Saturday, July 4, 2009


It's been a while since Ive managed to make fun of GOOP, Gwynnie Paltz' lifestyle schmagazine. Sadly, Gwyn has developed a touch of sensitivity as regards being perceived to be a spoiled, patronizing tit; either that, or she's simply hired a publicist to help squelch the damage. The resulting GOOPy letters are filled with bonhomie towards the plebs and innocent content involving detox regimens that even plebs can afford, or sweet little cookie recipes that can make a mom on unemployment pretend she is Gwynnie for a day.

It's disappointing, from a satirical perspective, to see the vanilla flavor of Gwyn's newsletters. But in a recent eco-fabulous-themed newsletter filed under the subtly themed GET section of GOOP, Gwynnz dissed the BPA bottle, proffering some sort of water bottle called a "KOR hydration vessel" that is made without those terrible toxins. And of course is slender, minimalistically mod and design-y, and costs a pretty penny.

All of which reminded me that I have yet to rant against the BPA b.s. that has filled the mommy airwaves over the years. (So many rants! So little time!) Sure, none of us like to have our wee tots drinking from the noxiously perfumed plastic water bottles that come with their Hello Kitty lunchboxes direct from Guangdong, China. I too have bought into the pricey SIGG bottle scene. But equally, new info shows it won't kill our little muffins to drink out of something aside from a (very pricey) SIGG water bottle, or schmantzy baby bottle, for those of you with infants. As a mother who has newly invested in a $22 SIGG water bottle for Crabkid's summer camp, only to have the dang thing go missing in a week, it is heartening for me to learn that this whole BPA brouhaha is just a storm in a teacup.

Or at least, from one perspective.

Read this and also, this, a far chunkier essay. Both links came to me courtesy of George Mason University's STATS, a marvelous entity devoted to dispelling spurious scientific claims. Of course anyone speaking out against the BPA freakout gets an onslaught of attack, so the author of the second article has also written up a quite interesting Q&A.

And on the subject of junk science and the culture of parental fearmongering, I was most impressed by this breathtaking piece by Shannon Des Rochas Rosa at BlogHer, on autism cults. This comes from someone who experienced it from the inside. It's great to see more moms speaking out against cult websites like Generation Rescue, who profess to doing good but do so much harm. Vaccinate your children, you bunch of crazy culties.

Rant over. The monkey bars call (or rather, a certain someone is calling for Mom to take her to them).

This is the part where I ask you what you think of non-vaccinating or BPAs....but it's actually unnecessary b/c of course if you have a strong opinion, you will share it with me in the comments, as well you should, my lovelies!


Christine said...

I'm waiting till my son is 6 months old to begin vaccinations, and even then we will not do more than one in a visit and we won't do ones we deem unnecessary such as the one which protects him from a disease he can only get through promiscuous sex and intravenous drug use........

It's not that I'm afraid of autism, I am just an educated consumer and refuse to pad the pockets of billionaire drug companies who use cheap preservatives and push ridiculous vaccine schedules...

crabmommy said...

Believe me, I understand the questioning process. I went through it too. How could I not, with all the misinformation out there thanks to the autism cult and its papers presented to the public, which have all been proven erroneous to date.

But the staggered schedule poses its own problems. I won't waste your time telling you why since it seems your mind is made up to wait. And in these vax/non-vax/staggered schedule arguments, few people ever go to the other side. I assume you're referring to Hepatitis vaccinations when you say the diseases contracted by HIVsex. But babies absolutely can contract Hep.

As someone born and raised in Africa I can only say that it's a luxury for modern westerners to pick and choose their vaccinations. it's a pity it comes at risk to us all. And it does.

Ellen W said...

As someone who worked in the world of public health before becoming a full time SAHM, I am all for vaccinations. It irritates me as parents who do not vaccinate put not only their kids at risks but others as well children not yet old enough for certain vaccines.

There has been no true science showing a link between autism and vaccines; children are often diagnosed at the same time they are receiving their MMR.

daniel kuntschik said...

Here in way backward Argentina we vaccinate every kid against just about everything catching, starting their first vaccination when they are a couple of hours old. And we are absolutely clueless as to what their drinking vessels are made of. I am totally for this less stressful parenting. My kids have managed to survive pretty well unscathed by this to the ripe old ages of 9 and 6, so I guess living in a third world country isn't as bad as some may think!

The Boss of You said...

The thing about delaying the vaccines is that things like Hib are especially lethal to young infants which is why they are given so young. Something 'educated consumers' fail to realize.

Anonymous said...

I am still staggering my son's vaccines. As far as I know, the CDC has not done a study on the cumulative effects of the entire vaccine schedule, comparing vaccinated kids vs non-vac kids. Maybe I am paranoid and stupid, but that makes me think the CDC is afraid of the results.

