
  29. T Campbell

    Good point but looking back, my daughter showed signs of Autism when she was a very young infant. 2 to 3 months of age. I am of the opinion that there very well could be several factors but I, for myself and leaning strongly on the environmental pesticides fence.

    June 8, 2011 at 12:00 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Angie

      What were those signs????????

      June 8, 2011 at 12:32 | Report abuse |
    • Rocksor

      Lack of eye contact, and wanting to be held are good indicators at that age.

      June 8, 2011 at 12:42 | Report abuse |
  30. doughnuts

    There is an easy way to keep parents and prospective parents from worrying about the putative connection between autism and vaccinations: Sterilize them, and remove any children from their care. They are obviously far too stupid and too credulous to be parents.

    June 8, 2011 at 12:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Paul

    No one is going to accept blame so why not blame it on a wide variety of things? That is what this article appears to be doing. Do you think for one moment that the Government will accept ANY BLAME at all? Doubtful!

    As a parent of an autistic child, my biggest fear is not knowing how he will cope once I am gone!

    God help us all!

    June 8, 2011 at 12:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Kaybtt

    Well...what were the rates of autism prior to the use of 3-in-one vaccines?? What were the rates after the use of 3-in-one vaccines. There is no doubt that vaccines have changed the world for the better; however, that is no reason to be blind when a possibly harmful one appears on the scene. I don't believe in coincidences; and I have several nieces with autism. Why not go back to the way vaccines were given prior to the 3-in-ones to see if those rates go back down. The 3-in-one was just for convenience anyway - and it's definitely not convenient to have a child with autism.

    June 8, 2011 at 12:26 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Ardath

      The 3-in-1 vaccine has nothing to do with autism, any more than any other vaccine. Before you go back to sipping the Wakefield kool-aid, a few fun facts:
      - Wakefield specifically targeted the 3-in-1 vaccine because he had patented a rival vaccine that he intended to have supplant it.
      - He also patented an autism "test kit" that he intended to sell. It was ALL about the money for him.
      - The study he did was paid for by a law firm that was planning on launching a class-action suit against the makers of the 3-in-1.
      - The results of the study were falsified, with Wakefield deliberately concealing that at least one of the children in the study was already diagnosed with autism prior to being vaccinated.
      - Although he tries to claim that he was persecuted and fired from the teaching hospital that he worked at during the study, the hospital had actually offered him a full grant to do the study on a wider scale to verify the results. He refused to do it. No other researcher has been able to replicate his so called results.
      - Do you know what Wakefield's MD was? Not neurology, and not immunology. He was a gastroenterologist. He had NO expertise in either of the fields related to his "findings."
      So why are you still giving him the time of day? He's a liar, a cheat, and a fraud. Why on EARTH are you more willing to trust him and a former Playboy bunny than someone with an actual, valid medical license?

      June 8, 2011 at 13:40 | Report abuse |
  33. vichin1


    Study the autism rates of children who are immunized vs those that do not.

    No difference in rate = no more debate
    Difference in rates= further study since correlation does not equal causation... but it can give a clue.

    June 8, 2011 at 12:26 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Ardath

      It's been done. There's a German study out that demonstrated that the ONLY difference between the vaccinated and unvaccinated children is that the unvaccinated kids have higher rates of the diseases the vaccines would have prevented. In every other way, the two groups are identical. And that hasn't stopped the conspiracy nut jobs.

      June 8, 2011 at 13:43 | Report abuse |
    • vichin1

      Ardath, Have a link to the study? I would like to review it.

      June 8, 2011 at 16:13 | Report abuse |
    • Ardath

      As a matter of fact, I do: www [dot] sciencedaily [dot] com / releases / 2011 / 03 / 110304091458 [dot] htm – from the following study: Schmitz R, Poethko-Müller C, Reiter S, Schlaud M. Vaccination status and health in children and adolescents – findings of the German health interview and examination survey for children and adolescents (KiGGS). Dtsch Arztebl Int, 2011; 108(7): 99%u2013104

      June 8, 2011 at 20:58 | Report abuse |
    • Vichin1


      Thank you for the link and the lead. I just read the research study and it did not measure Autism Spectrum Rates at all. It measured infection disease and atopic (allergies) disease among vaccinated and non-vaccinated children. It dealt only with preventable disease.

