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. david

    As a geneticist, caution cannot be emphasized enough when interpreting any study. These results are based on correlations found in data..nothing more. Do you know there is a perfect correlation between the number of clergy in a community and the amount of crime? Quick...run and write up some article describing this "link" and start a panic! Do we see increased crime because of an increased number of clergy? No. But yet, the correlation is perfect. How can this happen? It is that both are responding to something else (population density). Should we have less environmental hazards in our World? Sure...no one is arguing this. But haven't we had enough false blame on the cause of this disease? I am not saying environmental influences are not a factor. I am saying correlations DO NOT infer cause.

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

      Thats because most catholics are criminals

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

      @Poppy You are a very poor example for someone trying to be a troll. Make a useful statement, or just hush up.

      June 8, 2011 at 18:29 | Report abuse |
    • Poppy

      I appologise

      June 8, 2011 at 19:50 | Report abuse |
  2. Marty Helms

    My pediatrition believes that the increase in Autism is due to feeding infants food other than mothers milk or formula for the first year. He says that has been going on for only the last 50 years the same time more, and more preservitives were developed.

    June 8, 2011 at 13:44 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Marty Rogers

      actually the autism levels perfectly correlate with increased breastfeeding not the other way around. Just a correlation not a cause yet it is true so your ped has it backwards...

      June 8, 2011 at 22:08 | Report abuse |
  3. Burbank

    Has anyone bothered to look at aluminum? It can cause brain damage. How about all these aluminum beverage cans?

    Also there is a study going on concering these prenatial vitamins where they are looking for women who have had an autistic child and want to become pregnant again since autism tends to repeat in the same families. I find this morally wrong!

    In this seriously overpopulated world, if you have an autistic child, how about adopting children if you want a bigger family instead of producing more and more genetically defective indiviuals? In the light of the fact that each autisic child costs over 3 million this is sheer insanity!

    June 8, 2011 at 13:44 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Rocksor

      You too can have autistic grand children. It's called genetic mutation.

      June 8, 2011 at 15:52 | Report abuse |
  4. Carol L.

    I wonder if strong colognes and perfumes (including those in shampoos) contribute as well.

    June 8, 2011 at 13:46 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Greg Dunbar

      Autism rates are much higher in older women who give birth than younger women. Could it be, perhaps because older women have lived a longer life and have been exposed to toxic chemicals for a much longer period of time?

      June 8, 2011 at 16:34 | Report abuse |
  5. Intrigued

    Sometimes the obvious is overlooked. I think that this is the case with autism. Austism is prevalent in the United States. It is not found with predicatability in developing nations or in such numbers as ours in nations with stricter pesticide regulations. There is a strong correlation with the widespread use of organophosphates(pesticides) and developmental problems. Unfortunately, the research is owned by the very companies that manufacture the chemicals. Much like the tobacco companies were able to avoid culpabity, the pesticide companies own the data. Unless we as a nation insist on safe food practices, austism and is costs will continue to grow exponentially.

    June 8, 2011 at 13:46 | Report abuse | Reply
    • NeurotoxRox

      Intrigued... I research organophosphates and their toxicity in the brain and I am not funded by a pesticide company... just wanted you to know!

      June 8, 2011 at 14:07 | Report abuse |
    • D

      Intrigued-I agree with you! It is reminiscent of what happened with tobacco. How many decades will we have to endure this time before the link is established?

      June 8, 2011 at 14:15 | Report abuse |
    • Scott from NH

      I don't see how it is in any way obvious. There isn't yet science showing a conclusive causal or statistical relationship. So, I think the best we can say is that it is a possibility.

      June 8, 2011 at 14:30 | Report abuse |
    • M.

      Organophosphates are used a lot in developing countries with lower incidence of diagnosed autism, and with fewer safeguards and less oversight. While they are dangerous, and while I agree that we should have a tight oversight over them and other pesticides, it is very unlikely that they are connected to autism.

      June 8, 2011 at 14:38 | Report abuse |
    • Evidence_Is_There

      There are numerous animal models that show the effects these chemicals cause on development. What more evidence do people want? Should we inject these chemicals into some children and not others? The animal model is the only viable way to test these things conclusively.

      June 8, 2011 at 14:43 | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      M. I'm not saying the two are related at all, but naturally autism is not going to be diagnosed as much in developing countries. It is under diagnosed in these countries and greatly over diagnosed here.

      June 8, 2011 at 14:43 | Report abuse |
    • TPC

      I don't recall ever hearing about any study that concluded that US or developed countries have higher percentage children with Autism. What all the studies point out is that US is getting really good at identifying children with Autism or those that are in the spectrum as opposed to still developing countries.

      The possible causes that you point out are just that possible influences that may or may not trigger Autism. It's best not to give too much weight to possibilities lest we make the same mistake we (population as a whole) made by blaming vaccinations for cause of Autism.

      June 8, 2011 at 14:45 | Report abuse |
    • skarrlette

      The truth is they have NO IDEA what causes autism therefore, you can't say its this or that. They can't prove its not vaccines nor anything else. They haven't found the cause until they do everything is up for grabs.

      June 8, 2011 at 14:49 | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      Actually it is basically proven that vaccines don't cause autism. Keep refusing to vaccinate your kids, just keep them the h*ll away from mine.

      June 8, 2011 at 14:55 | Report abuse |
    • skarrlette

      Another thing everyones' chemistry is different. i always here "my baby was fine and I did this or was exposed to that and he/she doesn't have autism" this proves nothing. Just because your experience was one way doesn't mean another child would not have an adverse reaction. Its not an exact science people react to chemicals, and environmental factors differently. One person may have a reaction to a vaccine, a drug or a chemical and another may not so making blanket statements proves nothing. And they don't know what causes autism.

      June 8, 2011 at 14:55 | Report abuse |
    • Kevin

      Of course it's not going to be found with the same frequency in developing nations because their infrastructure for detecting/recognizing/diagnosing and recording it (and possibly the criteria for differentiating it from other behaviors) aren't the same.

      June 8, 2011 at 14:55 | Report abuse |
    • skarrlette

      Where is the proof let me see show me the studies sir.

      June 8, 2011 at 14:56 | Report abuse |
    • Mimi

      I recall a study that did show a link to farms, and the implication was pesticides. That looked at the proximity of the family to farms, and found it more prevalent the closer to the farms.

      June 8, 2011 at 14:57 | Report abuse |
  6. Mike

    This whole article does not cite one factual bit of evidence. It is the some old stuff - bad scary chemicals. Where is the evidence?

    June 8, 2011 at 13:49 | Report abuse | Reply
    • ablaze

      You have to be kidding, right? Dude...we had shots too, but what we DIDN'T have were plasic baby bottles heated in the microwave, flame retardant pajamas, toys made in china, pesticides sprayed everywhere. What the h### else could it be? I've been saything this very thing for years, and many are still blaming it on shots alone.

      June 8, 2011 at 14:06 | Report abuse |
    • john777

      How is this for evidence. My sisters husband has three kids from his first marriage. The first two kids are fine. The third has autism pretty bad. He started an exterminating business before his wife was pregnant with the third kid. But hey, if you are not worried let you kids/grandkis drink some water from a contaminated source. Seriously put up or shut up. DRINK THE WATER.

      June 8, 2011 at 14:07 | Report abuse |
    • Jeff

      Are you two kidding me? Do you know the difference between anecdotes and evidence? Do you know what causality is, and how to prove it?

      June 8, 2011 at 14:21 | Report abuse |
    • Mark

      How about the tons of evidence in the highly respected journal, Environmental Health Perspectives, available free of charge at http://www.ehponline.org. There are hundreds of studies on the effects of chemicals on the developing brain. To say what you did was out of sheer ignorance. Instead of commenting on something you have no knowledge of, dig a little deeper. It will make you look smarter than that comment of yours.

      June 8, 2011 at 14:28 | Report abuse |
    • Eric

      The evidence is real easy and can be proven. If you keep your eyes open, you will eventually run across someone who has been exposed to some sort of chemical and is now having health problems. If you haven't seen this, give it some time. You most likely will.

      June 8, 2011 at 14:33 | Report abuse |
    • john

      Mike...where is the evidence that these chemicals ARE safe? A lot of this stuff got a free pass into usage with little oversight. When it comes to public health, the burden of proof is on the chemical producers, not the consumer.

      June 8, 2011 at 14:35 | Report abuse |
    • ablaze

      Jeff – the chemical companies pay to have the adverse affects of their products hidden. Science is about observation, and just because someone waving a bible is telling you that chemicals are not harmful only makes you look "simple" for not being able to think for yourself and draw conclusions after reading or simply observing ..... anything. And yes, there IS plenty of evidence out there in scientific journals.

