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This week, the United States Court of Federal Claims began
the second hearing in a series of three to determine whether thimerosal, a
vaccine additive containing mercury, led to autism in thousands of children.

The New
York Times reports that the link
between vaccinations and autism has been
ruled out by every major study and scientific organization to examine the
issue. The
most recent of these studies found that removing thimerosal
from vaccines
did not reduce the number of autism cases in California. Still, parents and other
groups, like the National Autism
Association
, have continued to insist on a connection between the two, and
thus, claims are being heard in a special court set up 20 years by Congress to
deal with a series of vaccine scares.

Front and center in the case are two boys, William Mead and
Jordan King, from Portland, Oregon. According
to their attorney, Thomas Powers
, the two boys were developing normally
until receiving vaccines containing thimerosal, which they contend lead to a
buildup of mercury in their brains and subsequent autism.

Those
who believe that vaccinations lead to autism argue
, like Powers, that
certain people may have genes that predispose them to the disease, making them
especially vulnerable to the mercury found in thimerosal. The additive has
since been removed from the vaccines and over 5000 cases have been brought
forward by parents who believe their child’s autism may have been brought on by
thimerosal.

A ruling from the court will not be expected until next
year.

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