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Scandal Exposed in Major Study of Autism and Mercury

SILVER SPRING, Md., Oct. 25, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Coalition for Mercury-free Drugs (CoMeD) exposes communications between Centers for Disease Control (CDC) personnel and vaccine researchers revealing U.S. officials apparently colluded in covering-up the decline in Denmark's autism rates following the removal of mercury from vaccines.

Documents obtained via the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) show that CDC officials were aware of Danish data indicating a connection between removing Thimerosal (49.55% mercury) and a decline in autism rates.  Despite this knowledge, these officials allowed a 2003 article to be published in Pediatrics that excluded this information, misrepresented the decline as an increase, and led to the mistaken conclusion that Thimerosal in vaccines does not cause autism.  

In Denmark, Thimerosal, a controversial mercury compound used as a preservative in certain vaccines, was removed from all Danish vaccines in 1992.  The well-publicized Danish study published in Pediatrics 2003 claimed that autism rates actually increased after Thimerosal was phased out.  This study subsequently became a cornerstone for the notion that mercury does not cause autism.  However, one of the FOIA documents obtained from CDC clearly indicates that this study omitted large amounts of data showing autism rates actually dropping after mercury was removed from Danish vaccines.  

One coauthor, from Aarhus University, Denmark, was aware of the omission and alerted CDC officials in a 2002 email, stating "Attached I send you the short and long manuscript about Thimerosal and autism in Denmark … I need to tell you that the figures do not include the latest data from 2001 … but the incidence and prevalence are still decreasing in 2001" (emphasis added).  

We know the article's lead author was aware of the missing autism data because he stated in an email reply, "I am not currently at the university but I will contact you and <names withheld> tomorrow to make up our minds."

Nevertheless, in the final draft version of the publication submitted to Pediatrics, the data from 2001 showing a decline in autism was not mentioned.  Ignoring this omission, the CDC continued to endorse the article and, in a December 10, 2002 recommendation letter to the editor of Pediatrics, encouraged expedited review and publication of the article.  The misleading Danish article was published by Pediatrics in 2003.

Dr. Poul Thorsen, one of the co-authors and "scientist in residence" at the CDC 2000-2002, subsequently was terminated by Aarhus University and indicted in Atlanta for embezzlement this year in relation to his $11 million grant from the CDC.

CoMeD has demanded that the CDC launch an immediate investigation of the CDC officials involved based on scientific fraud.  CoMeD is also calling for the full retraction of the deceptive article which appeared in Pediatrics.  

"This type of malfeasance should not be tolerated by those who are entrusted with our children's health and well-being," stated Lisa Sykes, President of CoMeD.

SOURCE Coalition for Mercury-Free Drugs (CoMeD)
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