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Thimerosal In Vaccines Not Linked to Autism


Prenatal and infant exposure to thimerosal, a mercury-containing preservative used in some vaccines, does not increase risk for autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

In the study, "Prenatal and Infant Exposure to Thimerosal from Vaccines and Immunoglobulins and Risk of Autism," published in the October 2010 print issue of Pediatrics (published online Sept. 13), researchers reviewed managed care organization records and conducted interviews with the parents of 256 children who were verified to have ASD according to a standardized personal evaluation. Children with ASD were further categorized as having autistic disorder or ASD with regression. Another 752 children without autism, matched to the ASD children by birth year, gender and managed care organization, were also studied. For none of the autism outcomes was prenatal or early life receipt of thimerosal-containing vaccines and immunoglobulins significantly greater among children with ASD than among children without ASD. These results add to the evidence that thimerosal-containing vaccines do not increase the risk of autism.

The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 60,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit