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

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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