John McCain Falsely Claimed that Thimerosal Causes Autism

Mark Kleiman assures us that the claim that thimerosal (which used to be included in childhood vaccinations) is a cause of autism is just false:

Thus the thimerosal-autism theory is as dead as phlogiston in respectable company. I’m not surprised that “respectable company” excludes a few ambulance-chasing lawyers looking for deep pockets and a some emotionally devastated parents looking for someone to blame.

Mark then points to Jake Tapper who reports that McCain has joined those who pander fear among families who has the misfortune of a love one with autism:

At a town hall meeting Friday in Texas, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., declared that “there’s strong evidence” that thimerosal, a mercury-based preservative that was once in many childhood vaccines, is responsible for the increased diagnoses of autism in the U.S. — a position in stark contrast with the view of the medical establishment. McCain was responding to a question from the mother of a boy with autism, who asked about a recent story that the U.S. Court of Federal Claims and the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program had issued a judgment in favor of an unnamed child whose family claimed regressive encephalopathy and symptoms of autism were caused by thimerosal … Moreover, those scientists and organizations fear that powerful people lending credence to the thimerosal theory could dissuade parents from getting their children immunized — which in their view would lead to a very real health crisis.

Mark notes that this is not the first time that McCain has ignored science with proposals – that had they been adopted – could have resulted in many deaths. Such behavior in a politician is appalling. It’s not exactly the kind of character (or lack thereof) that I would to see in the next President.