The purported link between the vaccine preservative thimerosal and an epidemic of autism is once again going on trial.
The United States Court of Federal Claims began the second of three hearings that will determine whether and how to compensate 4,800 parents who think their children's brains were damaged by the mercury-based preservative, according to the New York Times. The parents want millions of dollars, arguing that there's no amount of money that can truly compensate for their children's lost ability to communicate and interact socially.
Thimerosal was removed from routine childhood vaccines by 2001, despite a raft of studies that found it was not linked to autism. That hasn't stopped parents, looking at government warnings about the risk of mercury exposure from eating fish during pregnancy and early childhood, from believing the neurotoxin could play a role. There are now approximately 1 in 150 children with an autism spectrum disorder.
The trial comes just two months after a special Division of Vaccine Injury Compensation court compensated the parents of a Georgia girl for autism that it determined was caused in part by vaccinations. That trial has re-ignited the controversy, in part because the settlement was sealed.
"The experiences of two 10-year-old boys from Portland, Ore., are at the center of the latest hearing," the Times reports. "The boys, William Mead and Jordan King, were developing normally until they were vaccinated, said Thomas Powers, a lawyer representing them. But a buildup of mercury in their brains from vaccines containing thimerosal led the boys to regress, Mr. Powers contended."
Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has been a controversial advocate of the vaccine-autism link. This video shows an MSNBC interview with RFK Jr.
Enter your city or zip code to get your local temperature and air quality and find local green food and recycling resources near you.