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So lately, I've noticed a trend.

More and more often, on various unrelated forums I read, it seems that anti-vaccination activism is becoming the trendy topic du jour. Decrying vaccinations as "dangerous" and "unproven" is hot these days; and worse yet, people are now advocating not immunizing children.

I keep seeing the same claims posted again and again on all these different forums...sometimes, word-for-word the same, which suggests that people are copying the information from one place and pasting it into another, without actually doing any research to verify the authenticity of this information.

This points, I think, to the same kind of credulity that lets people believe in the Loch Ness monster and the notion that human beings were created by space aliens from the tenth planet who used us as slaves to mine gold, but at the same time not believe that the world is round. Credulity pisses me off, as long-term readers of this journal will no doubt have noticed.

So I did some legwork. I visited a bunch of anti-vaccination Web sites, and made a list of the claims I've seen posted on many of these sites, and then tracked down the truth. I've invested, at this point, about seven or eight hours into looking up each of these claims, reading very dry articles, doing Google searches, looking at links, and compiling an assessment of whether the claims are true or false.

As it turns out, not all the claims are false. Some of them are true, though often not true in the way the activists campaigning against vaccination might think. And I found some surprises, too.

CLAIM: Children's vaccines contain formaldehyde
STATUS: true

Sounds scary, doesn't it? Formaldehyde is used to embalm people. You sure don't want it in your body, right?

Formaldehyde is everywhere. It is produced naturally in our bodies during the normal, ordinary course of cellular metabolism. It's used as a preservative in cheese and dried foods. It's used as a preservative in many cold medicines, in dishwashing detergent, and in makeup. It comes out of the tailpipe of your car. It's produced by gas stoves and grills; anything grilled contains formaldehyde. Think about that at your next Fourth of July barbecue!

CLAIM: Children's vaccines contain mercury
STATUS: false

Some children's vaccinations used to contain thimerosal, a preservative to prevent contamination by bacteria. Thimerosal contains mercury.

Many people have claimed that the mercury in thimerosal causes autism in children (more on this later). However, beginning in the early 1990s, manufacturers began phasing out the use of thimerosal in pediatric vaccinations. Today, no pediatric vaccines contain thimerosal. (It was discontinued in 1996.)

Some vaccines still do contain thimerosal; specifically, two type of influenza vaccine (Fluzone and Fluvirin) contain thimerosal as a preservative. (A non-thimerosal version of Fluzone, Fluzone 3, is available.) The amount present is quite small--25 micrograms per dose, which represents about 12.5 micrograms of mercury. How much is that? Well, a serving of mackerel contains about 73 micrograms of mercury; a serving of scallops, about 5 micrograms; a serving of swordfish, a whopping 97 micrograms. In other words, worrying about the mercury content of a vaccine is a bit silly for anyone who eats seafood...

As a side note, thimerosal is also found in some sore-throat spray and in contact lens solution.

CLAIM: Children's vaccines contain aluminum phosphate
STATUS: true

Rabies vaccines, pneumonia vaccines, and DTaP vaccines contain aluminum phosphate.

What is it?

Aluminum phosphate is a naturally-occuring chemical compound that in its crystalline state is quite lovely. You may have some aluminum phosphate that you use for decoration somewhere in your house; its common name is "turquoise."

Medically, aluminum phosphate is used as a drug to treat certain kinds of kidney failure. It is also used in the denture adhesive that people use on their dentures, and as an antacid. Yes, it's true that aluminum phosphate can be toxic--and then again, dihydrogen monoxide is deadly if it's inhaled. What's dihydrogen monoxide? Oh, that...well, it's sold under the trade name of "water."

CLAIM: Children's vaccines contain aluminum salts
STATUS: true

It's true. Vaccines contain aluminum salts. So does your kitchen.

Aluminum phosphate is one kind of aluminum salt used in vaccines. Another is aluminum sulfate. Aluminum sulfate is toxic in large doses, but quite common and ordinary; its household name is "alum." It's one of the ingredients in common, everyday baking powder. It's also used to make pickles, maraschino cherries, and gelatin. And oh noes! It's in vaccines too!

