(or, what passes for "data" in the antivax pandemonium)
- Material safety data sheet. It seems this is the buzz term of the current times amongst antivaxxers. It's a term that is imbued with magical properties (or is supposed to be), which if recited enough, is said to repel the most annoying of critics. It gets thrown around in reference to the evils of additives in vaccines, which is kind of odd -
An MSDS for a substance is not primarily intended for use by the general consumer, focusing instead on the hazards of working with the material in an occupational setting.
Industrial chemical standards have no bearing on pharmaceuticals. I don't know how anybody that has claimed to have investigated vaccine standards could ever come to the conclusion they do. Pharmaceuticals standards in the industrialised world are set for the most part by either the British Pharmacopoeia
or the U.S. Pharmacopoeia
. The standards, which include full hazard information in their own version of an MSDS (eg. USPMSDS
), bear little relation to common MSDS. Common MSDS are designed to contain all pertinent data in idiot proof format for even worst case scenarios, such as a chemical truck overturning on a freeway.
This is the type of information you get in an MSDS -
Section 3: Hazards Identification
Potential Acute Health Effects: Slightly hazardous in case of skin contact (irritant), of eye contact (irritant), of ingestion, of inhalation.
Potential Chronic Health Effects:
CARCINOGENIC EFFECTS: Not available.
MUTAGENIC EFFECTS: Mutagenic for mammalian somatic cells. Mutagenic for bacteria and/or yeast.
TERATOGENIC EFFECTS: Not available.
DEVELOPMENTAL TOXICITY: Not available.
Repeated or prolonged exposure is not known to aggravate medical condition.
Unknown carcinogen ? Mutagen ? Fucking terrifying. And that's just common table salt
This is not a criticism of the MSDS system. I think that clear and open labelling of all products is of critical importance. That said, this has the downside of people that have no idea of how to interpret toxicity data, or even look it up to begin with, becoming hysterical at the mere mention of a formal chemical name - a little bit of knowledge is often worse than none at all. Add an ideology into the mix and you have an unstoppable juggernaut of terror and disinformation.
Once loons have mastered the misuse and abuse of MSDS data, it is only a matter of time before they stumble across other documentation as well. Material that is written in objective language to convey precise information concisely - written and designed for technical eyes and with no consideration for what backyard activists might do with it.
Case in point, this meaningless document that was thrust into the vaccination argument (I guess out of desperation at having nothing else) -
No context or relevance was stated, just a shriek of "well look AT THIS !!!" with the twisted "ahah! got you now!!!" inflection only true loons can master. Look at what ? It has no data whatsoever, just a listing of carcinogens/teratogens. Despite having no meaningful data, it is in itself enough to send the already uneducated into deep paranoia mode - because it has big words and chemical names. There are chemical names, CAS
numbers, type of toxicity and that's it. No mention of vectors for exposure, no exposure limits, no links to further information, and absolutely nothing to relate it to vaccines. It is a document that is a dead end that leads nowhere. To add to the absurdity, the document lists laughing gas, shale oil and talcum powder as known hazards. This is nothing more than a directory of substances that the government of California agreed to publish and update annually.
What are you supposed to do in the face of this bullet-headed dumbness ? Especially when the cherry on top is the insinuation that you're an ignoramus because you use Wikipedia.
I have no answers to this. I just look at it all in despair for our species. There are more carcinogens in a good lung full of truck exhaust than in a whole hospital vaccination bank anyway, another thing that makes me tear my hair out. It sucks. There is no light at the end of the tunnel.