Quackwatch article on thimerosol and autism:
----Original Message Follows----
From: Michael H Goldhaber <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To: Science for the People Discussion List
<[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: mercury and autism
Date: Wed, 28 Feb 2007 16:07:34 -0800
Given the debate about Thimerosol, I thought this report, published in that
disreputable capitalist rag, the NY Times, and undoubtedly based on a study
financed by Big Phish, lends an ironic note.
February 27, 2007 New York Times
Nutrition: Study Questions Limits on Fish in Pregnancy
By NICHOLAS BAKALAR
The Food and Drug Administration advises pregnant women to avoid eating
certain fish entirely, because they may contain unsafe levels of
methylmercury, and to limit seafood to 12 ounces, or about two servings, a
week. But a British report, published in The Lancet on Feb. 17, suggests
that this may not be the best advice.
In an observational study of more than 8,000 pregnant women and their
children, the researchers found that the children whose mothers ate less
than 12 ounces of seafood a week were about 45 percent more likely to fall
into the lowest 25 percent in I.Q.
The researchers had the mothers fill out questionnaires about their diet
during pregnancy and then report periodically on their children through age
8. After controlling for more than two dozen diet and other variables, the
researchers found that greater maternal intake of omega-3 fatty acids in
fish was associated with better fine motor development, more prosocial
behavior and better social development.
They found no evidence that a mother’s consumption of more than 12 ounces
of seafood a week had any adverse effect on a child’s development.
“The risks of methylmercury in seafood, many scientists think, have been
radically overestimated in an effort to protect children,” said Dr. Joseph
R. Hibbeln, the lead author of the study. “The problem with the formulation
of the advisory is that there was no calculation of the benefits of
Dr. Hibbeln, a researcher at the United States Public Health Service,
declined to provide diet recommendations. “We are not offering advice,” he
said, “just doing a scientific study to provide information to the other
agencies that formulate advice.”
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