Mercurial Evidence

Glenn Reynolds has some informative links on thimerosal, the mercury-based vaccine preservative that some have claimed may cause autism. However, medical evidence has found that there is only a small amount of mercury in childhood vaccinations and that mercury is processed by the body much faster than had been previously thought.

So the question becomes why all the controversy? Again, the culture of litigation in America is looking for a new target. Despite all the scientific evidence that points to thimerosal being harmless, the trial lawyers are smelling blood. In a civil trial, it doesn’t matter if the evidence is there as long as the lawyers can convince a jury that the Big Bad Drug Company(tm) might have known something, even if they did not. It’s another attempt to create frivolous lawsuits that would bankrupt an industry while fattening the wallets of trial lawyers.

The fact remains that the risk of bioterrorism is so severe that the President is beginning rolling series of innoculations against a disease that no longer exists in the wild. We cannot afford to have frivolous lawsuits harm the drug manufacturers who will be needed in case of a bioterrorism assault. The risks of releasing the information on thimerosal are far greater than the possibility that thimerosal has even the slightest connection to autism. In this case, the government is correct not fuel yet more frivolous and unnecessary lawsuits against an industry critical for the national defense.

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