Skip to main content

View Diary: Why People Distrust Science (250 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  I greatly appreciate your diary, but (3+ / 0-)

    I have some schooling, and maybe my too-little knowledge makes me even more wrong than if I was fully ignorant.

    I never opposed vaccines or bought the autism link but I will always think, wasn't there anything they could have used with less potential impacts than mercury?

    Science and medicine don't help themselves when they have to admit that yes, mercury is extremely toxic, and yes there is a little in the vaccine, but not enough to hurt you, and yes it's harmless, but now we're removing it.

    Maybe there is a Point #8, science and medicine's clumsy PR.

    Orly, it isn't evidence just because you downloaded it from the internet.

    by 6412093 on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 02:14:33 PM PDT

    •  I've tended to explain it this way: (7+ / 0-)

      Sodium explodes and chlorine is poisonous.  Put 'em together, though, and you get table salt.

      It's not the element, per se, but what it's combined with.  Vaccine mercury simply isn't that available to the human body and is excreted.  Elemental mercury (quicksilver) is very toxic and hangs around for a long, long time.

      By the same lights, one colorant I use in soap (which gets used on the skin) is ferric ferrocyanide.  Yep.  That pretty blue is cyanide!!11!111one!

      Ferric ferrocyanide's cyanide isn't biologically available.  You can eat it.  And in fact, if you ever get radiation poisoning, they probably WILL give it to you in pill form--they'll just call it Prussian Blue to avoid making you all panicky.

      (-6.38, -7.03) Moderate left, moderate libertarian

      by Lonely Liberal in PA on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 03:12:27 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  In this case (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        6412093, Lonely Liberal in PA

        Ferric ferrocyanide is non-toxic because cyanide's toxicity comes from its tendency to glom on to iron atoms, which form parts of essential enzymes (particularly the cytochromes). Ferric ferrocyanide, as it name kind of implies, contains enough iron of its own for all the cyanide ions to glom on to, so they don't disturb yours.

        Similarly, mercury's toxicity comes from its tendency to glom on to sulfhydryl groups, which are often parts of the active sites of important enzymes. But in thimerosal, the mercury-based preservative that used to be used in some childhood vaccines, the mercury atom is already married to a sulfhydryl group in the molecule, so it's not going to sleep around with your enzymes.

        Personally, as a physician, I would be very concerned at a child becoming febrile after having ingested bleach or had it shot up his rectum—Orac (Respectful Insolence)

        by ebohlman on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 09:43:29 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  May I suggest we ask the same question about (0+ / 0-)

      lead bullets.

      We've known about lead's toxic effects on the brain for decades, especially in children. Yet not only are lead bullets still widely sold and used there is little to no regulations that require guns owners, gun ranges, hunters, those who shoot for sport, and the police to take protective measures against inhaling, ingesting, and disbursing lead dust.

      Lead dust in old paint is now tightly regulated, yet there is almost not attention to the dispersal of aerosol lead and lead dust from firearms.

      "They did not succeed in taking away our voice" - Angelique Kidjo - Opening the Lightning In a Bottle concert at Radio City Music Hall in New York City - 2003

      by LilithGardener on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 05:48:29 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  they are different kinds of lead. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        6412093, JosephK74

        One is easily absorbed, the other not.

        The only lead that is a danger from lead bullets is the vaporized part of the percussion primer cap which is the little button at the end of the cartridge. That's why they have fans at indoor ranges. The lead in the bullet itself doesn't cause harm. Outside the vapor has tons of room to disperse.

        In California there are court cases where the University at Santa Cruz has gone to great lengths not to allow their experiments to become part of the public record. The argument is that publicly funded experiments should be available to the public. It's thought their experiments disprove what they are claiming. They've spent a lot on lawyers to keep from divulging.

        People who eat game shot with lead bullets living in N Dakota have lower lead levels than the general US Population. Lead in soil from old auto emissions and chips from old paint is more available in acidic soils. (CA,NY, etc) not Nodak.

