With the frightening rise in autism over the past ten yearshas come an increasing concern that thimerosal, amercury-based preservative used in vaccines, may be responsible.

Thus far, most medical studies have not revealed aconnection between thimerosal and autism, and the vaccineindustry continues to use the preservative in vaccines givento babies.

The proposed California bill would make it illegal to givevaccines to expectant mothers or babies under three monthsof age if they contain any more than trace amounts ofthimerosal. The state chapters of the American Academy ofPediatrics and the American Academy of Family Physicians hadopposed the bill because they feared that it might lead tovaccine shortages.

The pediatrics group has, however,changed its position toneutral, and a family physicans group is also reassessingits stance.

The state Department of Finance is on record in oppositionto the bill, on grounds it will cost the state extra topurchase thimerosal-free vaccine.

According to state health officials, the added cost would beabout $40,000 per year.

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