CLAIM: Children's vaccines contain methanol
STATUS: false

There are some vaccines, namely vaccines against a bacterial infection called Q-Fever and vaccines against tuberculosis, which are made by extracting DNA from the bacterium by using methanol. The viral vaccinations used to immunize children are not made this way.

Methanol is a naturally-occuring alcohol. It's found in small quantities in diet colas, and it forms in the body when the artificial sweetener aspartame is broken down. It occurs naturally in fruits and vegetables, in fruit juice (especially orange juice, which contains quite a lot of methanol--34 milligrams per liter), and in fruit jellies and jams. In fact, methanol is found in almost any fruit or vegetable product. It's hard to get away from...

...but it is not found in pediatric vaccines.

CLAIM: Children's vaccines contain isopropyl
STATUS: nonsensical

"Isopropyl" is not a substance. The word "isopropyl" is an adjective; many compounds exist in isopropyl forms, such as isopropyl alcohol (ordinary rubbing alcohol), isopropyl unoprostone (a drug used to treat glaucoma), and so on.

Anti-vaccination activists are probably talking about isopropyl alcohol. When you get an injection of any kind, you are exposed to isopropyl alcohol. The nurse wipes your arm with a moist towelette soaked in it.

CLAIM: Children's vaccines contain phenols
STATUS: true

Phenol, or carbonic acid, is a naturally occurring substance that is produced whenever wood burns or during the decay of any organic material. Phenol and phenolic compounds are found in smoked fish and meat; in fact, phenols are what give smoked food its flavor! Very large quantities of phenols are produced by cigarette smoke; one cigarette produces more phenols than are in 57 vaccinations, and most of those phenols are inhaled by people around the smoker, not the smoker himself. (The filter in a filtered cigarette removes phenol from the mainstream smoke.) Any parent who smokes need not worry about the phenol in a vaccination--just by being around the child, that parent is exposing the child to levels of phenols that are hundreds of thousands of times higher than what's in a vaccine.

Oh, and if you're worried about phenols, don't live in the city, handle fiberglass insulation, or eat smoked food. Smog, car exhaust, insulation, and smoked food all contain very high levels of phenols.

And those bottles of "smoked flavoring" you can get at the grocery store, the sauce you pour on your steak to give it that authentic smoked flavor? The smoked flavor is phenol.

CLAIM: Children's vaccines contain 2-pheoxyethanol
STATUS: false, but very interesting

Do a Google search for "2-pheoxyethanol." You'll get 155 hits. You know what's interesting about that? There is no such thing as 2-pheoxyethanol. All of those hits are Web pages crusading against vaccines--and all of them pulled their information from the same source, which is a stunning example of how one source can appear to become "legitimate" when it gets picked up and passed all over the place. It's also interesting because of all these hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of anti-vaccination Web pages and so on, nobody has done any basic fact-checking; they're all just repeathing the same things without doing any research at all.

There's no such thing as 2-pheoxyethanol. It's a misspelling of "2-phenoxyethanol."

2-phenoxyethanol still sounds pretty bad, though, doesn't it? Look at that that name! Sounds like the kind of black, sludgy shit pouring out of the fiery Orc-pits in Mordor, doesn't it?

In reality, it's a natural antibiotic. It is used in some vaccines to prevent bacterial contamination. It's also used to make laundry detergent and hand soap, and it's used in makeup...in fact, it's used in a lot of antimicrobial applications, like hand wash and stuff, any place you don't want green fuzz growing or you want to get rid of green fuzz that may be growing.

Is it toxic? Unless you're a bacterium, no.

CLAIM: No clinical studies or long-term controlled surveys have been done on vaccination
STATUS: false

This is a great example of the old maxim that any lie repeated often enough will be believed as true.

The people who believe this claim haven't even done five minutes of research on Google. Not only is this claim false; it's the exact opposite of the truth.