      June 8, 2011 at 14:52 | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      ablaze, the "shots" blame has largely been proven wrong even though some uninformed individuals continue to spread misleading information. environmental chemicals are much more likely to be a possible cause ... i agree with you.

      June 8, 2011 at 14:57 | Report abuse |
    • Dean

      ...could be.... may....has been shown.... suggested... Where in this article does it say that there is any proof of a chemical link to autism? No where. All of you spouting your anecdotal "evidence" and everything that you know beyond a doubt need to wake up. I'm not saying that the evidence isn't compelling in many ways but I have to agree with Mike that this article is nothing more than pointless fear-mongering.

      June 8, 2011 at 15:34 | Report abuse |
  7. Susan

    What is wrong with you??

    June 8, 2011 at 13:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Jack

    Ok, for all of you people still on the (INCORRECT) vaccine kick – the parents, and grandparents, of these children were vaccinated with the vaccine that had the mercury preservative. Their children were not. The last of the questioned vaccines were used up in the 1990s. Which means that the rate of autism has kept climbing since the removal of the preservative you are blaming. As for me, I say put the stuff back in.

    June 8, 2011 at 13:50 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Umwhy

      Um, why would you put it back in? Because you're an idiot?
      (I highly recommend people yutbe the video of the head of the CDC admitting that vaccines may cause autism in children with mitochondrial disfunction... and then denies it a few minutes later... haha

      June 8, 2011 at 14:37 | Report abuse |
    • factual

      Actually, mercury (thimerosal) is still in some vaccines.

      June 8, 2011 at 14:38 | Report abuse |
  9. rumdumb

    Has anyone ever done a study to research the possibility that one or the other parents if not both did drugs at some point in their lives and there could be a tie in? Just asking.

    June 8, 2011 at 13:50 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Autism Mom

      I am the mother of a child who has mild Autism and I can tell you I NEVER did drugs. Your comment is absurd.

      June 8, 2011 at 13:58 | Report abuse |
    • laurapalmer4

      I've wondered the same thing, rumdumb, so I don't your comment is "absurd.". No one seems to have done a study about the rise of illegal drug use in the past 50 years and its possible correlation with the rapid rise of autism.

      June 8, 2011 at 14:09 | Report abuse |
    • Raquel

      Good point.

      June 8, 2011 at 14:15 | Report abuse |
    • TS

      Disagree with Autism Mom ... No question is absurd! Research every possibility .. it's the only way to find out the truth!

      June 8, 2011 at 14:15 | Report abuse |
    • Stoopid iz az Stoopid Duz

      Or maybe it's that we just didn't over-diagnose until we started being able to label every imperfection imaginable.

      June 8, 2011 at 14:19 | Report abuse |
    • D

      I don't know the answer to your question, but the question itself is certainly not absurd. Part of the problem is that people very well could lie about their drug use in such a study.

      June 8, 2011 at 14:19 | Report abuse |
    • Nancy

      Did you mean drugs including prescribed legal medications or over-the-counter medications? Because if that is what you meant, then I agree–it seriously should be studied. But don't let Big Pharma do the research this time, 'k? 😉

      June 8, 2011 at 14:21 | Report abuse |
    • marle

      Yes rumdumb you are a moron!! Plenty of us have done drugs and have had kids without autism.

      June 8, 2011 at 14:22 | Report abuse |
    • KB

      I don't think this is a dumb question but if this were the case there would have been a lot more cases of Autism and kids born in the 70's would all be screwed

      June 8, 2011 at 14:28 | Report abuse |
    • GoodAdvice

      Yes, it must be the drugs. I mean, there weren't really that many cases throughout the 60's and 70's, and it was all because no one ever did drugs back then. Clean and sober wins the autism battle every time, because we all know that only junkies have kids with autism.

      Oh, wait. No, I'm just being as retarded as you, sorry.

      June 8, 2011 at 14:33 | Report abuse |
    • Poppy

      Ive done a lot of drugs and fathered several children with different mothers all of whom used drugs with me...none of my kids have autism

      June 8, 2011 at 14:34 | Report abuse |
    • Based on what

      Rumdumb: There have probably been no studies because there likely isn't sufficient evidence/cause for such a study. I know dozens of parents who, like my wife and I, did not use drugs yet have a child with autism. What makes you think that this would be a reasonable explanation? Because there is more drug use? What's the basis for this claim? I thought drug use was actually in decline. Are you just trying to blame famililes like mine for our situation? If so, please bring some facts to the discussion.

      June 8, 2011 at 14:41 | Report abuse |
    • Seola1

      Wow, talk about some judgmental jerks missing the boat here. It was a question – not an accusation and frankly, thou doth protest too much in the comments of those who have autistic children. Are you so darn sure there is no link because you didn't do drugs (which I doubt, because of how you attacked this simple question)? If we are to help our autistic children, shouldn't no question on causation be labeled absurd? Do you even have autistic children and are just lying to be hateful? I can't imagine any autistic parent (my neighbor included, whom I just ironically spoke with about items in this very article last night) not wanting to see if there are any connections or higher instances in certain groups!

      How nasty of you guys! To jump on him so fast, it makes me sure of the other comment here that discussed getting parents to be truthful about their drug use. Sounds like you aren't!

      June 8, 2011 at 15:31 | Report abuse |
    • Berthajane Vandegrift

      Hi rundum, They did more than that. For several decades they believed autism was caused by “maternal rejection”, and subjected the mothers to psychiatric treatment. If they had found anything, including drugs, we’d have heard.

      A Few Impertinent Questions about Autist, Freudianism and Materialism


      June 8, 2011 at 16:21 | Report abuse |
    • TheBear

      I know that there is a corelation between autism and mothers who took the anti-eplieptic drug Sodium Valproate (sold under seveal brand names) while they were pregnant. There is currently a class action lawsuit in Great Britain over several of the makers of this product.

      June 8, 2011 at 16:52 | Report abuse |
  10. Mamudoon

    What really upsets me about these "anti-vaxers" is that there are certain people who CANNOT be vaccinated (because they have an allergy to something in the vaccine or something like that). Those people rely on herd immunity (other people being vaccinated) to keep themselves safe. They have no other choice.

    Anti-vaxers don't care about their own kids, and they care about other peoples' even less. I think that if someone chooses not to vaccinate their kids, they should be forced to pay for all medical expenses that result from outbreaks. Put your money where your mouth is. God knows you have enough of it (it only seems to be rich, white people who don't vaccinate). I don't like needles, either, but when you're part of a society, you have certain responsibilities towards your fellow man. I wouldn't be able to live with myself if I knew that a stupid choice I made resulted in the death of an innocent person. But then again, I have a soul.

    June 8, 2011 at 13:50 | Report abuse | Reply
    • toddflanders

      Excellent point

      June 8, 2011 at 14:04 | Report abuse |
    • N

      I wouldn't be so quick to judge the parents who decide not to vaccinate. They DO care about their children, and certainly don't wish any harm on anyone else. The problem is they think they are protecting their child by not having them vaccinated. There has been an unfortunate spread of misinfomation, all starting with a bad "scientist" with conflicted interests. Andrew Wakefield and his associates are ultimately responsible for this mess, but sadly there's not much we can do to hold them responsible. All we can do is try to drown out the misinformation with real science... sadly, that's been a slow battle.

      June 8, 2011 at 15:10 | Report abuse |
    • Tony S

      His research was sound. The smear campaign by the pharmaceutical companies was very effective, and now most web sites state things like "scientific research has shown again and again that vaccines don't cause autism". That is simply untrue. You cannot prove a negative. Autism may indeed be caused by vaccines. More research, honest research, is needed.

      June 8, 2011 at 20:49 | Report abuse |
    • Ardath

      If by "his" you mean Andrew Wakefield's, let's just test that...
      - Ten of his co-authors on the paper in question have repudiated the work and say that they were misled by him in the publication process.
      - The study sample was a mere twelve children, which is far too low for any scientifically valid study.
      - The children in question were recruited by a law firm that was planning a class-action lawsuit against the makers of the MMR vaccine. This law firm also paid Wakefield to conduct the research. Pre-existing bias.
      - Wakefield had applied for a patent on a new measles vaccine that would directly compete with the MMR vaccine, prior to publishing the results that allegedly discredited the MMR.
      - He also planned to design and market a kit that would allegedly diagnose autism in children, and was on record as saying that it would make millions of dollars in profits.
      - When his teaching hospital asked him to repeat the study with a larger patient base, and offered to fully fund the study, he refused to do so and then later claimed they'd "hounded" him. By offering him funding for his research, HORRORS!
      So tell me, what's sound about any of that?

