Anti-vaxxers, do you know the difference between an element and a compound?

thinking woman with question mark

Anti-vaxxers don’t know much about vaccines. Even worse, they don’t know much about chemistry and biochemistry, which means that they can’t understand why they are so wrong about even their simplest claims.

Consider their erroneous claims about the “neurotoxins” in vaccines including mercury and aluminum. Those claims are based on confusion about the most basic distinction in chemistry, the difference between an element and a compound.

The characteristics water are very different from the characteristics of its two elements hydrogen and oxygen.

What’s the difference between an element and a compound and why does it matter?

Elements are the building block of all matter in the universe. Each element consists of only one kind of atom.

What’s an atom?

You’ve probably seen a picture like this before.

image

It shows the structure of an atom. Protons and neutrons are located in the center and electrons orbit around the center. The number of protons in the center determines the identity of the element. All atoms with one proton are elemental hydrogen; all atoms with two protons are elemental helium; and so on.

All the known elements are listed in the periodic table of the elements, in order of the number of protons.

Periodic Table of the Elements with symbol and atomic number

Why are the elements arranged in this way? It’s because elements in each vertical row share important characteristics in how they combine with other elements to form compounds.

What’s a compound?

A compound consists of atoms of two or more different elements joined together and has properties that are different from its component elements.

A compound is different from a mixture. I can make a mixture of two gasses, hydrogen and oxygen. The hydrogen and oxygen are not connected with each other and the hydrogen atoms and oxygen atoms will retain their distinct characteristics.

If I introduce a spark to the mixture a chemical reaction will occur: hydrogen atoms will bind with oxygen atoms to form a compound, H2O or water. Although water is made up of hydrogen and oxygen, it no longer has the properties of either hydrogen or oxygen. For example, you couldn’t possibly breathe water and survive, even though water contains large amounts of oxygen. The characteristics of the compound water are different from the characteristics of its two elements hydrogen and oxygen.

But that’s not all. Other compounds can be made from the same elements hydrogen and oxygen. Hydrogen peroxide has the chemical formula H2O2. Though hydrogen and oxygen are gasses, peroxide, like water, is a liquid, but it’s a very different liquid from water. You don’t need to be a chemist to tell the difference between washing out a cut with water and washing it out with hydrogen peroxide.

image

So the elements hydrogen and oxygen have distinct properties but compounds made from them have very different properties from their constituent elements and from each other depending on the ratio of the elements within them.

An even more dramatic example of this principle is table salt. Salt is the compound NaCl, sodium chloride. Sodium is explosive and chlorine gas is poisonous. Either can cause serious harm or death, yet it’s difficult to imagine a less dangerous substance than table salt, a compound of dangerous elemental sodium and dangerous elemental chlorine.

What does this have to do with vaccine safety?

The principle that we’ve just explored, that compounds have very different characteristics than their constituent elements, has critical implications for anti-vax claims. Anti-vaxxers point out correctly that elemental mercury and elemental aluminum are neurotoxins. But that tells us NOTHING about whether mercury compounds and aluminum compounds are harmful or safe. Indeed, the mercury compounds that used to be present in vaccines (and are still present in some flu vaccines) and aluminum compounds in vaccines are quite safe even though mercury and aluminum are not.

This is obvious to anyone who understands basic chemistry, but can be quite mystifying to those who don’t.

Insisting that vaccines contain neurotoxins because they contain mercury or aluminum compounds is like insisting that you can breathe water because it is an oxygen compound. It’s not merely a reasoning error; it’s a sign of ignorance.

  • Scott Sutton
    • Wren

      OK. You posted a link. Meaning?

  • Jackie Ferenzi

    Thank you Dr. Amy. This is basic chemistry that most (if not all?) teenagers take in high school. I guess the anti-vaxxers ditched that class.

    • Nycticorax

      Belief seems to be impervious to facts. I know this because I teach biology but for some students it does not always sink in all that well. I try, with about 120 students per year. I have an hour a day for 24 weeks Monday through Friday. I also compete for attention with their peers, cell phones, and so many after-school activities it’s a wonder that anything from any of their classes sinks in and stays.

  • Barzini

    Although some of the ingredients in vaccines are neurotoxins, as long as the amount being injected is ‘safe’ then there’s nothing to worry about

    • Nick Sanders

      We’ve been over this with you before. It’s called “dosage”. Or maybe you should stop drinking water, since it can be a neurotoxin.

      • Barzini

        I agree – as long as the amount isn’t over a certain ‘dangerous’ limit, then it’s OK to inject neurotoxins into babies

        • Nick Sanders

          No ignorance like willful ignorance, huh?

          • Barzini

            as long as the amount of ‘poison’ injected into the baby is below the safety threshold, there’s nothing to worry about – a baby could have 10,000 injections and be absolutely fine

          • corblimeybot

            You just keep shitting your pants. You just can’t help it. Poor thing.

          • LaMont

            … Pending the realization that we *are* capable of calculating how substances get processed by our system, adjusting for the size of a baby, multiplying by 10,000, and whatever other oh-so-scary math is necessary to know if thresholds are hit, right? And has anyone proposed injecting 10,000 needles into a baby at once? But keep sensationalizing, it is quite something to behold…

          • Azuran

            That’s the most stupid argument ever.
            Usually, a vaccine has between 0,5 and 1ml of liquid. Let’s say 0,5ml per shot. So you want us to give 10 000 shots at once. Which would be 5L of liquid into a 8 pounds baby.

            So, no, a baby cannot receive 5L of ANYTHING safely, not even water, because 5 freaking litres is bigger than the baby itself.

            Which, of course, tells us absolutely nothing about the safety of anything. Can you eat 10 000 apples at once? No? Then clearly following your logic, apples aren’t safe to eat.

