Because of spam, I personally moderate all comments left on my blog. However, because of health issues, I will not be able to do so in the future.

If you have a personal question about LI or any related topic you can send me an email at I will try to respond.

Otherwise, this blog is now a legacy site, meaning that I am not updating it any longer. The basic information about LI is still sound. However, product information and weblinks may be out of date.

In addition, my old website, Planet Lactose, has been taken down because of the age of the information. Unfortunately, that means links to the site on this blog will no longer work.

For quick offline reference, you can purchase Planet Lactose: The Best of the Blog as an ebook on or Almost 100,000 words on LI, allergies, milk products, milk-free products, and the genetics of intolerance, along with large helpings of the weirdness that is the Net.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Lactose Is a Toxic Additive?

I'm convinced that most newspapers outside of maybe The New York Times choose their selection of letters to the editor by what strikes them as hilarious rather than praiseworthy.

The range of comments in these editors prove that we are a diverse public, to stick with mild understatement.

Although opinions on politics, religion, education, and urban issues are frequently as naive and misguided as children's letters to Santa, the ones that truly concern me are the ones that state as fact things that are known to be untrue or are simply demented. Why newspapers legitimize these letters when they obviously have others they could print instead baffles me.

Case in point. Here's the Letters to the Editor page for the Chesterfield [VA] Observer for September 17, 2008.

Although we continue to hear the mantra [that there is] "no proven link" between vaccines and these disorders/diseases, conversely, there's no conclusive evidence there is not a link. A partial list of the toxic additives/adjuvants vaccines contain: lab-altered viruses and bacteria, aluminum, mercury, formaldehyde, phenoxyethanol, gluteraldehyde, sodium chloride, MSG, gelatin, lactose, hydrochloric acid, sorbitol, antibiotics, aluminum sulfate, sodium borate, sodium acetate, hydrogen peroxide, yeast protein, egg albumin, bovine and human serum albumin.

An adjuvant, by the way, is defined as "pharmacological or immunological agents that modify the effect of other agents (e.g., drugs, vaccines) while having few if any direct effects when given by themselves."

Adjuvants are not the same as inactive ingredients, since those are presumed not to modify or affect any properties of the drug involved.

Lactose is not a toxic additive. It is not an adjuvant. Neither are many of the other items contained in that list. They are merely inactive ingredients, helpful for getting the vaccine properly into the system, but nothing more.

That list sure sounds scary if you don't know that. I think it is deliberately misleading, deliberately designed to sound scary. Where does it come from? The National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC), which - despite the name - is simply an anti-vaccine propaganda mill.

The list of toxic additives and adjuvants is taken from the NVIC's Vaccine Safety Bulletin. Except in the original, the list is labeled simply "excipients or ingredients." Excipients are defined as "an inactive substance used as a carrier for the active ingredients of a medication." In other words, inactive ingredients. That is not at all the same thing as an adjuvant. Nor is the word "toxic" to be found anywhere in that brochure. I contend that the substitution of loaded, inflammatory, and scary words was deliberate. They sound scientific. They have exact meanings. They have a purpose. But that purpose is not objective information.

Don't be fooled by propaganda for any cause. Anti-scientific propaganda is especially bad for you. It's almost always not scientific itself, although it may be designed to sound that way. And it's almost always wrong.

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