Amanda said...

Hi anon,
I'm glad the CDC isn't pouring more money into fruitless studies. We've done enough of those what with the faux autism link, thanks to those doctored studies the likes of Gen Rescue love to cite. Staggered--they don't need to do studies to know what those effects are. there's plenty of info on that one in the usual places, that is if one will give credence to non junck-science. In a nutshell, if a kid hasn't got the shots on time, the window of infection is opened nice and wide for all of us. Or maybe you think they should do a study on cumulative effects for entirely non-vaxed kids vs. vaxed kids??! For that one it depends, I suppose, on what society you live in: if you're lucky enough--as most non- and staggered vaxers are--to live in so-called developed nations, your kid is likely to be okay, coasting on the vaccine shield of others' kids. But occasionally (cf. the recent Minneapolis, Colorado cases) that shield of immunity is perforated by the non-vaccinated. And then you get an outbreak--where children, as well as older, compromised members of society, can and do get very sick. Or they die.

Amanda said...

this website will tell you more about the dangers of staggered vaccinations, as well as non-vaccinating.

Anonymous said...

"Or maybe you think they should do a study on cumulative effects for entirely non-vaxed kids vs. vaxed kids??!"

Yes, that's exactly what I would like the CDC to study. American children, vax vs. unvac. Are there higher autism rates or not? What about ADD or ADHD? If there is if a difference between the groups, why? Are some children with mitochondrial issues more vulnerable to vaccine injury and if yes, can we screen our kids for those problems? So, yes. Two members of the House (Reps. Carolyn Maloney and Christopher Smith) have been lobbying HHS to conduct this exact study.

crabmommy said...

Now you want them to test for ADD and ADHD among vax and non-vax? I'm sorry but based on...what? There is ZERO real science information linking ADD/ADHD to vaccines. But this will be the new bandwagon for the non-vaxers I guess, now that their most famous landmark study backing up their "claim" of links between autism and vaccines has been entirely discredited --because the doctor who presented them falsified the results.

Anonymous said...

This is the web version of Fox News- a post is deliberately misinterpreted so you can insert your talking points.

I would think anyone of even limited curiosity would be interested to find if there are any differences between vaccinated American kids and non-vaccinated. If there is no difference in the autism rates, then that helps all of us get closer to finding out what is contributing to higher autism rates.

You seem to lump me in with non-vaxers to make your point, and then you accuse all of us of being anti-science. Yet, you're the one who thinks a scientific study is a waste of time.

There are increased rates of autism, ADD and ADHD. What's causing it? If it's not vaccines, great, but you seem unwilling to find out. Hannah Poling's ASD was found to have been caused by vaccines. Are there more Hannah Polings out there, or is she a fluke? We need to know. A study between both groups of kids would be immensely helpful. I don't understand why you are so against it, unless you're afraid the results won't support your theory. That's bad science.

Obviously, vaccines have saved lives, especially in your home continent. But it is possible that we've gone overboard, with some kids. And we need to find out more.

crabmommy said...

This isn't Fox News. This isn't a news site period. It's my blog and as such contains my biases and beliefs. But I didn't take your comments out of context--I merely tried to understand them. It seems so absurd to me to try and link ADD and ADHD to vaccines that I was simply trying to puzzle it out. But I do see the link now: it must be the new random bandwagon non and staggered vaxers can jump on, now that the autism link has been so thoroughly discredited by the shocking erroneous fudged data in that landmark paper by Dr. Andrew Wakefield--the paper that started people turning away from vaccines...But supporters will continue to look at Wakefield with rosy spectacles and when autism can't be linked to vaccines we will find something new. hannah Poling is the last gasp of the doubters--even though she is one of the TINIEST minority in the UNIVERSE that has an underlying disorder that may or may not be exacerbated by vaccines. Why are there not more Hannah Polings coming forward? Because her disorder is incredibly rare. And yes indeed, in rare cases where immunity is compromised or there is a rare cell disorder, vaccines can be dangerous. As is fully disclosed by the CDC.

Look, i won't be convincing you. I know that. But I am not afraid of sounding intolerant. i am intolerant. I am a firm supporter of vaccines and I forwn upon those who don't vaccinate or who stagger. It's unscientific in both cases and totally dangerous. Generation rescue, Andrew Wakefield, Jenny McCarthy are all in my view, a greta danger to public health.

back to ADD and ADHD, I have never ever heard of ADD and ADHD being linked to vaccines. The rise of the numbers can be linked to many things, not least diagnostics, and to such things as play deprivation, where kids are so structured they forget how to play and therefore how to direct their own attention. These sorts of ideas are out there, gaining traction. i don't profess to be an expert but I wager there isn't an expert in the real science community who will tell you vaccines are the culprit. I sincerely hope we don't waste one more bit of money on such studies. I'm ahppier to hear money is being spent to prosecute lying doctors, like Wakefield.

