Does Thimerosal really increase a child’s risk for acquiring a neurodevelopmental disorder? The answer to this question has become even more definite with Mark and David Geier’s 2014 Journal of Biological and Pharmacological Research paper, which presents highly compelling evidence in support of their previous research, which demonstrated a causal relationship between Thimerosal-containing vaccines and neurodevelopmental disorders.
The story of Thimerosal is a complex and ongoing narrative, but one of great significance. As many are already aware, Thimerosal was used as a preservative in many vaccines prior to 2001, when the CDC removed it from many (but not all) vaccines. Thimerosal’s removal was largely the result of research that explored its toxic properties and their association with the autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Because Thimerosal contains mercury, a toxic element long-proven to be highly detrimental to cognitive function, researchers like the Geiers had explored the role Thimerosal might play in the rise of neurodevelopmental disorders like ASD, and identified a causal relationship. While the CDC insists that Thimerosal-containing vaccines are not harmful nor associated with autism, an array of research indicates otherwise.
The Geier’s latest paper on Thimerosal offers even more concrete evidence of Thimerosal’s association with neurodevelopmental disorders.
After accessing a wide collection of reports from the Vaccine Adverse Effects Reporting System database, maintained by both the CDC and FDA, Geier et al. set out to generate statistics on the prevalence of neurodevelopmental disorders among children that received the Thimerosal-containing DTaP vaccine, and the prevalence of neurodevelopmental disorders among children who did not receive the Thimerosal-containing DTaP vaccine. Such analysis would help produce a more definitive answer to questions about Thimerosal’s relationship with these disorders, as any correlation would show that Thimerosal itself, not external variables, can increase the likelihood of neurodevelopment disorders.
Geier et. al used a population sample of over 5,500 children; approximately half had received the Thimerosal-containing DTaP vaccine between January of 1997 and December of 1999, and half were children that had received the Thimerosal-reduced DTaP vaccine between January 2004 to September 2006.
What they discovered is profound.
- Of the children who received the Thimerosal-containing DTaP vaccine reported, there were 25 reported cases of ASD; only 3 children who received the Thimerosal-reduced DTaP vaccine developed the disorder.
- This significant disproportion was evident in statistics generated for other neurodevelopmental impediments, too. 79% of speech disorder cases in the sample population came from children who had received the Thimerosal-containing DTaP vaccine, while 90% of mental retardation cases were reported from those who had received the Thimerosal-containing DTaP vaccine.
- Additionally, 83% percent of neurodevelopmental cases of any kind were from children to whom the Thimerosal-containing DTaP vaccine was administered.
To rule out other factors, Geier et al. also tested the study population’s occurrence of conditions that were not biologically-plausible results of Hg, such as injury, pneumonia, and pain at the site of injection. No statistically significant results were produced that identified one exposure group as more vulnerable to these non-Hg related conditions than the other. Essentially, such comparison underscores Thimerosal’s specific imposition of neurological disruptions.
So how can we make sense of Geier et al.’s research in a larger context? Their statistical analysis backs what other research and numerous animal studies have already strongly suggested: exposure to Thimerosal places recipients at a high risk for developing a neurodevelopmental disorder. While Thimerosal has technically been reduced to trace amounts in some childhood vaccines, like the DTaP vaccine, it hasn’t been removed from all, and is still present at preservative levels in half of all flu vaccines. In other words, Thimerosal’s story isn’t over just yet.