Flickr: Photo by peapodsquadsmom
Vaccines are not to blame for autism. So ruled a special U.S. Court of Federal Claims last week.
The court ruled that thimerosol, a mercury-based preservative in some vaccines, such as the MMR (the one given to protect against measles, mumps, and rubella), cannot cause autism on its own.
Last February, another Federal court also ruled against three families who claimed that vaccines were responsible for their children's autism.
Many families are discouraged by the ruling, but spokespeople for the Coalition of Vaccine Safety and the advocacy group Autism Speaks, say they have not completely given up on a link between vaccines and autism.
Others, however, welcomed it. Alison Singer, president of the Autism Science Foundation, said, "It's time to move forward and look for the real causes of autism. There is not a bottomless pit of money with which to fund autism science. We have to use our scarce resources wisely."
For me, the interesting (and not so surprising) part of the court's decision is the language is "on their own." Vaccines don't cause autism on their own. This is in keeping with an article in the recent issue of Pediatrics suggesting that environmental toxins play a role in autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders.
That makes sense to me. There are toxins everywhere around us -- they permeate our pregnant wombs and our breast milk (formula too). These toxins can get passed on to our kids and can do who knows what kind of damage. Vaccines, of course, contain toxins. The problem is, you don't know what the tipping point will be -- or if it will ever come.
As moms, all we can do is assess the risks and decide where and when we want to eliminate toxins from our kids' lives. And we can hope that the causes of autism will soon be uncovered.
Do you think that environmental toxins could play a role in autism?