According to an article from PBS: Newshour Extra dated March 7, 2008, a number of parents are blaming vaccinations for the emergence of autism in their children.
Parents are filing their cases in a "federal vaccine court," which was set up to protect vaccine makers from bankruptcy. If the vaccination companies are found at fault, the award plaintiffs will come from a government fund and not from the industry itself.
The parents claim that thimerosal, a preservative in vaccines that contains mercury, caused their children to have autism. This is a preservative that is common in many of the vaccinations given to young children.
A study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control in 2003 disputes this contention and maintains that there is no scientific evidence to show that the preservative causes autism in children.
Some parents argue that autism levels are rising in the U.S. Only one infant in every 10,000 births in the 1880's was diagnosed with autism while that number rose to one in every 166 births in 2003.
Some scientists argue that the increase in autistic children is actually do to the fact that autism is being used more liberally as a label for any child who is mentally retarded or learning disabled. Using autism as the classification of the illness qualifies the child for financial aid and other education assistance.
Nine test cases in this matter are set to be resolved in June and will set the precedent for thousands of other cases to follow.