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Cries the antivaccinationist: Why are we injecting TOXINS into our babies? (revisited)

Alright, I think I got the whole Maher/Dawkins thing out of my system for now. True, given the highly annoying reaction of one reader, I was half-tempted to write yet another post on the whole fiasco just out of spite, but I decided that spite in and of itself was not a good reason to write a blog post. Well, in this case it isn’t, anyway, but if it were someone like Vox Day, or J.B. Handley, or a hapless quack or creationist, well, a wee bit of spite can make for some mighty fine blogging that’s really fun to write. True, spite should never be the be-all and end-all of a blog, but certainly it’s part of the mix, along with ridicule, which some targets of Orac’s Insolence, both the Respectful and not-so-Respectful varieties, deserve in abundance.

Speaking of spite, though, does anyone remember a regular commenter here by the name of Dawn? No, not “Dawn from MI,” who had to start signing her posts that way in order to distinguish herself from what we started calling “evil Dawn,” a situation that sometimes caused confusion and made me feel sorry for “good Dawn’s” having to put up with the occasional confusion. Ultimately, evil Dawn went too far, pissing me off to the point where I banned her, making her only the second person (out of three) ever banned in the five years of this blog, the first being John Best. (The third one banned was Happeh.) Given the august company that evil Dawn finds herself in, there is no doubt that the crazy was strong in this one. So was the spite, which was what finally got her kicked off as a commenter on this blog. Fortunately, unlike Happeh, Dawn has stayed gone, and the blog is much better off for it.

Unfortunately, it looks as though Dawn found herself a “better” blogging gig than annoying my readers any time I blogged about vaccines. In fact, she’s managed to get a bit of work of hers published on a fairly high profile anti-vaccine website, as some of my readers and one of my blog buds PalMD, pointed out to me. The article is FDA Approved H1N1 Vaccines Contain Ingredients Known to Cause Cancer and Death. Here’s a hint. It’s so bad that it’s posted on Kevin Trudeau’s website as well. Here’s another hint: Even the anti-vaccine crank blog Age of Autism did not link to Dawn’s post. (Maybe the “editors” there learned something from the Heckenlively debacle. Naaaaaaahhh!)

In any case, in Dawn’s article, the stupid is everlastingly burning. In fact, if a such a thing as hell exists, the fire burning there eternally would be Dawn’s burning stupid, and the punishment for anyone with a modicum of knowledge of science would be to have Dawn read her article to you over and over again for all eternity.

Geez, I just scared even myself. Maybe I should start going to Mass again. And Confession. Maybe I could become an usher at the local church and join the Knights of Columbus. If there’s even a homeopathic chance that this version of hell is waiting for me at the end of my life, it’s enough to shake even my doubt. You’ll soon see what I mean.

Basically, what Dawn did was to look at the ingredients of the H1N1 vaccines that will soon be on the market, attended Google University, read a few Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS), and, voilà! The stupid is served. Hot, steaming, and stinky. Dawn doesn’t even have a clue just how silly what she has done is, as evidenced by this exchange in the comments of her blog:

SHAWN: Dawn, do you have any indication as to whether the (thus far) approved vaccine is adjuvanted? Also, if it is not adjuvanted, it does not preclude adjuvanting the next batch and on into the future. They’ve been waiting on “expert” analyses of clinical trial results.

DAWN: Honestly Shawn, it is not known at this time. I have simply supplied the package inserts that have been made public with the product. Any new information that I come across I will surely post.

CRYSTAL: Scary stuff. People just do not understand…

Scary stuff indeed, just not in the way that Crystal thinks. In fact, my irony meter once again exploded when it encountered the exchange above. I really need to reinforce that sucker better. I’ll also point out that, no, the U.S. H1N1 vaccines do not contain adjuvants, although the European vaccines do. (revere discussed the issue of adjuvants here and here.

But back to Dawn’s post.

In essence, what Dawn did when she wrote this post is to make exactly the same hilariously idiotic mistake that Age of Autism regular Kent Heckenlively made nearly two years ago when he tried to implicated sucrose in vaccines as a cause of…well who knows? The results are just as hilariously but disturbingly brain dead.

Dawn starts with one fear-mongering bit:

Most health experts will agree that vaccine reactions can occur. It is estimated that roughly 1 in every million people will react to their vaccine. Even then, health officials maintain that it is usually a simple case of inflammation at the injection site and/or a slight fever. On a rare occasion, anaphylactic shock may occur due to the patient reacting to a substance that they are allergic to. However, the FDA recently approved four H1N1 vaccines that not only contain very questionable ingredients, but some of those ingredients have even been proven to cause cancer and death.

