Dan Olmsted

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Dan Olmsted was a journalist and former senior editor for United Press International (UPI), a news agency of the Unification Church company News World Communications. Olmsted wrote a series about a discredited hypothesis linking vaccination to autism. His columns on health and medicine appeared regularly in the Washington Times, also owned by the church, and were syndicated nationally from UPI's Washington D.C. bureau. He owned and edited the Age of Autism website, an anti-vaccine conspiracist site which he described as the "Daily Web Newspaper of the Autism Epidemic".

The Age of Autism[edit]

From 2005 to July 2007, Olmsted wrote about his investigative findings concerning the apparent global epidemic of autism in a series of columns titled The Age of Autism. Though scientific research suggests that autism is a primarily genetic disorder and that reported increases are mainly due to changes in diagnostic practices, Olmsted claimed that the increases are due to mercury poisoning, particularly from vaccines, and that the genetics is mostly secondary.[1] Though Olmsted continued to make this claim, thimerosal, the mercury-containing preservative blamed by Olmsted, was removed from virtually all vaccines as a precaution beginning in the late 1990s,[2] with no effect on autism diagnosis rates.[3][4][5]

Congressional action[edit]

Citing Olmsted's reports, on March 30, 2006, Rep. Carolyn Maloney (NY) announced that she would be drafting legislation calling for scientific studies investigating thiomersal and autism, additional to the many already conducted.[6] The bill was introduced in the U. S. House of Representatives in April 2006. Maloney made the announcement at a National Press Club press conference in Washington, D.C., along with Olmsted and David Kirby.[7][8]


Many scientific studies have found no credible evidence that thimerosal-containing vaccines and the MMR vaccine cause autism, and the MMR vaccine controversy has been determined to be the result of an "elaborate fraud" by British researcher Andrew Wakefield.[9][10]

In a critical assessment by the Columbia Journalism Review of the thimerosal controversy, Olmsted's reporting on unvaccinated populations has been characterized as "misguided" by two anonymous reporters. Both sources "believed that Olmsted has made up his mind on the question and is reporting the facts that support his conclusions".[11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Dan Olmsted (2007-07-18). "The Age of Autism: the last word". UPI. Archived from the original on 23 January 2012. Retrieved 2007-07-23. 
  2. ^ "Thimerosal in vaccines: frequently asked questions (FAQs)". Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, U.S. Food and Drug Administration. 2007-06-07. Retrieved 2008-07-22. 
  3. ^ DeStefano F (2007). "Vaccines and autism: evidence does not support a causal association". Clin Pharmacol Ther. 82 (6): 756–9. doi:10.1038/sj.clpt.6100407. PMID 17928818. 
  4. ^ Doja A, Roberts W (2006). "Immunizations and autism: a review of the literature". Can J Neurol Sci. 33 (4): 341–6. doi:10.1017/s031716710000528x. PMID 17168158. 
  5. ^ Immunization Safety Review Committee, Board on Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, Institute of Medicine (2004). Immunization Safety Review: Vaccines and Autism. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. ISBN 0-309-09237-X. 
  6. ^ Carolyn Maloney (US congress page) - "New, Thorough Study of Possible Mercury-Autism Link Proposed By Rep. Maloney". PDF draft of legislation.
  7. ^ UPI.com - 'UPI Autism story prompts bill' (March 30, 2006)
  8. ^ Offit PA (2007). "Thimerosal and vaccines—a cautionary tale". N Engl J Med. 357 (13): 1278–9. doi:10.1056/NEJMp078187. PMID 17898096. 
  9. ^ Doja A, Roberts W (2006). "Immunizations and autism: a review of the literature". Can J Neurol Sci. 33 (4): 341–6. doi:10.1017/s031716710000528x. PMID 17168158. 
  10. ^ Godlee F, Smith J, Marcovitch H (2011). "Wakefield's article linking MMR vaccine and autism was fraudulent". BMJ. 342: c7452. doi:10.1136/bmj.c7452. PMID 21209060. 
  11. ^ "Drug Test," Daniel Schulman, Columbia Journalism Review, 2005, from "Adventures in Autism blog(exact CJR issue unclear)

External links[edit]