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Bennett tries -- and fails -- to add mercury vaccine ban to health care bill

Sen. Mike Bennett used a health care bill in the final hours of session Friday to try to tack on a mercury ban in children's vaccines.

Bennett believes thimerosal, a mercury-derived preservative, leads to autism in children. Bennett and others previously tried to ban thimerosal in 2009 on behalf of GOP donor Gary Kompothecras, a millionaire chiropractor best known for his "1-800-ASK-GARY" lawyer-medical referral service.

But a majority of senators believe the science is dubious. Bennett's amendment failed on a voice vote.

"I would caution you, just because some organization has a fancy scientific sounding name, that doesn't mean their publications are peer reviewed, or that what they call science is truly science," said Sen. Alan Hays, a dentist from Umatilla.

"This is much to do about nothing."

Sen. Ronda Storms fought for the amendment. "It is not based on pure quackery," she said, reading from the Centers for Disease Control website.