She then launches into a little tirade about how people who are hypersensitive to the ovalbumin or other proteins in eggs could be harmed by the vaccine. Well, duh! Why does Dawn think that people who are going to be given the vaccine are asked if they’ve ever had an allergic reaction to eggs, gelatin, or anything else in the vaccine that a fraction of the population may be allergic to?

Still, that was the least of the stupidity in this post. If Dawn hadn’t gone so over-the-top, she might have had a half-rational point. Here’s where Dawn creates her own hell. Well, actually, she creates hell for anyone with half a brain who happens to read her article, proving beyond a shadow of a doubt Jean-Paul Sartre’s postulate that “hell is other people,” at least if that other person happens to be Dawn and you happen to have half a brain. Here’s what I mean:

Neomycin and polymyxin are listed as contraindications for CSL’s (2) and Novartis’ (3) vaccines. “Neomycin may cause damage to the kidneys and/or nerves. Kidney function and drug levels in the blood may be monitored with blood tests during treatment. Tell your doctor if you experience decreased urination, hearing loss, ringing in the ears, feeling of fullness in the ears, dizziness, numbness, skin tingling, muscle twitching, or seizures which may be signs of kidney or nerve damage.” (7) According to Teva Pharmaceuticals, the effects of neomycin may not be evident until long after the medication has been discontinued. Just exactly how long is unclear at this time. (8) Polymyxin has its own set of possible adverse reactions. “Neurotoxic reactions may be manifested by irritability, weakness, drowsiness, ataxia, perioral paresthesia, numbness of the extremities, and blurring of vision. These are usually associated with high serum levels found in patients with impaired renal function and/or nephrotoxicity.” (9)

This is just plain ignorant. If you want to see the difference between an education over a weekend or two at Google University and actually understanding medicine, look no further than the above. Neomycin and polymixin are indeed antibiotics. They’re used in the manufacture of vaccines. Specifically, antibiotics like this are usually used to prevent bacterial contamination and overgrowth during cell culture and the growth of the viruses. After the manufacturing process there often remain trace amounts of these antibiotics. In humans, neomycin is primarily used for bowel preps, in order to decrease the level of bacterial flora in the colon before any sort of surgery that might involve a colon resection and anastomosis. Polymixin B is rarely used to treat humans anymore because there are better drugs. Here’s problem and here’s where Dawn reveals the limitations of her Google education to hilarious effect, just as Kent Heckenlively did. The dosages needed to cause hearing, kidney, or nerve damage are at least three or four orders of magnitude higher than the amount of the traces of these antibiotics that are found in any vaccine. Indeed, the usual doses of these antibiotics for an adult are in the gram, not milligram or microgram range. Not that that stops Dawn from making the same mistake again with one other antibiotic:

Gentamicin (10) is listed as a contraindication for MedImmune’s vaccine (1). It too, has its own list of possible side effects, which may include nephrotoxicity and/or neurotoxicity.

This is the same idiocy that Kent Heckenlively fell into with hilarious effect. In any case, gentamycin is used to treat serious gram negative bacterial infections, and the dose is usually in the mg/kg range. Again, its orders of magnitude higher than any conceivable dose that a baby could be exposed to in vaccines. In fact, I’d be willing to bet good money that, after an injection of the H1N1 vaccine there wouldn’t even be detectable levels of gentamycin in the blood. There are assays for this drug, because keeping its levels within the therapeutic range and below the toxic range is essential.

Dawn then proceeds to delve deeper into antivaccine pseudoscience:

An overview of the remaining chemicals may prove to be further unsettling. Sanofi Pasteur’s vaccine (4) also contains formaldehyde (25), which is a suspected carcinogen (cancer-causing), Triton X-100 (26), which is possibly a reproductive toxin, and thimerosal (27), which is mutagenic for mammalian somatic cells (alters DNA).

Formaldehyde? As I’ve said before, that’s the dumbest anti-vaccine gambit of all. Even Dr. Jay Gordon doesn’t use it, so shamed and slapped down was he for using it the last time. Thimerosal, as we’ve said before, is not toxic at the doses used in vaccines, and there is no evidence that thimerosal in vaccines causes autism. Finally, Triton X-100 is a a common detergent agent used to make cell membranes permeable and release virus into . In the past, a compound called Tween-Ether was sometimes used instead of Triton X-100. Either way, there’s nowhere near enough Triton X-100 in a vaccine to be toxic. The dose makes the poison.

There’s an old saying that, when you’re in a hole, stop digging. Dawn has never heard of that saying, apparently, given that she then proceeds to blather on and on about potential drug interactions between these antibiotics and how they increase the risk of side effects, such as ototoxicity (harm to hearing) or nephrotoxicity (kidney damage). Again, there’s just one problem. Those interactions occur at therapeutic doses. In ranges orders of magnitude below the therapeutic range they are simply not a major (or even minor) consideration. doubt some will say that I’m being too hard on an ignoramus like Dawn, but if you want to play with the big boys in the blogosphere, you’d better be prepared to take the consequences that come your way from laying down a swath of flaming stupid, like a bomber laying down napalm.

