Michigan is a frustrating state to live in these days. Our state government has just shown itself to be epically incompetent in its handling of the Flint water crisis, which I’ve written about a couple of times before. Our legislature repealed our mandatory motorcycle helmet law, and as a result in this state motorcycles are more donorcycles than ever. Our state has historically had low vaccine uptake, to the point where outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases are too common, with pertussis returning with a vengeance. We have naturopathic quacks (but I repeat myself) trying to cure their children of pertussis “naturally,” leading to their great suffering. Meanwhile our state’s personal belief school vaccine exemption rate has stunk and continued to stink. Meanwhile, in 2015 my very own state senator, Patrick Colbeck, mindlessly parrots antivaccine talking points and promises to attend a screening of the antivaccine propaganda film Trace Amounts, and a legislator introduced a bill to make getting personal belief exemptions to school vaccine requirements easier, rather than harder, to obtain.

I needed some good news, and I actually got some!

Remember how, starting January 1, 2015, the Michigan Department of Community Health altered the rules regarding requirements for parents to claim personal belief exemptions to vaccine mandates. Basically, it patterned its policy change on California Bill AB 2109, a bill from a few years ago that sought to tighten up requirements for personal belief exemptions (PBEs) in California. AB 2109 required parents seeking PBEs to meet with a physician or other enumerated health care practitioner to receive counseling on the risks of opting their children out of school vaccine requirements. The physician would then have to sign the PBE form to verify that he had counseled the parents. Of course, in the wake of the Disneyland measles outbreak a year ago, California passed a far stronger measure, SB 277, which, beginning with the 2016-2017 school year, eliminates PBEs in California.

In contrast, Michigan’s change in policy requires parents seeking PBEs to visit their local health department office to:

  • Be educated by a local health worker about vaccines and the diseases they are intended to prevent.
  • Sign the universal state form that includes a statement of acknowledgement that parents understand they may be putting their own children and others at risk by refusing the shots.

So basically, it’s just like AB 2109, except that not just any doctor or nurse will do. Parents have to visit their local health department for the counseling. It’s a creative modification to a strategy designed to make obtaining a PBE at least as difficult as getting one’s children vaccinated. Indeed, part of the problem in Michigan, as in California, is that it’s been easier to obtain a PBE by simply signing a form and sending it to a child’s school than it is to actually get that child vaccinated according to the CDC schedule, or at least according to the requirements of the state school vaccine mandate. Indeed, by last month, it was clear that this new requirement was likely to be effective, given that an antivaccine-sympathetic legislator had introduced HB 5126, a bill designed to strip the Department of Community Health of its power to require in-person counseling before issuing a PBE. Even worse, HB 5126 clearly would make it much more difficult for local health officials to exclude an unvaccinated child from school during an outbreak or even to exclude a child with a vaccine-preventable disease from school.

So has this new rule been effective? A recent news report suggests that it has:

The number of immunization waivers received by Michigan parents is down 39%, a year after a new state rule kicked in requiring parents to attend an information session at their local health department if they want a waiver.

There were nearly 8,000 fewer vaccination waivers for children entering Michigan schools by November of this school year, according to information released this morning by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

The kindergarten waiver rate has decreased from 5% to 3%, the seventh-grade rate has dropped from about 5% to almost 3%, and the rate for new students to a school district has dropped from 4% to 2%.

Michigan in 2014 had the sixth-highest immunization rate in the country for kindergarten students. The waiver rate was particularly high for some counties, where as many as 17% of kids had waivers in 2014.

And:

Statewide, 11,204 students (out of 399,880) had received waivers as of November 2015, for a rate of 2.8%. That compares to the 4.6% rate in November 2014, when 19,152 students (out of 415,891) received waivers.

So, based on this analysis, this temporal correlation between the enforcement of a more stringent standard for vaccine exemptions, the requirement that parents seeking PBEs go to a local health department for 15-30 minute counseling sessions on the benefits and risks of vaccines and, in particular, the risk of forgoing vaccines, has been effective. Statewide, PBE rates have declined markedly since the rule change. In metro Detroit, rates have declined as follows:

  • Macomb County: A decrease of 34% — from a waiver rate of nearly 5% (1,656 students) to 3% (1,082) students.
  • Oakland County: A decrease of 51% — from 7% (3,821 students) to about 4% (1,866 students)
  • Washtenaw County: A decrease of 38% — from 6% (816 students) to 4% (469 students)
  • Wayne County: A decrease of 53% — from 5% (3,073 students) to 2% (1,242 students)

In one county (Gladwin) PBE rates have declined by 90%, from 17% to 2% (131 students to 11 students). Unfortunately, PBE rates haven’t declined everywhere in the state. For instance, in Benzie County, the PBE rate went from 1% to 4%. Of course, in absolute numbers, we’re only talking an increase from 6 students to 23 students. So it’s hard to tell if this is a real trend or a one year glitch. Whatever the case, over the state as a whole, in the first year of the new rule, it appears that PBE rates have declined significantly. By any measure, this is good news for the children of Michigan.