        It doesn't help that wetland birds who use tiny rocks in their stomachs to digest food would eat shotgun pellets which are the perfect size, grind up the pellets, then break  down the lead with stomach acid and get lead poisoning.

        We and condors don't eat like that. We gobble meat and flush the lead out our back ends as we've been doing for centuries without harm.

        When I first heard of lead and bullets controversy I switched immediately. My kids were 1 and 3 at the time. Now I'm much more skeptical. I knew lead was bad, so I immediately erred on the side of caution. I believe bird advocates who don't like any birds getting shot have misrepresented the danger of lead. Anti gun and anti hunting groups also seem to always be involved.

        The courts have tossed out the cases forever. The CDC doesn't consider it a danger saying no eater of game meat has ever had lead poisoning from bullets.

        “Conservation… is a positive exercise of skill and insight, not merely a negative exercise of abstinence and caution…” Aldo Leopold

        by ban nock on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 06:48:13 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I hope you are right (0+ / 0-)
          The only lead that is a danger from lead bullets is the vaporized part of the percussion primer cap which is the little button at the end of the cartridge.
          Yet the EPA had declared an old shooting range to be a Superfund site because of 72,000 ppm of lead in yards of the subsequent development, in Lexington Manor,  near Cincinnati.

          Orly, it isn't evidence just because you downloaded it from the internet.

          by 6412093 on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 09:58:32 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  All shooting ranges of which there are many, have (0+ / 0-)

            high levels of lead, periodically they mine the old lead out of the sand for recycling. I think perhaps your superfund site had a company that went bankrupt and didn't clean up after themselves.

            “Conservation… is a positive exercise of skill and insight, not merely a negative exercise of abstinence and caution…” Aldo Leopold

            by ban nock on Thu Jun 20, 2013 at 07:02:30 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Yes, (0+ / 0-)

              I think the speculators who started up the Lexington Manor Estates probably didn't confirm the prior clean-up results.

              Nonetheless, I'd prefer if ammo was lead-free and there was less to clean up.

              Orly, it isn't evidence just because you downloaded it from the internet.

              by 6412093 on Thu Jun 20, 2013 at 10:09:05 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  You're being a little misleading. (0+ / 0-)

          While the overall lead levels might be lower than the US population because of geographic or other factors, generally the levels in those eating game meat were higher than those who did not:

          http://www.ndhealth.gov/...
          http://www.ndhealth.gov/...

          In the study, people who ate a lot of wild game tended to have higher lead levels than those who ate little or none
          •  yes, it elevates levels, but not as high as doing (0+ / 0-)

            things like living in a city.

            People use that Ndakota study to insinuate that you are going to be sickened by lead from game meat, when obviously you are a lot less sickened than say, living in San Francisco, or Cambridge MA.

            You should also qualify your statement to say they had higher levels than those who did not in North Dakota, but they had lower levels than the general US population, right?

            “Conservation… is a positive exercise of skill and insight, not merely a negative exercise of abstinence and caution…” Aldo Leopold

            by ban nock on Thu Jun 20, 2013 at 07:00:31 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I did qualify (0+ / 0-)

              in the first part of the first sentence of the reply. I was also being deliberately accurate when I said only 'slightly' misleading, as in general you're right. Other factors such as industry localizations can be much larger.

              However, people might get the impression from your original comments on the study that there is no correlation between eating wild game and lead levels in the blood, when the study says the opposite.

    •  The mercury argument (0+ / 0-)

      Drives me batty!  It is one of the biggest signs of deep and profound scientific illiteracy when people make it because they're thinking from the premise that mercury =bad.  That's just not true.  It depends on the amount of mercury and frequency of exposure.  There's more mercury in many common household products and foods, then the mines clue amounts used in vaccines.  Context matters and a lot of things are meaningless if we don't have a comparative context to evaluate them.

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site