Besides, I haven’t really revealed to you the dumbest part of Dawn’s article yet. Yes, it does get worse. Oh, so much worse. I realize that it’s hard to believe, but it’s true. Not only did Dawn not stop digging when she was in a hole, but she got out a freakin’ backhoe. Heck, she did more than that. She got out the dynamite and started blasting. No, even that’s not enough. She actually decided to start digging by detonating thermonuclear weapons of stupid. Think I’m exaggerating? I only wish I were. In fact, if anything, I think I’m going a bit easy on Dawn for this. But be prepared. If you have even a rudimentary knowledge of very basic chemistry, your brain will hurt after you read this. That’s just the apoptosis of neurons crying out in pain from the toxic waves of stupid washing over them.

OK, ready?

Here it comes.

Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Here it is:

Potassium chloride (30), calcium chloride (31), and sodium chloride (32) are also listed as ingredients for CSL. All three are considered mutagenic for mammalian somatic cells.

I started giggling uncontrollably when I read this passage. I don’t know if it was a reaction to the pain of millions of neurons crying out against the other millions of neurons that had forced my eyes to look at this burning stupid. Somehow I got a picture of a control center in my brain, much like the one in the final segment Woody Allen’s classic movie Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex (But Were Afraid to Ask). I envisioned a bloody and wounded Tony Randall staring blankly around him as parts of the brain’s control center explode like the bridge in a Star Trek episode during a particularly fierce starship battle, with crew members (such as Burt Reynolds in the case of Sex) collapsing or being thrown backward with hilariously bad acting as the console in front of them erupts into a shower of sparks. The humor behind this image gave me comfort and allowed me to survive the onslaught of intelligence-sucking nonsense. I couldn’t help myself, and, I daresay, you probably had a hard time not cracking up too when you read Dawn’s horror that–gasp!–salt is in vaccines.

But back to what Dawn actually wrote.

That’s right. Sodium chloride is in the vaccines! Table salt! Run away! The vaccines are going to kill us all! Or maybe give us hypertension. But what about potassium chloride? Lots of foods have potassium chloride, lots of potassium chloride. Bananas, for instance, are famous for having a lot of potassium. So do Romaine lettuce, spinach, celery, broccoli, cucumbers, and a number of other vegetables. Oh, no! Not that too! The vegetables are going to kill us all too! (Now I’m getting an image of a certain episode of Lost in Space.) But what about calcium chloride? Well, it’s used in lots of foods, too. It can be found in sports drinks as part of the electrolytes used, in various snack foods, and in other foods.

The horror. The horror.

Right now, I’m going to describe a perfect storm of these electrolytes that will strike horror deep into Dawn’s pseudoscientific little heart. There is a product actually used in hospitals that contains not just sodium chloride, but postassium chloride and calcium chloride. Not only that, but it contains them at concentrations as high or higher than what is found in any vaccine. Even worse, it comes in 100 ml, 250 ml, 500 ml and 1 L bags! Hundreds, thousands of times more of the toxins are there! Clearly, this must be some horrible disinfectant. Surely it must be used to scrub down the floors and sinks in order to kill all that resistant staph and those nasty hospital bugs, right? Doctors, nurses, and medical students are probably laughing their posteriors off right now, because they know what I’m referring to:

Lactated Ringer’s, abbreviated LR.

That’s right, it’s an IV fluid infused–the horror! the horror!–directly into the veins. Not only that, but in adults, it’s not infrequently infused at 100 ml/hr or even more. Sometimes a liter at a time is infused rapidly! I wonder why every hospitalized patient who’s received LR hasn’t turned into a mutant or developed cancer? If Dawn is right about sodium chloride and the rest of these salts, every trauma patient who’s ever survived should have horribly mutated cells or cancer, because LR is usually the intravenous fluid of choice for most trauma resuscitations. Come to think of it, here’s another toxic bomb of mutagenesis: Gatorade. That’s right. There’s plenty of NaCl (that’s sodium chloride, Dawn), KCl (that’s potassium chloride, Dawn), and CaCl2 (that’s calcium chloride, Dawn) in sports drinks like Gatorade. That means all those athletes must have cells whose DNA is mutating horribly right this very minute after exposure to those horrible mutagens, NaCl, KCl, and CaCl2!

