Sallie Bernard, executive director of SafeMinds (Sensible Action for Ending Mercury-Induced Neurological Disorders), expressed concern about confusing the findings with the interpretation of the findings.
"An interpretation says the study shows no link between mercury and autism, but that's not what the paper is saying," Bernard said. "It says they looked to see if [there] was higher exposure in kids with autism after they got their diagnosis. These are current exposures, not what might have happened at an earlier time point in pregnancy or in the first year of life, so you don't know what affect that might have had."
The study also does not go into whether certain children may be more susceptible to mercury's effects, she said.
Learn more about autism spectrum disorders at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
SOURCES: Irva Hertz-Picciotto, Ph.D., chief, environmental and occupational health, and faculty member, MIND Institute, University of California, Davis; Patricia Manning-Courtney, M.D., associate professor, clinical pediatrics, and medical director, The Kelly O'Leary Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center; Sallie Bernard, executive director, SafeMinds (Sensible Action for Ending Mercury-Induced Neurological Disorders); Oct. 19, 2009, Environmental Health Perspectives, online
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