The Number of People Who Died at Three Mile Island and Other Scares from Days Gone By

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Arguably, the favorite hobby of Americans is scaring themselves to death over phantom risks. Cracked.com ("America's Only Humor & Video Site") is featuring a great list of some oldies but goodies in this category. Take a walk down memory lane with "The 5 Most Ridiculously Over-Hyped Health Scares of All Time," including, cranberries, Three Mile Island, cyclamates, schoolhouse asbestos, and of course, DDT.

http://boingboing.net/images/122606threemileislandpark.jpg

Bonus quote: "In 1979, Three Mile Island killed fewer people than … robot attacks."

Enjoy all the thrills and chills of yesteryear's bogus scares here.

NEXT: Barr for President: A Smaller Question Mark This Time

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  1. I saw that this morning. Good stuff. Cracked.com is much better than the old magazine!

  2. Old bumper sticker:

    “More people died in Ted Kenndy’s car than at Three Mile Island”

    _____

    And what about ALAR?

  3. Don’t eat the apples!

  4. “When spraying of DDT stopped in Ceylon (present day Sri Lanka), malaria cases rose from 17 in 1963 to 2.5 goddamn million in 1969, an increase of approximately a bajillion fofillion percent.”

    Wowsers.

  5. Don’t eat at all, because all food contains toxins/carcinogens of one sort or another, in varying amounts.

  6. Swine Flu!

  7. Bad science kills.

  8. “When spraying of DDT stopped in Ceylon (present day Sri Lanka), malaria cases rose from 17 in 1963 to 2.5 goddamn million in 1969, an increase of approximately a bajillion fofillion percent.”

    Wowsers.

    That’s a whole, whole lot of blood on the environmentalists’ hands.

  9. That’s a whole, whole lot of blood on the environmentalists’ hands.

    Yes, I believe the environmentalists do have a great deal of blood on their hands, not the least of which from the DDT ban. But I wouldn’t go around citing statistics sourced from Cracked.

  10. Legionaire’s disease. Don’t forget the Alar scare.

  11. Warren,

    Can you refute Cracked.com’s “bajillion fofillion” figure? Didn’t think so.

  12. If I recall correctly, during the congressional hearings about 3 mile island there was one scientist who came in to the hearing chamber with a Geiger counter and flipped it on. Reading the level he noted to the assembled worthies that that room that they were in had a higher level of radiation than the gate at TMI and that the congresspersons were exposed to that every single day, day after day. Apparently the stone used to build all those buildings continues to decay radioactively ….

  13. That’s a whole, whole lot of blood on the environmentalists’ hands.

    I once wrote an article for the largest newspaper in Slovakia, calling Rachel Carson (the author of Silent Spring) to be the largest mass murderer of all times (the article name was “Worse than Stalin”, even though I acknowledged that Mao killed more people than Stalin). It created a very minor controversy, revolving primarily around my accusation that the EU is still actively killing people in Africa by threatening economic sanctions against countries who consider using DDT. Nobody seemed to mind, though, my description of the Silent Spring environmentalists as mass murderers.

  14. I saw that this morning. Good stuff. Cracked.com is much better than the old magazine!

    Only two or three magnitudes better. The old mag was just a lame version of Mad.

  15. Come on, can’t we come up with more than Alar and Swine Flu?

    Since the point is to illustrate peoples inclination to hysteria over things that clearly posed no danger, anything still ongoing like GM food or Climate Change should not be put on the list. What about Mad Cow? We still worried about that? Someone stick a hamburger under Oprah’s face.

  16. Apparently the stone used to build all those buildings continues to decay radioactively

    Exactly. The amount of radiation to which most people are exposed to is pretty much taken for granite.

    [*ducks*]

  17. Warren,

    Mad cow is a legitimate threat in Europe. They had to kill thousands of herds and ruin any number of farmers over it and people actually did die in Europe. Same goes with hoof and mouth disease.

    I would put Dioxin on the list. Dioxin is some legitimately nasty stuff, but not at really low levels. We have spent untold billions cleaning up dioxin at superfund sites making the dirt clean enough for children to eat for 50 years when we just could have left the places alone and zoned the land for industrial use only and been just as safe.

  18. A different kind of panic, but South Park’s “Major Boobage” homage to “Heavy Metal” nailed parental drug panics last night.

    southparkstudios.com

  19. I just skimmed the thread, so maybe I’m late with this….

    Did anyone mention mercury in vaccinations = autism?

  20. Killer Bees

  21. Mexican emos

  22. Come on, can’t we come up with more than Alar and Swine Flu?

    Internet child molesters.

  23. True story.
    When I was in the Navy back in the mid 80’s I was serving aboard a submarine tender stationed just off the northern tip of Sardinia in the Mediterranean. We had one department whose job it was to concern themselves with all things nuclear. One day one of their dosimeters came in reading a might high. So they took their little Geiger counters around the ship and started finding “hot spots” everywhere.

