Boyd Haley, a mercury researcher and leading proponent of the mercury-autism connection, maintains that the California study proves nothing because it is based on a "false premise" that children in California haven't been getting any mercury from vaccines over the past several years.
"They say that mercury was totally out of vaccines in 2001 ... and that's absolutely false," Haley declared.Haley contends that some child vaccines still contained mercury preservative well after 2001, and that many children might have continued to receive the vaccines because California didn't actually enact a law banning them until 2006. If children were still getting mercury in vaccines after 2001, that could explain why autism rates didn't fall, Haley contends.
- Kentucky.com, Lexington Herald Leader, February 4, 2008
Dr. Robert Schechter, lead author on the report, stands by its findings but appears to acknowledge that not ALL mercury contaminants would have been removed from California vaccines after 2001:
"Autism rates increased consistently ... throughout this period, despite the exclusion of mercury from nearly all childhood vaccines," Schechter said in an interview. "Our findings are inconsistent with the idea that mercury could be the explanation for increases in autism."
As for Haley's argument that some children still might be getting some mercury from vaccines, Schechter said that could be true. But he said the general removal of thimerosal from vaccines still should have caused autism rates to fall -- if mercury were the culprit in the disease.
"I would not claim that children are getting no mercury from vaccines," Schechter said. "But the average exposure for the population has been substantially decreased over the past decade. If mercury from vaccinations was a primary cause of autism, you would expect rates to be dropping substantially."-emphasis added, Kentucky.com