A meta-analysis epidemiological assessment of neurodevelopmental disorders following vaccines administered from 1994 through 2000 in the United States

Neuro Endocrinol Lett. 2006 Aug;27(4):401-13.


Background: Thimerosal is an ethylmercury-containing compound (49.6% mercury by weight) used as at the preservative level in vaccines (0.005% to 0.01%).

Methods: Statistical modeling in a meta-analysis epidemiological assessment of the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) for neurodevelopment disorders (NDs) reported following Diphtheria-Tetanus-whole-cell-Pertussis (DTP) vaccines in comparison to Diphtheria-Tetanus-whole-cell-Pertussis-Haemophilus Influenzae Type b (DTPH) vaccines (administered: 1994-1997) and following Thimerosal-containing Diphtheria-Tetanus-acellular-Pertussis (DTaP), vaccines in comparison to Thimerosal-free DTaP vaccines (administered: 1997-2000), was undertaken.

Results: Significantly increased adjusted (sex, age, vaccine type, vaccine manufacturer) risks of autism, speech disorders, mental retardation, personality disorders, thinking abnormalities, ataxia, and NDs in general, with minimal systematic error or confounding, were associated with TCV exposure.

Conclusion: It is clear from the results of the present epidemiological study and other recently published data associating mercury exposure with childhood NDs, additional ND research should be undertaken in the context of evaluating mercury-associated exposures, especially from Thimerosal-containing vaccines.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Child, Preschool
  • Developmental Disabilities / chemically induced
  • Developmental Disabilities / epidemiology*
  • Diphtheria-Tetanus-Pertussis Vaccine / adverse effects
  • Haemophilus Vaccines / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Nervous System Diseases / chemically induced
  • Nervous System Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Thimerosal / adverse effects*
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Vaccination / adverse effects*
  • Vaccination / statistics & numerical data*


  • Diphtheria-Tetanus-Pertussis Vaccine
  • Haemophilus Vaccines
  • diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis-haemophilus b conjugate vaccine
  • Thimerosal