Dr. Eric Fombonne's new Quebec study will soon be published in the July 2006 issue of Pediatrics. Fombonne, a thimerosal litigation expert witness on behalf of various pharmaceutical companies, will reportedly state that it is "very clear" there is no relationship between mercury-based thimerosal and the onset of autism.
According to the research group SafeMinds, Fombonne's research is dangerously inaccurate:
- The study looked at 27,749 students in grades kindergarten through 12th grade in a Montreal school district and found 187 cases of autism.
- The vast majority of these cases (more than 90%) were born in years in which thimerosal vaccines were widely used for infants in Quebec, as they were in the US.
- Only a tiny fraction of the autism students were born when thimerosal-free DTP and Hib vaccines were given, and these students may have been exposed to thimerosal from the Hepatitis B vaccine newly recommended for infants of foreign-born parents, which made up over one fourth of the greater Montreal population.
- Dr. Fombonne wrongfully claims that large-population studies in the United States, England and Denmark also disprove a link between mercury and autism.
- Although multiple respected researchers state otherwise, Dr. Fombonne maintains the radical conclusion "there is no autism epidemic."
- He conveniently ignores the vast body of scientific evidence, which has shown that environmental factors such as mercury may have caused the increased number of autism diagnoses in the US and other countries.
- Dr. Fombonne's actions have historically been in the best interest of various pharmaceutical companies, not families with autism. Fombonne has also declared himself an expert witness in thimerosal-related litigation.
SafeMinds states, "Thimerosal is a serious poison that is harmful via inhalation, ingestion or contact with skin. Furthermore, thimerosal-containing vaccines elevate mercury levels in the body to a level where adverse neurological outcomes are known to occur. It is irresponsible for any pediatric doctor to justify injecting our children with mercury.
"The prevalence of all autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) has risen to 1 in 166 children in the past 20 years. Several independent federal agencies and respected scientists and researchers have received federal funds to investigate the autism epidemic and the biological plausibility of a link between mercury and ASDs. Multiple studies have indicated that there is a connection between childhood vaccines containing thimerosal and the incidence of autism. No conclusions have been made rejecting a link between mercury and autism."
The National Autism Association (NAA), along with multiple advocacy groups and researchers, hope that Fombonne's conflicts of interest will be disclosed in Pediatrics. "These significantly weak conclusions certainly work to Dr. Fombonne's benefit. It is only appropriate that his partnership with pharmaceutical companies be revealed," says Claire Bothwell, Board Chair of NAA.
For more information, visit www.nationalautism.org or www.safeminds.org.