In the end, Dawn’s article is the perfect encapsulation of the arrogance of ignorance. Dawn thought she could teach herself this stuff and that reading a few MSDS sheets and some lists of ingredients, coupled with a bit of Googling, allows her to understand vaccine ingredients well enough to be able to argue how dangerous they supposedly are. She’s wrong, of course. That’s because medical science is much more than a collection of facts. In fact, even the collection of facts is more than a collection of facts. If you don’t have the background knowledge to put the facts you encounter into perspective, to understand their significance, you can easily make mistakes as hilariously overwrought as Dawn did. It’s the difference between understanding and merely thinking that you understand.

It’s the difference between the arrogance of ignorance and actual knowledge.

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

182 replies on “Cries the antivaccinationist: Why are we injecting TOXINS into our babies? (revisited)”

How did she possibly miss the DHMO? I mean, there’s just so MUCH of it in vaccines! #1 ingredient and all that!

Hilarious!!! Thanks for putting a smile on my face for the rest of the day. I have a tube of Neosporin that I have to now register as a lethal weapon. Thanks Dawn.

Potassium chloride (30), calcium chloride (31), and sodium chloride (32) are also listed as ingredients for CSL. All three are considered mutagenic for mammalian somatic cells.

Possibly one of the funniest things I’ve read all year.

The antifreeze gambit was my personal favorite… until Sodium Chloride.

*mentally edits stock anti-vaccine rant*


I can’t think of anything to say because my synapses are misfiring so badly.

I think you finally found the WMD of stupid.

“Potassium chloride (30), calcium chloride (31), and sodium chloride (32) are also listed as ingredients for CSL. All three are considered mutagenic for mammalian somatic cells.”

Triple facepalm??

Somebody should send crazy Dawn some videos of the fun that can be had by chucking sodium and potassium metal into water. How have the CDC, NWO and the Aluminati managed to cover up all the incidents of people exploding and/or spontaneously combusting after receiving vaccinations?

It all makes sense in a homeopathic, neurologically dysfunctional sort of way. As Orac points out, for the purposes of science, the dose makes the poison. For Dawn and the other mental midgets, the smaller the dose, the more powerful the reaction! Homeopathic (anti-)vaccines! Death in vanishing small quantities! Horror indeed. It would be nice if just laughing at Dawn would be enough to boost herd immunity.

But don’t you find her illustration significant? A large scary red insect-shape (almost with a face) looming out of the screen, tentacles ready to lunge at the reader.

This is surely the psychological level of the anti-vax brigade: comic book science, with a comic book villain to boot.

One serious point: in the UK, during the swine flu episode, TV presenters would often stand in front of very similar deep-red-coloured scary graphics (I wasn’t aware the swine flu virus was deep red in colour). And that was supposed to be proper journalism.

Beware of comic book visuals… sometimes that’s where the intended meaning really lies.

There are two issues here. First, with Dawn, you almost have to feel sympathy. Here is someone so deluded and simple, she really has no clue what she is doing. I actually feel sorry for her.

But second is the bigger issue: idiot people writing stuff on a personal blog is one thing, but Orac says here that this article has actually been picked up in other whackaloon locations! Imagine this, that someone from the anti-vax world read that article and said, “Wow, Dawn! That’s some powerful stuff you got there. Do you mind if we put it on our website?”

No one involved in the process said, “Sodium chloride, Dawn? Seriously?”

So for me, the problem is not that some dingbat wrote a silly piece about vaccines. The bigger concern is that no one in these anti-vax places that promote her had the nerve, or, more scaringly, the actual knowledge to question it.

Ah, yes I remember Dawn. She used to try so very hard with so little knowledge. Now against all probability she has actually become dumberer to my mind.

Happeh however was just mentally unstable. Although really, how do you tell the difference sometimes?

The dosages needed to cause hearing, kidney, or nerve damage are at least three or four orders of magnitude higher than the amount of the traces of these antibiotics that are found in any vaccine.

Dose response. That’s so old school. ; -)

That was a lovely rant :)But you underestimate google. Five minutes searching should count for a a lot more then a couple of years of medical training. Now that we have internet, everybody can educate themselves; who needs experts anymore???

by the way, is Dawn unbanned for this particular post?

That was some really frighteninsiiad;fkgng

Sorry…I’m better now. Needed some resuscitation after the salt part.

Is Dawn in any way related to Th1Th2 (I think that’s who it was) who, over at SBM, was citing MSDSes? Is this the new tactic of the anti-vax movement? If so, they really are grasping at straws.

Dose response. That’s so old school.

A little. I mean, Peracelsus was alive, what, 16th century?

Paracelsus (the one who is quoted with “The dose is the poison” or something like that) is an interesting one. The Wikipedia write-up says he died of “natural causes” at the age of 49. However, I have an old source (1887) that describes how Peracelsus, among other old alchemists, came to thinking that alcohol was the elixer, so I am not convinced on the “natural causes.” Personally, I kind of like the irony of the guy credited with the “The dose makes the poison” wisdom having drank himself to death.

