The Age of Autism: Mercury, Medicine, and a Manmade Epidemic, a new book by Dan Olmsted and Mark Blaxill, goes on sale today. I interviewed Olmsted and Blaxill about the book for Examiner.com.
They make a strong case that the autism epidemic is very real, and more environmental than genetic. Olmsted, a reporter who has devoted his career to writing about autism, and Blaxill, the father of a daughter with autism, argue that autism is largely the result of mercury from pollution, commercial products, and vaccines.
They investigated the backgrounds of some of the parents of the original children Leo Kanner identified in the late 1930s as having autism, and discovered that several of the parents had links to mercury in their backgrounds.
Olmsted and Blaxill say the increase in autism tracks with the use of mercury as a preservative in vaccines (thimerosal), though they say they are not anti-vaccine, just pro-vaccine safety.
Pollution is also a major factor in autism, say the authors, because coal emissions result in mercury that gets into the environment. They also write that spikes in schizophrenia and other diseases occurred since the Industrial Revolution, perhaps due to pollution.
A couple of other interesting items – they theorize that Mozart may have died from accidental mercury poisoning as a treatment for syphilis. They also note that the Amish, who vaccinate much less frequently than the general population, have a significantly lower rate of autism.
Obviously the theory that autism is linked to vaccines in some cases is controversial, but those who dismiss the theory outright should read the whole book before commenting on it.
The authors make excellent arguments that the traditional idea that autism is mostly genetic cannot be true because of the huge increase in cases of autism, now one in 110 according to the CDC. Autism was unknown before the 1930s.
Click here for the interview.