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Evidence of Harm: Mercury in Vaccines and the Autism Epidemic: A Medical Controversy
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Evidence of Harm: Mercury in Vaccines and the Autism Epidemic: A Medical Controversy

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  251 ratings  ·  46 reviews
In the 1990s reported autism cases among American children began spiking, from about 1 in 10,000 in 1987 to a shocking 1 in 166 today. This trend coincided with the addition of several new shots to the nation's already crowded vaccination schedule, grouped together and given soon after birth or in the early months of infancy. Most of these shots contained a little-known pr ...more
Paperback, 491 pages
Published September 5th 2000 by St. Martins Press-3PL
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Average rating 3.86  · 
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Oct 20, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Don't torture yourself, this is some truly terrible journalism.
Jennifer Margulis
Jan 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book is outstanding. David Kirby is a masterful journalist, explaining the controversies surrounding thimerosal (a mercury derived preservative) in childhood vaccinations through the eyes of parents who believe their children were harmed by vaccines. The book follows the struggles of Lyn Redwood, a young R.N. who is married to a doctor and whose son, Will, regresses into autism following his vaccines. Redwood and several others, including Sallie Bernard, Heidi Rogers, and Scott and Laura Bo ...more
Sep 01, 2007 rated it really liked it
I was gripped by this book at first and it made me regret not reading more non-fiction. It is about the Autism epidemic and its correlation to childhood vaccines written by the New York Times health writer David Kirby. I especially appreciated the individual vignettes of each family’s unique experiences and struggles. This book is filled with shocking cover-ups, manipulated science and its fair share of politics. It wasn’t a “liberals are good, conservatives are bad” book either. There were good ...more
Sep 06, 2009 rated it liked it
This is not an easy read and it was really hard to give it a rating in stars. It really makes an interesting accusation agaoins the vaccine manufacturers. Every parent should read this book before making a choice about vaccinating their children.
Feb 06, 2008 rated it it was amazing
wow. Yet another reason why we wouldn't be so popular worldwide... let's just ship our crap mercury and aluminum vaccines off to China and third-world countries... great idea, Clinton!
Jan 02, 2010 rated it liked it
This book was interesting to me because it of its medically-related content, but if I were to rate it based on quality rather than how much I liked it, I think it would fall more in the 2 to 2.5 star range. I found it extremely biased, inflammatory, and emotional. Also, I can only imagine a few people I know who would be interested in a 500-page medical-legal-political tirade like this one. I can hardly believe it was a bestseller. I think a lot of people must have bought it and skimmed it becau ...more
May 07, 2008 rated it really liked it
Dense with information, this book follows the struggles that a group of parents faced as they battled to have their theory heard about the link between mercury in vaccines and the growing autism epidemic. The author follows a number of different threads--personal stories about families struggling with the disease, their growing conviction of a link between thimerosal and autism, the fight to find treatments for autism, the fight to access epidemiological evidence from the CDC for a link, the fig ...more
Jess Colleton
Jan 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
It's a big thick book. There's some droning on in it...... but the information is eye-opening. It's a good read if you want to know some of the beginning details of the fight against mercury in vaccines and how it can lead to brain damage.
Mar 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
An eye opening and disturbing account. I think there is compelling evidence that vaccines (especially when they contain known neurotoxins) do cause harm in some instances. Thimerisol was not adequately tested before being used as a vaccine preservative, was known by the drug manufacturer to cause neurological defects after it was added and was continued to be approved for use by the FDA years after they had ample evidence of harm (most still won't openly admit it caused harm). I'm horrified at t ...more
Mar 03, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I had tickets to a baseball game; took the book and read it in the stands. I couldn't put it down, read all night and finished in the morning.

Basically the pharmaceutical companies put mercury in the vaccines as a preservative(since publication of this book, they have been phased out of children's vaccines), claim there is no mercury (a technical point based on the definition of "trace")...and play a chess game of strategy with our health at stake. Mercury is a toxic substance and bi
Wendi Lau
1 in 45 kids classified Autism Spectrum Disorder in 2016
(National Health Statistics Report using 2014 data, the Center for Disease Control says 1 in 68 using 2012 data).

Takeaway: mercury-free (Thimerosal-free vaccines) flu shots are available for a few $ more.

Mr. Kirby presents studies, data, and arguments from both sides. Lots of research. Frustrating and really hard to read at times when descriptions of young children with chronic gut pain and months-long bouts of diarrhea p
Mary Frances
Aug 24, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: parents. those interested in medical or environmental issues
I have been a sceptic about the autism/vaccination link, but this book provided me with some serious food for thought. The reporting on the science used to challenge a link is very eye-opening, and I now am much more inclined to think there may be a link that should be very thoroughly investigated. This book just added to my increasing distrust of the government agencies that are charged with protecting us by reviewing and approving new drugs. it also lends strength to my overall skepticism abou ...more
Oct 24, 2009 rated it liked it
The way this book is written reminds me of A Civil Action by Jonathan Harr. It is very readable non-fiction--especially if you are interested in the topic. Kirby does give a lot of details and that can bog the reader down a bit. I feel like he tried his best to be objective regarding this controversial subject matter.