          • Maud Pie

            I imagine Barzini, played in my imagination by the squeaky voice teen from The Simpsons, telling his anti-vaxx pals, “these people on the internet tried to tell me it’s safe to take harmful stuff if you don’t take enough to cause harm, so I told them if that’s true, then it’s safe to inject babies with anthrax if you don’t use too much. Yeah, I really showed them! That showed them!”

        • Sue

          Since my teenage daughter managed to successfully troll me on another site and draw me into an argument by using a made-up name and behaving cleverly like a troll, I have to wonder whether this “Barzini” is just one of her friends, having a bit of fun.

          Hardy har har. I won’t be tricked again.

        • J.B.

          Umm, so are you advising me not to give antibiotics to a baby with a raging bacterial infection? Because you do know that there are ‘dangerous’ limits to antibiotics.

    • Roadstergal

      The Amazing Barzini has received a potent vaccination against rational thought.

    • Jackie Ferenzi

      Do you like pears? Do you like fish?

      • Roadstergal

        Oh, but if you eat something, it doesn’t cross the blood/brain barrier, according to Barzini. Which is why shrooms and pot brownies have no neurological effects.

        • Jackie Ferenzi

          Would combining the two be considered a compound?

          • demodocus

            blech! but then I’m allergic to hemp oil and the smell of regular shrooms cooking nauseates me.

      • Barzini

        Exactly Jackie!

        For example, apples contain cyanide – however as long as we don’t eat over a certain amount, we’ll be fine – dosage makes the poison

        It’s the same principle with injecting mercury and aluminum into babies – as long as we inject under a certain amount, then these proven neurotoxins pose no danger whatsoever

        • Jackie Ferenzi

          Pears are filled with formaldehyde. Fish is just swimming with mercury (ha I slay myself!). Yet we tout fish like salmon as being healthy. Which is it?

          • Barzini

            My point exactly Jackie….

            We could even inject one day old babies with anthrax – as long as the dosage isn’t too high

            Dosage makes the poison

          • Jackie Ferenzi

            I must disagree about the anthrax. May I ask what your credentials are exactly? I’ll go first. I’m a clinical pharmacist. I’ve had 6 years of college level schooling in science. I’ve taken more than my fair share of chemistry courses, and I’ve been working as a pharmacist since 2003. I know a little bit about vaccines and their benefits. I also know what a neurotoxin isn’t.

          • Barzini

            Surely there’s a safe dosage for anthrax for a one day old baby? Just like there’s a safe dosage for aluminum and mercury?

            Dosage makes the poison remember…..

          • Jackie Ferenzi

            You didn’t answer my question.

          • Roadstergal

            He doesn’t. He JAQs off endlessly and knows basically zilch science. And he has a creepy baby genital fetish.

          • Jackie Ferenzi

            That’s awesome. I’m just going to leave a plate of pears for the troll and back out slowly…..

          • Barzini

            you didn’t answer mine, we aren’t even arguing, we are in agreement as far as I can tell

            Or are you saying that dosage doesn’t make the poison?

          • momofone

            “I must disagree about the anthrax. May I ask what your credentials are exactly?”

            Hmmm. The question you avoided seems pretty clear, and I’m not sure where you see agreement.

          • Nick Sanders

            By “anthrax” do you mean bacillus anthracis or anthrax toxin? Because the former can reproduce, so dosage doesn’t really apply, while the latter, yes there would be a non-dangerous amount. I don’t know what it would be, and I’m not aware of any therapeutic utility for anthrax toxin, so I doubt there would be any reason to calculate said dosage, let alone actually administer it, but it does exist.

          • Azuran

            Sure, there is one. But why would we try to figure that out? What possible good could that knowledge have?
            And this again has nothing to do with the vaccine, which we know are safe.

          • Maud Pie

            If you want to do a risk benefit analysis of injecting anthrax into babies, why don’t you start by stating the benefits of such injections.

          • Sonja Henie

            Don’t even try. B’s a hard core troll.

        • You have got to learn some basic chemistry. Compounds are not elements.

        • Ron Roy

          I’ll try and explain that to my autistic grandson you fucking prick.

          • Nick Sanders

            Maybe you should start with explaining how there’s absolutely no connection between vaccines and autism.

          • Jonathan Graham

            It goes something like this:

            Dear, _____________ everything grandpa Ron has told you about your autism being caused by a vaccine was a figment of his imagination.

          • Mike Stevens

            Ron….
            He was being sarcastic/ironic. Barz is a committed antivaxer, like you.

      • Azuran

        The question is, can you eat 10 000 fishes!!!

  • bmc

    This is one of those vaccine pusher arguments that’s as bromidic as the “dose makes the poison” argument. When in a discussion with someone like the author of this article, I find it easy to throw them into a tailspin by simply mentioning that sodium chlorite is also a compound, which also happens to be a salt.

    • Amy Tuteur, MD

      You mentioned it; I’m not in a tailspin. Do you have any other “arguments?”

    • Azuran

      So exactly what is your argument here? There are a lot of compounds that are salts. No one here is going to go in a tailspin over this ‘revelation’ of yours.

    • JGC

      Which simply reinforces the author’s point: sodium chlorite is a salt and not sodium with properties are entirely different than that of elemental sodium just as thimerosal’s are entirely different than elemental mercury and aluminum adjuvants are entirely different than elemental aluminum..

    • AnnaPDE

      What’s your point? That sodium chlorite is a compound made up of chlorite and sodium ions and therefore a salt? A different one, I might add, from the stuff you know as salt from cooking, namely sodium chloride. That d/t difference is pretty important; one’s a disinfectant and the other the stuff you put in pasta water. Actually this just reinforces Dr Amy’s point that the precise chemical composition of a substance matters.

    • Roadstergal

      Are you sure they’re in a tailspin, or just temporarily dumbstruck that you came up with something that you actually think is a clever response, but is in reality just the same point the author is making?

