You may never trust a tuna melt again after reading this careful exposition of the authors' view that mercury is implicated in autism. But you will know a great deal more about mercury's appalling medical history--and the suspect role of medical punditry. Well-written and brimming with lore, the book is a pleasure to read. The Age of Autism is good reading for anyone interested in the causes of autism, or the social history of health.
For centuries, medicine has made reckless use of one of earth's most toxic substances: mercury--and the consequences, often invisible or ignored, continue to be tragic. Today, background pollution levels, including global emissions of mercury as well as other toxicants, make us all more vulnerable to its effects. From the worst cases of syphilis to Sigmund Freud's first cases of hysteria, from baffling new disorders in 19th century Britain to the modern scourge of autism, The Age of Autism traces the long overlooked history of mercury poisoning.
Within this context, Dan Olmsted and Mark Blaxill present startling findings: investigating the first cases of autism diagnosed in the 1940s revealed an unsuspected link to a new form of mercury in seed disinfectants, lumber fungicides and vaccines. In the tradition of Silent Spring and An Inconvenient Truth, Olmsted and Blaxill demonstrate how chemical and environmental clues may have been missed as medical "experts," many of them blinded by decades of systemic bias, instead placed blamed on parental behavior or children's biology.
Mark Blaxill is a managing partner at 3LP Advisors. The father of a child diagnosed with autism, he has been involved in autism advocacy for over a decade and has written widely on the scientific controversies surrounding autism
Dan Olmsted (editor) has been a journalist for 35 years and was an original staff member of USA Today and senior editor of USA WEEKEND and United Press International.
"To be clear, Blaxill and Olmsted state up front that they support vaccination. What they do not support is mainstream science's explanation of the cause and history of autism. Carefully laying groundwork for their hypothesis, they trace the origins of other illnesses that, if not directly caused by human hands, were worsened by them. One case in point: syphilis was once treated with mercury, which resulted in a type of madness thought to be another symptom of the disease.... Additionally they trace mercury poisoning as the basis of other illnesses before concluding that mercury plays a part in what may likely be multiple causes of autism. In this they relate a history of the discovery of autism and tie the disorder's recent ascendancy to increased environmental toxins, most specifically mercury. These two iconoclasts, one the father of a child with autism, lay out credible investigative evidence in support of their theory even if it does fly in the face of what they feel is the medical industry's current cant."--Booklist
"Olmsted and Blaxill's devastating account shows how medical and manufacturing interests have mounted an assault on human health for decades and covered their tracks along the way. The Age of Autism is only the latest episode in centuries of crimes against nature but is in many ways the most troubling. Autistic children are the canaries in the coal mine; shame on all of us if we don't heed their distress call.--Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.
488 pages. 2010