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Mercury and Autism: The Debate, Part 4

KSMU's Missy Shelton continues her conversation with Dr. Robert Steele in the final part of our series.

Shelton: In the second part of my conversation with Dr. Robert Steele, we being with his comments about the emotional aspects of this debate over whether the mercury-based preservative thimerosal causes autism.

Steele: This topic is a very emotional topic. When we're dealing with an entity, we don't know the causes of autism, we don't have very good treatments for autism, it certainly can be a very emotional issue. And my heart goes out to those parents that have children with autism. I think it's important that we look for the causes of autism because it's such a concerning problem. But there are limited funds we can give to diseases, including autism. We need to focus on those things that will hopefully bear fruit on causes and treatment. Vaccines have tended in the past to be a good scapegoat for that. A few years ago, it was the MMR vaccine and everyone was sure that it caused autism. Then, not only was it found that it didn't cause autism but one of the researchers behind that data had actually received a lot of money from trial lawyers. It was felt that data may have been tainted. We have to be careful and do what we can