      When atoms bond, they make compounds that have drastically different properties from the individual elements and from each other. Yes, that’s exactly the point. Every compound has to be evaluated on its own merits. Saying that ethyl mercury is just as dangerous as methyl mercury and just as dangerous as elemental mercury is exactly as stupid is saying that sodium chloride is just as dangerous as sodium chlorite and just as dangerous as elemental chlorine.

    • LaMont

      Wait, how is “the dose makes the poison” anything but accurate? No one is saying that a “dose” of a poison needs to be *huge* to kill you, only that the threshold depends on what substance you’re dealing with. Most things aren’t deadly the instant one molecule gets into your system, but once it gets to a certain point, the risk increases. Even benefits from medicines are dependent on amounts – you take one Advil or two depending on how much relief you’re getting. If doses didn’t matter, just taking one would always work for anybody.

      • Sue

        Even electrolytes like potassium, essential to life, become toxins at very high levels. Does ‘Barzini’ believe children should be given food containing this life-threatening toxin, which is readily absorbed?

    • IrΓ¨ne Delse

      And that’s how much you don’t understand about chemistry– and science in general. “The dose makes to the poison” is not an amusing conceit, it’s a basic truth of toxicology. And widely used in medicine. Ever heard the phrase “dose response”? Or wondered why a single drug can have different effects at different doses?
      As for telling us that table salt is sodium chloride… Yeah, that’s the point! From the element chlorine, a poisonous gas, to the compound sodium chloride, or table salt, a similar leap than from mercury to ethylmercury.

      • Charybdis

        For all those folks who don’t know this already: An alkali earth metal plus a halogen results in an ionic halide (sodium chloride, calcium chloride, potassium bromide, potassium chloride, etc). Please take note. There will be a pop quiz later. πŸ˜›

        • Nick Sanders

          Sodium and potassium are alkali metals, not alkaline earth metals. :p

          • Charybdis

            Sorry…..I wasn’t fully concentrating on my post.

            *Ahem, cough, cough*

            The alkaline earth elements are metallic elements found in the second group of the periodic table. All alkaline earth elements have an oxidation number of +2, making them very reactive. Because of their reactivity, the alkaline metals are not found free in nature.

            The Alkaline Earth Metals are:
            Beryllium
            Magnesium
            Calcium
            Strontium
            Barium
            Radium

            All the alkali metals have an electron in their outermost shell and all the alkaline earth metals have two outer electrons. To achieve the noble gas configuration, alkali metals need to lose one electron (valence is β€œone”), whereas alkaline earth metals need to remove two electrons (valence is β€œtwo”).

            Alkali metals and alkaline earth metals are also called the β€œS-block” elements because elements in both of these groups have their outermost electron(s) in the s-subshell.

            There. Fixed it. ;P

    • Karen in SC

      Sodium chlorite is a disenfectant and might be referred to as a salt, since it does ionize in an aqueous solution. However, you won’t want it on your french fries as it’s NaClO2, not NaCl.

      In naming chemical compounds, there is no partial credit. The name is either correct, or not correct. Why would your mistake throw anyone with an understanding of chemistry into a tailspin?

      • The Bofa on the Sofa

        What the hell is this “sodium chlorite” stuff that you all are talking about?

        chlorite: a dark green mineral consisting of a basic hydrated aluminosilicate of magnesium and iron. It occurs as a constituent of many metamorphic rocks, typically forming flat crystals resembling mica.

        the anion in chlorite is aluminosilicate.

        Or are you referring to sodium chloride?

        • Nick Sanders
          • MaineJen

            Wow, imagine mixing up sodium chlorite and sodium chloride in a public forum where you’re trying to school a bunch of actual scientists about science. I mean…talk about making yourself look like a total fool, right?

        • Charybdis

          I do believe the bmc person was meaning sodium chloride, NaCl, table salt. “Chloride” can sound like “chlorite” to the scientifically challenged.

          Like people saying “vanilla folder” instead of “manila folder” or “formulin” instead of “formalin”.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            Castrol oil vs castor oil

          • Roadstergal

            It’s the written version, but Mobile 1 oil.

          • Charybdis

            I wonder how many homebirth/NCB types have used Castrol oil instead of castor oil to naturally induce their labors….

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            There is an NCB instruction somewhere that specifically says to use Castor oil and not Castrol oil. I can only presume it is because there have been those who mixed them up in the past.

            Because they don’t understand that they shouldn’t be drinking motor oil

          • Bombshellrisa

            http://www.gentlebirth.org/archives/castorOil.html
            “Please note!

            There is a vegetable oil called CASTOR Oil, made from castor beans, which is sometimes used to get labor going or for other medicinal purposes. There is a petroleum product, i.e. motor oil, called Castrol Oil, which could be toxic. Please do not confuse them!”

          • Who?

            It’s interesting, isnt’ it, that any all nacheral, best only, done my research individual, could go all the way to using what they know is motor oil, in an effort to induce their baby.

            How could they along the way not wonder why their all nacheral, wootastic adviser was recommending the ingestion of motor oil.

            So much for the value of ‘research’.

          • demodocus

            …yeah…
            Not sure that mistake would count as “gentle” birth

          • Heidi

            I was reading the comments on that page about the castor oil and also taking large doses of Correctol, and sitting on the toilet for hours with explosive diarrhea isn’t my idea of gentle either! I’ll take my pitocin/water breaking induction any day over that personally.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            It always reminds me of American Graffiti, when Steve (Little Opie Cunningham) gives his car to Terry the Toad (who went on to play one of the Crickets in The Buddy Holly Story), and tells him that when he changes the oil, to use only “30-weight, Castrol-R”

            Although I have to ask, in what respect is motor oil not natural? I mean, it’s only dead dinosaurs and plants!

          • Nick Sanders

            I’m amazed that castor oil, which contains ricin, is ok, but so many other things are evil because they contain far less dangerous substances. Or even worse, “toxins”, of no specific description.

