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Scholars Day: April 15, 2009

Mercury and autism

The prevalence of autism has increased approximately four times in children in nearly one decade (California Health and Human Services Agency, 2003). One potential cause that has alarmed many has been the presence of thimersol, the mercury-based preservative found among immunizations. Although many refute this, concern has been leveled by many families and professionals concerning the potential impact of mercury poisoning as a causal factor. Researchers have proposed that autism may be in part caused by mercury, because there was cumulative mercury exposure through dental amalgam, fish consumption, environmental pollution, and additionally, through increased thimerosal-containing vaccines for both mothers and newborns (Mutter, Naumann, Schneider, Walach, & Haley, 2005). Yet there are researchers who hold the opposite point-of-view. The purpose of this presentation is to synthesize the findings relative to the relationship between mercury exposure and autism in the existing literature and provide discussions regarding the relationship between the two.

Presenters: Moira Fallon (Faculty)
Eun-joo Kim (Faculty)
Jie Zhang (Faculty)
Topic: Education and Human Development
Location: 120 Hartwell
Time: 2:30 pm (Session IV)