Oh that crazy Bombastus…

Orac, you are using a sledge hammer where none is needed.

You are also confusing anti-vaccinationists with those of us who are judicious in our use of vaccines and object to the current schedule.

Thirdly, you are enabling those whose comments amplify and further simplify your facile dismissal of all criticisms of the current vaccine schedule.

Do you have time to talk about the lack of discussion about who might and might not benefit from the Swine Flu vaccine?



equipped with not even the most basic understanding of pharmacology, one can now be an expert in toxicology without all that pesky “effort”

…wow! and to think i just wasted how many years.

the arrogance of ignorance is right on. shall we even go into the concept of therapeutic index?! gasp!

@Jay Gordon

object to the current schedule

What schedule do you use, and what scientific evidence supports its safety and efficacy as compared to the current schedule?

“In any case, gentamycin is used to treat serious gram negative bacterial infections, and the dose is usually in the mg/kg range.”

I might be/suspect I am misunderstanding something, but it seems strange to me that an antibiotic would be used in doses measured in kilograms.

And the difference between crazy Dawn’s “Oh noes te kemicalz” and Jenny McCarthy’s “Oh noes te toxins (including formaldehyde” is?

. . .Little ducky i’m awfully fond of you* . . .
Right.. systems coming back online. Cerebral functions returning to normal. The Stupid is strong in that one.
I’m glad that Brain Control managed to close the blast doors in time.

*(song Rubber Ducky, Children’s Television Workshop)

I might be/suspect I am misunderstanding something, but it seems strange to me that an antibiotic would be used in doses measured in kilograms.

Slash isn’t/wasn’t just/only the guitarist/songwriter for Guns and Roses/Velvet Revolver.

Sivi at 19 – mg/kg is mg of drug per kilogram of body weight.

Mind you, feedlots probably by antibiotics by the kilogram, a practice that is going to bite us all in the ass someday.

Dr. Jay @16: You are also confusing anti-vaccinationists with those of us who are judicious in our use of vaccines and object to the current schedule.

ju·di·cious (adj.) – having, exercising, or characterized by sound judgment

Dr. Jay has never outlined any “sound judgment” in his objections to the current schedule. Indeed, Dr. Jay has repeatedly acknowledged that the established science does not support his general stance but asserts that his clinical experience justifies eschewing epidemiology and the like.

I have never seen Dr. Jay publicly correct or re-educate any anti-vaccinationists, either, though he claims to have learned a lot on this site. [If Dr. Jay has done so and I’ve missed it, please provide a link, as I would be highly curious.]

Thus, Dr. “Judicious” relies upon anecdotal evidence (with several possible, if not probable, biases) over higher quality evidence and does not counter those who are demonstrably wrong and/or misleading. Explain how you’re not anti-vax…

How is this a “sledgehammer”? It’s not like Orac is pulling out the big guns and going after it with all his expertise. No, this is just pretty basic stuff, the equivalent of a fly swatter.

It just looks bad because the target isn’t even the equivalent of a fly.

who might and might not benefit from the Swine Flu vaccine?

The drug company sponsored “faces of influenza” points to these highly targeted groups

Anyone who wants to prevent influenza
Children 6 months-18 years of age
Adults 50 years of age and older
Women who are pregnant during the influenza season
Adults and children with chronic medical conditions, such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), heart disease, weakened immune system, diabetes, and others
Residents of long-term care facilities and nursing homes
Household contacts and caregivers of anyone in a high-risk group, including children younger than 6 months of age who are too young to be vaccinated. These contacts include:
Day care providers
Health-care personnel who come in contact with patients

Dead people
People who know people at risk
People who don’t know people at risk
Body parts at medical schools

Dawn has managed to make Michele Bachmann, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Orly Taitz and Fred Phelps all simultaneously look like paragons of sanity.

As a chemist, the bit about NaCl, KCl and CaCl2 gave me a headache. It’s probably because I repeatedly slapped my head to get out the stupid.

It’s somewhat understandable that she is scared of Sodium and Potassium.

After all neurons use K+ and Na+ pumps to function, and the very thought of having a functional brain must be an absolute horror to her.

You did warn us but…

Owww, my brains…

And what has poor chemistry even done to her for evil dawn to torture it so ?

@#6 No, Paul, that’s a Picard face palm, because sometimes a regular face palm just isn’t eloquent enough.

Seriously… sodium chloride? Erm… that’s definitely some supernova stupid right there: it makes thermonuclear stupid look minor in comparison.

I have never seen Dr. Jay publicly correct or re-educate any anti-vaccinationists, either, though he claims to have learned a lot on this site. [If Dr. Jay has done so and I’ve missed it, please provide a link, as I would be highly curious.]

Worth repeating – that’s what I was hinting at with my snark @20.