Not only are vaccines subject to rigorous clinical studies and long-term followup studies, but they're the subject of much, much larger and more detailed clinical studies than any other drug. In fact, the clinical study of the polio vaccine is the largest clinical study in medical history. And the results are overwhelming: the polio vaccination provided 90% protection in the test group.

In fact, the polio vaccine is so dramatically effective that it looked for a while like polio, like smallpox, was destined to be completely eradicated from the face of the earth. Unfortunately, in the past few years, a political movement in Nigeria and Yemen, condemning vaccination as the white man's way of killing impoverished third-world babies, has taken hold, with predictable results--polio has become endemic in Nigeria and is spreading to the surrounding areas and throughout Yemen.

Interestingly, vaccination has always been used as something of a racial hot potato. In Third World countries, people looking to spread fear and uncertainty point to white First World doctors as the enemy; in the developed world, white supremacist whackos claim that vaccines are part of a Jewish conspiracy. (More on that later.)

CLAIM: Vaccines have never been shown to confer immunity. All clinical studies show only correlation, not causation.
STATUS: false

Much of the vaccine effectiveness data is correlatory; nations with high rates of vaccination have lower incidence of serious disease, and in nations where the rate of vaccinations falls, the incidence of disease rises.

But correlation does not necessarily show causation; a link between the cause and the effect, and the mechanism by which the cause produces the effect, must be shown.

With vaccination, the means by which a vaccine works are well-documented. The body's immune system works by producing antibodies in response to foreign agents such as bacteria and viruses. When a new bacterium or virus is introduced into the body, the immune cells attack the invader, then present the invader's proteins to other cells which then produce antibodies against it. But this process is very slow; a virulent invader can kill you long before you can produce those antibodies. Vaccines use weakened or killed viruses; they do not cause illness, but they do give the immune system a target. The immune system responds just as if they were live, and eventually produces antibodies. The presence of these antibodies can be tested. You can test a person, show that he has no antibodies against a virus, give him a vaccine, then test him again and he will have those antibodies. You can also demonstrate that a person who has antibodies has a strong and rapid immune response to the virus. Pretty straightforward.

CLAIM: Vaccines short-circuit or circumvent the body's defenses. When you inject someone with a vaccine, you bypass the body's defenses.
STATUS: false

This is just silly.

The body's immune system is carried in the blood. Your immune cells live in your bloodstream. Injecting someone with a vaccine doesn't "bypass the body's defenses;" it brings the virus straight to the body's defenses.

CLAIM: Polio isn't caused by a virus. The polio vaccine virus is useless, because polio is caused by other things like insecticides.
STATUS: false

Polio is not airborne; you can't get it by being in the same room with someone who is infected. Because of that, some people falsely claim that polio is not contagious, and therefore isn't caused by a virus. This is nonsense.

The polio virus is normally spread by contact with the biological waste of infected patients. In countries without good sanitation, where fecal contamination of drinking water is common, this is the normal route of infection.

The polio virus was first isolated in 1903, and was shown to be transferrable from filtered nervous tissue of infected people to other primates. This categorically rules out environmental toxins.

The polio virus has since been genetically sequenced, mapped, and modeled; its method of infection is now very well-understood. It's an RNA virus, like HIV; unlike HIV, though, it does not rely on the enzyme reverse transcriptase for its operation.

CLAIM: Vaccines cause autism. We are facing an autism epidemic because of vaccines.
STATUS: false

A while ago, a bunch of newspaper headlines were made when a researcher announced a hypothesis that there might be a link between aluminum and Alzheimer's disease. It got so much attention, in fact, that some people even threw away their aluminum pots and pans and stopped using deoderants (which contain aluminum salts). Later, after more research and investigation, it turned out to be a dead end.

But the dead ends, which are a normal and natural part of the scientific process (the greatest strength of the scientific method is that it is inherently self-correcting), don't make newspaper headlines. Today, if you do a Google search for "aluminum" and "Alzheimer's," you'll find hundreds of thousands of sites proclaiming that aluminum causes Alzheimer's...even though no such link actually exists, and the researcher who first investigated the connection says it didn't pan out.

