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An announcement was made today by the law firm of Waters & Kraus, the firm that filed the first known lawsuit alleging that a mercury preservative in children's vaccines caused neurological damage to an infant ultimately diagnosed with autism. Waters & Kraus is leading a consortium of ten firms in as many states that are actively prosecuting cases of this nature (firms listed below). Andy Waters, the lead attorney in the cases, announced that his firm is now in possession of a previously unreleased confidential report authored by Centers for Disease Control scientists which studied autism as a potential neurological injury caused by mercury in children's vaccines.


A different version of the report was made public and has been cited by the recent Institute of Medicine study as inconclusive on the issue of whether the mercury-based vaccine preservative known as thimerosal has contributed to cause a nationwide epidemic of regressive autism and other neurological disorders in small children. The confidential version of the study, however, clearly demonstrated that an exposure to more than 62.5 micrograms of mercury within the first three months of life significantly increased a child's risk of developing autism. Specifically, the study found a 2.48 times increased risk of autism - that is to say, children with the exposure were more than twice as likely to develop autism as children not exposed.


In the United States, courts of law have generally held that a relative increased risk of 2.0 or higher is sufficient to substantiate that a given exposure causes disease. As but one example, in the case of Cook v. United States, 545 F.Supp. 306, at 308 (Northern District - California 1982) the Court stated that, "in a vaccine case, a relative risk greater than 2.0 establishes that there is a greater than 50% chance that the injury was caused by the vaccine."


Waters indicated that, in many of the cases his firm has evaluated, including the case filed in a Texas state court on behalf of the Counter family, the affected child received more than 62.5 micrograms of mercury through pediatric vaccines in the first three months of life.


The confidential report, which was obtained by the SAFEMINDS support and advocacy group, states: "As for the exposure evaluated at 3 months of age, we found increasing risks of 'neurological developmental disorders' with increasing cumulative exposure to thimerosal ... within the group of 'developmental disorders'... for the sub-group called 'specific delays,' and within this sub-group for the specific disorder 'developmental speech disorder,' and for 'autism,' 'stuttering' and 'attention deficit disorder.'"


The report also contained the graph depicted below which illustrated the report's findings of a child's increasing risk of developing the neurological symptoms of autism after receiving increasing amounts of thimerosal.


Graph 3:      Relative risk - 95 % CI of Autism after different exposure levels of thimerosal at 3 months of age, NCK & GHC




Waters called the report's contents and the fact that it was kept from the public as "shocking, but unfortunately not surprising, given the political influence of pharmaceutical companies and the tremendous liability they face if they are forced to compensate thousands of families for the costs of care that these children require." Waters added that "no amount of money can give these children back the potential that they were born with, and no amount of money will comfort the parents that watched helplessly as their children literally just slipped away." The purpose of the lawsuits his firm is currently prosecuting, said Waters, is "to bring to the surface the truth on this issue, a truth that government agencies seem unwilling to admit, perhaps for fear that parents will stop vaccinating their children, and to force the companies that profited from this disastrous mistake to shoulder the responsibility that so many families now bear on their own, often without even the aid of health insurance benefits."   

Media inquiries should be directed to Melissa Miles at 214-357-6244.

Client inquiries should be directed to Victoria Gibson at 800-226-9880, or to the firms listed below.


Other firms working with Waters & Kraus to prosecute individual cases involving thimerosal exposure are:


40925 County Center Drive, Suite 210
Temecula, California 92591
Telephone: 909-296-5090

726 Delmas Avenue
Pascagoula, Mississippi 39567
Telephone: 228-762-2272

1234 Delaware Avenue
Buffalo, New York 14209
Telephone: 716-884-2000

3405 Piedmont Road, Suite 225
Atlanta, Georgia 30305-1764
Telephone : 404-233-8718 

214 Capital Street
P.O. Box 11070
Charleston, W. VA 25339
Telephone: 304-346-5500

410 Glenwood Ave., Suite 200
Raleigh, North Carolina 27603
Telephone: 919-821-0005 

11 Bala Ave.
Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania 19004
Telephone: 610-668-7964 

338 Lafayette Street
New Orleans, Louisianna 70130
Telephone: 504-581-9065

3555 College Avenue
Alton, Illinois 62002
Telephone: 618-462-2600

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April 5, 2008

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