          • Bombshellrisa

            I was just listening to an audiobook about a poisoning with ricin.
            You and I both know that these types aren’t particularly smart when it comes to actual science. They probably don’t know that pooping releases toxins into your blood stream.
            Someone needs to make one of those memes that asks “would you feed yourself and your baby a known poison that causes x y and z” like they do for vaccines and formula (as if) and then show a pic of castor oil and links to the midwives who suggest various ways to mix castor oil with something to start labor.

          • Nick Sanders

            They probably don’t know that pooping releases toxins into your blood stream.

            It does? Is that why I sometimes feel worse, instead of better, after a particularly nasty bowel movement?

          • Maybe they’re worried that they’ll demand castor oil at their next auto service?

          • Jackie Ferenzi

            Supposably…..hehe

        • J.B.

          Sodium chlorite is used to generate chlorine dioxide. Good disinfectant, possible uses are greatly limited by formation of byproducts.

        • Wren

          Isn’t chlorite actually used to refer to both?

    • The Bofa on the Sofa

      I find it easy to throw them into a tailspin by simply mentioning that sodium chlorite is also a compound, which also happens to be a salt.

      And?

      Yes, salts are considered compounds. We might distinguish them from molecules, but then again, that gets complicated (you can absolutely have an NaCl molecule in the gas-phase, and it is nothing like table salt; in fact, it doesn’t even have the ionic bonds that you usually consider for NaCl; granted, it is extremely hard to get NaCl in the gas-phase because, as a salt, it is as non-volatile as it comes (BP = 1700 K; nonetheless, there have been studies of gaseous NaCl)

      Regardless, molecules or ionic salts are not elements, and there is no comparison between them.

    • Nick Sanders

      How would that “throw them into a tailspin”? While true, it’s also completely irrelevant to any vaccine discussion I’ve ever seen.

    • bmc

      To everyone who replied to me thus far, thanks for illustrating my point.

      • Heidi_storage

        Help us feebleminded vaccine pushers out a little. What is your point?

        • Nick Sanders

          Self-congratulation of course.

      • Roadstergal

        You’re right, we’re dumbstruck with incredulity. What the fuck _is_ your point?

        • Hmmm…this has nothing to do with anything but:

          Have you seen IKEA USA’s facebook page lately? Everyone is making fun of them – Anti-vaxxers for the usual multide of reasons – pro-vaxxers are making fun of them for the “We hope Vaxxed understands our position on safety and security.”

    • Who?

      Are you sure you’re not seeing paroxysms of laughter at your arrogant ignorance, and mistaking that for tailspins? Just like you mistake antivax folklore for reality?

      • bmc

        I see your misplaced amusement, and got the reaction from vax goons that I was expecting.

        • Sean Jungian

          You are just precious! It’s like the South Park gnomes only for antivaxxers!

          Step one: Nonsensical statement featuring science so wrong that it’s not even in the same realm as wrong (and has instead almost circled completely around to make the pro-vax point!)

          Step two:

          Step three: Declare success!

    • Box of Salt

      I wonder if bmc knows the origin of the adjective “bromidic.”

    • “People get pissed off at me based on my strawmen! WAHHH”

      That’s what the “tailspin” you percieve really is. Pointing out that compounds are not elements says absolutely nothing about the relative dangers of compounds and elements. It does nothing more than point out that you can’t judge a compound by elemental properties or elements by compound properties.

      Or even compounds by other compounds. Each substance must be judged on its own merit – that’s all.

    • Dose making the poison is not an argument at all – it is simply a basic principle of toxicology. This isn’t even toxicology 101 – it’s the first thing after being told where all the toilets are.

      • demodocus

        its also parenting 100. Don’t let your toddler get ito your medicine cabinet

    • J.B.

      Sodium hypochlorite is also a salt, as is calcium hypochlorite. Do you ever perhaps drink tap water, Dasani, or aquafina? Do you ever swim in a swimming pool? How do you feel about cholera?

      • J.B.

        I should also add, one way to make disinfectant is by putting water and electricity through…NaCl, good old table salt! It makes a low percentage hypochlorous acid and probably other compounds mixed in there. Desired by those in dense areas concerned about gaseous disinfection go boom.

  • Sue

    Anti-Fluoridationists provide another good example, ranting that “industrial waste” fluoride is used to fluoridate town water instead of “natural” fluoride.

    They misunderstand that fluorine is an element, naturally gaseous, and that its compounds, when dissolved in water, dissociate to leave fluoride ions, which are indistinguishable from any other fluoride ions.

    They also don’t understand that fluoride is naturally-occurring in water supplies all over the world, in highly variable amounts. Controlled fluoridation provides the dental benefits without the toxicity that is sometimes found in areas with very high natural fluoride levels in the ground water, such as parts of India and China.

    But let’s not let chemistry get in the way of ideology!

    • The Bofa on the Sofa

      Recall it was the natural fluoridation levels that suggested the importance of flouride in the first case. Places with high levels of fluoridation had fewer dental issues than places where natural fluoridation was low. Correlation led to further investigation to establish the causation.

      • Roadstergal

        Which led to controlled testing, which led to fluoridation of water, which led to General Ripper, which led to parts of Canada taking the fluoride out, which led to a drastic increase in tooth decay.

        http://www.torontosun.com/2016/10/05/new-brunswick-dentists-urge-city-of-moncton-to-restart-use-of-fluoride

        • Nick Sanders

          Yeah, but they maintained purity of essence.

      • Sue

        Indeed, Bofa. Apparently a dentist somewhere in the US noticed that a particular community had mottled, but otherwise very strong teeth.

        Regulated fluoridation gives us the protection with very low risk of fluorosis, and essentilly zero risk of systemic toxicity.

  • Sean Jungian

    And HEY-YA!! My son and I got our flu shots today! Thanks, SCIENCE!

