The drug succimer could provide an alternative treatment for autistic children.
According to recent research conducted by Walter Rogan, head of the Paediatric Epidemiology Group at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, succimer has been found to remove mercury from the body.
The researcher explained: "Although it is not approved by the Food and Drug Administration to reduce mercury, succimer is reportedly being used for conditions like autism, in the belief that these conditions are caused, in part, by mercury poisoning."
Mr Rogan looked at a group of two-year-olds with moderate to high levels of mercury concentration in their blood.
Over one week, the concentrations were found to have reduced in the patients after taking succimer.
However, a three-month course of the treatment did not show such pronounced results.
Indeed, blood lead concentration was reduced by 42 per cent, however, blood mercury fell by just 18 per cent.