Anonymous said...

I would be interested in any findings vac vs non-vac, not just autism.

Actually, we don't know how rare Hannah Poling's condition is because we don't test for it regularly. The test costs, according to my pediatrician, 10 grand.

There may be many Hannah Polings out there, but the parents can't afford to pursue the case, or are easily intimidated by that arena. Her father is a neurosurgeon. I imagine her parents could afford to hire a lawyer, take time off work to show up for court etc- all the things that prohibit a working class parent who's just trying to take care of her autistic kid.

One can be "intolerant" without resorting to insults or hyperbole. I'm not in cult, I'm not on a bandwagon. Yes, this is your site, and it is your prerogative to start a conversation and then jump down the throats of any dissenters. So, good on ya, I guess.

The Boss of You said...

@Anonymous Here's a very good breakdown of why your undermining of all the evidence around vaccines and non-vaxed kids is silly:

Read it two or three or four times before reiterating you demands. Think .... really really hard.

Anonymous said...

Like some comments on this blog, this article is full of "non-vaxers will never be satisfied" presuppositions. Can anyone on pro-vac side of the argument have a debate without descending into paranoia and insults? Any study involving many people is going to have to adjust for other circumstances in the participants' lives. That doesn't mean we won't learn something valuable.

It's ironic that anyone who questions the vaccine schedule is called anti-science, yet the same "pro-science" folks actively campaign against a study could prove their theory is correct.

Forget Andrew Wakefield. Hannah Poling is an actual case of autism spectrum that was triggered by vaccines. Of the autism cases where the parents say the child was normal until the vaccines, how many of those children had Hannah's condition? Those are questions we ought to answer. A vaccine study might help us.

CCLS Children's Librarian - said...

As a parent of an autistic boy, I need to comment on this. While there is no scientific evidence that proves that vaccines cause autism, there IS anecdotal evidence that supports this. MY SON IS AN EXAMPLE OF THIS.

After receiving his MMR vaccines at 15 months old, my son lost all language, wouldn't maintain eye contact, started flapping his arms and walking on his toes, and his whole personality changed. He is now 7 years old, still doesn't talk and has not grasped toilet-training. Autism is an exhausting, heartbreaking road that never really ends.

My advice is this: Get your child vaccinated, but wait until his/her immune system can handle it -- at 3or 4 years old. Statistically, the chances of contracting measles, mumps and rubella are very low. If I had it to do all over again, this is what I would do.

Lisa U.

crabmommy said...

Dear Lisa,

I cannot begin to imagine what it must be like to be in your shoes. I have read a lot about autism and from the perspective of many parents such as you who saw the onset of symptoms right after vaccinations. Studies--the ones I believe in--show that this is coincidental, as autism symptoms tend to develop around the times of the shot schedule, and all suspected links between thimerosal, adjuvants and the like have been proven to have no correlation. The article (linked in my post) that prompted me to revisit this autism/vaccine issue in the first place is the extraordinary piece by a parent of an autistic child who went from being a believer, to being a disbeliever.

I look forward to the day when more is known about autism and more can be done to help those afflicted. From everything I have read and the considerable monies already spent testing vaccines, I don't believe the answer lies in avoiding, staggering, delaying, or further analyzing shots.

Best, Crabmom

crabmommy said...

p.s. to the above comment "the article of a parent who went from being a believer to being a disbeliever" --I meant, "a believer in a correlation between vaccines and autism" to being a disbeliever in the same.

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Get a Clue said...

To all non-vax advocates:

Hmmm...a vax/non-vax study to see what (if any) links exist between autism, ADHD, and vaccines. I know - let's do a double-blind study so no one knows if their child has been vaccinated or not. Then, when John and Jane come home wheezing and spasming from coughing fits, we can try and guess whether they've contracted whooping cough or whether they're just overexcited from running around because they're hyperactive. What a brilliant idea! When your child succumbs to preventable illness, just think - this could have been prevented! What a luxury we have as Americans to choose if we'd like to vaccinate our families or not - there are people dying of illness in many other countries that would gladly take your dose...

The problem here is that most Americans don't understand science or math well enough to make educated decisions about advanced (or basic) healthcare - that's why we have EXPERTS, also known as DOCTORS. Do you really think that Jenny McCarthy knows more about healthcare than a doctor does? Do you really think that YOU know more than a doctor does because you googled some articles online? Vaccines are a proven method of preventing, and in some cases, eradicating, serious infectious illnesses that have killed hundreds of thousands of people. If you'd like to move back to the Dark Ages and skip vaccines, I would say be my guest, but you not getting vaccinated puts the entire community at risk (herd immunity only occurs when the vaccinated population stays above approximately 85%). So if you aren't going to be responsible and get vaccinated, stay away from me - I don't want you in my herd. Get a freaking clue - get vaccinated.

cathy said...

