While it becomes more and more evident that the relationship between mercury in vaccines and autism is valid, other sources of mercury appear to be implicated as well.
In a study performed right here in Texas (Health Place, 2006 Jun; 12 (2): 203-9 or online in its entirety at http://www.seedcoalition.org/downloads/autism_study_UTHSCSA.pdf), investigators tried to determine if there was any link between mercury released from coal-burning power plants and the number of autism diagnoses. Coal-burning power plants are the primary source of mercury released in the atmosphere, although it is not the same type of mercury used in vaccines.
Researchers from the University of Texas used data from counties across the state to establish how much mercury was being released and the number of children diagnosed with autism or enrolled in special education classes in the same community. They concluded that for every 1,000 lb of mercury released in the environment there was a 43% increase in the rate of special education services and 61% increase in the rate of autism. Clearly they found a smoking gun!
Meanwhile, another interesting study was performed in Denmark, a country where people eat plenty of fish. Researchers measured the amount of methyl mercury – the type of mercury found in contaminated in fish – in the umbilical cord of newborn babies. They then checked these same children at age 7 and concluded that the amount of mercury at birth was an excellent predictor of neuro-psychological problems later in life.
Environ Health Perspect. 2005 Jul; 113 (7): 905-8