You would think that if Dr. Jay was really concerned that these chemically ignorant arguments discredit those who “object to the current schedule” he might be using be doing something to show that he does not agree with these chemically ignorant arguments.

Oh man I just got what you meant by DHMO. Now the rest of my lab thinks I’m crazy due to the cackling coming from my desk.

None of this “dose makes the poison” stuff for antivaccinationists. That’s just chemistry, but we all know that life is magic. It is impossible for the same chemical to be good fro you at one dose, and poison at another. That’s crazy talk, because a chemical has either a good essence, or an evil essence. Anything that can kill you, at whatever dose, is clearly evil, hence any amount of it, no matter how tiny, is necessarily harmful.

Hmmmm…perhaps we should encourage this. If we could convince Dawn, and others who share her point of view, to eliminate from their diets all traces of those evil molecules sodium chloride, potassium chloride, and calcium chloride, for just a few weeks, a lot of idiocy on the internet would simply disappear. Just like magic.

It took a few seconds, but I broke up over the mutagenic salts, too.

After I recovered, I went in the kitchen and got a few cereal boxes out to check how much I was poisoning myself.

One cereal has 150 mg of sodium, 85 mg of potassium, and 100 mg of calcium. A second has 280 mg of sodium, 160 mg of potassium and 1000 mg of calcium. The third has 190 mg of sodium, 170 mg of potassium and 100 mg of calcium. The half cup of milk that I ate with my bowl of cereal had 150 mg of calcium. Am I going to die of cancer tomorrow?!>!>!

The FDA’s recommended DV’s are 2400 mg for sodium, 3500 mg for potassium and 1000 mg for calcium. You need them to be healthy!

Whatever dose of these salts I get with my seasonal flu shot next week has got to be tiny compared to one bite of the cereal I ate for breakfast.

To Militant Agnostic,

Thanks for clarifying the mg/kg question. With the frequent typos, misspellings, and just missing words that are common in blog comments, it’s not always clear exactly what was meant and that one had me confused, too.

omfg. Sodium chloride?? Was this woman not forced (as I was) to take a high school chemistry class? Who DIDN’T learn that sodium chloride was table salt in high school or earlier?

Or maybe that’s the problem: she flunked out. 😛


Oh man I just got what you meant by DHMO.

You must read the Dihydrogem Monoxide Research Division website. Many years ago a sent a link to a disability listserv I was on (which was being infected by the mercury militia). The reaction was mostly good, but a couple of people were very upset because they were duped.

Did you know that the CIA is secretly using DHMO to torture people???

Erm, secretly?

Potassium chloride (30), calcium chloride (31), and sodium chloride (32) are also listed as ingredients for CSL. All three are considered mutagenic for mammalian somatic cells.

Wow. So stupid, even people who forgot high-school chemistry stand a fair chance of being able to grok the stupid.

Unfortunately, most people fall into this category, which is why woo is so pervasive: Woo’s easy, whereas science is hard.

@Todd W

What schedule do you use, and what scientific evidence supports its safety and efficacy as compared to the current schedule?

Come on, Todd, Jay Gordon don’t need no steenkin’ science! He’s got 15 years of clinical experience that trumps all the science in the world.

Or he could just join with Bob Sears, and use the “It sounds more reasonable” approach.


Oh, I’m aware of his past responses to questions like this. My main intent was not necessarily to get a straight answer from him (I can’t hold my breath that long), but rather to point out his lack of evidence to anyone who may be reading the comments.

Did you know that the CIA is secretly using DHMO to torture people???

Erm, secretly?

Ramel, that’s how these conspiracies work! It’s all done in secret. If I was able to blab all over the internets about how secret their secret torture secrets were it wouldn’t be a secret would it. The men in black would be knocking on my door right now to…

*no carrier*


And my intent was not to think you missed something, but to just highlight for others the actual answers that we hear when we ask for such information.

It’s piling on, I’ll admit.

You really need to have a NSFW warning at the top of this! I started giggling uncontrollably too, and that brought all my coworkers over to find out what was so funny. The most coherent comment from one of them was “this woman is crazy”.

Now I have to read the rest of the comments. Thanks much for the laughter!

Hugs from the Michigander on the east coast.

Yeah, this article was already linked in the comments section of the local newspaper article. However, the toxin thing isn’t what the local anti-vaxers are latching onto (after they got laughed at about ZOMG squalene!).

The big thing they whine about is shedding of the flu mist version. One was complaining about co-workers making fun of her and another was going to wear a mask for three weeks because her school was giving them out. They happily expose themselves to chicken pox and measles, but this type of thing scares them.

I don’t know where else to put this comment, so I’ll just do it here. I was just looking at the wiki page for squalene:

You know, that new boogeyman of the anti-vax movement?