      June 8, 2011 at 21:30 | Report abuse |
    • Tony

      His research was sound? It wasn't even good research without the fact that he was being paid by a lawyer to prove that the MMR causes autism, or that he had patented an alternative MMR vaccine that benefited from discrediting the current vaccine. It was not sound research at all. Even he claims it wasn't supposed to be a "research report" but a "clinical observation". This is not a product of any smear campaign but rather the admissions of Andrew Wakefield himself. And the journalist that broke this story about Wakefield that you call a "smear campaign" has had two other large exposes in his career, both taking on big pharmaceutical companies. He even won a journalism award for taking on big pharmaceuticals. How is that a pharmaceutical smear campaign?

      Why is it so much more plausible to think that one guy who had a vested financial interest in discrediting the MMR did the only unbiased scientific study and that the rest of the scientific community is just crammed in the pocket of "BIg Pharma" and trying to cover it up? Why is that so much more believable to you than the idea that one guy published a terribly flawed study and the rest of the scientific community is just trying to get to the truth?

      I am a scientist and I work very, very hard to try to understand how to prevent disease. My colleagues do the same. We want to protect our children and yours. It's very insulting when people suggest that the work we do is tainted by "Big Pharma". If you don't understand scientific research please don't pretend as though you do.

      June 8, 2011 at 22:56 | Report abuse |
    • Oscar

      Kind of like driving an SUV for safety. It keeps you safe, but screws everybody else.

      June 9, 2011 at 13:59 | Report abuse |
    • Kate

      I completely agree with you, N. I am a non-vaxer, by the way. There IS a lot of misinformation out there. and I believe Science WILL, eventually, get to the truth. It's just that you and I do not agree on what that truth is.

      June 9, 2011 at 15:07 | Report abuse |
    • marrod

      you have a soul because you choose to vaccinate your children? Do you have an autistic child? it is easy to judge others when you are not in that situation. Parents of autistic children have to deal with these issues for the rest of their lives. I do not judge anyone who doesn't vaccinate their children. Drug companies are too powerful to fight and these parents and children have been without a voice for years. The causes are to obvious to hide them any longer.

      June 8, 2011 at 15:44 | Report abuse |
    • Eric

      My child is autistic, but saying there is some conspiracy by drug companies is luney/schizophrenic. Nobody even wants to make vaccines because there is almost no profit. Your (and others on here – but it is CNN afterall) argument is ridiculous and shows how little you know about the subject. It makes everything else you and the other conspiracy theorists state to be useless. Autosm rates are going up even though the mercury has been banned form vaccines for about 10 years now, yet people hang onto it like a religion – it's insanity, no wonder why our country is going down the toilet.

      People are arguing over whether vaccines still contain the preservative. Required vaccinations, perhaps only for kids under a certain age, do not contain the preservative...but other shots may still contain it (flu vaccine does).
      I had read about the mercury and actually got mercury free vaccine (for one of the required shots anyhow in the late 90's). But my kid has Asberger's anyhow. Wife and I both graduated with very high grades, she was careful what she ate when pregnant, breastfed for 6 months, but both of our kids have issues.

      June 9, 2011 at 23:02 | Report abuse |
    • michele

      really eric? vaccines are not profitable???


      June 11, 2011 at 14:43 | Report abuse |
    • Rocksor

      are your vaccines up to date?

      June 8, 2011 at 15:56 | Report abuse |
    • TomTom

      You raise an incredibly good point against the anti-vaxers dependancy on other parent's decision to vaccinate their children.
      However, I also sympathize with them, because I honestly have no desire to vaccinate a child with a vaccine with mercury preservatives.

      Perhaps I'm ignorant in asking this, but would it not be possible to schedule a child's vaccination date and be able to get vaccines that are made on the date in order to avoid toxic preservatives?

      June 8, 2011 at 16:52 | Report abuse |
    • D

      Yeah, it would be essentially impossible unless you are living right next door to one of the very few (and getting fewer) facilities where vaccines are produced. I think many vaccines are even produced overseas.

      June 8, 2011 at 17:34 | Report abuse |
    • Mahhn

      TomTom has his mind in the right place.

      June 8, 2011 at 18:18 | Report abuse |
    • toddflanders


      June 8, 2011 at 19:54 | Report abuse |
    • Nutty Buddy

      It is simple to request individual doses of a vaccine. The preservative isn't necessary if a vial of vaccine is used only once for one patient.

      June 8, 2011 at 20:21 | Report abuse |
    • wookiee

      Pediatric vaccines have been mercury free for years now. What are you talking about?

      June 8, 2011 at 22:48 | Report abuse |
    • AndyB

      Making a vaccine same day is not even close to being possible. Its a fairly long process with lots of machinery that isn't present in the hospital itself.

      Thimerosal (a preservative in vaccines that contains mercury atoms) is not toxic to humans at the levels used and does not cause metal poisoning. Thimerosal was formerly used in contact lens cleaning solution and that didn't hurt people.

      June 9, 2011 at 14:29 | Report abuse |
    • Laura S

      Why was Thimerosal removed from contact lens solution, then?

      June 10, 2011 at 12:24 | Report abuse |
    • Mom2

      Yay to you for thinking outside the box. Why does it have to be all or nothing? I have a son with autism and am expecting a baby later this year. Will I vaccinate? Yes. Our research revealed that families who had a child with autism and decided not to vaccinate future children were not necessarily spared from the condition in unvaccinated children. That speaks volumes. Perhaps the hardest thing about autism is that there is no one clean explanation–no one solution.

      But I'm not convinced that every vaccination is necessary and I'm not convinced that they all need to be administered according to the current schedule. To be clear - I don't think that vaccinations caused my son's autism. But I do want to limit the amount of chemicals we're all exposed to...

      June 9, 2011 at 20:40 | Report abuse |
    • Stella

      If your kids are vaccinated, then why be so alarmed if they come in contact with a disease? I'm not rich and my kids are not vaccinated because I feel that the risks outweigh the benefits. It should be a parents right to make this decision for their children, not the governments.

      June 8, 2011 at 17:23 | Report abuse |
    • beebsbelt

      The moment you enroll your child in a public school, go to a public park, shopping mall, church, doctors office, airport, etc etc it becomes the goverments business. Its called the CDC, get a clue.

      June 8, 2011 at 20:05 | Report abuse |
    • Tony S

      The CDC is in the pocket of the pharmaceutical companies. There is no impartiality.

      June 8, 2011 at 20:51 | Report abuse |
    • Marty Rogers

      CDC has nothing to do with chemicals. Only with infectious diseases.

      June 8, 2011 at 21:55 | Report abuse |
    • Joe the Scientist

      The risks do not outweigh the benefits unless your children have specific, underlying issues that preclude their being vaccinated, e.g., an allergy to one or more of the components in the vaccine. Any doctor who says that you are correct in your belief is, by definition, a quack. You and those of you ilk have abdicated your membership in civilized society and should be put on an island far, far away to wallow in your ignorance and inability to reason.

      June 9, 2011 at 00:13 | Report abuse |
    • Johnp

      Joe: You know what. I think away from civilization they would be much better off then to be stuck lisening to every one's different ideas. What makes your way right? The sience of medicine? That which changes faster then we change our underwear? Is that not true of all sience, that "as man evolves so does sience". pituah that was me again spitting on the floor to honor your thinking.

      June 9, 2011 at 18:42 | Report abuse |
    • Brooke

      If you wish to send your child to a government paid school, i.e. a public, school, you should be willing to vaccinate your child. I disagree strongly with HIPPA when it comes to the privacy of vaccines. As a parent, I should be able to make an informed decision whether I want to risk having my child in constant contact with the next possible patient zero in the next outbreak of vaccine preventable disease.

      June 9, 2011 at 02:23 | Report abuse |
    • uDummii

      You idiot. Start thinking when it comes to medical/scientific discussions instead of feeling and you wouldn't make such dummy bonehead decisions.

      June 9, 2011 at 05:56 | Report abuse |
    • Karla Sullivan

      No Stella, I do not think it is wise to leave this important issue up to the parents. First time parents have trouble deciding when to go from two naps per day down to one let alone something as important as this. Until we know 100% what is causing these illnesses I feel we need to follow the law or leave the country.