Alzheimer's is a scary and complex disease with no known cause. People don't like that. People like certainty, and feel frightened and adrift, helpless to prevent things like Alzheimer's, without it. So people latch on to certainty, and convince themselves that they can stop themselves from getting Alzheimer's if they do not drink from aluminum cans.

Same deal with autism.

The researcher who first proposed a link between vaccinations and autism theorized that the thimerosal in vaccines, which contains mercury, might be responsible for brain dysfunction in developing children. Mercury is a known neurotoxin; it seemed likely that there might be a connection, and the knowledge of mercury's effects made the link plausible.

But the research showed that the theory just didn't pan out. Children who are not immunized are just as likely to be autistic as children who are.

And, of course, modern pediatric vaccines do not contain mercury, so even if there had been a link, it's a dead issue now.

Still, that does not stop worried parents from latching on to this idea because it gives them a sense of power and control over a very frightening and potentially devastating thing. Parents generally want to protect their children, and they want to keep them safe. If someone comes along and tells you "Do what I say and your child will be protected from autism," well, a lot of people will believe him.

Many parents have tales of how their child seemed normal before a vaccine and displayed signs of autism some time after. This is to be expected; children who are autistic start showing signs of it at about the same age when children get their first immunizations. As the anti-vaccination people like to point out when talking about immunity: correlation does not show causation! Yet in this case, they ignore their own reasoning.

CLAIM: Vaccines are not responsible for a drop in illness. It was already dropping when vaccines were introduced.
STATUS: false

This seems like a reasonable claim; after all, better nutrition, better sanitation, and better overall healthcare do have an effect on public health, so it's possible that a drop in major illnesses could be attributed to things other than vaccination, right?

Well, if that's so, how come only the diseases for which vaccinations exist have dropped, and diseases that are not (or were not) immunized against have stayed the same? If better sanitation and better nutrition were responsible for the drop in polio and measles and mumps, then why did they not cause a drop in chicken pox, too?

And why, when vaccination rates decline, do these diseases return?

Fact is, the dramatic drop in once-common diseases like whooping cough, measles, mumps, and polio coincided with vaccinations against these diseases, and in places like Russia, where vaccination is on the decline, these diseases are recurring at the same rate that vaccination is waning.

CLAIM: Vaccines kill 500,000 Americans a year.
STATUS: false

Do you know someone who has died in a car accident? I do; most people do. Statistically speaking, it's quite likely you know at least one person who's died in a car wreck.

Every year, about 40,000 people die in the United States in car wrecks. Some people claim that over 500,000, or more than ten times this number, die from vaccinations every year. Were that true, statistically speaking, you and I and everyone else would know, personally, ten or eleven people who'd been killed by a vaccine.

Don't think so.

CLAIM: Vaccines, along with artificial margarine, are part of a Jewish plot to kill Christians. And the Holocaust never happened.
STATUS: you figure it out

This is one of the most interesting things about the anti-vaccination movement: when you start aggressively searching for the sources of the information you find repeated over and over on the Web--something that takes a lot of patience, and sometimes some trips to the Wayback Machine archive of the Web, you find that, over and over, the source of the information is a broad coalition of white supremacist groups.

And that's just really, really weird.


( 58 comments — Leave a comment )
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Jan. 4th, 2006 01:43 am (UTC)
Thank you. I always love it when people do my legwork for me. ;)

I grew up in a country where polio was still endemic. It's for damn sure my kids get vaccinated on schedule.
Jan. 4th, 2006 08:25 am (UTC)
Just out of curiosity, which country was that?
(no subject) - wiredferret - Jan. 4th, 2006 05:23 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - Apr. 12th, 2007 07:29 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - Feb. 19th, 2008 05:40 am (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 4th, 2006 02:03 am (UTC)
Go Go Gadget Research.
I'm leery of vaccinations for me because we have a family history of severe drug reactions, including near-fatal reactions to vaccines. (I was hospitalized as an infant and nearly died, there's other family members who have gotten anywhere from violently ill to hospitalized at various ages.) I don't think it's inherent in the vaccines. We know our familial biochemistry bites.