I have to admit, this seriously blows me away. You know, if squalene wasn’t a component of vaccines, this sounds exactly like something that some whackadoodle “functional medicine” loon would be telling everyone they should be taking as a supplement, as part of 150 pills (are we sure it actually isn’t part of the Gonzalez protocol?)

I mean, come on, it’s from shark liver oil and is part of rice bran, wheat germ, and olives! It must be something wonderful.

WAIT A MINUTE: Reading more information on that webpage shows that I am actually right:

“Recently it has become a trend for sharks to be hunted to process their livers for the purpose of making squalene health capsules.”

I knew it. I knew it. I knew it!

I think the funniest line in Dawn’s post is this: “The only logical conclusion is that there must be a reason why they have not been able to conduct these [carcnogenesis, mutagenesis, fertility] studies.” Um, yeah, OK, but why is that supposed to be scary? Oh, wait, I’m supposed to mentally hear the Organ Chords of Doom while reading that sentence, aren’t I? I suppose the ototoxicity of all the vaccines I’ve received would explain why I didn’t. Or perhaps the truly vast amounts of sodium chloride I’ve ingested (Ah loves me some salt!) actually killed me a good many years ago & dead people just don’t scare easily.

Well, yes, poor Dawn IS stupid, but shouldn’t we be taking about why this is the sorry state of education instead of ripping her a new one? What is to be achieved by this gigantic tongue-lashing?

I’m a lot more concerned about these doctors (Gordon, Sears, taking up the fears of the type of people who may actually read Dawn’s post. How can we hope to educate children about basic science if we have doctors doing this as well as “integrating” their practices (and I don’t mean hiring minorities)?

Sir Eccles
Lost Carrier? I haven’t heard that since I left my high school radio station!

MI Dawn
Don’t you miss those long posts rants when you were mistaken for the evil Dawn? Just a little? 🙂


I’ve got a little bit of info about squalene on my site. The alt-med supplement aspect of it was something I found out about pretty quickly in my search for more info on it.

Finn @53

dead people just don’t scare easily.

As anyone who has had to deal with a zombie outbreak can attest.

Unfortunately, the brain dead scare easily especially when confronted with chemicals.

@MikeMa: Ah, those were the days! No, I don’t really miss them. I still use MI Dawn on the vaccine posts in self-defense. Even though Dawn was banned and seems to not be a morpher, I don’t want to get confused with her again.

The whole mess was a lot funnier when I met Orac for the first time. Somehow he missed the note I would be at the bar (and I missed the notice that evil Dawn and crew were threatening to harass outside the bar). So, when I walked up to him and introduced myself, he looked panicked and I thought I had the wrong person! It got straightened out quickly but it was funny.

Well, yes, poor Dawn IS stupid, but shouldn’t we be taking about why this is the sorry state of education instead of ripping her a new one?

I did mention early on (#10) about how there is a bigger issue of how, while Dawn is a dingbat (I mentioned I actually feel sorry for her), no one else involved with sending her post around seemed to notice it, either. The implication being that the anti-vax movement is rife with … ignorance, I guess is the best word.

@Todd – in fact, it was through your site that I got to the wikipedia page!

Slightly OT, but this discussion reminds me that an MSDS always requires some common-sense interpretation. Back in the old days we frequently used dry heat blocks for warming up samples to high temperatures. To improve the heat transfer between the holes in the metal block and the Eppendorf tubes, we used to put fine sand into the holes. I had to order a bottle of superclean, superfine sand from a chemical supply company that shall remain nameless. It came with an MSDS that solemnly warned us not to 1) eat it or 2) snort it. We all laughed our a***s off, but I shudder to think what Dawn would have made of it!

MikeMa @8 has it right.

A major part of the logic underpinning the antivax movement comes from homeopathy. The mistaken, prescientific, understanding that materials have an underlying, irreducible, permanent essence. That this is transmitted and impresses itself on everything that comes in contact with it. That dilution doesn’t weaken this essence but rather allows the purest essence to emerge.

That once a material is identified as ‘toxic’ the only answer is to eliminate it completely. Which became a scientific impossibility once we developed technology to detect things at a parts-per-billion level. Fact being we live in a veritable soup of elements, chemicals and compounds. Many of which have scary sounding names and which, if exposure becomes great enough, can potentially do harm. At the parts-per-trillion level nothing is pure.

Of course some of this I suspect has to do with professional jealousy between homeopaths and vaccine makers. Taking tiny bits of something that causes symptoms, diluting them and exposing people to them to prevent a disease sounds kind of like homeopathy. It is natural that homeopaths might think they should be doing it.

