Scientists in Canada report they have identified a correlation between autism and exposure, via mercury, to high levels of the metal in vaccines and medical devices.
A team of scientists from the University of British Columbia, University of Ottawa and McMaster University looked at mercury levels in various vaccines, including Gardasil, the first line of vaccines administered to children aged six months to six years old.
Mercury levels in vaccines were found to be significantly higher than levels found in the blood, urine and saliva of people in the United States, the researchers said.
In fact, in all vaccines, there was a correlation of between 5.7 and 6.2 micrograms per liter, and in saliva the level was more than three times higher, they said.
“The results of this study suggest that exposure to high amounts of mercury during vaccines could potentially have long-term impacts on brain development, including autism,” the study said.
Researchers noted that the study looked at the mercury levels of all vaccines and did not take into account the vaccines used by the U.S. government and its vaccine manufacturers, including the flu vaccine.
The study was published in the journal Science Translational Medicine.
The findings suggest that mercury exposure can be a major factor in the development of autism, said Dr. Anne-Marie Lien, a member of the study team and an associate professor of pediatrics at McMaster University.
“These results suggest that vaccine exposure to excessive levels of mercury could have adverse consequences on brain growth and development,” she said.
The U.K.’s Department of Health and Human Services is the lead agency in developing vaccines for vaccines that contain mercury, including in Gardasilloids, the flu shot and the MMR vaccine.
The federal government’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends against all vaccinations containing mercury.