    • Sean Jungian

      My boss was going in to the doctor this afternoon too and I talked HIM into getting one as well. πŸ™‚

    • demodocus

      my son got his yesterday but the big person one wasn’tavailable yet, boo

    • Charybdis

      Be careful! I got mine last week and THAT VERY NIGHT I had a washing machine issue and wound up with a waterfall pouring from my kitchen ceiling. I understand this is some sort of vaccine injury. So just watch out, THINGS CAN HAPPEN…/sarcasm

      • Empliau

        I’m getting mine next week, but I’m not worried – my washer is in the garage.

        • Charybdis

          Be vigilant!!! Your washing machine could have issues months, even YEARS from now. It may not even be your washer that has issues. It could be ANYTHING from squirrels in the attic to termites to slipping in the shower!! Immediately after the vaccine to anytime afterwards, even years later!! Keep VAERS’ number handy./sarcasm

          • Sean Jungian

            OMG dying!

            I did have to replace my 20-year-old hot water heater about 2 weeks ago – could these be from having my son receive the HPV vaccine? I mean, that’s quite the coincidence wouldn’t you say?

          • Charybdis

            It very well could be. I mean, the HPV vaccine is fairly new, especially for boys, right?

          • Sean Jungian

            WHAT HAVE I DONE???!!!

          • Charybdis

            Other than protect your son from HPV-related cancers? (Which I am so doing as well. DS gets his HPV at his next well-child visit).

            God only knows what you’ve done. Be on the lookout for anything that seems “odd”, “off” or “just not right” with things. ALL THINGS, because these vaccines can have effects for YEARS. Generations, even./s

          • Roadstergal

            And protect him from being a carrier to others! πŸ™‚

          • Empliau

            Oh, the humanity!

          • Empliau

            We haven’t had enough quantum around here lately (I am to quantum as Christopher Walken is to cowbell) so, in the spirit of time being relative, I had a sewer pipe problem a few weeks ago – tree roots blocking it. Could this be a quantum side effect from the vaccine I’m about to get? After all, toxins in the bloodstream – the sewer is a pipe that has fluids, so analogous. Except tree roots are nacheral. This quantum stuff is HARRRRD…

          • Heidi

            When I was about 5 months pregnant, we had tree roots blocking the sewer pipes. About 2 months later, I got the Tdap and the flu shot. I think the side effects of vaccine must be sooo powerful, they effect one before one even gets the shot!

          • Kq Not Logged In

            (I am to quantum as Christopher Walken is to cowbell)

            I… I think I love you.

          • Empliau

            “As David Cassidy said, when he was with the Partridge Family”, – I never liked “Four Weddings and a Funeral”, but Hugh Grant blinking and stammering through that line was worth it all. (Do the ’90s get me PCM points?

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            Do the ’90s get me PCM points?)

            While it can, and David Cassidy references are always a good start, referencing Hugh Grant means, no.

          • Empliau

            Back to the Gilligan’s Island drawing board! I once knew somebody who dressed like the Professor – he wore tan chinos and white button-down shirts every day, even in the Chicago winter. That’s conviction.

          • Roadstergal

            Our shower started leaking after one of my boosters, and we had to replace it. Now, some smarty-pants ‘experts’ told us that it had been showing evidence of wear and potential failure for years before, but my Homeowner Instinct says differently.

          • Charybdis

            Well, you *know* how correct and valuable your Homeowner Instinct is. It was certainly the booster that caused your shower leak. Has it been “the same” after being replaced after the leak?

          • Roadstergal

            Oh, no. You wouldn’t even recognize it.

            (You actually wouldn’t. We used it as an opportunity to rip out the awful old ’70s pale pink and blue tile, and put in all-new tile, tub, and faucets. But I won’t tell the courts that.)

          • momofone

            Of course they did. And conveniently, I bet they charged you to replace it. Shills.

    • MaineJen

      Got mine today too. No flu for me!

    • moto_librarian

      Got mine last Monday. I am thinking about filing a VAERS report because I am incredibly disappointed that, once again, the flu vaccine has failed to turn me into the Incredible Hulk.

      • Sean Jungian

        What DOES it take to get those sweet Mutant powers from vaccines, anyway??? I keep trying and coming up empty!

        • Charybdis

          Gamma radiation or a bite from a radioactive spider is helpful, I believe.

          • Roadstergal

            Gamma radiation is natural!

        • MaineJen

          It helps if you happen to be getting vaccinated at the same time a particle accelerator experiment is going horribly awry. Also there has to be a thunderstorm. πŸ™‚

    • Bombshellrisa

      Instead of our usual family flu shot party, hubby and I had a flu shot date night. I am filing a VAERS report and I want my shill bucks back. Know why? When we went to Ikea to eat, they were out of lingonberry soda. It ruined my day, completely. You have to have the lingonberry soda with the meatballs or it’s just not right. I am convinced it’s the fault of the vaccine that there was no soda. I think even the cilantro tincture can’t undo that kind of trauma.

      • Sean Jungian

        Lingonberry soda? You mean there was no breastmilk??

        • Bombshellrisa

          Breast milk would not have worked, too sweet and messes with the lingonberry preserves that are also on the plate. It would have worked if I was getting dessert but since I assumed I was having soda, I didn’t grab dessert when I went through. Then the line was really long, so I couldn’t grab one. It’s all the vaccines fault! That and the fact that my sister in law was babysitting, which meant I wasn’t practicing attachment parenting. Maybe it would have been different if I had worn my toddler.

          • Sean Jungian

            This story just keeps getting worse and worse!

            >smh< I'm sure you're…trying, though…

  • Wombat

    Off topic but I could use a little reassurance. 13w tomorrow and today’s scan showed a complete previa. Saw the CNM (have yet to meet my OB, heh – my fault on the 1st appointment then emerg surgery today) and she’s saying there’s a chance it’ll grow/move out of the way but most things I’ve seen seem to indicate that’s unlikely with a complete one. They seem focused on 2nd trim discoveries though.