If you read the comments after the article, you’ll see that antivaccine activists are trying to spin this result as being due to a decline in kindergarten enrollment. Clearly, these antivaccine activists don’t understand basic math, given that as a percentage of enrolled students PBEs have indeed declined.

Not surprisingly (actually, quite predictably), our local home-grown antivaccine activists are not happy about these numbers at all. Wait, you say. Antivaccine activists nearly always claim they are not “antivaccine.” If that’s the case, then why would they be unhappy that PBE rates have markedly declined since the rule change a year ago? Inquiring minds want to know! For instance, Suzanne Waltman, president of Michigan for Vaccination Choice (whom we’ve met before), is not happy about the now year-old rule. Oh, no. She’s not happy at all:

But Suzanne Waltman, president of Michigan for Vaccination Choice, said parents who opt not to vaccinate their children don’t need to attend an education session.

“We don’t take this decision lightly. We research this information beforehand. We already know the benefits and the risks of vaccinating and not vaccinating and the diseases as well,” Waltman said.

She said the sessions have been one-sided.

“All they’re telling you is the benefits of the vaccination and the risk of the disease. They don’t even tell you about the risk of the vaccination.”

Wait a minute. Did Waltman change the name of her group? When last I wrote about it, her group was called Michigan Opposing Mandatory Vaccines (MOMV). Heck, that’s still the name on the website. In fact, I detest MOMV, so much so that I’ve given the group a bit of the ol’ not-so-Respectful Insolence a few times before. It’s a group that’s a font of antivaccine misinformation. For shame Lori Higgins and the Detroit Free Press, for engaging in false “balance” by interviewing an antivaccine loon like Suzanne Waltman as the opposing voice for an eminently sensible policy such as requiring parents seeking PBEs to be counseled by a public health officer before they can actually claim their PBE for their special snowflake child.

Of course, as I mentioned before, nothing hates success vaccinating children quite like a bunch of “freedom”-loving antivaccine-sympathetic legislators who susceptible to the antivaccine dog whistle that equates vaccine mandates with fascism and PBEs with “health freedom.” So, even as the rule change appears to be working in its first year, we have a bunch of clueless wonders in our legislature (I’m talking to you, Reps. Thomas Hooker, Ray Franz, Ken Goike, Triston Cole, Joel Johnson and Gary Glenn) still working to change that with HB 5126. I’m with the editorial board of MLive on this one and hope this bill dies in committee.

Here’s where the governor could (slightly) redeem himself after the Flint Water crisis. There’s no doubt at all in my mind that our governor, Rick Snyder, has screwed up royally there. There’s just no other way to describe it. However, Snyder’s not always wrong. In fact, on this one issue, the issue of school vaccine mandates, he understands, or at least appears to:

Governor Rick Snyder says the state’s current immunization rule, which requires parents visit their county public health department and talk to a nurse before signing an immunization waiver, is the right way to go. He says it’s a good middle ground between making it too easy for parents to opt their kids out of getting vaccines and completely doing away with Michigan’s philosophical waiver.

I’ve seen other indications that Snyder would probably veto this bill if it came to his desk. In fact, after the Flint Water crisis, I don’t see how he could sign such a bill. Having facilitated a public health disaster in Flint, politically how could he sign a bill to go back to the old ways and perpetuate a low level public health disaster? At least, so I hope. After all, other than emulating California’s more recent banning of all PBEs, what the Michigan Department of Community Health did a year ago, the policy of the state of Michigan with respect to PBEs to school vaccine mandates is as good as it gets. And, as we now know, it works.

Maybe my state isn’t so bad after all, at least not with respect to vaccines. Of course, that remains to be seen. These days, I never underestimate the stupidity and mendaciousness of my state government. It’s not as though, for example, the flu can’t kill or anything.

Comments

  1. #1 Chris Hickie
    January 29, 2016

    That is good news for Michigan.

    What I can’t find from the articles on this is whether the waiver count went down because the information session at the health department convinced parents to vaccinate or because parents decided it was less work to get their children vaccinated than to attend the information session.

