Although epidemiologic evidence has not supported the hypothesis of a causal relationship between thimerosal-containing vaccines and autism, concerns continue about pediatric exposure to mercury through vaccine administration. A statement issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the US Public Health Service in 1999 prompted the removal of thimerosal from many vaccines. In 2004, the Immunization Safety Review Committee of the Institute of Medicine rejected the hypothesis of a causal relationship between thimerosal-containing vaccines and autism.
In a search of MEDLINE and EMBASE, we identified articles that address the potential association between thimerosal and neurodevelopmental disorders, specifically autism. In this article, we review recent pharmacokinetic and epidemiologic studies published between 2003 and 2008 regarding the proposed link between thimerosal and autism.