    This pregnancy wasn’t planned (we knew it was a possibility when the ‘oops’ happened and just chose not to address it at the time/see how the cards fell – and despite being told I’d probably have trouble for a long time 1st time was the charm) so feeling a bit unprepared and overwhelmed. Then this news.

    I’m not some anti C Section nut (I haven’t been around lately but have been a regular) so if it happens it happens. The risk and restrictions in the meantime just suck/are a little scary.

    Also just feeling a bit lost. Feel like this office could do with a small reminder that some people are ‘suddenly’ 1st time moms :p The CNM today was really nice and took her time, but I still feel a little like I’m treading water.

    Any advice/news welcome c:

    • IrΓ¨ne Delse

      Not a medical professional, so I won’t try any advice, but all the hugs and good thoughts you wish!

    • moto_librarian

      First off, it’s okay to feel overwhelmed. Even a planned pregnancy can leave one feeling a bit lost and anxious, so it’s totally understandable to be a bit freaked out.

      I had partial previa with both of my pregnancies. It was diagnosed at my 20 week scan each time. I was pretty frightened the first time (I was drinking the NCB kool-aid and I was unhappy about the possibility of a c-section). Mine did indeed resolve by 28 weeks.

      I was put on pelvic rest the first time, but not the second. I didn’t have any bleeding associated with the previa. Have you had any bleeding?

    • moto_librarian

      The way that it was explained to me is that the uterus grows like a balloon. If the placenta implanted low, it’s likely that it will move up and away from the cervix. The earlier in your pregnancy, the less your uterus has grown, so hopefully, yours will indeed resolve.

    • Dr Kitty

      Rest.
      Whatever will be, will be.
      The placenta will move, or it won’t (it probably won’t).
      It is out of your hands.

      Your job is to grow the baby, tell your HCP if you bleed and take each day as it comes.

      It’s ok to be scared and overwhelmed, but you will be very well looked after, and so will your baby.

    • demodocus

      *hugs* As Moto said, feeling overwhelmed is kind of common, especially if you have a complication

      What kind of advice are you looking for? “Talk to an ob” is the only medical one I can offer. As for general pregnancy/parenting stuff, we all have opinions! πŸ˜‰ If you’re putting up a registry, I recommend putting diapers and clothes of larger sizes. It’s terrifying how fast they grow! Kid2 turns 4 months tomorrow and she’s in 9M already o.O

    • sapphiremind

      Very early location of the placenta is not nearly as important as where it is at about 20-25 weeks. Don’t panic yet πŸ™‚

    • Kelly

      I have had a lot of medical scares lately with my family and what I have done is taken a day or two to “grieve.” Which means I take a few days to deal with my emotions and to let them all out and after that, I feel a lot better. I don’t know if you would be able to do this or if it will help but it sucks to have to wait. Plus, even though you have been on here and understand that c-sections are not bad, you might need some time to get used to the changes that are happening. You go from getting used to the fact that you are pregnant to the fact that there might be a problem in a short amount of time. When I found out I was pregnant with my first, I panicked, cancelled my after school tutorials, and sat in the car with a friend hyperventilating. We had planned and tried for months and I was still freaked out. What you are feeling is normal and you are doing everything right. Waiting really sucks and I hope everything turns out fine.

    • AnnaPDE

      Hi Wombat, the weird feeling is pretty normal afaik. We tried for over a year and I got pregnant totally unexpectedly in the cycle before starting to get serious on the IVF stuff, and I still had a lot of “wtf did I do, this cannot be undone!” scary moments. Also, every gassy moment was suddenly scary b/c what if something is wrong with the baby?!
      It takes a bit of getting used to, and just when you have, the baby suddenly comes out anyway. πŸ˜‰ And just for the record, while everyone has their preferences, CS is quite nice in many respects. Have a bit of a search for “family centric caesarean”, the videos about that are pretty reassuring. And in the meantime, fingers crossed that your placenta moves out of the way.
      What part of the world are you in?

    • MI Dawn

      Many hugs, Wombat. While uncommon, the placenta may move enough as it grows, but it’s not guaranteed. Best wishes.

  • Brooke

    Funny because I just had a pro-vax blogger tell me the other day that carbon monoxide was the same as carbon dioxide.

    • IrΓ¨ne Delse

      Any link or screencap available? No? Color me unimpressed.

      • Heidi

        I’ve seen sarcasm go over her head before, like when she said Dr. Amy said breast milk causes autism. I wouldn’t be surprised if it didn’t go over her this time either.

    • Huh. Link to this. Thanks.

      • momofone

        And to your other claims, while you’re at it. πŸ™‚

        ETA that this is intended for Brooke.

    • moto_librarian

      Yawn. So boring and predictable.

    • Azuran

      A pro vaxxer being wrong about chemistry doesn’t make anti-vaxxer’s bad chemistry any better. You are just both equally wrong.

    • Mel

      Well, from the perspective of how able we are to breathe with them around us, they are.

      Although, of the two I’d pick carbon dioxide since humans have a pretty strong negative physical reaction to higher levels of CO2 and a weak to nonexistent reaction to CO prior to be asphyxiated.

    • namaste863

      The world is full of morons on all sides of every issue. This is not news.

      • Linden

        except this is BROOKE.
        Pix or it didn’t happen, Brooke. You’re a liar. You lie about small things and large things.

      • corblimeybot

        Brooke is very absolutist. She doesn’t understand nuance.

    • oh @sweetpoizen:disqus that made me LOL

    • Charybdis

      Carbon dioxide is TWICE as good as carbon monoxide. More oxygen and everyone knows that oxygen is good for you. You know, because we breathe it. So you can be more efficient breathing the carbon dioxide because it has TWICE THE OXYGEN!!

  • demodocus
    • Ron Roy

      33 upvotes from maybe 10 people but nevertheless still 10 paid shills without a conscience.