  2. #2 Angela H
    January 29, 2016

    @Chris Hickie
    I was wondering the same thing. I’m sure the die-hard anti-vaxxers aren’t swayed by the info session.

  3. #3 Orac
    January 29, 2016

    I don’t think they know yet. These are just statistics. I don’t think they’ve done any polls or studies yet, or if they have they haven’t been completed or published.

  4. #4 MI Dawn
    January 29, 2016

    I would imagine that for most parents, if you have to go to the Health Department anyway, it’s easier to get them vaccinated and leave over sitting through an educational session.

    My sympathies to the poor parents who lost their 6 year old to the flu. Wondering how fast the loons will come out of the woodwork with the “he must not have been healthy/given organic food/must have been given antibiotics/needed homeopathic “x” to cure him/should have gone to see a Not-a-Doctor instead of real doctor.” After all, the flu doesn’t kill healthy people, only those who aren’t worthy. (blech. Now I need brain bleach for thinking like them).

  5. #5 Sarah A
    January 29, 2016

    I suspect that the decrease in waivers is due more to making them less convenient to obtain than to the counseling itself, but I’m still curious as to the content of these counseling sessions – is there some sort of set curriculum, how long are they, do they take questions from the parents, etc. I’m not about to take Ms. Waltman’s word for the “one-sidedness” of the info provided, but her claim would be easier to refute if it were published somewhere.

  6. #6 Chris Hickie
    January 29, 2016

    It would appear on this he if you go down to the bottom to the section titled “local health departments” that the bulk of the material for these vaccine information sessions is listed here. I could not however find a standardized power point type of presentation that wraps it altogether. (http://www.michigan.gov/mdhhs/0,5885,7-339-73971_4911_4914_68361-344843–,00.html)

  7. #7 Dorit Reiss
    January 29, 2016

    It’s not only here that those claiming they’re not anti-vaccine oppose such limited rules to tighten exemptions. NVIC not only opposes these kinds of measures, but routinely calls on its supporters to oppose resolutions recommending vaccines.

    But they’re not anti-vaccine.

  8. #8 Dorit Reiss
    January 29, 2016

    There’s a pretty large literature on requirements and exemption rates. Some recent examples include:

    Nina R. Blank et al., Exempting Schoolchildren From Immunizations: States With Few Barriers Had Highest Rates of Nonmedical Exemptions, 32 HEALTH AFF. 1282, 1282 (July 2013)

    W. David Bradford & Anne Mandich, Some State Vaccination Laws Contribute to Greater Exemption Rates and Disease Outbreaks in the United States, 34 HEALTH AFF. 1383, 1383 (Aug. 2015)

    There’s a nice little piece by Yang and Silverman recently that maps out all the ways states can tighten exemptions with procedural requirements.

    I think having the educational session by the department is a nice approach. It assures consistency in the information provided, compared to states that tell you to get a provider’s signature, and makes it less convenient to get one compared to going to your doctor – it’s a very nice approach.

    And I agree that the die-hards aren’t going to be affected by this. But they’re not the target.

  9. #9 Denice Walter
    January 29, 2016

    I can easily imagine that AoA/ TMR will commence shrieking like the horde of frigging banshees that they truly are as soon as they hear of this development.

    Since I do try to understand them, I often run across material that succinctly incorporates all of the major systematic errors in their thought : today ( AoA) includes a long( ish) video of Katie Wright interviewed by Kirby. It’s quite a treat for sceptics.

  10. #10 Angela H
    January 29, 2016

    Yes, the only thing that will sway the die-hards is if doctors, scientist, and the government all say that vaccines are bad. Then they will all run out to get them.

    With some of the die-hards I really doubt that even diseases coming back and killing/disabling large numbers of children will get them to change their minds. (I don’t mean the outbreaks we’ve recently seen, I mean much larger scale outbreaks).

  11. #11 Eric Lund
    January 29, 2016

    Yes, the only thing that will sway the die-hards is if doctors, scientist, and the government all say that vaccines are bad. Then they will all run out to get them.

    Perhaps these groups should launch a massive publicity campaign highlighting the dangers of drinking bleach. That would have the likely side effect of increasing vaccination rates, admittedly via techniques pioneered by Rube Goldberg.

    I’m only half joking here.

  12. #12 Julian Frost
    South Africa
    January 29, 2016

    Angela H:

    With some of the die-hards I really doubt that even diseases coming back and killing/disabling large numbers of children will get them to change their minds.

