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Abstract: Autism: A Unique Type of Mercury Poisoning

  [ 144 votes ]   [ Discuss This Article ] • May 29, 2002

Sallie Bernard (Contact:; Albert Enayati, BS, ChE, MSME; Teresa Binstock; Heidi Roger; Lyn Redwood, RN, MSN, CRNP; Woody McGinnis, MD.


Autism is a syndrome characterized by impairments in social relatedness, language and communication, a need for routine and sameness, abnormal movements, and sensory dysfunction. Mercury (Hg) is a toxic metal that can exist as a pure element or in a variety of inorganic and organic forms and can cause immune, sensory, neurological, motor, and behavioral dysfunctions similar to traits defining or associated with autism. Thimerosal, a preservative frequently added to childhood vaccines, has become a major source of Hg in human infants and toddlers. According to the FDA and the American Academy of Pediatricians, fully vaccinated children now receive, within their first two years, Hg levels that exceed safety limits established by the FDA and other supervisory agencies.

A thorough review of medical literature and U.S. government data indicates
(i) that many and perhaps most cases of idiopathic autism, in which an extended period of developmental normalcy is followed by an emergence of symptoms, are induced by early exposure to Hg; (ii) that this type of autism represents a unique form of Hg poisoning (HgP); (iii) that excessive Hg exposure from thimerosal in vaccine injections is an etiological mechanism for causing the traits of autism; (iv) that certain genetic and non-genetic factors establish a predisposition whereby thimerosal's adverse effects occur only in some children; and (v) that vaccinal Hg in thimerosal is causing a heretofore unrecognized mercurial syndrome.


A review of medical literature indicates that the characteristics of autism and of mercury poisoning (HgP) are strikingly similar. Traits defining or associated with both disorders are summarized in Table A immediately following the Table of Contents and are discussed and cited in the body of this document. The parallels between the two diseases are so thorough as to suggest, based on total Hg injected into U.S. children, that many cases of autism are a form of mercury poisoning.

For these children, the exposure route is childhood vaccines, most of which contain thimerosal, a preservative which is 49.6% ethylmercury by weight. The amount of mercury a typical child under two years receives from vaccinations equates to 237.5 micrograms, or 3.53 x 1017 molecules (353,000,000,000,000,000 molecules). Most such vaccinal Hg may not be excreted and instead migrates to the brain.

The total amount injected into infants and toddlers (i) is known to exceed Federal safety standards, (ii) is officially considered to be a “low” level; whereby (iii) only a small percentage of exposed individuals exhibit symptoms of toxicity. In fact, children who develop Hg-related autism are likely to have had a predisposition derived from genetic and non-genetic factors.

Importantly, the timings of vaccinal Hg-exposure and its latency period coincide with the emergence of autistic-symptoms in specific children. Moreover, excessive mercury has been detected in urine, hair, and blood samples from autistic children; and parental reports, though limited at this date, indicate significant improvement in symptoms subsequent to heavy-metal chelation therapy.

The HgP phenotype is diverse and depends upon a number of factors - including type of Hg, route of entry into the body, rate and level of dose, individual genotype, and the age and immune status of the patient. Historically, variation among these factors has caused slightly different manifestations of mercurialism; Mad Hatter’s disease, Minamata disease, acrodynia, and industrial exposures provide examples.

The pathology arising from the mercury-related variables involved in autism - intermittent bolus doses of ethylmercury injected into susceptible infants and toddlers - is heretofore undescribed in medical literature. Therefore, in accord with existing HgP data and HgP’s ability to induce virtually all the traits defining or associated with autism spectrum disorders, we hypothesize that many and perhaps most cases of autism represent a unique form of mercury poisoning.

This conclusion and its supporting data have important implications for the affected population of autistic individuals and their families, for other unexplained disorders with symptoms similar to those of heavy metal intoxication, for vaccine content, and for childhood vaccination programs. Due to its high potential for neurotoxicity, thimerosal should be removed immediately from all vaccine products designated for infants and toddlers.

Copyright (c) 2000 by ARC Research,14 Commerce Drive, Cranford, NJ 07016

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