      • Wren

        Where is my cheque?!?!?

        • Ron Roy

          Look in your mailbox. Oops sorry it’s direct deposit isn’t it?

          • momofone

            I prefer to have it delivered by armored truck. But then I’m old-fashioned.

      • demodocus

        Nonsense, I liked it 34 times under all my different accounts. Just keep rolling in the big money like Scrooge McDuck!

        • N

          Really?? 34 plus the demodocus one, you have 35 different personalities, how do you organise them to not mix them up. That seems like a lot of work, like an 8h/day job at least, you couldn’t do it without being paid. Of course you are. πŸ™‚

          • demodocus

            It’s pretty easy with the ability to cut and paste πŸ˜‰

      • Azuran

        Then maybe you should stop commenting and stop earning me money, sweety πŸ˜‰

        • Sarah

          Dude, you get paid? Here was me doing all this for free like a dickhead!

          • Heidi

            Don’t you love how we supposedly get paid for pro-vax comments we make yet the reason anti-vaxxers claim vaccinations exist is solely for the $$$$. It seems like they pay out a lot more in paying shills than the profit they could ever hope to get from a vaccination! In fact, at this rate, I guess they are losing a few billion every year in shill payouts!

      • Nick Sanders

        Out of curiosity:
        1. Why would shills waste time upvoting a silly visual pun?
        2. Assuming there was a reason, of the upvotes that picture got, who do you think are sockpuppets, and to whom do they belong?

  • CSN0116

    This shit is all over the pediatric cancer pages. Their kids have cancer because they vaccinated them. Now we have parents with kids with cancer telling other parents not to vaccinate or face the same fate. Talk about fear mongering!!! Holy shit!

    http://www.march-against-monsanto.com/the-intentional-genocide-of-a-generation/

    • Madtowngirl

      I have no words. Cancer patients are very dependent on herd immunity. This is completely the opposite of what they need to be doing. This is sick.

      • Roadstergal

        March Against Monsanto. They have their own fully-fleshed-out mythology, with the Demons of Industry releasing the Curses of Glyphosate and GMO, with the Talismans of Breastmilk and Organic serving as the protection of the good and pure. It would be funny and way more risible than people who take Star Wars too seriously, if KIDS WEREN’T DYING.

        • corblimeybot

          They aren’t fully showing their commitment to their cult if they aren’t willing to perform human sacrifices.

    • demodocus

      grr. Than how did 2 of my grandparents loose parents to cancer? Great-Grandma M died in 1927. (That side tends to wait to have kids)

    • JGC

      Vaccines cause people to get cancer only by preventing them from dying of infectious diseases, so that they actually live long enough to develop cancer.

    • Sue

      Cos all that kids with cancer need is a vaccine-preventable infection! Sheesh!

      Some immunosuppressed kids might not sero-convert, and live vaccines might be contraindicated, but other than that…vax!

    • mabelcruet

      So where do congenital cancers come in in their world view? Children’s cancers are very different from adult cancers, frequently have a specific genetic basis, and can occur even before the baby is born (neuroblastoma for example). The survival rate for childhood cancers is generally better than adult cancers, but that won’t last long if this bunch of moronic fud buckets get their way-immunosuppressed patients getting chemotherapy, yep, let’s expose them to infection. What could go wrong?

      • corblimeybot

        I’d like to her their idiot answer to that question, too. Without hurting my blood pressure by perusing their website: I suspect some of them don’t believe that genetic childhood cancer existed before evil modern chemicals. Or that organic-eating, detoxed mothers who breastfeed, produce children who don’t get cancer.

  • Linda Tock

    They also bitch about formaldehyde, saying that vaccine formaldehydeis “synthetic” while the endogenous formaldehyde is “natural”.

    • Roadstergal

      Yeah, I don’t get it. Identical chemicals are identical, no matter the source. The only reason to think that matters at all is if you subscribe to some sort of vitalistic theology.

      • MaeveClifford

        “some sort of vitalistic theology” – I think you’re on to something.

        • Sue

          The one that argues against “matter can be neither created nor destroyed”.

      • Spamamander

        In the same way that “natural” vitamins are magically different than synthetically produced ones. Ideally we will get most of our nutrition from food, but some supplementation like folic acid for women of childbearing age are a great idea. But somehow it’s a “different” vitamin … oy.

      • Daleth

        It’s similar to the irrational belief that lab-created gems are “not real” even though they are chemically, structurally, etc. identical to mined gems. It’s like saying a hydroponic tomato is not a real tomato. IT’S THE SAME DAMN THING, it just happens to have been made differently!

    • guest

      Wonder what they think about citrus essential oil degrading into formaldehyde gas in the presence of ozone? http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-35281338

      I’m sure it’s good for us, it’s from EO’s!

    • Mel

      Excuse me while I go drink some methanol distilled from my very own trees…..

      • Roadstergal

        Formic acid is natural!

        • Charybdis

          Hurts like hell in a fire ant bite.

    • MaineJen

      Try arguing about “natural” oxytocin vs “synthetic” pitocin sometime. It’s fun!

  • Azuran

    I read an article this morning from someone who likes busting pseudoscience crap. It was about those ‘oxygen’ beauty products. They claimed to be made using only ‘pure, non chemical oxygen’ and then pretended it contained ‘no oxidizing agent’

    • Madtowngirl

      Lolololol!

    • Amy M

      Or how about that Foodbabe chick who claimed indignantly that airplane air is NOT pure oxygen!! OMG! She was so upset that only about 20% of the airplane air was oxygen. (smacks forehead, rolls eyes into next century)

      • Except towards the front of the plane. The best air with the most oxygen is reserved for the cockpit!