    Sadly, you’re bang on. We’re talking about people who have called parents who advocate for vaccines after losing a child to disease “false fronts”. They attempted to access the medical records of a 35 day old baby who died from pertussis and disputed that the disease is what killed her. They have insisted that children who have died from vaccine preventable diseases had underlying health problems, or their mothers didn’t breastfeed. In short, they deny the risks of not vaccinating.

  13. #13 JGC
    January 29, 2016

    What I like most about this policy is that the information session they’re required to attend before receiving a waiver is given by the state’s health department, rather than allowing to them shop around for anti-vax friendly physicians who will simply sign off for the cost of an office visit.

    Of course, the prospective Dr. Bob’s etc. in Michigan must be beside themselves over the loss of the potential revenue stream.

  14. #14 squirrelelite@gmail.com
    January 29, 2016

    I think these education sessions are a good idea and hope more states follow suit.

    On a related side note, the Zika virus has been in the news and there’s at least a strong association with microcephaly in infants born to mothers who got the disease.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26820244

    I wondered when I saw the TV stories and President Obama’s call for developing detection tests and a vaccine how long it would take the anti-vax loons to react.

    Although a relatively benign disease (80% don’t even show symptoms), so by their criteria we don’t need a vaccine, there is the strong correlation with an easily diagnosable birth defect (microcephaly), which should be a good reason to develop a vaccine and protect against the virus. And is what the loons complain about vaccines “causing”.

    A quick search shows they’re already on it.

    This site blames it on GMO mosquitoes released to reduce the mosquito population and help control dengue fever and Zika!
    Link Text

    And, of course, the NVIC is on it as well.
    Link Text

    I hope I got the do not follow tags correct.

    The Golden Rule site is a golden mine of conspiracy theories and gripes about big pharma.

  15. #15 Dorit Reiss
    January 29, 2016

    @squirrelelite #14 The Refusers blame TDaP in pregnancy.

    Because it’s always the vaccines to them.

  16. #16 KayMarie
    January 29, 2016

    @squirrelelite #14 and @dorit reiss #15

    But I noticed when I went looking for which way the conspiracy winds were going to blow on this a few days ago that some searches came up with a lot of pages that were selling or promoting some anti-viral supplement or what not already added Zika to the search engine optimization even if they had nothing in the page’s text about the virus, yet.

  17. #17 dean
    United States
    January 29, 2016

    I don’t see how he could sign such a bill.

    You are more optimistic than I am.
    a) Snyder has never demonstrated the presence of any spine or integrity
    b) We now know from emails that his office authorized state workers to be provided with water coolers and bottled water in Flint when first reports of problems showed up, but did nothing for the citizenry until much later.

  18. #18 David
    United States
    January 29, 2016

    “Perhaps these groups should launch a massive publicity campaign highlighting the dangers of drinking bleach.”

    What is really sad, is many of the most extreme of the anti-vax crowd has actually taken to bleaching their children either through making them drink it, or administering it rectally as a treatment for autism. For more information google “autism bleach cure” but don’t do it shortly after having eaten. And don’t expect to have faith in humanity thereafter.

  19. #19 Anthony
    January 29, 2016

    I suspect it would be hard to get meaningful statistics, since not everyone who wants more information is someone who would otherwise have rejected vaccination.

  20. #20 Roger Kulp
    January 29, 2016
  21. #21 Michael J. Dochniak
    Iowa
    January 29, 2016

    Parents in Michigan seeking PBE’s have to sign the universal state form that includes a statement of acknowledgement that parents understand they may be putting their own children and others at risk by refusing the shots.

    MJD says,

    Is this modification more or less accurate?

    …a statement of acknowledgement that parents understand they will be putting their own children and others at risk by refusing the shots.

    In my opinion, the phrase “may be” is word play that is beneficial in patents but useless in a PBE form.

  22. #22 Narad
    January 29, 2016

    @squirrelite:

    On a related side note, the Zika virus has been in the news and there’s at least a strong association with microcephaly in infants born to mothers who got the disease.

    I’m biding my time on that one.

    @Dorit:

    The Refusers blame TDaP in pregnancy.

    Man, Belkin can’t get anything right. At least the AoA commentariat is yammering about flu vaccines.

  23. #23 palindrom
    January 29, 2016

    Roger Kulp @20 — I especially liked this from the Bee editorial:

    And the law still will allow opt-outs for medical reasons if parents can find doctors to sign them. On this front, state health officials cannot let their guard down. California already has problems enough with Dr. Feelgoods eager to make a quick buck from the fears of misinformed or misguided patients.

    Dr. Feelgood! I suppose that’s like Chris Parnell’s character “Dr. Spaceman” (pronounced “Spa-CHEY-man” in 30 Rock.