I vaccinated the kid when she was small, anyway. We were just really careful to not get the big combo vaccine but to get the separate ones that were less stress on her system and so we would know what she reacted to, if she did. Any vaccines she gets from here on in will be her choice.
Jan. 4th, 2006 02:29 am (UTC)
it makes me all smug that I already knew some of this, and understood the rest.
Apr. 12th, 2007 07:31 am (UTC)
What a bunch of pro vaccine bullshit propaganda. Absolutely no clinical evidence given that formaldehyde when injected into the body of an infant or toddler is safe...quote your source (medical journal, lead author, date, year)...you can't.

Quote your source on phenols being safe in this same patient population? C'mon...I want good medical (peer review) journals, not your self indulgent mindless crap that you spew that is based on your ignorant opinions and stories about Listerine and backyard barbeques...what a joke.

What drug company do you work for asshole?
(no subject) - scien - Apr. 12th, 2007 10:47 am (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 4th, 2006 03:20 am (UTC)
I did not know these things. That was very informative. Just out of curiosity, what is your opinion on flu shots?
Jan. 4th, 2006 05:26 pm (UTC)
Depends on the situation. The problem with flu shots is that the vaccines need to be made in advance of flu season, and it's not always possible to predict in advance which flu strains will be most prevalent.

They're a good idea, at least in thimerosal-free formulations, for people at high risk of serious illness or death from influenza, but I think they're less necessary for the population at large.
(no subject) - burgundy - Jan. 4th, 2006 07:53 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - icedrake - Jan. 4th, 2006 10:17 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 4th, 2006 03:28 am (UTC)
I've heard and heard this again and again... and I have to give you an A+ on this one. You certainly made it more interesting than the many professors who have come before you. Thanks much.

Information is power...

power to the people...

right on!
Jan. 4th, 2006 04:50 am (UTC)
Dude, that thing about the Earth and the gold-mining doesn't even make sense. It's not even a narrative. Okay, maybe if I was seriously tripping my brains out it would coalesce into a narrative, but outside of that, it barely even qualifies as grammatically correct English in most places.
Jan. 4th, 2006 05:23 pm (UTC)
You know, funny you should mention that...

Sasha Lessin, founder of the "World Polyamory Association," received his Ph.D. from UCLA in the 1960s on the strength of his "research" into the origins of humans as the genetically engineered creations of the aliens from Zecharia Sitchin, the 12th planet (rather than the 10th planet...clearly, i misspoke!). What you read at that link is part of his thesis.

It's a pity that there's no such thing as malpractice on a university level...
Jan. 4th, 2006 05:46 am (UTC)
An excellent article. Thank you!

i have just one quibble: As far as I've heard (and I do NOT follow this closely), the link between Alzheimer's and aluminum is still being debated. For example, Relation between Aluminum Concentrations in Drinking Water and Alzheimer's Disease: An 8-year Follow-up Study came out in 2000. Do you know of other, more recent or more complete studies that contradict this?

(The article is about aluminum salts in drinking water, NOT about whether drinking from an aluminum can will cause Alzheimer's.)
Jan. 4th, 2006 06:28 am (UTC)
trillian42 posted the link to this and I had to pop over and read it. As a Mom of a small child who did vaccinate and who, like you, is tired of seeing the anti-vaccine crowd misinforming people, I want to say thanks. You did an amazing job with your research. Thanks for sharing!
Jan. 4th, 2006 07:05 am (UTC)
Thanks. Very well-researched, of course. As a parent, I did some of this myself (but before the web became as much of a thing, so it was far more annoying). My neighbor down the street is a staunch anti-vaccinator (as well as being VERY big into homeopathy, and keeps a kosher kitchen. Interesting woman). She handed me enough information to cause me some concern, but after doing my own research, mostly I chose to go ahead and vaccinate our daughter on the usual schedule, with a few modifications:

1) Whenever possible we broke the vaccines into multiple components, rather than the big combined ones they do so much now. That allows one to see which vaccines are causing the trouble (if there is any), as well as allowing the body more time to adjust to each new challenge. It of course costs more (more shots, more equipment, and more doctor's visits), so it's not an option available to everyone.

