This could be the most ludicrous version of the “toxins” gambit I’ve ever seen

One of the oldest antivaccine tropes that first encountered is one that I like to call the “toxins gambit.” Basically, this is an antivaccine lie that portrays vaccines as being laden with all manner of “toxins” because they have—gasp!—chemicals with scary sounding names and even some chemicals that are toxic. The lie derives from the the famous adage that the “dose makes the poison.” For instance, it’s well known that there are traces of formaldehyde in some vaccines left over from the production process. Sounds scary, right? Certainly our old buddy the antivaccine-sympathetic pediatrician Dr. Jay Gordon thought so seven years ago.

Unfortunately, since then the toxins gambit has truly been the antivaccine lie that won’t die, a veritable Whac-A-Mole of misinformation such that, as soon as skeptics and pro-science vaccine advocates whack down one “toxins”-related lie about vaccines, another one pops up to take its place who knows where. Not surprisingly, Jenny McCarthy is also a fan.

It’s actually been a while since I’ve come across the toxins gambit in its purest form, so much so that I had started to think that maybe—just maybe—antivaccine activists had finally figured out just how utterly scientifically ignorant and intellectually bankrupt that gambit is. Of course, even at the time, I suspected that I was engaging in a bit of wishful thinking not unlike that of sane Americans who thought that somehow enough electors in the Electoral College would refuse to vote for Donald Trump and deny him the Presidency. I now know that it was, given that I found what has to be one of the purest, most idiotic distillations of the toxins gambit published on the website of that alt right rising star and all purpose wingnut Mike Adams. It wasn’t written by Mike Adams, but one of his minions, S.D. Wells (who, I’ve long suspected, is a pseudonym for Adams himself given that I’ve never been able to find anything out about him). Oh, wait. I guess not. He doesn’t sound like Adams. In actuality, his real name is Sean David Cohen.

Wells does, of course, belong on, given how he produces posts like The 7 most dangerous vaccines injected into humans and exactly why they cause more harm than good. If we’ve encountered the toxins gambit on steroids before, Wells provides us with the toxins gambit on steroids, methamphetamine, and PCP. To give you an idea of the black hole-density stupid being laid down by Wells, just check out this paragraph:

Yet, what if you found out today that the worst odds you or your children have of being infected with disease, disorder, and deformity exist in getting injected repeatedly with neurotoxins, genetically modified bacteria, live experimental strains of multiple viruses and pesticides? Consider this: not one single vaccine ever produced that is recommended by the CDC today has ever been proven safe or effective. Why? They dont have to prove it. All they have to do is scare the living hell out of everyone using propaganda, and its worked for 75 years.

It’s as though Wells lives in an alternate reality where all the science, clinical trials, and epidemiological studies showing that vaccines are indeed safe and effective was never done. Or perhaps we live in George Orwell’s fictional world of Oceania in which, as alliances shift between the three superpowers of the era, inconvenient newspapers, magazines, photographs, and transcripts are disposed of in favor of new versions revised to be congruent with what the powers that be want. Only in this case, it’s the memory holing of science by antivaccine ideologues, who can’t bear to admit that vaccines actually work and are incredibly safe. In this case, any study that shows vaccines are safe and effective gets memory holed (metaphorically speaking). It’s as though the studies were never done.

Fortunately, the scientific literature never forgets (or at least rarely forgets), which makes howlers like this Wells’ article all the more amusing. In particular, I was amused at the utter predictability of Wells’ first choice for the most deadly vaccine. Can you guess what it is? I bet that regular readers can. Yes, it’s Gardasil:

Forget for a moment the fact that many girls who get the HPV vaccine beginning at age 9 for a sexually transmitted disease (diseases they don’t have) go into immediate anaphylactic shock and some into comas and die, and let’s just talk about the insane boatload of chemicals the manufacturers put in this concoction that belong nowhere in medicine, ever, especially that which is injected directly into muscle tissue and that which can penetrate the blood/brain barrier. Plus, remember to triple the amounts of these carcinogenic, dangerous, ludicrous chemical ingredients of Gardasil, because there are 3 of these toxic jabs required.

Um. No. There is no evidence that Gardasil is causing many girls to go into anaphylactic shock, become comatose, and then die. There are, in fact, multiple very large studies showing that Gardasil is safe. For example, there was a study of 189,000 young females who received the vaccine that concluded that the HPV vaccine was only associated with same-day syncope (that’s fainting to lay people) and skin infections in the two weeks after vaccination. The authors concluded that, “this study did not detect evidence of new safety concerns among females 9 to 26 years of age secondary to vaccination with HPV4.” They also noted regarding conditions for which an elevated odds ratio was noted that medical record review “revealed that most diagnoses were present before vaccination or diagnostic workups were initiated at the vaccine visit.” I can’t help but note here that pretty much any pediatrician or nurse who deals with adolescents knows that adolescent girls are prone to vasovagal reactions after any injection, blood draw, or needlestick. It’s why they’re made to wait after a vaccination or blood draw, to make sure they don’t faint. Then, of course, An even larger study of a million girls in Denmark published in BMJ found “no evidence supporting associations between exposure to qHPV vaccine and autoimmune, neurological, and venous thromboembolic adverse events. Although associations for three autoimmune events were initially observed, on further assessment these were weak and not temporally related to vaccine exposure. Furthermore, the findings need to be interpreted considering the multiple outcomes assessed.” In other words, same as it ever was. There are more studies like this where this came from.