      If you have any other leads, I would love to hear about them. But the LACK of studies such as this is mind-blowing.

      June 8, 2011 at 22:11 | Report abuse |
    • Vichin1

      But this was the EXACT type of research that I find strange that they do not have for Autism. Instead of infectious disease and allergies, just ask about autism spectrum. Not a hard study at all. In fact, they can use the same sampling!

      June 8, 2011 at 22:16 | Report abuse |
  34. Laura

    My ASD child never had vaccines, and we are terrified to give her anything that may cause her to be worse. Everyday is heartbreaking – seeing the kids avoid her in school and calling her names like "idiot" – and this is only elementary school. I wonder what in the world will become of her in this very intollerant society. The intollerance has now spread to doctors' offices who will NOT treat any child who is not vaccinated! This happened to us last month, even after we shared our daughter's history of infantile seizures and ASD problems. What arrogance! Unless you have a child who suffers from Autism, you have NO IDEA how hard life is, and have no business telling us that we are causing a problem by not vaccinating our children. Walk a mile in my shoes...it isn't easy. Dyes, pesticides, preservatives, fragrances, chemicals – these are all problems for our child, and for all of humanity. I ate organic, exercised, took prenatal vitamins, the works; yet my child was born this way. None of the therapies, treatments, or alternative approaches to helping our child are covered by insurance. Thank you to anyone who understands and has been down this road.

    June 8, 2011 at 12:27 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Rocksor

      Why not have the vaccines spaced out? Is it worth it that you daughter get measles, mumps, rubella, diptheria, pertussis, flu, etc and have to live with the stress of her being sick? She already has autism, and there hasn't been any evidence that kids with autism get worse with vaccines.

      Or are you hoping that the aforementioned diseases would cut her life short, so that you and your family doesn't have to deal with her?

      June 8, 2011 at 12:48 | Report abuse |
    • Poppy

      we had an autistic dude at my university...everybody liked him...he was cool and a math genius...he graduated with a math degree

      June 8, 2011 at 13:34 | Report abuse |
    • Carl

      Laura said
      "Unless you have a child who suffers from Autism, you have NO IDEA how hard life is, and have no business telling us that we are causing a problem by not vaccinating our children."

      Reality does not alter with sympathy for your stressful life. By not vaccinating your children, you put others at risk of death. Not a very good trade-off as a result of your decision to take medical advice from actors.

      June 8, 2011 at 15:26 | Report abuse |
    • chemicals in water caused thyroid problems

      Sad to see some of the ignorant comments after ur statement. This is for the commenters: If ur vaccinated, Laura's unvaccinated child will not get u sick! and the jack_ss that had the nerve to say Laura is hoping her kid will die early from non vaccination, ur twisted! U have no idea how hard it is to deal with ur blood being autistic, so STFU! I prolly should be on anti anxiety pills, but I refuse to take that crap. So when my loving son stresses me out, I meditate and focus on something that will calm my nerves. I do vaccinate my kids, BUT I will not judge people that do not. Its her kid, its her business, not urs!

      June 8, 2011 at 19:06 | Report abuse |
    • Slash

      Their unvaccinated children-who are far, far more likely to die of preventable disease than vaccinated children-break up herd immunity and put other children (and adults) at risk of infection. Yes, I will judge those pathetic parents for the ignorant idiots they are.

      June 8, 2011 at 20:48 | Report abuse |
  35. Angie

    Okay I will admit that a few years ago I read the Jenny McCarthy books and I believed the hype. Only difference now is...her theories have been proven false and most importantly: I'm pregnant. Autism TERRIFIES me.............what can I do to prevent this from happening to my child!?

    June 8, 2011 at 12:30 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Poppy

      I read Jenny Macarthy's "books" too....but they were just pictures of her naked...

      June 8, 2011 at 13:30 | Report abuse |
    • chemicals in water caused thyroid problems

      take ur prenatal vitamins everyday, eat non processed food.