  24. #24 Delphine
    garlic stuffed olives
    January 29, 2016

    This is the only Dr. Feelgood.

  25. #25 squirrelelite
    United States
    January 29, 2016

    Thanks for the link, Narad.

    With broad criteria like that, it would be easy to overdiagnose. It’s good that large prospective studies are getting started.

  26. #26 Liz Ditz
    Great State of California
    January 29, 2016

    Thanks Narad

    The experts agree that the reported size of the microcephaly increase so far is probably inflated — and this chimes with the latest figures from the Brazilian government. On 27 January, it said that of 4,180 suspected cases of microcephaly recorded since October, it has so far confirmed 270 and rejected 462 as false diagnoses.

    http://www.nature.com/news/zika-virus-brazil-s-surge-in-small-headed-babies-questioned-by-report-1.19259

  27. #27 Denice Walter
    January 29, 2016

    To add to Narad’s flu vax scare mongering via AoA.
    ..
    @ KImRossiStagliano, Twit
    a link between adult pertussis vax and MS.

  28. #28 Narad
    January 30, 2016

    Random ZIKV observation:

    I had reason to remember yesterday that I had a tendency to mispronounce the name of a prescription drug despite the fine independent pharmacist’s casually but persistently repeating it back to me without directly stating that I was saying it wrong.

    It thus occurred to me tonight to stop for a moment and wonder whether my internal speech had screwed up “flavivirus.” Sure enough, it’s pronounced like this and not ‘flabbivirus’.

    OK, so now I have a bad feeling about ‘zeeka’. This was elusive enough that I nearly set it aside, but then the BBC trotted out ‘zeyeka’. After a brief flirtation with ‘zikka’/’ziikka’, I’m now pretty confident that ‘zeeka’ (and not ‘zeeeeka’) is indeed closest to the Luganda original.

  29. #29 Narad
    January 30, 2016

    ^ I have resolved not to delve into this volume, but I’ll note it for posterity all the same.

  30. #30 herr doktor bimler
    January 30, 2016

    You do not want to venture into Bantu languages, unless you have an inordinate fondness for noun classes.

  31. #31 Gilbert
    January 30, 2016

    squirrelelite #14, there is an extra ‘ ” ‘ on the end of the link.

    Here is the original, unabridged version:
    http://www.thedailysheeple.com/is-the-dreaded-zika-virus-another-giant-scam_012016

    And 200,000 soldiers in Brazil, the site of the upcoming Olympics, are going door to door and distributing information about this new “plague.” Are the soldiers also telling men and women not to have sex? Who knows?…

    … let’s take a little side trip to Scam City and examine the science behind the Zika virus and the assertion that it is causing birth defects.

    =========================

    Those kinds of foreigner-word mispronounciations do seem common, Narad #28

    Correct(??) pronunciation of Eyjafjallajökull

  32. #32 Gilbert
    January 30, 2016

    My bad, squirrelelite; That link of mine was not the ‘original’ but rather was an ‘additional information’ link.

    Anyways, whatever the truth, AGW is causing an outbreak of small baby heads — This is a job for the EPA to tackle as it is more global than kids poisoned in Flint.

  33. #33 Michael J. Dochniak
    Iowa
    January 31, 2016

    Vaccine uptake increase and the NVICP:

    The Secretary of the Treasury shall invest, at the direction of the program agencies, such portion of
    the trust fund balances as is not, in the judgment of the program agencies, necessary to meet current withdrawals.

    ftp://ftp.publicdebt.treas.gov/dfi/tfmb/dfivi0915.pdf

    Forecasts may tell you a great deal about the forecaster; they tell you nothing about the future. – Warren Buffet

  34. #34 Gilbert
    January 31, 2016

    Interesting link, Narad #22.

    Liz Ditz #26, citing that link, highlights the considering of scaling back initial estimates of increased small-baby-headedness; I wonder if Obama will continue to advocate for an immediate vaccine and push it onto ‘the schedule’ even if there is no real demonstable increase/link in such malformations or if the real causal factor is revealed to be pesticides?

    (1.) Brazil seems to be {contemporary} Zika ground zero.

    (2.) Brazil had an altered population ratio (due to introduction of GM mosquitos to ‘fight’ dengue) that favored the type that can transmit the headache-inducing Zika (?? or something).

    (3.) Brazil has an upcoming olympics venue — Leaving a good impression to skew visitors’ Yelp reviews is kinda a big deal for some reason.

    (4.) Brazil starts a heavy duty spray campaign to curtail the little buggers before the world arrives to fill up their overpriced, chincy hotels.