2) We opted for the injected polio vaccine rather than the more common oral preparation. This is because (and at this point, I'm a bit fuzzy on it, since our decision making on this was 8+ years ago) the oral vaccine is made in such a way that it can in very rare cases pass through the system of the baby and enter the poop in an active state, posing a higher risk to the caregiver if that caregiver was not vaccinated, or had incomplete immunity. IIRC, all of the adult cases in this country in recent years (by which, of course, I mean approximately 1985-1995) came from children who had had the oral form of the vaccine and passed it on to un/undervaccinated caregivers. Because the oral form of the vaccine was new when we were children (therefore still not 100% effective), and because Akien's parents died many years ago and we couldn't ASK them what form of the vaccine he had gotten, we decided not to take the tiny risk and just opted for the safer injected form.

3) I've never been sure what to do about Chickenpox. I THINK Allegra has had it. But if so, she had an incredibly light case--a total of fewer than a dozen pox (while on vacation at her grandparents--THERE'S a tale to tell!). She got it from a kid who had been vaccinated and who had no presenting symptoms at the time. This is why I'm really suspicious of that particular vaccine. I'm not convinced that they have it right yet, and I think that REQUIRING it for children to enter PREschool is quite possibly setting ourselves up for a chickenpox epidemic 20 years from now (or whenever their incomplete immunity wears off). I'm betting that we'll eventually find that this one requires a booster, but exactly how much and when has yet to be determined, of course. I'm all for adults getting the vaccine, though, if they haven't had the disease yet--getting it as an adult is No Fun, and quite dangerous. So in general I'm in favor of giving it to kids if they haven't had it by the time they hit elementary school, but requiring it for entering preschool is probably stupid, IMO. In general, they get better and stronger immunity from having the disease, and of all the childhood diseases it's one of the least dangerous. I sure hope I'm wrong to worry about this, however. And I hope Allegra's light case was "enough." I'll probably have her tested around age 13, to see if she shows immunity.
Jan. 5th, 2006 12:25 am (UTC)
2) *nod* 8 years ago, the OPV was still a live vaccine - these days the polio vaccination (oral and injected) is in a killed form.

3) We opted for the Chickenpox vaccine for two reasons a) I understand the science. b) we knew that it may not confer 100% immunity - that our kids might still get the chickenpox - but the more important thing was to provide protection against the side effects of chickenpox which are the more worrisome problem in the first place. Kritter (my eldest) had the vaccine, then went on a few years later to get a moderate case (on the scale of mild, moderate, severe). Beena, my second child, received the vaccine and did not get any subsequent cases of it- or if she did, she literally got 1 pock. They've both had a chicken pox "challenge" since then, and neither one of them came down with it.
(no subject) - dawnd - Jan. 5th, 2006 01:27 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - fiddle_dragon - Jan. 5th, 2006 01:32 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - dawnd - Jan. 5th, 2006 01:44 am (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 4th, 2006 11:00 am (UTC)
Do you think, though, that injecting substances like phenols and formaldehydes directly into the bloodstream could potentially pose more risks than otherwise consuming them as part of the diet does (not to say it wouldn't be worth it)? Thank you for the elucidating article!
Jan. 4th, 2006 05:17 pm (UTC)
That's an interesting question.

I did some research this morning on phenols specifically, and found this:

The systemic clinical effects of phenol are independent on the route of exposure, they include: headache, dizziness, hypotension, ventricular arrhythmia, shallow respiration, cyanosis, pallor; excitation and convulsions may occur initially, but it is quickly followed by unconsciousness."

This suggests that, for toxic doses at least, the avenue of introduction is irrelevant to the toxicity.

Interestingly, I also discovered that phenol has been used as a disinfectant and surgical antimicrobial for a very long time. The first person ever to use phenol medicinally was Dr. Joseph Lister, who began using it in surgery in 1908--with an attendant and dramatic decrease in postoperatory infection and increase in survival. In 1910, Dr. Lister made an antimicrobial mouthwash containing phenol; his mouthwash, Listerine, is still available today.