      June 8, 2011 at 19:08 | Report abuse |
    • Momof4

      I would be careful about what you eat and are exposed to chemically. Do not put down pesticides in your house or lawn while you are pregnant. Use natural substances like vinegar to clean when you can, also try not to inhale any other harmful chemicals. Take your vitamins! When you vaccinate your child, spread the vaccines out if possible. Many people say this isn;t important but I disagree. My son did start showing symptoms after his 18 mth vaccinations. He had fallen behind in his shots because he was sick a lot (poor immune system from the start) and he had extra given to him to try and get him caught up. I'm not saying this caused his autism, but I still think overloading the immune system at any one time is just not smart (I don't care what anyone else says!) You don't have to skip vaccines, just space them out a bit more. Avoid too many chemicals around the baby – eat as healthy and naturally as possible.If you do all of these things, you will have done everything you can do.

      June 8, 2011 at 19:40 | Report abuse |
  36. Chris

    Consider all the toxic chemicals released from all the plastics in your house on a hot summer day. Chemicals from your carpet, the 'New Car Smell", plastic juice, milk, ketchup, bottled water containers, Teflon coated cooking tools, etc. it's no wonder we are all not already brain dead.

    June 8, 2011 at 12:31 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Momof4

      True! We are bombarded each day with an abundance of chemicals.

      June 8, 2011 at 19:43 | Report abuse |
  37. Frank

    Autism: brought to you by the California nutjobs that insist on drinking water from plastic bottles.

    June 8, 2011 at 12:31 | Report abuse | Reply
    • lovemesomefrank

      Right on Frank!

      June 8, 2011 at 13:00 | Report abuse |
  38. May

    Could it be the ultra sound?

    June 8, 2011 at 12:33 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Poppy

      Its definately the ultrasound

      June 8, 2011 at 13:29 | Report abuse |
  39. jo an

    After reading Rachel Carson's Silent Spring...I read everything I could about CHEMICALS...in our food supply, cosmetics and household cleaners...I joined a company called SHAKLEE and did home meetings, telling the story and how we can be more in charge of our own lives....NOW it is PUBLIC KNOWLEDGE that chemicals 'may' cause damage....

    June 8, 2011 at 12:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. May

    What happens, truly, when a woman has an ultra sound? Have we looked at that link? Now, all women are pretty much forced to have an ultra sound. For what? To see if there is a baby in there? To see how big it is? Why? Women have had babies for centuries without ever 'seeing' the baby before it's birth. And now, suddenly we have all this autism.

    June 8, 2011 at 12:35 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Rocksor

      Um to check if the baby is developing properly? There are cases where the spine of the fetus is not developing properly and can be corrected while still in the womb, and have very positive results. This is just one example.

      Would you like a surprise birth defect that could have been corrected early?

      June 8, 2011 at 12:51 | Report abuse |
    • Poppy

      we should wrap women in sound proof material cause ever since sound was invented weve had autism

      June 8, 2011 at 13:28 | Report abuse |
  41. James

    Uhhmm, why is it that these articles always fail to mention that there's a strong correlation between autism spectrum disorders, brain damage and birth defects and partially-combusted diesel fuel? They've been studying this since the 1960s with at least a dozen new studies in the past 5 years.

    Or are we just completely ignoring the fact that automobile exhaust is one of the most poisonous things on the planet for the sake of convenience? Are we really that naive to keep pushing an automotive-oriented agenda when not only is oil damaging politically, environmentally but also making us unhealthier as a species?

    The solution to limiting exposure is pretty simple– eliminate some truck traffic and make cargo ships turn off their engines far before they reach shore. Go even further and we could really clean up the air with some mild urbanization and better logistics.

    June 8, 2011 at 12:37 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Poppy

      Or maybe if this would prove to be true just re-engineer diesel engines to have complete combustion....might be a tick easier than your plan

      June 8, 2011 at 13:08 | Report abuse |
  42. Matt E

    "Lead, mercury, and other neurotoxic chemicals have a profound effect on the developing brain at levels that were once thought to be safe," she said.

