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Gardasil, poison, and vaccine reactions

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I had the misfortune finding an article by one Cynthia A. Janak on Gardasil, the vaccine against human papillomavirus. Though I would like to merely dismiss this article (oh, I so, so wish I could merely dismiss it), I am just too horrified by the heinous abuse of science. I cannot resist picking up poor Science, brushing her off, and patching her wounds a little.

I won't even address Janak's heavy use of anecdotal evidence. Instead, I'll focus on her attempt, starting about a third of the way down the page, to condemn Gardasil based on its "toxic" ingredients. She goes through the list one by one, quoting the horrible toxic effects of each ingredient:

  • Gardasil contains 225 mcg of aluminum. Do you know how little that is? That's about 1/4000 gram, or less than 1/100,000 ounce. You get more aluminum eating out of aluminum cooking pots.
  • Histadine is a substance found widely throughout the body. It can safely be taken daily in supplement form in amounts 2000 times greater than what is found in Gardasil.
  • Polysorbate 80 is a type of compound commonly called a "wetting agent" and is found in ice cream and milk.
  • Sodium borate is used to keep the pH balanced. Wikipedia flat out states that it "is not acutely toxic." You have to deal with very large quantities before you need to worry about safety precautions.
  • Sodium chloride is table salt.
Did you notice that Gardasil also contains dihydrogen monoxide? You might like to read more about it here. I should warn you, though, that dihydrogen monoxide is just another name for water.

Janak's blog, Truthspace, is a manifestation of a mind deeply troubled by paranoia. The truth is that the first rule of toxicology is that the dose makes the poison. Cyanide, arsenic, and lead are all harmless in tiny enough quantities, while necessary substances like vitamin A, iron, and even water can be toxic in high doses.

Time may show that Gardasil is not a completely safe vaccine. I see no reason to make that assumption at this time. Gardasil may be a controversial vaccine, but not because it contains substances like table salt.

Poor Science. I hope she feels a little better now.

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