    (5.) ~ a year later, people start to wonder if lots of pesticides can cause baby problems.

    Your link attempts to roll back the prevelance of baby little-head problems instead of taking the focus off ‘Zika’; Your link does not consider the possible causality of vastly increased insecticide use ongoing from a year or so prior (even though it may be born out that reported increase in microcephaly are very real <– Why would somebody cover up a thing like that?).

    Also, Cannabis Vs. Thalidimide: "Could non-flipper foot-inducing medication lead to less morning sickness?"

  35. #35 Gilbert
    February 1, 2016

    …first identified in Uganda in 1947. Few human cases were reported until 2007, … French Polynesia has recorded a large outbreak since October 2013. A great number of cases and some with neurological and autoimmune complications have been reported in a context of concurrent circulation of dengue viruses. The clinical presentation is a “dengue-like syndrome”. Until the epidemic in French Polynesia, no severe ZIKV disease had been described so far. The diagnosis is confirmed by viral genome detection by genomic amplification (RT- PCR) and viral isolation. These two large outbreaks occurred in a previously unaffected area in less than a decade.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25001879

    On Tuesday, the CDC added the U.S. Virgin Islands and the Dominican Republic to its list of countries and territories with Zika transmissions

    http://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-zika-usa-idUSKCN0V42FK

    ^^ Peachy. I know that the tradewinds toward the Virgin Islands and Dominican Republic is from the northeast — Off the coast of west Africa. I don’t see that region on the outbreak map.

    Sure, those areas could have been infested via ‘hitchikers’, considering the large shipping trade between Hati/Dominican Republic and nowhere else.

    Sure; That isolated region of cases might be just a sequela of Euopean ‘Blue Helments’ leaving the tops off the humanitarian bottled water delivery for a few months after they slurped most of it on the way over there–

    There had been no reported cases of cholera in Haiti for a century; now, the disease is endemic, and it is projected to kill as many as 1,000 people a year until it is eradicated

    http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2013/02/how-the-un-caused-haitis-cholera-crisis-and-wont-be-held-responsible/273526/

    “This may be a new strain that’s traveling very quickly but we really don’t know,”

    http://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2016/01/22/463974869/the-zika-virus-takes-a-frightening-turn-and-raises-many-questions

    ^^ They don’t know?? What about all that *who’s y’ur daddy/rapist/murder* dna crap they’re always rolling out on NCSI?

    Concurrent with the EPA regulatory process, the U.S. Department of Agriculture received applications from Dow AgroSciences to introduce into the U.S. market GE corn and soybeans that would tolerate exposure to 2,4 D. USDA announced its approval of these GE crops on September 17, 2014. These GE corn and soybean plants are the first developed to be resistant to 2,4-D and are intended to allow farmers to use Enlist Duo to control the weeds that have developed resistance to glyphosate. …

    …2,4-D and glyphosate are two of the most widely used herbicides in the world to control weeds. Dozens of countries … have approved these pesticides for use on numerous crops and residential lawns.

    http://www.epa.gov/ingredients-used-pesticide-products/registration-enlist-duo

    April 9, 2015

    Brazil’s National Technical Commission on Biotechnology (CTNBio) approved the commercial production of GM eucalyptus trees at a meeting today (9 April). Corn and soybeans tolerant to 2,4-D herbicide were also approved.

    http://www.gmwatch.org/index.php/news/archive/2015-articles/16069-brazil-approves-gm-eucalyptus-trees-and-2-4-d-tolerant-soy-and-corn

    Things that make you go ‘hmmm’; There’s probably a cannabis connection to be made, but it hasn’t consolidated for me yet.

  36. #36 Gilbert
    February 1, 2016

    The Agency’s decision is protective of all, including the developing fetus, infants and children, the elderly and farmworkers.

    http://www.epa.gov/ingredients-used-pesticide-products/registration-enlist-duo

    My bad, they already considered all that; Please disreguard my previous post.

  37. #37 Gilbert
    February 3, 2016

    Controlling that mosquito requires pesticide sprayed under beds, on the walls and in closets…

    …Brazil’s government has mounted a door-to-door campaign and has authorized public health officials to enter properties by force if necessary. Health workers search for potential breeding spots and in some areas use indoor foggers, applying pesticides that stick to walls.