      June 10, 2011 at 01:05 | Report abuse |
    • jim

      It should also be your right to pay the entire cost of medical treatment for your child's illnesses that were preventable with vaccines. There's no reason for the government or insurance companies to suffer the cost of your ignorance.

      June 10, 2011 at 07:51 | Report abuse |
    • D

      I don't know, I can imagine some poor, hippy types not vaccinating too.

      June 8, 2011 at 17:28 | Report abuse |
    • sheri

      I cant believe your post!!! first of all i want you to know that i will love my child and do whats best for my child. I also care for other peoples children. I just think that you are not open to the option of no vaccinating. I dont have a clue if vaccines cause autism, but if you read whats in them you should be concerned. our family is not a rich white family. we get get by nicely but i am white my husband is indonesian. another thing is you have to look at why vaccinations were created. the world did not have for the most part clean water, and good sanation. thats why diseases took over. if we lived in some third world contry i would do everything in my power to vaccinate my children. another reason i will not vaccinate is bc i believe my sister had sever reactions to the shots, and almost died. it seemed like everytime she recieved her shots she was put in the hospital a few days later. the dr of course blamed something else.

      June 8, 2011 at 17:45 | Report abuse |
    • Evan

      But Sheri your logic doesn't hold up. We are already seeing negative effects from a decline in vaccination rates. Outbreaks of whooping cough and mumps that could be dangerous not just to unvaccinated children but also to children too young to be vaccinated. All of this happening today, in the United States, with our modern sanitation and plumbing.

      Nobody knows what causes autism. Some parents understandably desperate for answers choose to believe, despite a complete and utter lack of scientific support, that vaccines are the cause. We do have a good understanding of what causes – and a god understanding of what can prevent – diseases that can kill our children like whooping cough and mumps.

      June 9, 2011 at 00:46 | Report abuse |
    • amberbrown

      I agree! There has not been any concrete evidence that vaccines cause autism. We do need to find the reason and the cure, but I don't believe that vaccines have anything to do with it. I am an aunt of an autistic child and I struggle believing the cause is the vaccines.

      June 9, 2011 at 13:38 | Report abuse |
    • Bee

      I agree I'm so tired of the anti vaxers. I had a premature infant who was exposed to a toddler w/ chicken pox from non vaxing parents. I was fully prepared to sue them for all medical related expenses that I would incur w/ my infant. Chicken Pox is still a deadly disease to some. Non Vaxing parents are irresponsible members of society and need to start being held accountable.

      June 8, 2011 at 17:55 | Report abuse |
    • johnsmomma

      you were going to SUE? are you aware that a TOTALLY vaccinated kid can shed the disease after vaccination for a period of time? you pro-vaccine parents arent the smartest bunch, are you?
      your kid was probably premature because you were one of the geniuses lining up for 16 flu shots while you were pregnant. i agree, the herd needs thinning. but it wont be my child.

      June 8, 2011 at 18:34 | Report abuse |
    • Liftmech

      Well how about a little polio to go around or small pox for the little nipperkin-yeah well what ever you want for them momma You aren the sharpest tool in the shed yourself–dont flatter yourself

      June 8, 2011 at 20:29 | Report abuse |
    • kyri

      If you had tried to sue, you would've lost. Whether you agree with the parents or not, it's their right to choose whether or not to vaccinate their kids. There are no laws stating that the government can force you to vaccinate. That being said... why on earth did you expose your premature infant to a toddler!? You should've known better.

      June 9, 2011 at 00:09 | Report abuse |
    • Just Me

      I conpletely agree with you! To all those posters above who say we have no right to tell them how to parent their child: YOU are the arrogant self-righteous who believe whatever propaganda fits into your current view of life. YOU are the ones who's children end up starting the outbreaks of quite rare diseases! YOU have no right to put our children at risk because you aren't smart enough to comprehend the facts of true modern medicine, just the bullsh!t fed to you through the t.v. by a blonde w/ big t!ts. If you don't want your child vaccinated, fine. But better make them the next Bubble Boy & keep him the f*#k away from my family!

      June 9, 2011 at 01:55 | Report abuse |
    • Ruthie

      So I guess you want everyone to be motivated by fear and vaccinate?? Worried our children might contract something and die or might give your child something.... I refuse to live my life in such a paranoid manner! Many of us who don't vaccinate have fully looked into the issue and understand the risks and realize not vaccinating is the best option for our families. I had a preemie as well and can tell you that until I was SURE that her little body was ready to fight off sickness she did not leave the house and we certainly made sure we kept her away from other children during that time as well. YOU are responsible for your own child not any other parent or child... Being motivated by fear is no way to make an intelligent decision regarding such a serious matter.

      June 9, 2011 at 14:13 | Report abuse |
    • ljkdf

      You're are the one living in irrational fear. Fear of vaccines causing autism, that is. Everyone else is protecting their children from real, actual threats by using demonstratively effective protection from transmittable diseases. The only research you've gone is read other message boards written by like-minded idiots who throw around irrelevant terms like "big pharma" and "thimerosal".

      June 9, 2011 at 19:08 | Report abuse |
    • Jane

      Actually, Bee, YOU are the irresponsible parent. Parents of preemies should understand that their child does not have a sufficient immune system to be out and about mingling with society. You, and not the rest of the world, have the responsibility to keep YOUR child safe by keeping him or her home until his or her immune system catches up. If that means a leave of absence or whatever, well then, maybe you need to take FMLA leave and give up your vacation or dining out money and stop lugging a preemie with a compromised immune system out in public.

      June 14, 2011 at 22:47 | Report abuse |
    • Katherine

      Actually, the reason I don't vax is that I DO care about my kids. There is no way on earth I would inject them with toxic chemicals. No way. One only has to read the package inserts for vaccines to learn what is in them. Aluminum formaldehyde thimersol, bovine pig and human DNA. Yuck.

      June 8, 2011 at 18:55 | Report abuse |
    • ConcernedParent

      Speaking of dangerous chemicals, I hope you're aware of the hazards posed by a chemical called dihydrogen monoxide. Dihydrogen monoxide is incredibly pervasive and can be found in many places and substances, yet there is as yet no government regulation on this highly dangerous substance.

      Here are some known facts about DHMO:

      It is fatal if inhaled, even in small amounts.
      Prolonged exposure to solid DHMO causes severe tissue damage, up to and including tissue necrosis.
      Gaseous DHMO causes severe burns.
      DHMO is a major component of acid rain.
      Causes corrosion and oxidation of many metals.
      DHMO is found in biopsies of pre-cancerous cells and cancerous tumors.

      Please write your congressman and ask for stringent government regulation of this heinous substance. We can and must protect our children from this terrible chemical.

      June 9, 2011 at 00:27 | Report abuse |
    • Anon

      I just got done calling my Senator, and he said he'd begin working on banning DHMO in school lunches and grocery stores immediately! It's good to see some GREAT, GOD FEARING AMERICANS willing to stand up to these CHEMICAL ELITIST DICTATORS putting DHMO IN OUR CHILDREN'S FOOD!

      June 9, 2011 at 00:58 | Report abuse |
    • Beng

      Yeah, right. Scare your congressmen into banning water, which is another name for DHMO! Haha. 🙂

      June 9, 2011 at 01:58 | Report abuse |
    • Brooke

      Don't forget DHMO is a key componant of all vaccines and beauty products. Ban it! BAN IT NOW!

      June 9, 2011 at 03:31 | Report abuse |
    • Lesley

      I mentioned this earlier... Do you give your kids anything sweet? I don't know, maybe something that contains aspartame? If so, YOU ARE GIVING THEM FORMALDYHYDE! 10% of aspartame is methanol, the body breaks methanol down into FORMALDYHYDE.

      June 9, 2011 at 04:51 | Report abuse |
    • We are spoiled

      Because you would hate for your child to be injected with human DNA. News Flash – your child IS human DNA. So are stem cells and no-one claims to be poisoned by them.

      This continued vaccine smokescreen is taking away from the real danger – industrial chemicals were are exposed to every day. When a can says "fresh scent", you can bet the can isn't full of "freshness"! It's full of chemicals that make our sense of smell react in a way that we confuse with "fresh".

      June 12, 2011 at 00:39 | Report abuse |
    • Becky

      Katherine, I certainly see your point, but some of the ingredients you listed, such as various forms of DNA, are NOT "yuck", they are also the basis for many life saving drugs, like insulin and newly researched cancer treatments
      that target specific tissues in the body to avoid the nasty side effects seen with traditional chemo

      June 14, 2011 at 09:26 | Report abuse |
    • Michelle

      I'm sure you don't have a child with autism!!! What are you basing this on??

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

      How exactly does an unvaccinated child put your vaccinated child at risk?

      June 8, 2011 at 20:13 | Report abuse |
    • Caral From SoCal

      That is exactly the case.

      June 9, 2011 at 02:28 | Report abuse |
    • Lesley

      Some vaccines diminish in strength overtime, making booster shots necessary. Not everyone reacts to these antigens (vaccines) in the same way. A child could have an egg allergy making then unable to be vaccinated with many vaccines. Vaccines work by the body producing memory cells for that antigen, in some instances a child may not produce enough. A child with a compromised immune system may not have the ability to produce the proper amount of these memory cells. Thus making them more prone to infection than the average child that received the vaccine. They can even be more prone than a child that isn't vaccinated. Even the average child's immune system can possibly not react in the manner necessary for vaccines to exist at its best possible efficacy.

      June 9, 2011 at 05:35 | Report abuse |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Crunchymoron, you are just plain stupid if you can't find the answer to that question. Then again, you're too ignorant to understand the answer anyway.

      June 9, 2011 at 21:23 | Report abuse |
    • PROVE supporter

      If you are so worried about what someones un vaccinated child will spread to a vaccinated one you really do not have much faith in your so called wonder drugs do you?

      June 9, 2011 at 01:31 | Report abuse |
    • PROVE supporter

      If you are so worried about what a un vaccinated child will give your vaccinated child you dont have very much faith in your wonder drugs do you?

      June 9, 2011 at 01:38 | Report abuse |
    • Lesley

      Wow, rich white people huh? Seriously? I don't agree with people that choose not vaccinate but you seriously discredited any sort of validity your comment may have had because you lacked the ability to discuss it like an adult. The bottom line is these parents are just trying to do what they feel is best for their children. I would like to think that other ethnicities (rather than just "rich white people") would go extensive lengths to care for their child.

      June 9, 2011 at 05:12 | Report abuse |
    • Mark

      You and Toddflanders are both idiots and obviously neither of you have a child or familiy member on the spectrum. Why don't you find another issue to go waste your nastiness on. Only thing CDC has ever said is the mercury isn't the cause – they have been very careful with their verbiage. They have NOT ruled out the verious interactions of the vaccines and their affect on a weaken or impaired immune system.

      June 10, 2011 at 17:29 | Report abuse |
    • Diane

      To parents of children who have suffered allergic reactions to vaccinations (reactions that are not considered to be Autism), please know that in what I have written below, I am not belittling your child's reaction nor am I denying that it can and does happen. I am only trying to draw a parallel here between the various reactions, in response to Mamudoon's post.


      What really upsets me about these "anti-vaxers" is that there are certain people who CANNOT be vaccinated (because they have an allergy to something in the vaccine or something like that). Those people rely on herd immunity (other people being vaccinated) to keep themselves safe. They have no other choice.

      MY REPLY:

      Why is one child allowed to rely on "herd immunity" while another child is not?

      Who is to decide that allergic reactions to vaccinations don't include Autism? Autism is a lifelong disability. Allergic reactions to vaccinations can cause lifelong disabilities. Why is Autism automatically excluded from the list of lifelong disabilities that can be "had" from a reaction to a vaccine?

      If one child has a reaction after a vaccination (allergic reaction if that's what you wish to call it) and another child has a reaction after a vaccination (regresses), why is the "allergic" reaction in the first child automatically regarded to be due to something in the vaccination whereas the "regression" reaction in the other child is automatically believed to NOT be due to something in the vaccination?

      The allergic reaction (if there is one) starts immediately after vaccination but may or may not present immediately. The regression reaction (if there is one) starts immediately after vaccination but may or may not not present immediately.

      What's the difference?

      If child "A" has to assume a risk of reaction (a lifelong disability of Autism [whether you agree or not that it's a reaction]) from a vaccine, then why doesn't child "B" have to assume a risk of reaction (a lifelong disability that includes all disabilities except Autism) from a vaccine?

      Why do you vilify the parent of child "A" who does not get his child vaccinated but excuse and accept the parent of child "B" who also does not get his child vaccinated?


      I think that if someone chooses not to vaccinate their kids, they should be forced to pay for all medical expenses that result from outbreaks.


      So then, since you are so adamant that parents should be forced to vaccinate their children and if they don't then they should be forced to pay all medical expenses for outbreaks, when and if it's admitted by the government that certain vaccinations (or certain properties of those vaccinations) do potentially cause Autism, should you be forced to pay all of the medical expenses incurred for my child's Autism, and the medical expenses incurred for other children with Autism?


      ... when you're part of a society, you have certain responsibilities towards your fellow man.


      Part of that responsibility to society and your fellow man includes subsidizing other people's lives (social security and disability) when they cannot contribute to society, or cannot contribute at a significant level. Do you realize how many children with Autism are tomorrow's adults, the same adults that will not be able to contribute to society or will not be able to contribute at a significant level?

      By your trumpeting of responsibility to society, is it safe to assume that you're standing first in line to make sure that people that cannot contribute to society (whether due to Autism or some other disability) are taken care of financially, emotionally, medically? Are you voting in favor of more of the government budget to be allocated to mental health? Are you voting in favor of raising taxes so that there is sufficient aid available to your fellow (disabled) man when he can't support himself or contribute to the fund himself?

      As these children grow into adults there is going to be a stronger and stronger drain on resources, with less and less people able to contribute to those resources. Thank goodness you believe so strongly in your responsibility to society and in supporting your fellow man.

      For what it's worth, my child is fully vaccinated AND he has Autism.

      June 13, 2011 at 20:04 | Report abuse |
    • stephanie

      and obviously you dont have an autistic child or have ever spent time with an autistic child. its amazing how ignorant one can be. educate yourself and maybe you wont be so bitter.

      June 30, 2011 at 22:46 | Report abuse |
  11. Dr Neutrino

    Ah yes those Zionist Jews are the cause of everything. That's why the SWISS have awarded 22% of all Nobel prizes between 1901 and 2010 to Jews while they accounted for 2/10 of one percent of the world population.

    Yeah and you blame the polio epidemic on them too because Salk and Sabin were Jews.

    June 8, 2011 at 13:52 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mark

      The Swiss don't have anything to do with the awarding of Nobel prizes.

      June 8, 2011 at 14:39 | Report abuse |
  12. stormy123

    This is really exciting news as I have a son with very mild ASD, and even though I see some of myself and my wife in him, Im not convinced that 100% of Autism in our kids in inherited genetic conditions. This is VERY exciting that they are finally looking for other causes than genetic. I would like to add, that based on my personal experience, there also is a connection between poor maternal care in the United States, and autism as well. My son and my wife were given HUGE doses of meds to increase and decrease contraction. They also had several hours of very very low blood pressure and heart rates as a result of the drugs, and in addition my son suffered some problems in having his lungs cleared. The natal ward also is a source of very poor care in this country and all that is done to our babies there has been correlated with higher autism rates. The fact is is our health care system sucks in this country and is out of control as far as doctor salaries, hospital admin salaries, quality of care, etc. The government needs to step in and regulate the whole damn thing, as I have yet to get any decent care for the thousands and thousands of dollars we have spent getting care. But I do thing these studies need to look at the quality of care and services in hospitals as they relate to autism and they will find a correlation there.

    June 8, 2011 at 13:54 | Report abuse | Reply
    • David

      "The fact is is our health care system sucks in this country and is out of control as far as doctor salaries, hospital admin salaries, quality of care, etc. The government needs to step in and regulate the whole damn thing, as I have yet to get any decent care for the thousands and thousands of dollars we have spent getting care."

      Doctors/administration salaries have very little correlation to your cost of care. I suggest taking a look at the breakdown of any doctor's visit before you comment on the topic again.

      June 8, 2011 at 14:02 | Report abuse |
    • D

      I don't ever remember reading that autism is 100% genetically inherited. I even saw a study that showed a correlation between amount of rainy days spent watching TV as a baby/toddler and autism. Clearly there is an environmental component. That being said, there is a genetic component as well.

      June 8, 2011 at 14:23 | Report abuse |
    • Lee Anne

      Never really thought about the link with chemicals used during birth like pitocin and autism. Surgery, like c-sections use lots of chemicals too. That's an interesting idea. Would love to see some research on that.

      There is clearly a genetic component is only in about 25% of cases...What about the other 75%?