    Yet thermasol (a toxin offshoot of mercury) known to be in vaccines is not responsible for a link in Austism...

    Yeah...keep the lie continuing...don't vaccinate!!!

    June 8, 2011 at 12:40 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Poppy

      In high school our chem teacher passed around a big bucket of mercury. We all got to take some. Then he let us stick our hands in it and swirl them around in it lol. I remember being in study hall playing with the stuff on my desk for weeks on end.

      June 8, 2011 at 13:23 | Report abuse |
    • Slash

      1. You can't even spell what you're trying to rant about. Fail.
      2. Vaccines don't contain that anymore.
      3. No link between it and any harm was EVER found.
      4. It's as much mercury as table salt is a poison gas used in World War I. Go back to school and learn what a chemical compound is.
      5. No link between any vaccine and autism has EVER been shown.
      6. Anyone who refuses to vaccinate their children is intentionally placing them in harm's way for no logical reason whatsoever and does not deserve the privilege of having children.

      You pathetic ignorant hicks are the greatest threat to your children's health.

      June 8, 2011 at 20:45 | Report abuse |
  43. Drinker

    The chemicals in vaccines are definitely a drop in the bucket compared to what we absorb everyday through our skin, the air we breathe, and on the food we eat. Think about what may be in our soap, we get all steamy, open up our pores and slather that stuff on.

    June 8, 2011 at 12:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. Michele R.

    It'll be pretty ironic should we find cancer and autism linked to our bottled "natural, spring" water.

    June 8, 2011 at 12:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Meg

    As the parent of an 18 yr old young man with Autism, I really don't care what caused his autism. I know it wasnt the vaccines, he was different from birth. What I care about is what I can do to make his life easier and happier and how I can assure he will have a happy life even after I am gone.

    June 8, 2011 at 12:46 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Poppy

      We had an autistic dude at the university I was at. He was pretty cool. I remember being all messed up and seeing him in a taco bell. You could ask him what day of the week you were born on and he could tell you by your birthdate. He was like a math wiz. In math classes the teacher would ask him to solve random equations and the kid could spit them out off the top of his head. I think he graduated. We called him chicken george...he was cool

      June 8, 2011 at 13:11 | Report abuse |
  46. well

    chemicals are in evertyhing, including vaccines...so...don't now how you can ignore the injection of the chemicals straight into the babies? Maybe not in the sense of the vaccine argument, but just in that they contain a lot of crap that is sure to be toxic to the body. (Not just the mercury).

    June 8, 2011 at 12:48 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Poppy

      we are made of chemicals...chemicals are us

      June 8, 2011 at 13:13 | Report abuse |
    • well


      June 8, 2011 at 14:50 | Report abuse |
  47. mowgli

    How many Jehovahs witnesses are autistic?

    June 8, 2011 at 12:49 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Rocksor

      None, because they are able to go to door and talk to people. Get a clue about what autism is all about.

      June 8, 2011 at 12:52 | Report abuse |
  48. Ask Jenny

    whatever Jenny McCarthy says must be correct.

    June 8, 2011 at 12:51 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Poppy

      yeah because having a nice rack makes you an expert in everything...duh

      June 8, 2011 at 13:43 | Report abuse |
  49. GerC

    I would suggest that the routine periodic use of ultrasound during pregnancy be scrutinized more closely as possibly contributing to autism. It's hard for me to believe that that a small developing is not harmed by subjecting it to ultrasound.

    June 8, 2011 at 12:51 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Poppy

      We should also stop clapping around pregnant mothers because sound waves are bad

      June 8, 2011 at 13:17 | Report abuse |
    • Kevin

      believe? what does faith have to do with it. Can you provide any plausible mechanism for why they might be harmful and cite instances of where this has been tested. Do you know what ultrasound is and how it works? Do you know how it propagates through tissue/interfaces? Do you know what intensity levels are used?

      June 8, 2011 at 15:05 | Report abuse |
  50. God

    Is anyone else shocked that the toxic substances act hasnt been updated since frigging 1976?

    June 8, 2011 at 12:56 | Report abuse | Reply
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