By Dan Shapley
Parents believe mercury in vaccines made their children autistic
A vocal group of parents has argued for years that the mercury used as a preservative in some child vaccines is toxic, and causes autism. Through the Cedillo family, they are now getting their day in court. Mercury, it is well known, is a neurotoxin that can attack the developing brain and nervous system, lowering IQ and causing other developmental abnormalities. That's why the federal government in recent years has enacted new laws to curb minute emissions of mercury from coal-fired power plants -- because the fallout contaminates fish, and if eaten, that fish can threaten the health of fetuses and young children. But a raft of studies has discredited the theory that mercury in vaccines plays a leading role in the development of autism. To the contrary, study after study has reinforced the health benefits of vaccination, and some experts worry that the case -- should it be decided for the parents, rather than the pharmaceutical companies or the government -- would deter many from vaccinating their children. An end to vaccination -- or the use of mercury as a preservative -- is precisely what the aggrieved parents of many autistic children want, according to a story in the June 25 Los Angeles Times.