      June 8, 2011 at 14:51 | Report abuse |
  13. Les

    I think its stupid to rule out vaccinations, especially since so many parents noticed a change after their babies were vaccinated. It could be that the vaccination is the trigger that sets everything in motion. I don't think that its intelligent to assault a baby's developing system with three vaccines at once like the MMR vaccine why don't they break it up and/or give to the child when they get older?

    June 8, 2011 at 13:56 | Report abuse | Reply
    • frmrma

      I agree that we should split the MMR vaccine into 3 individual doses. The pharma companies will be able to make more money that way and their stock and dividends they pay on that stock will be better. That would be fantastic.

      June 8, 2011 at 14:08 | Report abuse |
    • john777

      One doctor wrote a report years ago about the risks of vaccines. Only one. This doctor was dicredited and he has lost his medical license. When ever a reference is made about the risks of vacinations they are refering to this doctors one report.

      June 8, 2011 at 14:11 | Report abuse |
    • haarkonen

      they HAVE taken a look, ad nauseum. please educate yourself with the reams of research available and reconsider. coincidence does not equate causality.

      June 8, 2011 at 14:20 | Report abuse |
    • D

      Kids need the vaccines young because otherwise they will get these deadly diseases, or lose their sight or hearing, or have some other terrible after-effects. There are children who are dying right now because some parents out there don't want to get their kids vaccinated.

      June 8, 2011 at 14:26 | Report abuse |
    • Mimi

      The reason they see the change is because some autistic children regress between 1 and 2, which is the age at which they also receive the MMR. But that doesn't make it a cause, just an unfortunate coincidence. The time and resources wasted on focusing on this non-issue would better spent looking elsewhere.

      June 8, 2011 at 15:02 | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      Les, please stop believing everything Jenny McCarthy and Oprah say. One doctor claimed a link and he has been discredited by independent studies multiple times.

      June 8, 2011 at 15:03 | Report abuse |
    • Just an Idea

      Just because some children develop Autism symptoms after they are vaccinated does not necessarily point to the vaccinations themselves as much as to the age of the child at the time of getting their shots. Most children in the US get their shots at the same age, so one could argue that Autism presents itself at a particular age regardless of whether the child was vaccinated or not.

      June 8, 2011 at 15:06 | Report abuse |
    • N

      There is no scientific proof that vaccines have anything to do with Autism. Autism is typically noticed around the same age that children would be vaccinated whether or not they are vaccinated. The only research that has ever shown strong correlation was later DISCREDITED after the researchers admitted that some of the DATA WAS FALSIFIED to get the results they were after.
      Skipping vaccinations can result in children becoming ill with with EASILY PREVENTABLE diseases.

      June 8, 2011 at 15:21 | Report abuse |
  14. rumdumb

    Truth hurts doesn't it.

    June 8, 2011 at 13:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Brain Balance

    Regardless of cause, there are families and children who need help NOW. As we work to get closer to the root causes of neuro-behavioral disorders, the Brain Balance Program offers interventions that are geared toward improving brain function through motor and sensory exercises, nutritional guidelines, and behavioral support. Google Brain Balance Centers for more information.

    June 8, 2011 at 13:56 | Report abuse | Reply
    • D

      There is a continuing article on Slate about a mother who gives her kid pot, and it greatly alleviates his condition. It is thought that there is some type of GI component to the disease.

      June 8, 2011 at 14:28 | Report abuse |
    • vlad

      Sensory integration is a load of crap. Shown to be ineffective nice try though.

      June 8, 2011 at 15:07 | Report abuse |
  16. Howie

    Seemed like a good article until the last statement. A more accurate comment would have been "Scientific evidence has been unable to PROVE a connection between vaccines and autism". Unless you can test for every possible variable (you can't), science can never prove a negative. So, it is simply incorrect to say that science has proven that vaccines do not cause autism. Certain specific causal links have been shown to be improbable at best, but many other variables were never tested. I'd say the smart money sticks with the idea that some vaccines play a role in some people's autism. Not the whole cause, and they are certainly not harmful to everyone, but some, some, sometime is pretty likely.

    June 8, 2011 at 13:57 | Report abuse | Reply
    • toddflanders

      Try to play the semantics game all you want. There is no link between vaccines and autism in the hundreds of studies done. How many more will it take to convince people there is no link? How much more good money do you want to throw at bad research?

      June 8, 2011 at 14:00 | Report abuse |
    • Michael A.

      Howie, you are absolutely right! Similarly, scientific evidence has been unable to PROVE a connection between autism and brushing your teeth. Is it a coincidence that autistic children are more often born to parents who brush their teeth? I say, it's irresponsible to claim that science has disproven any link between autism and toothbrushing!

      And doctors! Ever notice how many people take their children to doctors, only to find their children are autistic?

      June 8, 2011 at 14:14 | Report abuse |
    • Steve2

      Totally agree 100%. There is NO such thing as PROOF in research–I don't care how compelling it is. Talk to ANY college-level researcher or research professor/professional and they will all say the same thing. Read ANY "peer-reviewed" research, not something pulled from the Internet: you will not find one that concludes by proclaiming proof. We need to go back to 9th grade science class, Howie is right on the money.

      June 8, 2011 at 14:30 | Report abuse |
    • Coals

      Maybe you never made it past middle school science, but the way science works is you devise a hypothesis and then you conduct experiments/studies to try to support the hypothesis. You do not develop a hypothesis, accept it as fact, and then try to prove it wrong.

      June 8, 2011 at 14:31 | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      "I'd say the smart money sticks with the idea that some vaccines play a role in some people's autism."

      And what is this "smart money" based on? The claims of celeb and yuppie parents who cannot accept that genetics and the environment they created for their children may be the real cause? When you begin with denial of all possibilities you are much less likely to discover the truth. Vaccines have already been ruled out by numerous scientific studies. Let's stop wasting our time following dead ends.

      June 8, 2011 at 15:11 | Report abuse |
  17. Raine

    @ Seraphim0 and surfer; not sad – delusional or fanatical; been living this for 25 years. The twins have been in studies the past 20 years and father is a Rocket scientist.

    June 8, 2011 at 13:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. toddflanders

    I'm very impressed with the clarification at the end stating that there is no link between vaccines and autism. This is extremely bold for CNN. They usually cower to the very vocal but very ignorant minority. The rest of the article is the usual statements without any facts to back them up.

    June 8, 2011 at 13:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Mycology

    no matter the article, some idiot islamist will try to blame X Y and Z on the jews. does anyone here think genociding the jews / destroying israel will cure your kids autism or prevent future cases of autism?

    June 8, 2011 at 13:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. rumdumb

    No point in trying to have an intelligent exchange of views here.

    June 8, 2011 at 13:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Jennifer

    You say that vaccines don't cause autism, but this article says that toxic chemicals have a link to autism. Guess what vaccines gave toxic chemicals in them! My Son was vaccine injured and I have the proof from his Doctor after he seized for 5 hours after he was given 9 vaccines at one time'

    June 8, 2011 at 14:00 | Report abuse | Reply
    • toddflanders

      Seizures can be a side effect of any vaccination and doesn't mean it had anything to do with toxins in the vaccines. Your doctor is placating you by saying it was too many at one time.

      June 8, 2011 at 14:03 | Report abuse |
    • tree

      Why would you allow a Doctor to give your child 9 Vaccinations at one time???

      June 8, 2011 at 14:19 | Report abuse |
    • Lee

      Why in the world would you EVER allow your child to be given 9 vaccines at one time? Parents have the right to say NO at the dr. office. Both of my children were fully vaccinated but I never allowed them to receive more than two vaccines at one time. Yes this meant more "nurse" visit only trips every other month but I felt much better doing this than injecting them with multiple vaccines that their tiny little bodies had to breakdown and absorb. Most doctors will allow for alternate vaccine schedules.

      June 8, 2011 at 14:19 | Report abuse |
    • EdPaul

      I am a pediatrician and there is no place in the US childhood vaccine schedule for 9 shots at a time nor have I ever heard of a child seizing for 5 hours (after 5 min someone would have given Diastat and stopped the seizure anyhow)! Febrile seizures occur frequently in preschool age children and may be a side-effect of the slight fever triggered by some vaccinations. Though scary to parents to see, they are harmless. BTW – even if there were 9 vaccinations at a time, this would still be safe. A vaccination is simply the introduction of a specific antigen into the body to induce a reproducible immune response. Every cold, flu, skin infection, every bit of dirt your kids roll in...all of these bring antigens into contact with their immune system as well. We are constantly exposed to thousands of different antigens. Those who protest that "their tiny bodies with immature immune systems are overwhelmed by the bloated vaccine schedule" know nothing about immunology. As for referring to your child as "vaccine injured"...that is wrong on multiple levels; not only technically incorrect but a real disservice to your child.

