Issue Date: February 23, 2009
No Autism-Vaccine Link Found
There is no link between routine childhood vaccines and autism, ruled a federal court in three separate cases on Feb. 12. The landmark decision sets a precedent for thousands of pending cases in which parents of autistic children are seeking compensation from the federal government on the basis of the belief that vaccines caused their children's autism. The three test cases focused on a hypothesis that the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine interacts with the mercury-containing preservative thimerosal in other vaccines when the shots are given at the same time. "After careful consideration of all the evidence, it was abundantly clear that petitioners' theories of causation were speculative and unpersuasive. Respondent's experts were far more qualified, better supported by the weight of scientific research and authority, and simply more persuasive on nearly every point in contention," wrote Denise K. Vowell, the judge who ruled on one of the cases. The court still needs to rule on additional cases that claim thimerosal alone can cause autism.
- Chemical & Engineering News
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