    “That is not going to fly in the United States,”…

    There are no pesticides registered by the Environmental Protection Agency for indoor application, Conlon said. Instead, abatement will likely focus on typical breeding sites, from birdbaths to potted plants, dog bowls, tin cans, tires and other places likely to become inundated with water.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-zika-mosquitoes-insight-idUSKCN0VC04B

    Oh, yea. They’re coming in; Obama’s coming for your potted plants.
    ==============================

    DAS-40278-9 corn plants have been genetically modified to express the aryloxyalkanoate dioxygenase (AAD-1) protein… The aad-1 gene coding for the AAD-1 protein was derived from Sphingobium herbicidovorans, a gram-negative soil bacterium…

    …acute and 28-day repeated dose toxicology studies in mice with aryloxyalkanoate dioxygenase (AAD-1) protein expressed in 2,4-D tolerant DAS-40278-9 maize, presented a negligible risk to humans. However, the AAD-1 studied was not produced in maize but instead in the gram negative soil bacterium Sphingobium herbicidovorans… But the gene producing the protein was different from the gene used to transform maize. As indicated in the Dow petition the gene for AAD-1 protein was extensively altered by making synonymous changes in the DNA code to allow production of the protein in maize. Such altered gene changes are typical of all of the bacterial transgenes in commercial GM crops, as is the practice of using the proteins from the bacteria instead of from the GM crop to test for safety.
    ..
    Recent studies showed that 2,4-D was teratogenic to a South American toad, resulting in reduced body size, delayed development, microcephaly and abnormal cellular proliferation.

    http://www.i-sis.org.uk/New_GM_Crops_Tolerant_To_Old_Toxic_Herbicides.php

    p.s. Your sidebar is nuked.

  38. #38 MI Dawn
    February 3, 2016

    @Gilbert: your posts would be more interesting if you didn’t frequently harp on cannibis somewhere within them. As for GMO vs not GMO: please find me any instance of a non-GMO crop, considering that humans have been manipulating crops for centuries.

  39. #39 Gilbert
    February 3, 2016

    Today’s GMO is ‘transgenic’, MI Dawn #38.

    So much for ‘species barriers’ limiting mixing of genetic materials; These genes are a mishmash across even Kingdom boundaries**. Since turning on or off any given trait typically turns on or off others in a clumsy, birdshot scattering, the only assured outcome is Monsatano, et. al abusing copywrite to eventually collect royalty on all life — The corporate-elite ‘governments’ pave the way for what many consider genetic pollution; It is like an unwanted guest coming into your living room and taking a dump on your kauphy table. Then calling the cops and having you arrested because that’s obviously their deuce on your table.

    **Not that I mind. Although, now that Zika is claimed to be sexually transmissable, it is problematic for me to picture how the Texan managed to get the mosquitoes’ little legs spread apart.

  40. #40 Todd W.
    http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com
    February 3, 2016

    Today’s GMO is ‘transgenic’, MI Dawn #38.

    Not all GMO is transgenic. Some involves just turning on or off existing genes, or borrowing genes that are present in one variety of a species but not another.

    So much for ‘species barriers’ limiting mixing of genetic materials; These genes are a mishmash across even Kingdom boundaries.

    You should have a talk with viruses. They’re constantly grabbing genes from one organism and plopping it into other completely unrelated organisms, even crossing kingdom barriers. Darn viruses messing up the natural…order…oh, wait.

    Since turning on or off any given trait typically turns on or off others in a clumsy, birdshot scattering

    Genetic engineering is far more precise, in this regard, than conventional breeding. Conventional breeding, you have absolutely no control over which genes get turned on or off. Genetic engineering is much more like a laser, while conventional breeding is more like buckshot.

    I suggest you do a bit more formal studying of GMO techniques and leave the ideological blinders at home.

  41. #41 Todd W.
    http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com
    February 3, 2016

    And apologies to Orac for going way off topic.

  42. #42 Gilbert
    February 3, 2016

    You should have a talk with viruses. They’re constantly grabbing genes from one organism and plopping it into other completely unrelated organisms, even crossing kingdom barriers.

    Todd W. #138, I’ve often thought of the spread of Monsatano’s maize-plateau, patented deuces as like a virus.

    — Will you guys advocate for a vaccine against the nepharious, Warren Buffett-owned high fructose ‘corn’ syrup ketchup or the creamy, tastey Jiff with ‘soybean’ oil slathered in all the extra pesticides?

    ^^ That’d be about as likely as Lloyd’s of London insuring me against accidentally witnessing something like this:

    http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/walking-fish-feet-toes-human-7284569

    Genetic engineering is much more like a laser, while conventional breeding is more like buckshot.

    I’m getting the idea that it is more like hacking SQL or changing the value of a component in a circuit board — It’s not linear as in just affecting adjacent parts of the code or operation of the X-ray shutdown circuit of the CRT; It often opens up other, unforseen possibilities.

