Evidence of Harm: Mercury in Vaccines and the Autism Epidemic: A Medical Controversy

ISBN: 0312326440
ISBN 13: 9780312326449
By: David Kirby

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Asd Etc Autism Currently Reading Health Library Non Fiction Nonfiction Parenting To Read Vaccines

About this book

In the 1990s reported autism cases among American children began spiking, from about 1 in 10,000 in 1987 to a shocking 1 in 166 today. This trend coincided with the addition of several new shots to the nation's already crowded vaccination schedule, grouped together and given soon after birth or in the early months of infancy. Most of these shots contained a little-known preservative called thimerosal, which includes a quantity of the toxin mercury.Evidence of Harm explores the heated controversy over what many parents, physicians, public officials, and educators have called an "epidemic" of afflicted children. Following several families, David Kirby traces their struggle to understand how and why their once-healthy kids rapidly descended into silence or disturbed behavior, often accompanied by severe physical illness. Alarmed by the levels of mercury in the vaccine schedule, these families sought answers from their doctors, from science, from pharmaceutical companies that manufacture vaccines, and finally from the Center for Disease Control and the Food and Drug Administration-to no avail. But as they dug deeper, the families also found powerful allies in Congress and in the small community of physicians and researchers who believe that the rise of autism and other disorders is linked to toxic levels of mercury that accumulate in the systems of some children.An important and troubling book, Evidence of Harm reveals both the public and unsung obstacles faced by desperate families who have been opposed by the combined power of the federal government, health agencies, and pharmaceutical giants. From closed meetings of the FDA, CDC, and drug companies, to the mysterious rider inserted into the 2002 Homeland Security Bill that would bar thimerosal litigation, to open hearings held by Congress, this book shows a medical establishment determined to deny "evidence of harm" that might be connected with thimerosal and mercury in vaccines. In the end, as research is beginning to demonstrate, the questions raised by these families have significant implications for all children, and for those entrusted to oversee our national health.

Reader's Thoughts


A well thought out and researched work. A good read that puts you into the shoes of some of the parents of Autistic children. The secret to this book is in the title. Since there is no "Evidence of Harm", it must be good for you and your children . . . Oh how wrong! Science should be looking for "Evidence of Good" and they have been stuck at proving a negative.

Jen Johnson

Couldn't put it down. Filled with knowledge that not enough people know, and NEED to know! Whether you have a child on the autism spectrum is irrelevant. This is still an important, informative book.


Fascinating book that explores the controversy between vaccines and autism.

Elizabeth Rodenburg Punko

This book is a huge eye opener to the poison that is being injected into our children everyday. Irregardless of what your personal opinion is of this controversal topic, this book makes you question what you had been told about immunizations. If anything, this book needs to be read by all just for people to be able to make an educated decision on when or if you decide to have shots administered to your children or not.


This is a must-read if you have children. Information the CDC does not want you to have.


Very interesting, very scary book to read as a parent or even a member of society. If my kids get measles or mumps one day as a result of not being fully vaccinated, this book is why!


I'm glad I'm finding out all this info about the safety (or not) of things I had just taken for granted previously. Now I'm more inclined to do my own research as opposed to blindly trusting. Our little baby will definitely be following a late, drawn out schedule for vaccines and not receiving six or more at one time. That's ridiculous.