The jury is still out for me regarding a connection between autism and thimerosal. I definitely think more studies and research needs to be done. And no matter what conclusion
Aug 22, 2007 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: parents, physicians
Kirby writes good nonfiction: the book flows like a novel, and maintains the reader's interest. The subject matter is important--mercury in vaccines, and the possibility that it could have a role to play in the epidemic of autism and autism spectrum disorders. (Also touched upon is the notion that the MMR can cause autism--as put forth by Dr. Wakefield in Britain.) Whether or not the mercury has caused autism, what is fascinating about this book is the government's approach to the issue--or its ...more
Nov 16, 2011 rated it liked it
I really didn't want to read this book at all. I couldn't imagine myself enjoying anything so sciency. But, I had to delve deeper than the sporadic articles I've read on the safety of vaccines, so I made myself open this book. I am shocked to say that I am really enjoying it. The evidence for and against vaccines is presented in a fair and unbiased way, and the book is pleasantly readable. I feel armed with a lot of new knowledge!

*UPDATE* As my research continued, I found that the ma
Meaghan Enright
Oct 06, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone with an interest in Pharma, Autism, or just the collective social conscience
Shelves: non-fiction
Really compelling, thorough and surprisingly easy to understand - discusses the evidence linking the use of mercury based preservatives in childhood vaccines to the increased diagnosis of autism in young children. This book definitely makes you think - though the theory is a bit controversial (some discard it as farfetched), the symptoms of mercury poisoning and autism are disturbingly similar, and certainly the levels of mercury present in these vaccinations is cause for concern. (FYI, you can ...more
May 18, 2015 rated it liked it
Wow this book was difficult to read. I still don't know quite where our stand is. I do think that vaccinations have done a lot of good in this world and disagree with the "herd mentality" but I feel like the government has really failed us on this one and there is too much political and shady things going on from the FDA and the government to really get a clear picture. Would love if someone stopped having an agenda other than how to keep our children and the world healthy and safe.
Dec 20, 2007 rated it liked it
I was originally interested in this book because the congressman that I worked for was a doctor that focused on policy dealing with mercury in vaccines.

Stories of parents, their autistic children and their efforts in working with the government (mainly the CDC) are recorded. Their fight against the use of mercury filled vaccines are reminiscent of the efforts of parents today as well.

Overall, it was infuriating and invariant, but at times interesting.
Elizabeth  Rodenburg Punko
Jul 24, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This book is a huge eye opener to the poison that is being injected into our children everyday. Irregardless of what your personal opinion is of this controversal topic, this book makes you question what you had been told about immunizations. If anything, this book needs to be read by all just for people to be able to make an educated decision on when or if you decide to have shots administered to your children or not.
Sep 14, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: parents exploring vaccinations (but only if you have plenty of time)
Shelves: parenting-birth
This reads like an extra-long NYTimes Magazine piece, but is remarkably fast-paced for 400+ pages of legislative & scientific 'drama.' Very biased in its position on the vaccine-autism debate, but did give me some food for thought. Contextualized the time line of the court cases, media hoopla, legislation, and publicity surrounding the thimerosal (mercury) in vaccines debate.
Nov 26, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everybody who is healthy so as not to become ill.
A well thought out and researched work. A good read that puts you into the shoes of some of the parents of Autistic children. The secret to this book is in the title. Since there is no "Evidence of Harm", it must be good for you and your children . . . Oh how wrong! Science should be looking for "Evidence of Good" and they have been stuck at proving a negative.
Heather the Queen of (Smut)Books
As a Mother with both an Autistic child and a child with ADHD this book moved me to tears. I'm using this book to educate all friends and family. Knowledge is power. I can continue to harbor the whys and what ifs or I can move forward and educate but damn if I didn't wish this knowledge was out there 10 years ago. Protect your children at all costs.
Jan 03, 2009 rated it really liked it
I'm glad I'm finding out all this info about the safety (or not) of things I had just taken for granted previously. Now I'm more inclined to do my own research as opposed to blindly trusting. Our little baby will definitely be following a late, drawn out schedule for vaccines and not receiving six or more at one time. That's ridiculous.
Sheri Byrd
Feb 02, 2008 rated it liked it
For MPA public policy class. Scary. Oh so scary. Would have been scary even without the melodramatic writing style so typical when journalists decide to write narrative nonfiction. Nonetheless, this style seems encouraged by editors.
Jan 11, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: autism
This book followed a number of parents on their journey to Capital Hill. It explains the basis behind the theory of vaccines and Autism. I think anyone that read this would agree there is a connection.
Apr 14, 2010 rated it liked it
Wow! Depressing. Enlightening. I hope to find a book that tells the other side of the story...afraid I won't...

I would have preferred to omit the "story" and the hype and just included the facts.
Jen Johnson
Aug 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Couldn't put it down. Filled with knowledge that not enough people know, and NEED to know! Whether you have a child on the autism spectrum is irrelevant. This is still an important, informative book.
Apr 03, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Great book. Long and somewhat technical but very interesting. I loved it. Centers around the CDC and the controversey over mercury in child vaccines.
Jan 13, 2009 rated it really liked it
Enraging, frustrating, emotional. BUT - informative. It's not an anti vaccine book, but instead describes the legal, political and ethical battles surrounding thimerisol in the vaccines.
I found it very interesting at first, although very, very one-sided. But then, it became very repetitive, and I could not finish it.
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