I'm slightly embarrassed to say that I enjoyed GOOP. Just for a second though.

ltmommy said...

I am late getting to this, but just wanted to post a comment.

I am pro-vaccination. No question there.

The BPA issue, however, makes me squirm. DD was born in 2004, when your choice for bottles was Avent or Dr. Browns. BPA or BPA. Or you could be a bad mom and use some non-hyper-engineered plain old boring plastic bottle with a nipple that might give your baby GAS. Ugh. Yeah, breast is best, but not when it is making mommy go slowly insane, so after round 2 of mastitis it was all bottles for the little one. So 8 months of BPA, all day, every day. Washed in the dishwasher to release even more BPA!

It wasn't until about 2 years later when DS was born that I had started to hear about this BPA flap. And now suddenly using those bottles is akin to child abuse! I'm not even supposed to drink out of a BPA water bottle the one time a week I get to the gym! Never mind that she is 5 now and actually smarter than average (if I do say so myself) and healthy as a horse.

So I go back and forth. The BPA flap is alarmist/I am a terrible mom/I should repent and go all-organic/There is undoubtably something else lurking that is ok today but will be poison tomorrow/When I was a kid we drank from the hose, and we're fine now/ Will she get her period at 7 because of this? / C'mon, what IS really safe to drink from these days?

Rhonda said...

I too am late to this discussion. I just found out about this blog (rather, a friend said, "Hey, you should read the crabby mommy." So here I am).

I am so thankful for vaccinations and believe them to be one of the greatest medical disoveries.

But just for argument's sake...

The health organizations in the United States aren't the 'end all' experts for what vaccinations children should have, are they? Isn't our infant/young child mortality rate worse than many other developed nations? This may have nothing to do with the fact that we require so many shots, but obviously other countries are recommending different things. And surely living in different areas under different health/risk conditions calls for different treatment, no?

I think many parents are simply trying to apply some common sense to the situation. No one wants their child to get measles, mumps, or any other serious disease. But perhaps - just maybe -we're going overboard with the chicken pox and the rotavirus? I mean, is there ANY amount of vaccines that the CDC/Pediatric Organizations will think is too many for a child under age two? 15? 35? 50?

I'm not sure it follows common sense for doctors to simply say, "Okay!" every time a vaccine is approved. The standard of care for children isn't the same today as it was 50 or 75 years ago (thank goodness. It won't be same 50 or 75 years from now. Half a century ago there was still a medical community making recommendations. Some recommendations were good, some were bad ("It's really best for everyone if you place your mentally-disabled child in an institution"). T

Thank goodness some parents didn't follow all of them.

As for the parents who don't vaccinate, or use an "alternate" schedule, are they really endangering other children? I understand the medical rational for vaccinating everyone against a raging disease. But those are generally few and far between in our country now (yes, thanks in part to vaccinations).

If parents are really that confident that a vaccine will protect their child from getting say, rubella, then what problem do they have with your child possibly coming into casual contact with someone who hasn't been vaccinated and has come into contact with a person who has the disease? Aren't there some vaccinations recommended specifically for going to different countries where a person will certainly be exposed to a particular illness (malaria)?

This is America. Thus, as its citizens, we always live in the tension between individual rights and freedoms for ourselves - and the rights and freedoms of others. The vaccination argument is really no different.

Do we really want to take away the right of a parent to make an informed health decision for their child?

Just my few cents. I hope it offers something to the discussion.

Shannon said...

Thanks for the kind words and citation!

Here are my two recent most favoritest articles about totally debunked & public health-endangering vaccine/autism fearmongering:

The ABCs of MMR & DTP: Is There an Association Between Vaccination and Autism?

The Demonization of Immunization in Stanford Medicine Magazine:

They really say more than I ever could, and more eloquently, to those with fears or concerns about vaccinations.

fogcitymama said...

It's hard to fathom that people still are holding onto a belief that there could be a link between vaccinations and Autism. If only it were so! Researchers would have won a noble prize for this discovery! But alas, it just ain't so; and there is no known clear cause for Pre-eclampsia, the #1 killer of pregnant women. Some conditions/ diseases are elusive in cause, and walking around promoting Not vaccinating children is simply irresponsible and dangerous.
Pls- stay away from my family if you've not had your own family properly vaccinated.

deb's mass loaded vinyl said...

I appreciate the links, thanks crabmommy!