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Glen Beck, H1N1 Vaccine, Ethyle Mercury & Dangerously Irresponsible Fear Mongering

By Kenneth Barbalace
[Thursday, October 08, 2009]
Politically motivated fear mongering has become a routine part of the partisan discourse with some media outlets. This is an unfortunate part of the current political reality. There are occasions, however, when this fear mongering goes far beyond being just political hatchet jobs and become a true public menace. Tonight FOX News' Glen Beck crossed that line and became a true public health menace.

I don't have cable or satellite TV specifically because I don't want to in any shape form or fashion help enable or support the cable news channels and what they try to pass off as news. As such I didn't see Glen Beck's program tonight, however, I did get the following email from one of his viewers this evening:

I am a concerned citizen trying to find information on some chemical compounds to make a more informed decisions.

I hope you can point me in the right direction or give me some information as I am not a scientist, but want some scientific facts, and possibly to see written results of tests. I want my family to be safe, but I am also concerned about toxins .

I was watching Glenn Beck tonight, and was told that thimerosal was in the H1N1 shots, which said contains Ethyl Mercury in high amounts, and the past reports I have researched said that the safe doses for this chemical was 0.1kg and that current shots contained 237MG. How much difference is this?

Does this constitute poison, or toxicity build up, and if its stored in the brain, does your body ever rid the chemicals of ethyl mercury or thimerosal?

Also can you tell me where to find MSDS on Ethyl Mercury, and facts about over dosages, has it ever been tested on people, in the same dose compared to weight in animals for testing?

I found this link http://www.nfid.org/pdf/factsheets/thimerosal.pdf is this document

Can you tell me what the effects of Ethyl Mercury vs Methyl Mercury are, if a person was overdosed with this is there any cure for it?

Glenn's doctors also said that it is stored in the brain.

Is Ethyl Mercury toxic like regular mercury, and how can a person know if the shot
contains Ethyl or Methyl Mercury?

What other effect if any, do you know if Ethyl Mercury stops bacteria? Does bacterias affect peoples brains from flu's?

Anyway I am a little confused, but I want third opinions as I don't like to make decisions on a whim when concerning everyone who lives here.

Thank you for your time.

On average, according to the Center for Disease Control, 36,171 people die each year in the U.S. from seasonal flu. This year with the H1N1 Swine flu we could be heading into one of the worst flu outbreaks since the 1918 flu pandemic. To stem the spread of the H1N1 flu, and reduce the number of people who die from it, it is critical to get as many people vaccinated as is possible, especially if they are in the high risk categories. Yet what does Glen Beck do? He tries to use the vaccine as yet another opportunity to stir up fear in his TV audience to convince them that President Obama and his administration are out to get them.

The email I received, is proof that Glen Beck's irresponsible behavior has indeed sowed fear, uncertainty and doubt into the minds of his viewers who were probably already concerned about the flu itself. Thanks to his spreading of paranoid delusions, there will undoubtedly be many individuals who will, out of fear, not get the vaccine. As a result, they will get sick and either die themselves or help spread the virus to others who in turn get sick and die. Glen Beck's actions and fear mongering are not just opportunistic, but they are incredibly irresponsible and should not be tolerated. His fear mongering has undoubtedly set in motion a chain of events, which will result in needless deaths.

In regards to the email I received above, here is the reply I sent them:
There have been several high profile cases of individuals trying to blame vaccines and ethyle mercury for all kinds of things including autism without one shred of scientific evidence to back up their claims. Studies have been conducted into these fears in the past and no causation could be shown. One must separate real science from pseudoscience and one must look at Glen Beck's history of outrageous statements that can not stand up to the slightest bit of scrutiny. His motivation is purely political and it is to spread fear and doubt.

You must ask yourself, who would you trust more about the safety of vaccines? Health care professionals who are working very hard to keep us from getting sick or a TV personality who makes a living being as outrageous as possible? I personally have no concerns about the safety of the vaccine and my entire family plans to get the vaccine when it becomes available.

The threat of H1N1 is very real. The supposed dangers of the vaccine are a figment of Glen Beck's imagination.

If you have the slightest doubt about this issue, I would suggest you consult your family physician. They are in the best position to explain the details to you. Just don't base your health care decisions on the paranoid delusions of some famous TV personality.

