fourteen studies

Home

Quick History

The Right Question

The "14" Studies

Studies Ranked

Our Studies

Good Guys, Bad Guys

Now What?

Press

About Us

Thimerosal Studies Ranked: 40 possible points per study

Thimerosal is a vaccine preservative comprised of ethyl mercury. It has been used in vaccines since the late 1930s. When the volume of vaccines given to children in the U.S. grew dramatically in the early 1990s, so did the amount of thimerosal a child received. At its peak, children would receive thimerosal as high as 125x the EPA safe level.

The autism epidemic has mirrored the increase in thimerosal in shots, so they are correlated. However, it is not known whether too many vaccines, too much mercury, or both may be responsible for the growth in autism cases. Therefore, studies of thimerosal in vaccines may be based on a false premise that a vaccine free of mercury is "safe" -- vaccines have many other toxic ingredients (like aluminum) and thimerosal-free vaccines generate adverse events, too. As one example, the MMR vaccine has never contained thimerosal, but has many known adverse events.

To try to simplify presentation, we have kept the studies in the same order we presented them in our previous section, The "14" Studies. The ranking is based on our evaluation of how widely distributed and quoted each study is. Therefore, the studies are not presented in the order of their score.

For complete detail on each individual study, including how they were scored, please click the MORE INFO links below.

  1. score
    3
    "Safety of Thimerosal-Containing Vaccines: A Two-Phased Study of Computerized Health Maintance Organization Database"
    Pediatrics, Thomas Verstraeten, MD (November 2003)

    Headline:

    A disaster. The most widely quoted study, and the only study ever done with American data on American children, reached a neutral conclusion, asked the wrong question, and the author left to join a vaccine company before its publication. And, the world's most incriminating and public "secret meeting" calls the entire study into question. If this is the CDC's best work, we're all in trouble. Recently, the former CDC Director called this study "unhelpful and potentially misleading."

    [ MORE INFO ]

  2. score
    1
    "Thimerosal and the Occurrence of Autism: Negative Ecological Evidence from Danish Population-Based Data"
    Pediatrics, Kreesten M. Madsen, MD (September 2003)

    Headline:

    Written by a Danish vaccine company, the study made a mockery of the data, a problem the authors themselves warned of. And, the CDC engineered the entire study. This one goes beyond useless, it was fraudulent to run the numbers this way, and they knew it.

    [ MORE INFO ]

  3. score
    1
    "Continuing Increases in Autism Reported to California's Developmental Services System"
    Archives of General Psychiatry, Robert Schechter, MD (January 2008)

    Headline:

    The entire study is based on the false premise that children's vaccines no longer contain mercury. But, may be helpful in raising the larger point that mercury is not the sole problem with vaccines, and it looked at a lot of kids in a reliable state for data, California. Conflict is high: lead author is in charge of California's immunization program.

    [ MORE INFO ]

  4. score
    -2
    "Neuropsychological Performance 10 Years After Immunization in Infancy With Thimerosal-Containing Vaccines"
    Pediactrics, Alberto Eugenio Tozzi, Patrizia Bisiacchi (February 2009)

    Headline:

    This study, funded by the CDC, was shopped for years until Pediatrics finally printed it. Want to compare kids who got more and less thimerosal? This is your study. No value whatsoever. We gave it a negative score for such bold fraud and misuse of data. An embarrassment.

    [ MORE INFO ]

  5. score
    0
    "Autism and Thimerosal-Containing Vaccines: Lack of Consistent Evidence for an Association"
    American Journal of Preventive Medicine, Paul Stehr-Green, DrPh, MPH (August 2003)

    Headline:

    Sometimes called the "Swedish Study." A summary paper that used the same methodologically flawed approach used in the original Danish study published in Pediatrics, which we discuss as study #2. Shockingly, Sweden's autism rate is noted to be 1 in 10,000, which is 60 times lower than the U.S. rate, but the authors don't address this discrepancy.

    [ MORE INFO ]

  6. score
    -4
    "Thimerosal Exposure in Infants and Developmental Disorders: A Prospective Cohort Study in the United Kingdom Does Not Support a Causal Association"
    Pediatrics, John Heron and Nick Andrews, PhD (September 2004)

    Headline:

    Often referred to as the "UK Study." The worst study ever created? Every kid in the study got the same vaccines, so the study only considered timing differences. Wins award for most dishonest title, and got our lowest score.

    [ MORE INFO ]

  7. score
    5
    "Early Thimerosal Exposure and Neuropsychological Outcomes at 7 to 10 Years"
    New England Journal of Medicine, Thompson WW et al. (September 27, 2007)

    Headline:

    Wins award for most conflicts with seven different vaccine companies mentioned. But, study doesn't even look at autism as an outcome, so doesn't apply to this debate at all. Had a panel member dissent from study conclusions, a bad sign. May be interesting to some, but not anyone studying autism.

    [ MORE INFO ]

  8. score
    1
    "Association Between Thimerosal-Containing Vaccine and Autism"
    Journal of the American Medical Association, Anders Hviid, MSc (October 2003)

    Headline:

    The second "Denmark study". The conclusions appear to be based on lost data. SafeMinds re-ran their numbers, and found that autism rates and thimerosal levels were actually highly correlated.

    [ MORE INFO ]

  9. score
    0
    "Mercury concentrations and metabolism in infants receiving vaccines containing thiomersal: A descriptive study"
    The Lancet, Michael Pichichero, MD (November 2002)

    Headline:

    One of the sillier studies ever performed, and the lead author is a vaccine patent-holder, no less. Absurd that this study appears on lists of studies exploring the relationship of vaccines to autism, as it doesn't even address the topic. More absurd is the author's complete misunderstanding of how mercury is excreted from the body. A laughable study written by an author as conflicted as the Marlboro Man would be studying cigarettes.

    [ MORE INFO ]

  10. score
    0
    "Thimerosal and Autism?"
    Pediatrics, Karen Nelson, MD (March 2003)

    Headline:

    This isn't a study at all, but rather a review of other studies and some opinions rendered from two scientists. It is helpful, however, in explaining how neurotoxic mercury really is.

    [ MORE INFO ]

  11. score
    0
    "Lack of Association Between Rh Status, Rh Immune Globulin in Pregnancy and Autism"
    American Journal of Medical Genetics, Judith H. Miles and T. Nicole Takahashi (May 2007)

    Headline:

    This study only considers one vaccine (RhoGam) given during pregnancy and its possible relationship with autism. Far too narrow an approach to consider if vaccines cause autism. And, in one of the more blatant conflicts, study is funded by the vaccine's manufacturer, Johnson & Johnson.

    [ MORE INFO ]