On whether mercury in vaccines causes autism, the FDA doesn’t know

<< US Rep. Dan Burton: Can you tell me right now, categorically, that mercury in vaccines does not cause autism?

Dr. Karen Midthun of the FDA: I think what I’d have to say is what the Institute of Medicine concluded is that the body of evidence neither allows you to accept nor reject that relationship.

US Rep. Dan Burton: No, I want you to give me a yes or no. Can you tell me, can you say right now, flat out… just say, can you tell me without any doubt whatsoever that the mercury in vaccines does not cause neurological problems or autism.

Dr. Karen Midthun of the FDA: We can neither accept nor reject a causal relationship.

US Rep. Dan Burton: So what you’re saying is you cannot tell me that. You cannot say categorically, can you?

Dr. Karen Midthun of the FDA: We don’t know one way or the other…

US Rep. Dan Burton: So why are you keeping something in there if you don’t know one way or the other, when you know that there’s an epidemic of autism? If there’s an epidemic of something, why do you keep it in there when you’re not sure, because every study I’ve seen flatly says you’re not sure? You say you can’t say yay or nay.

Dr. Karen Midthun of the FDA: I think you have to consider the benefit that vaccines confer… >>

— US House of Representatives, Government Reform Committee hearing, December 2002

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