      • KeeperOfTheBooks

        If she’d watched my favorite British crime drama, then she’d know better. Of course, she’s too busy coming up with loony theories to spend her time in more educational pursuits…like watching aforementioned awesome British TV. πŸ˜€

        • Bombshellrisa

          Oh, which one? Do share your viewing delights. I am still waiting for the first season of Poldark from the library and I have watched all the other shows, I need a new British show.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            “New Tricks.” πŸ™‚ It’s clever, British-ly hilarious, and yet has the occasional very touching moment.
            Short version: a young(ish–say, mid-30s), ambitious, and very-good-at-her-job detective superintendent screws up rather publicly, and gets set up to head a new office, the Unsolved Crimes and Open Case Squad. This office recruits retired and, naturally, given the timeframe, all male detectives from another era to offer their perspective on old cold cases and try to solve them. They end up becoming something of an unlikely family, and the stuff they come up with for cases is, to my pretty nerdy mind, fascinating. ETA: in the episode to which I’m referring, a diver is murdered by having his second tank loaded with pure oxygen.
            I should mention that while the pilot has some really great moments (watch the interview scene!), it’s obviously very low-budget, and the show got much better an episode or two in. I believe it’s available on Hulu, if you have it, though I could be wrong.
            Enjoy, should you so choose!

          • Mishimoo

            I love ‘New Tricks’! It’s such a good show, and I need to watch it through from the start (I always end up catching odd episodes here and there)

      • Mel

        Ok…that one is literally causing my eyes to water in pain.

        If I thought she could understand it, I’d send her an article on why diving with pure oxygen can kill you at less than 30 feet of water.

        • Azuran

          But the oxygen wasn’t even the worst part. She was also outraged that the air contained nitrogen!!!!! with a concentration sometimes higher than 50%!!!!

          • sapphiremind

            The stupid. It hurts.

          • Charybdis

            The oxygen, it burns. Maybe have her light a candle in her high-oxygen environment?

          • Mel

            *Blinks*

            Yeah. It generally does. Because of the atmosphere.

            She’s going to be the first person to give themselves oxygen toxicity just because, isn’t she?

          • Linden

            Do children not learn this in primary school? I distinctly remember learning the composition of the atmosphere in my primarily Muslim, *backward* country. :-/

          • demodocus

            we do, but i suspect Vani was absent during science class, even when she was present.

      • Roadstergal

        Ah, Foodbabe, she of the microwave Hitler water…

      • MaineJen

        Has she ever heard of the Apollo 1 disaster? :/

      • Daleth

        Seriously?!?!?!?! SERIOUSLY?!?!?! Please post a link if you have one, so we can go mock her in the comments…

        Personally I would suggest she go to Denver and march around with a protest sign because the air there has even LESS oxygen than airplanes do.

        • Charybdis

          Nobody cares there, because recreational marijuana.

        • Sean Jungian

          I do hate to dampen your joy, but she has since retracted that blog post, as she received an ENORMOUS amount of mockery for it – I think it was even cited in the NPR article about her. Still, the internet never forgets, so I’m sure you can find a copy of it if you google “food babe airplane oxygen”. You can bask in the mockery of science past πŸ™‚

        • Sue

          I prefer my cabin air strongly nitrogenated, with a slug of oxygen, and a spritz of water vapour.

    • Roadstergal

      OIL RIG

      An atom walks into the bar, looking down in the dumps. Bartender: “What’s wrong?” Atom: “I lost an electron yesterday.” Bartender, sympathetically: “What a bummer! Are you sure you lost it?” Atom: “Yes, I’m positive.”

      • *rimshot* πŸ™‚

      • Nick Sanders

        How ionic.

        • Roadstergal

          But it was a bonding experience.

          • Spamamander

            Don’t encourage him. It only compounds the problem.

          • Nick Sanders

            There’s no need for salt, I’m not being radical.

          • Roadstergal

            Your baseless comment doesn’t pass the acid test. You might be pretending to be noble, but put your halo(gen) away while we transition to a more appropriate topic.

          • Nick Sanders

            You offer no solutions, you just precipitate the issue. Now is a time for reaction. We must neutralize the problem if we wish to have any normality. If we are not strong, there will be no reduction. This will not simply evaporate.

          • Charybdis

            According to chemistry, alcohol IS a solution…..

            Drinks anyone?

          • Roadstergal

            A sublime response. Solid, and yet it was a gas.

          • Nick Sanders

            These puns are just a phase.

        • Charybdis

          Wasn’t that a song by Alanis Morissette?

      • MaineJen

        Two guys walk into a bar. First guy says, “I’ll have some H2O.” Second guy says, “I’ll have some H2O too.”

        Second guy dies.

      • The Bofa on the Sofa

        A neutron joins them and orders for a drink. “How much?” he asks. Bartender says, “For you? No charge.”

        • Roadstergal

          The neutron turns to the atom and says, “Dude, you’re radical.”
          It was a charged conversation.

      • attitude devant

        This has got to be the nerdiest string of jokes of the internet ever. Is there a Guinness record for this?

        • Sean Jungian

          I managed to flunk chemistry in college a whopping 3 times, and even I am finding it funny

  • Stephanie Rotherham

    This reminds me of a joke…

    Two scientists walk into a bar. The first one says “I’ll have H2O”, the second one says “I’ll have H2O too”. The bartender serves them both water because he’s not a fucking idiot.

    • critter8875

      Timmy was a chemist
      Timmy is no more
      For what he thought
      Was H2O
      Was H2SO4

      • Roadstergal

        My (chemist) dad taught me that song when I was a little girl! His version was “Johnny was a chemist boy, but Johnny is no more…”

        • The version I found was something to the effect of :

          “Johnny was a chemist’s son but little Johnny is no more for….”

      • And now I’m back in 9th-grade chemistry! lol

    • Whereupon the second chemist promptly breaks into tears. Because he’s a chemist and knows the consequences of what he was trying to do – that was the point.

      • Stephanie Rotherham

        Suicide by hydrogen peroxide? What a way to go.