    Now letting radio active material get outside of your tight control is a very big deal. It’s an “incident” or something and people from Washington have to come in and do an investigation. So more than a few people started stressing hard for a while. They eventually traced it back to some bags of cement stacked on the deck in the machine shop. The cement was bought on the local Italian market and was naturally mildly radio active. When some water leaked into the machine shop it made a puddle that ran under a couple of those bags. Guys stepping in that puddle tracked the stuff all over the gorram ship.

  24. Thermo Nuclear war

    and generation super predators.

  25. Warren,

    Why would you need cement on a sub?

    I don’t doubt the story, I’m just curious.

  26. Come on, can’t we come up with more than Alar and Swine Flu?

    The Meth “epidemic” ?

    Reefer Madness?

  27. Come on, can’t we come up with more than Alar and Swine Flu?

    Rock and Roll is the Devil’s music?

  28. Sex offenders are still an ongoing panic. As is the evils of drugs.

    John
    Europe shit their pants over Mad Cow. A couple of people did in fact die of a disease with Bovine spongiform like symptoms. It is highly unlikely they contracted it from eating tainted meat.

  29. Dr. Orva: Here, smoke this. And, be sure you get the smoke deep down into your lungs.
    Miles Monroe: I don’t smoke.
    Dr. Orva: It’s tobacco. It’s one of the healthiest things for your

  30. Reefer Madness.

  31. and generation super predators.

    I mean Generation Y super predators.

    Ya they are whiny bitches who can kick my ass at Halo but seriously now that they are in their mid 20s they ended up being the least criminally violent generation in US history

  32. Matt J,
    I was on a sub tender. Submarines came to us and we supplied and fixed them. We were pretty much welded to the pier and only got underway once a quarter. The cement was undoubtedly for some project on the pier.

  33. Why would you need cement on a sub?

    Discipline?

  34. Shouldn’t our computers not work now?

    I thought that civilization was going to collapse due to the Y2K bug.

  35. Ya they are whiny bitches who can kick my ass at Halo but seriously now that they are in their mid 20s they ended up being the least criminally violent generation in US history

    It’s hard to be a super predator when you’re all doughy and diabetic from playing Halo all day while sucking down Mountain Dew.

  36. Warren,

    Good answer.

    P Brooks,

    Funnier Answer.

  37. Rottweiler attacks.

    Oh, and btw, which of these is more likely?

    1) The government of Ceylon ends a massive DDT-spraying program because of a book some foreign hippie wrote a year earlier.
    2) The government of Ceylon ends a massive DDT-spraying program because they’re down to 17 malaria cases and they don’t want to spend any more money.

    hmm…

    HINT: Ceylon resumed spraying DDT in 1972. At that point, hippies ruled the US, and DDT was banned here. Guess what: Ceylon didn’t give a shit. Moral: Rachel Carson is history’s greatest monster. It’s not always about us. (But that still doesn’t mean you should listen to hippies).

  38. ChicagoTom | March 27, 2008, 12:05pm | #
    Come on, can’t we come up with more than Alar and Swine Flu?

    The Meth “epidemic” ?

    Reefer Madness?

    J sub D | March 27, 2008, 12:09pm | #

    Reefer Madness.

    Fucking copycat!

  39. If you buy a Pinto, you will die horribly, in a gigantic ball of flame!

  40. Mad cow is a legitimate threat in Europe. They had to kill thousands of herds and ruin any number of farmers over it and people actually did die in Europe. Same goes with hoof and mouth disease.

    That’s because those dumb motherfuckers actually eat the brains of animals, where (along with the spinal cord) the Mad Cow virus thrives.

    We in America use brains and spines for fed, so it has a likelihood to spread from animal to animal…

  41. Then there’s the real stuff, like the 10,000 people who died of Cholera in 1991 because the Peruvian government decided to stop chlorinating the water based upon an EPA study linking chlorinated water to cancer.

    Man, that Cracked stuff was funny, I wasted a lot of time LOL this morning. Thanks Ron Bailey, now send me a check.

  42. that’s because those dumb motherfuckers actually eat the brains of animals

    Jamie Kelley, you crack me up. Wait….

    Oh sorry, Taxtix.

  43. Y2K! Yes. Good one Babs.

    Apteryx, I think Pitt Bull attacks works better.

    And:
    Crack Babies!

  44. Sharks! Just when you thought it was safe…

  45. Come on, can’t we come up with more than Alar and Swine Flu?

    The Meth “epidemic” ?

    Reefer Madness?

    Don’t forget the “recovered memories of child abuse” scares in the 1980s/90s.