But what about those evil toxins? Oh, yes, here they are:

First we have sodium borate at 35mcg. Also known as “borax,” this is the main poisonous ingredient in boric acid that’s used to kill cockroaches. Is your little girl a cockroach? Is it coincidence that the side effects listed and reported with the Gardasil vaccine match those of sodium borate poisoning? No, it’s not a coincidence. Did you know that anything imported into the European Union that contains borax must carry a warning label stating, “May damage fertility” and “May damage the unborn child.” This is what America “recommends” for preteen and teenage girls who are just reaching the age of fertility. Unbelievable!

Then, Gardasil HPV contains aluminum at 225mcg, which causes nerve cell death and helps the vaccine chemicals enter the brain. Let’s not forget that Gardasil HPV contains polysorbate 80 at 50mcg. Polysorbate 80 is used as an emulsifier in foods, but when injected into animals (such as humans), causes rapid, unnatural growth of reproductive organs, causing sterility. This is population control through vaccines, just as Bill Gates once said at a TED conference would be ideal for reducing the world’s population by a few billion. Polysorbate 80 is what causes the anaphylactic shock and also causes cancer and birth defects, while we’re on that topic. Sorry, but there’s not enough time to talk about the sodium chloride at nearly 10mcg.

Sodium chloride? 10 μg? I half think that Wells is trolling Adams’ readers. Can he really be that stupid and ignorant? We’re talking about friggin’ table salt! And 10 μg? The American Heart Association recommends no more than 2,400 mg of sodium per day, with an ideal limit of no more than 1,500 mg a day. Let’s use the lower number. 1 mg = 1,000 μg. Basically, Wells is saying that an amount of salt 150,000 times less than the AHA recommendation for maximum intake of salt in a day is harmful. Let’s look at it another way. Consider a 50 kg adult (a lightweight). Such an adult will have roughly 200 g of sodium chloride in his or her body. That’s 200,000 mg or 200,000,000. Getting the idea? That’s 20 million times more than the 10 μg Wells tried to scare his audience with, almost as an aside. No wonder Wells said “there’s not enough time to talk about the sodium chloride.” That’s basically his way of saying to his readers, “You’re too stupid to realize that this is an inconsequential amount of sodium.

The only reason I spend to much time on Wells’ offhanded remark about sodium chloride is to illustrate the depths of ignorance plumbed by the toxins gambit. It makes putting the other fear mongering into context a bit easier. In fact, if you doubt how idiotic Wells, is, get a load of this:

Sodium chloride raises blood pressure and inhibits muscle contraction and growth.

Bwahahahaha! As though 10 μg of sodium chloride could do that. OK, it might do it to a few cells immediately surrounding the intramuscular injection site, but other than that, forget it.

For instance, I’ve written about Polysorbate 80 several times before and the myth that it causes premature ovarian failure based on rodent studies that used massive quantities of the compound. then, of course, there’s the dreaded aluminum, which has become the new mercury, even though it has a long history of safety.

But what about the dreaded borate? Again, let the dose make the poison, and 35 μg is not dangerous. Basically, Wells is doing the same thing that all antivaccine ideologues do when they invoke the toxins gambit. He’s frightening people with horrible effects that require doses much, much higher than what is in a vaccine.

The hilarity continues with Wells describing the ingredients of the MMR:

Under Appendix B, listed on the CDC website, you can find the ingredients for the MMR (MMR-II), the combination vaccines that contain recombinant human albumin, sorbitol, hydrolized gelatin, chick (egg) embryo cell culture, human diploid lung fibroblasts, and fetal bovine serum, among other certain preservatives and chemical adjuvants. In the “ProQuad” version, or MMRV (w/vericella for chicken pox), they’ve added monosodium L-glutamate, neomycin, and MRC-5 cells. And although measles is a respiratory disease accompanied by an uncomfortable rash and fever illness that anyone with a normal immune system will likely survive, the media scares the public into getting jabbed with neurotoxins.

It’s as though Wells thinks that the cells used to grow the virus are left in the vaccine! That would certainly be very sloppy. He also seems to think that vaccine manufacturers just “add” MRC-5 cells for no apparent reason when in fact that’s the cell line used to grow the virus, after which the cells are discarded. As for the rest, it all sounds scary, but in the amounts present in vaccines, these substances are a whole lot of nothing.

I think I’ll finish with what is probably the most ridiculous part of Wells’ little screed. There were so many ridiculous parts that it was hard to choose, and some of you might disagree, but this is my choice and I’m sticking too it:

Human albumin is the protein portion of blood from pooled human venous plasma and when injected causes fever, chills, hives, rash, headache, nausea, breathing difficulty, and rapid heart rate. Injecting “pooled blood” can result in a loss of body cell mass and cause immunodeficiency virus infection, or contain SV40, AIDS, cancer or Hepatitis B from drug addicts. Still want that MMR vaccine? Didn’t think so.

It’s hard for me not to believe that Wells doesn’t have utter contempt for his readers to have written something this mind-numbingly silly. Either that, or Wells himself is really, really ignorant. I suppose that it could be a combination of both. Either way, we’re not talking about pooled human venous plasma or pooled blood. Did Wells forget that he himself noted that this is recombinant human albumin. It’s not from human blood or plasma. It’s made in bacteria using recombinant DNA. There’s no chance of its containing AIDS, SV40, or hepatitis B from drug addicts.

I know I haven’t said this in a long time, but, damn, the stupid, it burns. Wells’ blather is even dumber than previous iterations of the toxins gambit that I’ve seen—and more despicable.