Study Proves Link Between Thimerosal and Autism Neurotoxicity

Posted on September 1st, 2009 Admin

Natural News
Tuesday, September 01, 2009 by: Aaron Turpen, citizen journalist

Key concepts: Thimerosal, Autism and Mercury
View on NaturalPedia: Thimerosal, Autism and Mercury

(NaturalNews) In a study just published, a causal connection between Thimerosal, the preservative often used in vaccines, and the brain pathology found in patients diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), has been established. The study, A Mitochondrial Dysfunction, Impaired Oxidative-Reduction Activity, Degeneration, and Death in Human Neuronal and Fetal Cells Induced by Low-Level Exposure to Thimerosal and Other Metal Compounds was published in the June 2009 issue of the peer-reviewed journal Toxicology & Environmental Toxicology.1

In the study, it was found that the amounts of Thimerosal found in inoculations commonly given to infants in the 1990s and still in use today (though more limited) induced levels of cellular toxicity. This cellular damage was consistent with that found in studies of patients diagnosed with ASD.

Both studies found significant mitochondrial dysfunction, reduced cellular oxidative-reduction activity, cell degeneration, and cell death being tied to ASD. All of these contribute significantly to ASD diagnosis and are also often attributed to other childhood and early development maladies.

Here at Natural News, of course, readers are likely well aware of the links between Thimerosal and autism. Until now, those links have mostly been implied and inferred through anecdotal evidence and court cases. Nevertheless, the link between mercury, Thimerosal and childhood autism rates has been exhaustively covered here.2

Now, conclusive scientific evidence that cannot be ignored has been published in a peer-reviewed journal. This gives those of us concerned with the issue more ammunition to use in forcing lawmakers to acknowledge the link and for pharmaceutical companies who’ve been pushing their wares on us to become accountable for it.

This study also showed that Thimerosal is much more toxic than other metal compounds included in the study and commonly found in vaccines. Other compounds studied included aluminum sulfate, methylmercury hydroxide (often blamed for autism), lead acetate, and mercuric chloride. This study does not take those compounds off the hook, of course, but does show that Thimerosal is significantly more toxic than even methylmercury.

The explanation for that higher toxicity lies in the fact that Thimerosal is not naturally-based, but manufactured.

First created in the 1920s as a stronger replacement for alkylmercury compound, it’s biological transport and intracellular delivery properties were enhanced. The study shows that, in comparison to methylmercury hydroxide, Thimerosal has three distinct toxicity-enhancers:

  1. Higher aqueous solubility – the ability to dissolve in water.
  2. Higher solubility in cell membranes – the ability to dissolve in cell membranes.
  3. Higher intracellular toxicity – the ability to inactivate essential cell processes.

The study was done by CoMeD, Inc. (a non-profit) through a grant from the Brenen Hornstein Autism Research & Education Foundation and the non-profit Institute of Chronic Illnesses, Inc. Attribution was also given to the Genetic Centers of America.

CoMeD, Inc. and BHARE recommend parents and health care providers have children with ASD diagnosis tested by urinary porphyrin profile analysis (UPPA). More information is available at CoMeD’s website, including free information on ordering UPPA tests as well as papers validating those tests.

1 – A Mitochondrial Dysfunction, Impaired Oxidative-Reduction Activity, Degeneration, and Death in Human Neuronal and Fetal Cells Induced by Low-Level Exposure to Thimerosal and Other Metal Compounds…

2 – Natural News “Thimerosal” articles:…

3 – Press Release from CoMeD on study:…

Abstract of the study:

Mitochondrial dysfunction, impaired oxidative-reduction activity, degeneration, and death in human neuronal and fetal cells induced by low-level exposure to thimerosal and other metal compounds

Authors: D. A. Geier a;  P. G. King b; M. R. Geier c
Affiliations: a Institute of Chronic Illnesses, Inc., Maryland, USA
b CoMeD, Inc., Maryland, USA
c The Genetic Centers of America, Maryland, USA
DOI: 10.1080/02772240802246458
Publication Frequency: 8 issues per year

Published in: journal Toxicological & Environmental Chemistry, Volume 91, Issue 4 June 2009 , pages 735 – 749

First Published: June 2009

Formats available: HTML (English) : PDF (English)
Previously published as: Toxicological & Environmental Chemistry Reviews (0092-9867) until 1980
Article Requests: Order Reprints : Request Permissions


Thimerosal (ethylmercurithiosalicylic acid), an ethylmercury (EtHg)-releasing compound (49.55% mercury (Hg)), was used in a range of medical products for more than 70 years. Of particular recent concern, routine administering of Thimerosal-containing biologics/childhood vaccines have become significant sources of Hg exposure for some fetuses/infants. This study was undertaken to investigate cellular damage among in vitro human neuronal (SH-SY-5Y neuroblastoma and 1321N1 astrocytoma) and fetal (nontransformed) model systems using cell vitality assays and microscope-based digital image capture techniques to assess potential damage induced by Thimerosal and other metal compounds (aluminum (Al) sulfate, lead (Pb)(II) acetate, methylmercury (MeHg) hydroxide, and mercury (Hg)(II) chloride) where the cation was reported to exert adverse effects on developing cells. Thimerosal-associated cellular damage was also evaluated for similarity to pathophysiological findings observed in patients diagnosed with autistic disorders (ADs). Thimerosal-induced cellular damage as evidenced by concentration- and time-dependent mitochondrial damage, reduced oxidative-reduction activity, cellular degeneration, and cell death in the in vitro human neuronal and fetal model systems studied. Thimerosal at low nanomolar (nM) concentrations induced significant cellular toxicity in human neuronal and fetal cells. Thimerosal-induced cytoxicity is similar to that observed in AD pathophysiologic studies. Thimerosal was found to be significantly more toxic than the other metal compounds examined. Future studies need to be conducted to evaluate additional mechanisms underlying Thimerosal-induced cellular damage and assess potential co-exposures to other compounds that may increase or decrease Thimerosal-mediated toxicity.
Keywords: autism; glial; lead; mercury; mercuric; neurodevelopmental

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