To answer your question about weights:
1kg = 1,000g = 1,000,000mg

Thus 237mg = 0.000237kg

Based on your note for maximum safe dosage and Ethyl Mercury concentration, you would have to get 421 injections of the H1N1 vaccine to reach the maximum safe dosage. You probably get more mercury in your diet from eating fish on a regular basis (especially if you sport fish).

Ken Barbalace

Glen Beck has gone way beyond being a partisan hack with paranoid delusions. He has become a true menace to society and FOX News needs to remove him from their programming.

Leave it to the Daily Show with Jon Stewart to put the fear mongering around the N1H1 flu vaccine into perspective.


NOTICE: Comments are user generated feedback and do not represent the views and/or opinions of EnvironmentalChemistry.com.

Ken (EnvironmentalChemistry.com) said...

PLEASE NOTE: Any claims to facts and figures in comments MUST be substantiated with citations to reputable scientific studies and/or factual historical data from authoritative sources. Conspiracy theories will be rejected outright.

I have already rejected one comment that made totally bogus claims as to death rates for the Swine flu.

Based on the Oct. 1, 2009 Weekly 2009 H1N1 Flue Media Briefing by the CDC here are some basic statistics for the latest Swine Flu outbreak as of late August:

* 100 pregnant women in the United States have required intensive care unit hospitalization for H1N1 flu.

* 28 pregnant women in the United States have died as a result of H1N1 flu.

Here is some data from the CDC's Novel H1N1 Flue Facts and Figures page:

* From April 15, 2009 to July 24, 2009, states reported a total of 43,771 confirmed and probable cases of novel influenza A (H1N1) infection. Of these cases reported, 5,011 people were hospitalized and 302 people died.

The whole reason I blogged about this issue is that I am sick and tired of media personalities and people taking advantage of their fame to push false information and pseudoscience to the determent of public health. If you want to claim that the flue vaccine itself posses some public health risk then provide the scientific data from legitimate scientific sources to support your claims.

Conspiracy theories and unsubstantiated claims about the risks of vaccines have absolutely no place in the discourse about public health.

Those who are so outraged about the supposed risks posed by the H1N1 flu vaccine should be pointing a little more outrage towards the dangerous levels of mercury in the fish we eat as a result of mercury pollution from coal fired power plants.

Anonymous said...

Wouldn't you have to eat 237 kg of fish all containing a rather high amount of mercury (1 ppm) to reach the amount in this one shot?

Ken (EnvironmentalChemistry.com) said...

Your calculations of mercury amounts are totally incorrect.

The actual concentration of ethyl mercury per vaccine dose is about 25 micrograms per 0.5mL dose (http://www.fda.gov/BiologicsBloodVaccines/SafetyAvailability/VaccineSafety/UCM096228)

The concentration of methyl mercury in a six ounce can of chunk white tuna is about 52.7 micrograms (http://www.pbs.org/now/science/mercuryinfish.html).

So one six ounce serving of chunk white tuna has more than TWICE the methyl mercury than one flu shot has ethyl mercury.

A good article on the issue of ethyl mercury (which is in the preservative thimersal) and methyl mercury, which is found in fish is at: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6332053

Of specific note in the article is that ethyl mercury metabolizes differently from methyl mercury. It is methyl mercury that is a significant health hazard NOT ethyl mercury. NO scientific evidence has been found that the amount of ethyl mercury in vaccines poses a health hazard. In fact in Denmark it was shown that there is no relationship what so ever between ethyl mercury in vaccines and Autism:

"In Denmark, thimerosal was removed from vaccines in the early to mid-'90s," explains Mason. "They have a very tight health-care system with a national database so there’s no question about the dose and the fact that the children received it. Analysis of their data showed no association between thimerosal and autism. In fact, they found a negative association. They actually found less autism in the children who were given the vaccines with thimerosal than without," says Mason.

This finding probably doesn't mean that thimerosal protects against autism; it more likely means that the number of children diagnosed with autism has risen in Denmark as it has here, adds Mason.

