|The potential impact of thiomersal on autism has been investigated extensively. Multiple lines of scientific evidence have shown that thiomersal does not cause autism. For example, the clinical symptoms of mercury poisoning differ significantly from those of autism. In addition, multiple population studies have found no association between thiomersal and autism, and rates of autism have continued to increase despite removal of thiomersal from vaccines. Thus, major scientific and medical bodies such as the Institute of Medicine and World Health Organization (WHO) as well as governmental agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the CDC reject any role for thiomersal in autism or other neurodevelopmental disorders. In spite of the consensus of the scientific community, some parents and advocacy groups continue to contend that thiomersal is linked to autism.|
This controversy has caused harm due to parents attempting to treat their autistic children with unproven and possibly dangerous treatments, discouraging parents from vaccinating their children due to fears about thiomersal toxicity and diverting resources away from research into more promising areas for the cause of autism. Thousands of lawsuits have been filed in the U.S. to seek damages from alleged toxicity from vaccines, including those purportedly caused by thiomersal. US courts have ruled against multiple representative test cases involving thiomersal, suggesting the majority are unlikely to succeed.