Vaccine Court, Cancer "Epidemic," Car Crashes

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Vaccine Court Rules in Favor of Science

Three cases were chosen from a pool of over 5,300 parents who had filed claims with the vaccines court, a branch of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, seeking damages because they believed their children had developed autism as a result of vaccinations. The cases were used to test the claim that the mercury-containing preservative thimerosal causes autism, and they were all denied.

In their coverage of the rulings, the New York Times quotes ACSH Trustee and vaccine expert Dr. Paul Offit of the Children s Hospital of Philadelphia: This hypothesis has already had its day in scientific court, but in America we like to have our day in literal court. Fortunately, we now have these rulings.

We applaud the vaccine court for taking this rumor out of the realm of science and putting it in the realm of superstition and advocacy where it belongs, says ACSH s Dr. Gilbert Ross. Autism is a devastating disease, and we understand the despair and frustration of these parents in trying to find the cause, but it is not caused by vaccines. Fortunately, with this ruling, vaccine-makers won t be intimidated out of the market by these claims.

Still, ACSH s Dr. Elizabeth Whelan is not optimistic that this will convince vaccine conspiracy theorists: In the cult of those who believe that vaccines cause autism, I don t think any legal decision will make a difference.

Cancer Epidemic Still Non-Existent

A data analysis published in the journal PLoS One by researchers at the American Cancer Society concludes that incidence and mortality rates of cancer have declined over the past twenty years.

Somebody needs to drop the Environmental Working Group a line and let them know about this, says Dr. Whelan.

It s not just the EWG, adds Dr. Ross. They are just one among many cancer-phobic alarmist groups that are trying to scare us about carcinogens in the environment. These new data confirm that, despite the many synthetic chemicals we are exposed to in our food, water, and air, and that do get into our bodies, cancer is not increasing; it is decreasing, and has been doing so for decades.

Car Crashes Decline

Estimates from the Department of Transportation suggest that the number of deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled last year was the lowest since record keeping began, in 1954.

Automobile accidents are a very important cause of mortality in the U.S., says Dr. Whelan. This highlights the importance of safer cars, airbags, wearing seatbelts, and of course discouraging drinking and driving.

Curtis Porter is a research intern at the American Council on Science and Health (