--End Quote--

For more about the preservative thimerosal in the flu vaccine please see: http://www.cdc.gov/FLU/ABOUT/QA/thimerosal.htm

It should be noted that for those who are really concerned about this there are preservative-free versions of the vaccine, but they are in VERY LIMITED supply. These preservative free versions of the flu vaccine are mostly reserved for pregnant women and very young infants and must be requested specially.

Probably the biggest reason the preservative thimersal has been removed from most other vaccines is because of negative press and confusion in the public about mercury. It is simply easier to remove the preservative from vaccines than to educate the population about the differences and why the preservative is not a hazard. The problem with flu vaccines is that this would significantly complicate the manufacturing process and delay the availability of the vaccine, which would lead to unnecessary deaths.

dan said...

There are many companies planning giant projects to sequester or inject Carbon dioxide deep into the earth,because it is a greenhouse gas,which most scientists agree is causing climate change.They want to permanently remove millions of tons of CO2 from the atmosphere each year.Don't they know that CO2 is two parts oxygen?We need oxygen
to breathe,and it is also the O in H2O or water.These companies are getting millions of dollars in funds from the Bank of America and the U.S. Government.It would be better if they waited until science finds a safe solution/solutions to climate change instead of this dangerous experiment.Some companies are already pumping huge amounts of CO2 deep into rock formations where it will remain for thousands of years.Don't these people have any common sense at all?


dan said...

I realize that my comment on CO2 sequestration has nothing to do with swine flu. If you can help me find a different place to state my views on CO2 sequestration I would
really appreciate it.


Ken (EnvironmentalChemistry.com) said...


There is no way for me to move comments between blog posts. All I can do is either approve or reject any given comment.

In regards to your comment, there is no danger of running short of oxygen because of CO2 sequestration. At least not at the scale we could realistically accomplish. Even if there were a risk from this the damage would have been already done by creating the CO2 via combustion. Unless we break the oxygen off from the carbon it is lost to us for the purposes of breathing and water generation anyways.

It takes far more energy to break apart CO2 than it does to create it via combustion and we are creating far more CO2 than can be absorbed and broken down by plants via photosynthesis.

The best solution overall would be to not create the CO2 in the first place or at least to produce less CO2 by reducing our reliance on combustion to provide the energy we need (e.g. reduce our dependence on fossil fuels like coal and oil).

We can all help in this matter by finding ways to reduce our individual dependence on fossil fuels by making our homes more energy efficient and by using more efficient forms of transportation. We can also reduce our personal CO2 generation with the choices we make for how the energy we need is generated (e.g. putting solar panels on our homes). A nice side benefit to making our own lives more energy efficient is that we also end up spending less of our own hard earned money on energy.

Kate said...

It amazes me how rude people can be when people don't share their opinion. I don't think there's any doubt that not everybody has the same reaction to vaccinations. Some have no reaction, some minor reactions and some become very ill and possibly die from it. People have a right to their fears, though I would hope they are researching before making a decision as opposed to just taking the advice of somebody else. Not getting a vaccination doesn't mean you're going to get a disease. Just as getting vaccinated doesn't mean you won't.

Unknown said...

The game we play as a species seems to be a double edged sword to me. On one hand we have the rightfully justified compassion of self preservation and on the other we have the an unchecked population explosion that will eventually see a shortage of resources if limited to this planet. We understand why we shouldn't feed deer in the winter time, as the overabundance of food allows heavier breeding which puts a strain around surrounding environment, sort of like sending grain and rice to lands to feed people that cannot support that amount of people, only allows them to have more children, which further exasperates their immediate environment. I understand thinking in this manner seems a little harsh, however things need to be put into the scientific perspective we are taught in school. We are heading for disaster for sure, but this is what will allow us to make the next evolutionary step; universe dwellers rather than earth dwellers. Disaster seems to be a major part of evolution. I know it sounds looney, but it appears to be the only logical progression of the 'life' scheme. The vaccines, in my opinion, prevent a natural check and balance to happen, that would maintain the general health of a given population. We understand the role of disease in genetics, yet fail to understand that it also applies to humans; though I am sure it is understood, just easy not to face it. We should maybe hurry along our cloning programs just in case.

Carol said...

The H1N1 came as a scare into my household that I have every member vaccinated. We also had our house professionally cleaned just to ensure that not one organism would be able to propagate.

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