      June 8, 2011 at 14:40 | Report abuse |
  22. Harbinger of Half-Decency

    I agree with rumdumb.

    June 8, 2011 at 14:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Steve

    This is news? Lead and mercury cause many different mutations and can be linked with thousands of diseases. This autism pandemonia is becoming ridiculous.

    June 8, 2011 at 14:00 | Report abuse | Reply
    • C

      Steve it is a reality...it is not ridiculous for the parents and families who have to go through this. The medical bills and the Department of Education in this country who do not provide the services that these children require...maybe you are ridiculous and insensitive.

      June 8, 2011 at 14:13 | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      It's funny how people are quick to blame any chemical they can think of as soon as they think it might be related to autism. There are many children exposed to the same chemicals how are perfectly normal. The fact that the rate of autism is increasing is also a function of the fact that 20 years ago the disease wasn't really diagnosed. The most logical conclusion is that the disease is mostly genetic and can be brought on by increase or prolonged exposure to certain chemicals. Not insensitive in any way, just realistic. Some parents (not all) want to blame anyone else they can.

      June 8, 2011 at 14:18 | Report abuse |
  24. chris1640

    My son is on the spectrum. I live in a large city, where I am exposed to lots of chemicals. I cannot say if that played a factor or not. But at his school, some kids who were not raised in the city were also autistic. I heard the vaccine debate for a long time. I now know, vaccines DO NOT cause autism. There were many parents who did not have their kids vaccinated, and their kids were also autistic. Also there there were babies who were exclusively breast fed, who also were autistic. I'm leaning toward a genetic link, because some parents had more than one child who were autistic.

    June 8, 2011 at 14:00 | Report abuse | Reply
    • frmrma

      Ahh....a voice of reason, finally.

      June 8, 2011 at 14:10 | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      Like most other diseases it is most likely a combination of genes and environment, or gene/environment interactions. People who have a genetic risk for say breast cancer may or not get the disease, however certain factors such as medications, sun/ radiation exposure, etc may enhance the effects and thus cause a greater risk for getting the disease. Having the genes for a disease does not guarantee that you will not get the disease and vice versa. It is very complex.

      June 8, 2011 at 14:24 | Report abuse |
    • D

      For the record, there are lots of chemicals used in conventional agriculture as well. So, cities aren't the only place one can be exposed to chemicals.

      June 8, 2011 at 14:34 | Report abuse |
  25. Name*Frank Tompkins

    Why are we not supprised?

    June 8, 2011 at 14:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Some Questions I Have to Wonder About.....

    The reason some people are still concerned about vaccines is because of the CHEMICALS in them. Pregnant mothers are encouraged to get the flu shot, some of which still contain thimerosol, a derivative of one of the most toxic chemicals on Earth. Thimerosol, as well as many of the other chemicals listed in the article that pregnant mothers are exposed to, enter the blood system of the fetus. You have thimerosol circulating in the blood of the fetus before it is even born. The article clearly states, "Lead, mercury, and other neurotoxic chemicals have a profound effect on the developing brain at levels that were once thought to be safe." How could the developing brain of a fetus *not* be affected by this? And this isn't exposure from the enviroment, this is injected directly into your body, by passing your bodies natural barries, like the epidermis and digestive track.

    Also, granted thimerosol has been removed from most of the childhood vaccines, but many still contain derivatives of aluminum, which can act as a neurotoxin, and others contain formaldehyde. I wouldn't be surprised if those chemicals are on the list of "other neurotoxic chemicals" as stated by Irva Hertz-Piccotto, Chief of the Division of Environmental Health at the University of California.

    What if have those chemicals injected directly into the body of your child, in addition to having toxic chemicals in their environment, is enough to do neurotoxic damage to result in symptoms of Autism?

    How about taking the ALL of toxic chemicals out of the vaccines?

    June 8, 2011 at 14:05 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Michael A.

      Autism rates are on the rise. Vaccination rates are on the decline. By your reasoning, NOT getting vaccinated is more likely to cause autism.

      June 8, 2011 at 14:17 | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      The levels of what you refer to as "toxins" in vaccines are miniscule. In fact, we come across higher numbers of these "toxins" in our everyday lives. People need to stop spreading baseless misinformation about vaccines.

      June 8, 2011 at 15:18 | Report abuse |
  27. Betty Spaulding

    It's an astonishment to me that Science with a capital S comes flapping out of the woodwork at least once a week to screech to us the unbelievable NEWS that something we have all known about for years is a brand-new discovery! For at least fifty years–remember Strontium-90?–we have all lived in an increasingly complex chemical stew that we've all known is bound to affect our children (and ourselves!) but about which we apparently can do nothing. I believe that "they" know these things all along and only announce them when they have no other choice. How stupid to they thing we really are?

    June 8, 2011 at 14:06 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Michael A.

      From the tone of your statement, I'm guessing that you don't really want an honest response.

      June 8, 2011 at 14:19 | Report abuse |
  28. jerseygirl

    I know a family where the father clearly is autistic and both sons have been diagnosed with Asbergers Sydrome. The genetics in this case seem irrefutable. While the origin of the defect is unknown but I don't believe it can be strictly environmental.

    June 8, 2011 at 14:07 | Report abuse | Reply
    • A

      Three children in a single family would likely all be exposed to the same environmental chemicals as well. I am not saying that you are wrong, and certainly having multiple children in one family with a disease is suggestive of a genetic link, but the possibility that something in their home or neighborhood contains particularly high levels of a chemical that plays a role in autism would also explain this. Only time and good scientific research will answer these questions. As tempting as it is to look at a few specific examples, this approach has the potential to be misleading.

      June 8, 2011 at 15:09 | Report abuse |
  29. Ivanaknapp

    The arrogance of those who insist vaccines can't possibly have any connection to autism astound me. So many mothers report their children were 100% healthy until they received a vaccine, and were immediately impaired afterwards. Who knows a child better than his/her own mother? Not doctors, researchers or know-it-all commenters on this website. I don't think vaccines are the sole cause, but to suggest they have no connection whatsoever is denial, IMHO. Vaccines DO injure nervous systems, which is why each and every vaccine is assessed a $0.75 tax toward the injury compensation trust fund. (it's right there on the HRSA website, look it up, PLEASE) And, while press releases and new stories say there is no connection, the government has quietly awarded settlements to parents of autistic children who have proven vaccines were the cause.
    Denial isn't going to make it go away ...

    June 8, 2011 at 14:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. lunchbreaker

    If you are in the camp that thinks we should not vaccinate because it can lead to autism, that just proves you would rather have your child die of desease than deal with an autistic child.

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

    Cue the corporate apologists and the alarmists who will state that the world economy will be DESTROYED if we don't pollute and destroy the lives of children.

    June 8, 2011 at 14:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Tsmith

    I believe the rise of autism is due to the ability of physicians to recognize the many signs of the disorder – not necessarily because it is more prevalent. Autism used to be understood as the non-verbal child rocking back and forth in the corner. Autism is a spectrum disorder – some people have many of the symptoms, others have just a few. When I was in school, children with disabilities were lumped together in the "retarded" classroom. Now, schools offer classrooms specifically for autistic children.

    Also, I read an article recently posing the theory that autism could be related to high rates of mental illness in families, specifically between children with autism and their mothers having bipolar disorder. Unfortunately for my autistic son, mood disorders run rampant on both sides of his family – generations of bipolar, OCD and schizophrenia. Yes, it is a neurological disorder, however my son (like many of these children) have extreme highs and lows in mood and paralyzing anxiety. He may be able to tell us more some day – he is only five and isn't able to convey his feelings without extreme tantrums. Without the official diagnosis of autism, our son wouldn't receive the therapies and services he so desperately needs. Defining autism as a spectrum disorder may be the silver lining – more people are getting services, which will dramatically improve their ability to function and be contributing members of society.

    On a side note, SC Medicaid is decreasing the amount of services to children with autism. Without physical, occupational and speech therapy, our children will not be able to function as adults. The government, however, is offering more services for adults with type two diabetes, which is mainly caused by obesity. Does our government not understand more adults with autism means even more services? In ten years, we will have 1 in 110 adults with dysfunctional autism and even more with obesity related problems who are being enabled by our government to continue their habits.