Of course vaccinations are manufactured with precision and science. The makers get all the credit, make decent money along the way, save millions from disease and suffering, get acclaim, and play with really neat tools. Whereas homeopaths are still using wonders of high tech and precision; like Korsakov’s method of dilution. Wherein a solution is swished around a container, dumped out and the container refilled with diluent. This is arbitrarily assumed to be 1:100 dilution. It wouldn’t pass a high school chemistry class but it is standard in homeopathy.

Around the late 1800s homeopathy was fairly well respected and was, given the primitive methods and understanding of medicine at the time, roughly as effective as medicine. Given that mid 18th century medicine was just coming off ‘removing toxins and excess humors’ by bleeding, enemas and emetics, that mercury was still a major ingredient in many medicines, and antibiotics hadn’t been invented so infection was a common outcome of surgery; homeopathy looked pretty good. It might not have cured, or even treated, a disease but it lent a little hope and, in the end, a splash of water at least did little harm.

The problem for homeopathy is that medical science advanced to become effective and rooted its advances in an ever better understanding of how the human body functions. Right down to the molecular level. Presently most diseases can be treated, if not cured, by medical science. Even when that isn’t possible medicine can usually limit pain and suffering. And it keeps getting better.

Whereas homeopathy is still stuck with concepts and articles of faith that were codified in the late 1800s and have their roots in alchemy and prescientific understandings of disease and how the human body works. Homeopathy has a Napoleon complex. When they see medical science pushing vials of ‘mostly water’ they get jealous. For they have been pushing their ‘mostly water’ for a very long time. This is their turf. And everyone knows that if you dilute a substance it gets stronger. LOL.

Orac, just for fun I tried three of my co-workers on the question “If I say that two numbers differ by two orders of magnitude, what do I mean?”.

Not a single one had any idea of what I was talking about.

Okay, you know what “order of magnitude” means on account of you being a scientist and all, and I know what it means because I’m an electronics geek and have done stuff like multiplying 4.7 kohms by 220 microfarads in my head thousands of times; anyone who survived an old-style high school chemistry class where they made you learn how to multiply with a slide rule and use exponential notation to keep track of the damn decimal point should be familiar with the concept, but to the Great American Couch Potato “order of magnitude” sounds like the title of some made-for-TV movie.

You might not see the effect because your blog tends to draw a pretty well-informed audience, but the minds you’re competing for belong to people who don’t know the (quantitative) difference between a kilogram and a microgram.

I fear that the fact that the Dawns of this world are confusing dosages that differ by a factor of ten thousand or more will be lost on the average reader unless it is explained with grab-em-by-the-scruff-of-the-neck-and-rub-their-faces-in-it explicitness.

Question for Orac:
Is Dawn = Th1Th2?
(Intentionally cryptic message for the cognoscenti…) 😀
Both have the same concerns about adjuvants!

I think Ktesibios made a good point. Some people won’t understand what you mean by “order of magnitude” so perhaps an explanation for them might make the ‘magnitude’ 😉 of Dawn’s errors more apparent.

Dawn’s post was quite funny, but I find myself rather depressed at the lack of what should be basic knowledge.

I think Ktesibios made a good point. Some people won’t understand what you mean by “order of magnitude”

And those computer science folks who work in binary won’t grasp the significance of the difference. What’s a factor of 4 between friends? (or 100, as the case may be)

Wouldn’t Dawn do more good by going to the grocery store, standing in the produce aisle so she can hysterically warn customers that there is formaldehyde in the apples. All of them. Always has been as it occurs naturally. Some people eat apples every day, so surely they are at greater risk then people getting vaccines every once in a while. Think of the children, Dawn, being poisoned for the profits of those greedy evil apple farmers.

I like the Sartre quote (in French – “l’enfer, c’est les autres”).

It is especially apt as it comes from the play Huis Clos (No Exit in the States, sometimes titled In Camera in the UK) in which hell is portrayed as being to be trapped with a couple of other people in a room for eternity, going around and around basically mentally torturing each other by re-hashing the same arguments/faults/acts/inactions. For those who don’t know the play. more here:

Anyway, it got me wondering… who would be in our bloghost’s personal Huis Clos? I did think D.Ullman would have to be included, but after a bit more thought I reckon Orac’s personal Huis Clos scenario would really have to include Dr Jay Gordon. Any other suggestions? Do I hear Dean Ornish? Andrew Wakefield? Jenny McCarthy?

What?!? Vaccines have ingredients? They are chemicals?

How can we as a free people allow this?

Oh, but the apple seeds are important– that’s how GI Joe will destroy Cobra’s jelly blobs!

Seriously, I can’t work after reading that. I’m dissolving into fits of giggles.

As I mentioned in a different context, sodium is simply the vehicle to carry chlorine – a deadly gas – into the brain. How anyone can countenance the use of sodium chloride for any purpose is beyond me.

Yeah, I’d have to take such recommendations with a grain of salt. With DHMO as the solvent/delivery vehicle, of course…

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