This book was interesting to me because it of its medically-related content, but if I were to rate it based on quality rather than how much I liked it, I think it would fall more in the 2 to 2.5 star range. I found it extremely biased, inflammatory, and emotional. Also, I can only imagine a few people I know who would be interested in a 500-page medical-legal-political tirade like this one. I can hardly believe it was a bestseller. I think a lot of people must have bought it and skimmed it because it's really too dense to be accessible reading. Let's just begin with the RED (danger!) cover. The title, combined with a photo of a little boy crying as he gets a shot, just makes my blood boil. From first glance the book screams "SEE?! SHOTS HURT KIDS!!!! VACCINES ARE BAD!!!!!!" And yeah, don't judge a book by its cover, yadda yadda. But the text didn't prove my first impressions wrong. Chapters have names like "Injecting Fear" and "Mercury Rising." Ugh, I cannot roll my eyes strongly enough.Every time a new player was introduced, I could tell whether it was going to be a "good guy" (Thimerosal-autism theory supporter) or a "bad guy" (denier of that theory) almost immediately. The "bad guys" were presented in a negative light, right off the bat. Also, all the unsupportive research was flawed or manipulated, while all of the supportive research was perfect. All of the scientists/bureaucrats/politicians who denied a link between Thimerosal and autism were cold, calculating, cruel meanies, whereas the parents were all angels and saints. It's just silly how manipulative this book was.I guess I should back up a little. Is there a link between the preservative Thimerosal in vaccines and the increase in autism that started in the 1990s? This book certainly makes it seem like a plausible theory, and I have to give the author this much: I thought it was all a crock when I first picked up the book, but after reading it I'm not so sure. Despite my efforts to resist the theory, I can't definitely say that I don't believe it. That said, it all seems like a moot point now that (to quote wikipedia), "In the United States, countries in the European Union and a few other affluent countries, [Thimerosal:] is no longer used as a preservative in routine childhood vaccination schedules." As we all know, autism rates in the U.S. have continued to rise, despite the removal of the icky-poo preservative.The best parts of this book weren't the hearings or the experimentation or the political power plays. Most interesting to me were the presentations of new autism treatments and the (anecdotal) successful results they've had. I've always thought of autism as an incurable and tragic disorder, and it was wonderful to read a little hope on the subject. I'd like to learn more about treatment options for autistic children.Overall, I might be reacting to this book so strongly because I'm about to give birth to a baby BOY in about six weeks. Boys are so much more likely be diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder, and that generally makes me nervous. I can't refute the idea that there is some sort of environmental trigger, and thanks to Evidence of Harm, I'm unreasonably nervous now about the tuna that I've eaten and the flu shots I've received. I know it's silly, but I can't stop worrying. And I'm also annoyed because I fell into David Kirby's trap of fear. Urg.


I can't put this book down! I can relate to the stories in it. These people have stories just like mine. It is an inspiring journey to get our children back.


Dense with information, this book follows the struggles that a group of parents faced as they battled to have their theory heard about the link between mercury in vaccines and the growing autism epidemic. The author follows a number of different threads--personal stories about families struggling with the disease, their growing conviction of a link between thimerosal and autism, the fight to find treatments for autism, the fight to access epidemiological evidence from the CDC for a link, the fight to prove a cover-up within some powerful government agencies, the fight... you name it, they've been fighting it. Whether or not you believe there's a link, it's shocking the lengths some government agencies will go to to cover up evidence, or stymie the efforts of these persistent parents to find answers to their valid questions. Or even to allow them to make a case in court.It was really frustrating as a parent to read this book. There's no hard evidence that thimerosal causes autism. And yet, there's also no firm evidence that it Doesn't. And in the meantime, because the government is so busy covering things up, and getting in bed with pharmaceutical companies, the waters become really muddy in a hurry. Because they have not dealt honestly, they will reap a harvest of distrust in the public, which may lead to the demise of their whole vaccination program. If you can't be honest, why would I trust you to inject something into my baby? And then what will they do to protect their vaccination program... promote a fascist state that forces everyone to vaccinate?


If you are a parent or will be read this before you vaccinate your kids...it will make you think about alternatives.


so thats whats wrong with you


This reads like an extra-long NYTimes Magazine piece, but is remarkably fast-paced for 400+ pages of legislative & scientific 'drama.' Very biased in its position on the vaccine-autism debate, but did give me some food for thought. Contextualized the time line of the court cases, media hoopla, legislation, and publicity surrounding the thimerosal (mercury) in vaccines debate.


wow. Yet another reason why we wouldn't be so popular worldwide... let's just ship our crap mercury and aluminum vaccines off to China and third-world countries... great idea, Clinton!


Wow! Depressing. Enlightening. I hope to find a book that tells the other side of the story...afraid I won't...I would have preferred to omit the "story" and the hype and just included the facts.

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