The Skeptics' Circle is coming

OK, skeptics, listen up! Bora's set to host the 33rd Meeting of the Skeptics' Circle over at Science and Politics on next Thursday, April 27. If you haven't already done so, this weekend is the perfect opportunity to submit your best skeptical blogging to Bora before 5 PM EDST on Wednesday, April 26. Bora has posted instructions here.

Bora's an old hand at blog carnival hosting, as well as a big afficianado of blog carnivals; so I expect that this Circle will be only of the highest quality.


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I went out for a beer last night and listened in on an interesting conversation by some people at my table who have bought into all the anti-vaccine quackery! They were talking about mercury, but instead of amalgam, they were talking about aluminum! Were they just illiterate or is there also an anti-aluminum-in-vaccines movement as well? I did not want to say anything because one of the people is a war veteran with one arm and a lot of medical problems and his wife was doing all the talking about various alternative treatments that have helped him recover.

On another note, perhaps someone may be inspired for a Skeptic's Circle post by reading this:

I've been hearing some aluminum stuff spouted by antivaxers. I don't have a clue as to what's going on with that, though, and until someone posts a blog entry or comment I'm likely to read, I'm going to just remain clueless. (I.e., I'm not going to get the latest issue of Mothering and see if there's anything there about it, and I'm not going to Google it.)

I'm not quite as good as Julia, and googled. I found this rather ignorant article:

WHY YOU SHOULD AVOID TAKING VACCINES (all caps in the original).

Orac, it's written by a MD, so maybe you should address it?

A few choice quotes regarding aluminum:

The steady escalation in the number of vaccines administered has been followed by an identical rise in the incidence of auto-immune diseases (rheumatoid arthritis, subacute lupus erythematosus, psoriasis, multiple sclerosis, asthma) seen in children. While there is a genetic transmission of some of these diseases many are probably due to the injury from foreign protein particles, mercury, aluminum, formaldehyde and other toxic agents injected in vaccines.

Foreign protein particles?

Vaccines contain many toxic substances that are needed to prevent the vaccines from becoming infected or to improve the performance of the vaccine. Among these substances are mercury, formaldehyde and aluminum.[17]

In the past 10 years, the number of autistic children has risen from between 200 and 500 percent in every state in the U.S. This sharp rise in autism followed the introduction of measles, mumps and rubella vaccine in 1975.

Representative Dan Burton's healthy grandson was given injections for 9 diseases in one day. These injections were instantly followed by autism. These injections contain a preservative of mercury called thimerosal. The boy received 41 times the amount of mercury which is capable of harm to the body. Mercury is a neurotoxin that can injure the brain and nervous system. And tragically, it did.

I don't know which part is the worse - the equation between mercury poisoning and autism, or the fact that he talks about thimerosal in MMR vaccines, which doesn't contain them.

Many vaccines contain aluminum. A new disease called macrophagic myofasciitis causes pain in muscles, bones and joints. All persons with this disease have received aluminum containing vaccines. Deposits of aluminum are able to remain as an irritant in tissues and disturb the immune and nervous system for a lifetime.

Nearly all vaccines contain aluminum and mercury. These metals appear to play an important role in the etiology of Alzheimer's Disease. An expert at the 1997 International Vaccine Conference related that a person who takes 5 or more annual flu vaccine shots has increased the likelihood of developing Alzheimer's Disease by a factor of 10 over the person who has had 2 or fewer flu shots.

The lack of references is in the orgininal. Regarding "Nearly all vaccines contain aluminum and mercury" - the article was written in 2003 where it certainly wasn't the case with mercury, so I am not going to take his word for it in regards to aluminum.

This person seems to have a frightening lack of knowledge on the subject he is talking about, the like not seen since Frist last opened his mouth on a medical matter.

By Kristjan Wager (not verified) on 22 Apr 2006 #permalink

A for those, who like me, doesn't know why aluminum is in vaccines, here is the answe from CDC

Aluminum gels or salts of aluminum which are added as adjuvants to help the vaccine stimulate production of antibodies to fight off diseases and aid other substances in their action. In vaccines, adjuvants may be added to help promote an earlier response, more potent response, or more persistent immune response to disease.

By Kristjan Wager (not verified) on 22 Apr 2006 #permalink

I've touched on the issue of aluminum and other vaccine contents before. Very likely, the lie will be put to the mercury militia's claims that they aren't antivaccination in a couple of years when the number of new cases of autism fails to go down. They haven't gone down yet, and it'll be pretty hard to keep blaming mercury a full five years after it was removed from childhood vaccines. Almost certainly, antivaxers will switch their attention to another ingredient in vaccines to focus on as the bogeyman, and aluminum is a prime candidate.