  43. […] saw this gratifying outcome in my very own state, where as of January 1, 2015, the Michigan Department of Community Health issued a new rule that […]

  44. #44 Joe Ball
    Charleston, wv
    February 4, 2016

    Your link to the institute of science in society is about as credible as linking to Ginny McCarthy on vaccines. It is an institute that promotes homeopathy among other mishmashes of pseudoscientific goobilygook. Homeopathy is quite possibly the most unlikely legitimate science on the planet to actually work because it requires all laws of chemistry to be wrong. As far as spraying in Brazil, I can’t find what they are actually spraying anywhere but most likely it is BT israelensis which is industry standard. If spraying BT israelensis causes birth defects then everybody who live around or visits disneyworld would be screwed because that’s what they use to control Mosquitos there as well as in just about every state in the union. Back to the vaccine issue, my state of WV, believe or not, allows only medical exceptions. By the way we haven’t a case of measles for 35 years. So much for virus shedding nonsense.

  45. #45 Joe Ball
    Charleston, wv
    February 4, 2016

    We also have one of the lowest rates of autism diagnosis in the country.

  46. #46 Gilbert
    Zik'd out, wandering through some buzzless, purple haze
    February 4, 2016

    I can’t find what they are actually spraying anywhere but most likely it is BT israelensis which is industry standard.

    I did not know that BT israelensis was the ‘industry standard’ for spraying/fogging, Joe Ball #44; It is a larvicide usually reserved for direct application to standing water such as ponds and wetlands. It is also the primary ingrediant in *mosquito dunks* for indoor and outdoor use.

    Table II and III here show the typical spectrum of organophosphates and carbamates used for mosquito control:

    http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?pid=s1516-93322008000300010&script=sci_arttext&tlng=en

    Ahh, The remembered-from-childhood, familiar, friendly smell of malathion coming off the blinking, blarring spraytruck with the anthropomorphic smiley-face on front pumping out its siren song of dusky, magical mist– luring kids on bikes for blocks around to frantically try and join the mystical 4-wheeled fun and frolic in the fog like some pedophilic Pied Piper of Pyrethros, some deranged denizen of Diazinon. It never hurt us any … much.

    And then there is the the other one; its phosphorescence revealing contamination of the cannabis; its omnipresence coating carpets, couches, damsel and dogs — Nobody is askeered of 7-dust, they’re all too busy nursing some sneezy, surly yearlong allergy to read the warnings on anti-cholinerginics or heed the blatherings and complainings of visiting hypochondriacs.

    http://time.com/4205214/zika-virus-ddt-mosquitoes/

  47. #47 Gilbert
    February 4, 2016

    a national mobilisation day would be held on Saturday, during which thousands of soldiers and state employees would work to eradicate the insects in homes and offices.

    Ms Rousseff said most mosquitoes breed in or near people’s homes.

    …In a separate development, UN and US health officials have accused Brazil of not sharing enough samples and data to determine whether the virus is responsible for the increase in the number of babies born with abnormally small heads…

    …A major obstacle is Brazilian law, correspondents say, because it is technically illegal for Brazilian researchers and institutes to distribute genetic material, including blood samples containing Zika and other viruses.

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-35489388

    The guys in the camos are probably from a stock photo. Still, army grunts are going to ‘war’ against a mosquito; They’ll probably mix up all the (mostly inappropriate) aforementioned litany of insecticides in a great big water buffalo tank and firehose everything and everyone within streamshot of any given road — inevitably saturating any local wells with mismanaged, mutagenic, mosquito-fightin’ good stuff.

    The phenomenal spike in grotesqueries will shock the rest of the world into doubling down on similar efforts to obfuscate what is just as likely negative effects of pesticides to begin with.

    Hope may be on the way for pregnant woman infected with Zika in South America. The virus, which is transmitted by mosquitoes and has been linked to the serious birth defect microcephaly, has spread explosively throughout the region and, thanks to the region’s typically-draconian restrictions on contraception and abortion, has put women of childbearing age in a terrible predicament. Now Women on Waves, an organization which uses ships to offer safe abortion services outside the territorial waters of countries where the procedure is restricted or forbidden, has announced that they will begin serving areas affected by Zika.

    http://www.vocativ.com/news/279293/pregnant-zika-victims-will-be-given-access-to-abortions-at-sea/?PageSpeed=noscript

    ^^ Perhaps international researchers can purchase the relevant ‘data’ from those ships outside Brazilian law, Hmm?

    http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2016/02/03/video-shows-planned-parenthood-accounting-tricks-to-hide-profits-from-baby-parts-sales/

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