Readers’ Corner: Nanotech and VaccinesMay 8, 2012
We address readers’ questions and comments on nanotechnology and the HPV vaccine for boys.
A reader says:
I just read some research showing that nanotechnology is destroying plant life. If that’s the case, to what extent is it harming human life?
Research by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has found that materials produced through nanotechnology can enter plant cells and damage their DNA, stunting the growth of the plant. The study looked at copper oxide nanoparticles, and found that certain levels of copper, especially if it enters the cell’s nucleus, can irreparably harm DNA. Damaged DNA in plants make them susceptible to diseases like rot and mold, killing the plant.
Copper oxide is used in sunscreen and cosmetics, and scientists have found that these materials can enter the environment through industrial runoff, contaminating the water system and damaging beneficial microbes. Moreover, the particles could be toxic to aquatic life. This will absolutely affect our food supply.
Moreover, if nanomaterials do this to the DNA of plants, how are we being affected by the nanomaterials we absorb directly in sunscreen and cosmetics, or might consume in our food? The fact is, we simply don’t know. And we find it outrageous that our government would look at a technology that is proven to damage plant DNA and say, “Well, there haven’t been any illnesses we can directly attribute to it, so we assume it’s safe.”
At a minimum, engineered nanoparticles have no place in organic products. If you haven’t taken action on this issue, please do so now.
On the HPV Vaccine for Boys
Please remove me from this list. I had no idea that this site was an anti-vaccine site. Boys have the right to be protected also! Your reporting is heinously unacceptable!!!
We are not “anti-vaccine.” We are, however, decidedly pro-vaccine-choice. We believe it is difficult for consumers to get accurate information about the potential dangers of vaccines when the vaccine industry is such a powerful force and is so completely in bed with government.
Vaccines are a huge money-making industry, one that is concentrated in the hands of just a few big companies closely allied with, and subsidized, mandated, and legally protected by government. Sales are rapidly rising, and companies are largely immune from any competition from generic drugs—for example, it’s hard to get generic versions of biologic drugs on the market. In addition, the vaccine industry is largely shielded from liability and lawsuits through the vaccine courts.
We believe boys should receive equal protection with girls. But you seem to be assuming that human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine provides protection in the first place, whether for girls or boys. We question that assumption:
- It is not certain by any means that the vaccine actually works. We only know that the vaccine causes a strong immune response to the strains of the virus in the vaccine; this may or may not prevent the cancer from developing, and only time will tell. A normal immune response to infection is much more muted. This may be a good or a bad thing—no one knows for sure. We don’t even know if the vaccine provides long-term immunity.
- The vaccine is primarily for cervical cancer, so this is not primarily about boys being protected—they are mainly vaccinating boys to protect the girls, despite references to other cancers that are tossed in. Of course, “protecting” girls by giving boys the vaccination is a rather circuitous route, especially when there is no indication that it works. The only benefit we know for certain is that it increases pharmaceutical industry profits.
- And does it really “protect” boys when the vaccine itself has such a high number of Adverse Event Reports (AERs)? The National Vaccine Information Center compared AERs for Gardasil, the HPV vaccine, with those for Menactra, the meningococcal vaccine. Gardasil had three times the number of life-threatening incidents, nearly twice the hospitalizations, nine times the disabilities, and nearly five times the deaths as Menactra. We have compared the possible side effects of Gardasil, as printed on the information insert provided by Merck, to twelve other vaccines commonly recommended by the CDC for children, and found that Gardasil causes far scarier reactions, including the risk of seizure.
At very least, the CDC should pay closer attention to these AERs before they recommend such vaccines for girls or boys. At the moment, the CDC says that the AERs are not “peer-reviewed” research. This is of course just an excuse. The CDC should do the peer reviewed-research itself.