Phenol was also used in another antimicrobial product, a spray bacteriocide introduced in the 1950s. That product, Lysol, is also still available.

Formaldehyde is produced naturally by the body and is present in small amounts in the blood normally. OSHA regulations are more concerned with inhaled formaldehyde (which is irritating to nasal membranes and in large quantities has been linked to nasal and esophagal cancers) than with other exposure vectors. Mammals have a specific metabolic pathway in the liver, the "glutathione pathway," which is designed specifically to process formaldehyde in the blood; introduction of formaldehyde into thebloodstream is, if anything, safer than inhaling formaldehyde.
(no subject) - sthira_sukha - Jan. 11th, 2006 06:43 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - Feb. 21st, 2006 04:39 am (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 4th, 2006 02:45 pm (UTC)
CLAIM: Vaccines are not responsible for a drop in illness. It was already dropping when vaccines were introduced.
STATUS: false

I've seen several sites that said something like this when I was pointed to them during a debate on a parenting community. I think all of them denied the germ theory of disease, which is just as screwed up as the white supremecist stuff.
Jan. 4th, 2006 05:19 pm (UTC)
Nice piece, well documented and researched.

If you get the chance "why people believe weird things" is worth reading.
Jan. 5th, 2006 06:31 am (UTC)
Oh, yes, a hearty second to that suggestion!
Jan. 4th, 2006 08:07 pm (UTC)
Very interesting and informative! I'd like to point out one important thing about autism: It has a stronger genetic component than any other neurological disease. If one identical twin has it, the risk to the other is something like 85%. So when parents of an autistic child start searching for scapegoats, they should first look in the mirror.

An interesting tidbit: The popular oral spray antiseptic "Chloraseptic" is 1% phenol. Anyone who has taken gross anatomy should be able to recognize the smell.
Jan. 4th, 2006 10:19 pm (UTC)
Did these studies control against immunization? As a first reaction, I find it highly doubtful that the parents of a pair of twins would immunize one but not the other.
(no subject) - dawnd - Jan. 5th, 2006 01:47 am (UTC) - Expand
twins don't just have genes in common! - (Anonymous) - Apr. 5th, 2007 10:31 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - 6_bleen_7 - Apr. 5th, 2007 03:32 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 4th, 2006 10:28 pm (UTC)
(I used ciannait's magic WWWormhole to get over here.)

Great article. Amazing how so many of those conspiracy theories come together. And you know what? Vaccines are often given by JEWISH DOCTORS! It's all part of the plan for the huge database accessed to (((...sekret...))) libraries in the Vatican City, Africa, Washington D.C. and Jerusalem.

What a load of hogwash the anti-immunisation people spout. When I have kids (God willing and the creek don't rise), I'll jab them myself if I have to.
Jan. 4th, 2006 10:34 pm (UTC)
Excellent article, I'd not heard of half of those wild theories even, but it shows how easy it is to debunk things by just taking the time to check the facts.

On the autism front, there is a slight risk from the combined measles vaccine (called MMR in Britain) if you have a certain protein or genetic marker already that can cause an adverse reaction: a friend's daughter was affected, and so they tested her youngest son for the same marker before giving him any vaccine, found there was a problem and did the separate ones. So there is a verified link but only in certain obscure circumstances, handy to be aware of such things though.
Feb. 21st, 2006 04:35 am (UTC)
Uh, not really.

There is no more risk from the MMR than thimerosal for autism (the same population studies done for thimersal were done for MMR)... which is the same vaccine used in the USA since 1971 (the UK adopted it after having problems with the mumps component of their version, look the difference between Urabe versus Jeryl-Lynn (sp?) mumps vaccines).

The only reason that there is any controversy is because a gastrointerologist was paid by a lawyer to come up with specific data to support a lawsuit. You can reas up about it here:

It is to this pair you can thank for the upswing of mumps in young adults now in the UK. Thanks guys!
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - Apr. 25th, 2008 11:25 pm (UTC) - Expand
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( 58 comments — Leave a comment )