    June 8, 2011 at 14:16 | Report abuse | Reply
    • victor pavlovic

      How hard it is to diagnose autism, child doesn't talk after vaccines, child has no eye contact after vaccines, child wanders after vaccines, it is not better diagnosis, my mother who never went to school a day in her life knew that there was something wrong with my son, the neighbors knew, the priest knew, little children knew, and you are talking about better diagnoses, what better diagnosis? nothing has changed in the last 20 years as far as diagnosis, and if it has then all the people that I listed must have got an education in diagnosing autism!

      June 8, 2011 at 14:58 | Report abuse |
  33. Stop the Autism madness now!


    Can you please post the link as to where you found that article? Thanks.

    June 8, 2011 at 14:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. rufus

    Gay people tend to be more artistic than others.

    June 8, 2011 at 14:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. MissWendy

    Let the people who think this comes from vacines and don't get their children imunized do what they want. They will not effect the children who get their shots. Hey, it may even clean out the gene pool.

    June 8, 2011 at 14:20 | Report abuse | Reply
    • D

      Ignorant comment-please look up the term "herd Immunity". If not enough kids in a population are vaccinated, a kid who IS vaccinated can very well get the disease! Vaccines don't work 100% at the individual level, they work at a population level.

      June 8, 2011 at 14:40 | Report abuse |
    • Common Sense

      Those who choose not to vaccinate jeopardize the lives of many. What about newborns that are not yet old enough to receive some vaccines?

      June 8, 2011 at 15:03 | Report abuse |
  36. Tb

    Vitamin D is now linked to autism. Research has found that babies conceived in the winter are more likely to have autism, also many pregnant woman and infants are actually not taking enough VD especially as many people avoid the sun for cancer reasons.

    June 8, 2011 at 14:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Nancy

    There is a prevalent theory among historians that Rome "fell" because of the lead-lined aquaducts: they contaminated their own drinking water, and essentially the entire population "went crazy". Obviously this is a dramatic oversimplification for commenting purposes. But it's food for thought; what might we be doing to our own society with our technologies? (I am by no means implying that autistic individuals are "crazy", btw...)

    June 8, 2011 at 14:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Dr. Bombay

    More Autism HYSTERIA ~~~

    June 8, 2011 at 14:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Josh

    The vaccines might not cause autism, but the chemical laced lollipop you give the child afterward, does cause autism.

    June 8, 2011 at 14:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. arleeta

    That's why I only use melaleuca products. I don't have to worry about toxic household chemicals.

    June 8, 2011 at 14:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Scott M

    So, if this is the case, we should be able to isolate a control group from a removed population – say indigenous peoples in the jungles of Central America – and determine if their lower autism rates correlate to a lower exposure to chemicals and processed foods.

    June 8, 2011 at 14:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Jack

    You guys crack me up. Toxins in the environment my contribute to autism but toxins injected directly into infants cannot. The head of the CDC in 09 said vaccinations did cause autism in individuals with mitochondrial disorder. If a vaccine causes autism in even one person, for any reason, genetic or otherwise, it can do so in others. So in the last 20 years we have had an epidemic of mitochndrial disorder? I was vaccinated and my kids were vaccinated, no problems, we just got lucky.

    June 8, 2011 at 14:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Heather

    Lmao!!! so let me get this straight- these people you call scientists say autism is caused by neurotoxins such as mercury right? did they also find aluminum, & formaldehyde in the environment? crazy that these same ingredients are in vaccines & do pass the blood brain barrier to cause brain damage!! DUH! its insane how absolutely no red flags wave in front of your faces when the CDC says- were not sure what causes autism, but we know its not vaccines. but hey, if the sheeple of this country are too lazy to do a little research & seek out the truth... well BAAAAAAA have a great life!! Lmao!!

    June 8, 2011 at 14:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. Keith

    In response to my earlier comment that our children have been over vaccinated by multiple simultaneous vaccinations, one of the posts above notes a few kids die from chicken pox and that adults might get bells palsy if they get the disease. Others claims that a child is asssulated with more antigens if they get a cold. Each misses the point. There is no precendence in nature to the kinds of multiple simultaneous exposures in combination vaccines administered at the same time as other vaccines. We are messing with things we don't understand and seem not to want to study. There is no doubt in my mind that we are taking a risk. Vaccines are important, but we should be far more careful with how we vaccinate, when we vaccinate and what we vaccinate against. And, to the person above who said "Several children die each year from chicken pox. I bet ALL of their mommy's wish they only had autism," I say try living the life of my son who is non-verbal and impaired in a host of ways. "Only autism?" That proves the ignorance of the post. I would have rolled the dice on a chicken pox infection and shingles over my son's difficult and dependant life without language. The zealots who refuse to even inquire into the possibility that the combination of vaccines contributes to autism are the real members of the flat earth society. Shame on them.

    June 8, 2011 at 14:42 | Report abuse | Reply
    • M.

      Absolute nonsense.

      Children are exposed to thousands of viruses and bacteria throughout their childhood – many, many, MANY more than even in the most intensive vaccination program.

      Even the vaccines themselves are improved in that regard: in 1960's, a single measles vaccine exposed an infant to thousands of antigens simultaneously. Now, they expose one or two antigens. All vaccines together have less antigens than a single measles vaccine from 50 years ago.

      And the possibility of a link between vaccines and autism has been extensively studied. In fact, the shrillness of the antivaccinationist crowd was such that the question was examined way beyond the point at which it should have been discarded. If there is one thing we now KNOW about autism, it is that it has nothing to do with vaccination. The fact that some parents notice their child's autism during the febrile period following vaccines does not make a causal link.

      June 8, 2011 at 14:50 | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      You are not very smart are ya, Keith?

      June 8, 2011 at 14:52 | Report abuse |
  45. M.

    Exposure to chemicals is underresearched, and our current laws are a joke – essentially, the FDA has to prove a connection in order to pull a chemical off the market, while the companies have to do very little to show safety. This should change.

    However, articles such as this one are NOT helping. The text rehashes a bunch of chemicals that were – and are – checked for their effects, and which have been repeatedly shown to be minor. It is just fashionable to talk about them. A handful of sunflower seeds contains more naturally occurring "endocrine disruptors" than all the BPA that an average person will take in from plastic in a lifetime. But the marginal effect of BPA was hyped up by the press, so let's not spend our time wringing our hands over it.

    In the meantime, we have no idea what the effect of things we have designed to have biological effects are on the developing brain. The trace amounts of antidepressants, statins, etc. that our drinking water is now laced with? The effect of everyday drugs – yes, including multivitamins (which actually do nothing for people other than increasing mortality, mostly due to the fact that vitamin E supplementation increases the number of hemorrhagic strokes) – has not been evaluated in development.

    June 8, 2011 at 14:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. Evidence_Is_There

    So everyone who says there is no evidence probably has never opened a research journal or looked at who sponsored the research. There are numerous animal models that show the effects many chemicals have on neurological development. In fact the evidence is so damning Canada and most of Europe have banned BPA and others.

    June 8, 2011 at 14:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. Jugger

    Recent testing of both urban and rural water supplies have shown high concentrations of various drugs. Where do people think those prescription drugs go when you flush them down the sink or toilet? Straight into the water supply.

    June 8, 2011 at 14:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. BJTomp

    My belief as I have a grandchild that is Autistic, it is a combination of many different factors. Vaccinations are given too soon, too many at once and not spaced far enough apart. I do believe in vaccinations just not with todays dosing schedule. I also believe that genetics play a large role as well as chemical polutants in our enviroment. Put these factors all together with a child that comes from a family history of allergeys, asthma or anyother autoimmune issues and we have the perfect storm for a possible disaster. Would I rule out drug abuse, No but, with my grandchild neither parent drank or did illegal drugs at any time in their lives. As in many diseases we may never uncover the why, but will have the knowledge to weed out certain things that may bring the onset of the disease. A person can develop lung cancer and never smoke or be around second hand smoke. Most importantly if you have not walked in the shoes of a family dealing with autisum, please keep your negative comments to yourself. Most families have ienough guilt to deal with for not producing a perfect child then listen to people give more hurtful and unhelpful opinions.

    June 8, 2011 at 14:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Nikki

    "antimicrobials added to soaps, toothpaste and other products can artificially enhance androgenic activity." What I've always said. Our kids are so sick because we're too preoccupied with keeping them clean.....

    June 8, 2011 at 14:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. Kevin

    a lot of hypotheses with little or no demonstrated causality, statistically speaking. Theorizing and throwing around possible mechanisms does not make it true.

    June 8, 2011 at 14:51 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31

Leave a Reply to Ola Karell


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.