  46. ChicagoTom | March 27, 2008, 12:05pm | #
    Come on, can’t we come up with more than Alar and Swine Flu?
    The Meth “epidemic” ?
    Reefer Madness?

    J sub D | March 27, 2008, 12:09pm | #
    Reefer Madness.

    Fucking copycat!

    Nah, I just naturally skip over any post authored by this Chicago Tom character. He rarely has anything intelligent to contribute.

    Just kidding, mea culpa.

  47. If you buy a Pinto, you will die horribly, in a gigantic ball of flame!

    Runaway acceleration in Audis.

  48. Saccharin.

  49. Good point, Warren.

    How about SARS? That was supposed to be the next big thing, before Asian Bird Flu came along.

  50. Mid 1980s, the coming Ice Age.

  51. Warren,

    I had never heard that about Peru. I remember when it happened the media here said it was caused by people eating seafood that was swimming in water that had raw sewage in it. That explanation never really sat with me. Your explination makes a lot more sense. Why am I not surprised that the media never reported the actual cause.

  52. Nuclear war?

  53. Did anyone mention mercury in vaccinations = autism?

    John McCain said something about it in one of his speeches a few weeks ago. And no, he wasn’t debunking it (after it had been proven to be false).

  54. Saddam Hussein, the Next Great Hitler?

  55. Just kidding, mea culpa.

    J sub D,

    No need…I was kidding.

    In fact, the reefer madness scare was so dumb it warranted repeating

  56. Crime/horror comic books are turning our youth into juvenile delinquents!

    And the modern equivalent of the same scare:
    Violent video games are turning our youth into mass-murderers!

  57. John, I know Warren is a good looking guy and all (like me) and we do look a lot alike, but still….you should be able to tell us apart. He’s the one that has the hots for Kerry. I’m the one that’s married to Mrs TWC.

    πŸ™‚

    That was the media spin, and the original contamination came from a tanker that dumped it’s bilge in Peruvian waters. I remember National Geographic sidestepping the chlorination issue and me screaming and throwing the magazine across the room. Their focus was the irresponsible ship captain who caused all this havoc. True enough, but compounded by the fact that drinking water spread the contamination.

    I could be mistaken, but I think that I knew about the story because Reason Mag did an article about it. Few others did.

  58. Instapundit published several very informative e-mails from doctors relating experiences dealing with parents about vacinations.

    Sorry for the length of the post but they are worth reading

    ANOTHER UPDATE: Dr. William Schmidt emails:

    I’m an emergency physician. In the past week I treated two kids who weren’t vaccinated at all (2 and 4 years old). The first child’s parents seemed marginally educated and not well-off (living in a trailer park, on an extended vacation). The second child was from California, had very long hair, and his parents seemed like they came right right from the “stuff white people like” blog. They were young, likely very well-educated, wore trendy expensive clothes, and were uncomfortable when I inquired as to his vaccination status. Somewhat amusingly, he had some cold symptoms and they were worried he might be ill because of the lack of previous vaccinations (they were apparently deathly afraid of the pertussis vaccine).

    I agree with the criticism of the “free rider” theory. I don’t know anyone in the medical profession personally who disbelieves in vaccinations (unlike claims made on certain websites). And, in response to Michelle Malkin, many pediatricians don’t have time to waste in their very busy day discussing the “risks” of vaccinating one’s children. From personal experience, many parents, especially in the Google age, have just enough knowledge to turn this into a 5-10′ conversation and will often continue to disagree with you afterwards. Ten minutes may not seem like much to the soccer mom who thinks that noted autism researcher Robert Kennedy is infallible, but it is to the pediatrician who would rather spend that time doing something more useful (like seeing another patient).

    I’m hearing this kind of thing a lot from my physician readers. And Chuck Simmins emails:

    Glenn, as an EMT and highly interested in not dying, I favor vaccination in general. I got the Hep vaccine, for example, since I am exposed to blood borne pathogens. I got the pneumonia vaccine because I had pneumonia shortly before I did it, and pneumonia is the number one killer in a flu epidemic. I got the mumps vaccine because I never had it as a child and I love my parts that could be affected.

    The whooping cough vaccine is about 70% effective. Other vaccines also vary in effectiveness.

    That said, several years ago we say a world-wide polio outbreak that was traced to Nigeria. Muslim teachers told their people to refuse the vaccine. One or more of them went to Mecca, and suddenly we saw outbreaks throughout the Moslem world including countries that had been polio free for a decade or more.

    Parents, like Michelle, in the West do not have two choices, i.e. take the vaccine or risk the illness. By and large the risk of contracting most of the diseases we vaccinate against in the West is non-existent. So, Michelle’s choice is to risk her child having a reaction, a small but clearly definable risk, or to do without. I understand that thought process.

    Medical doctors do a lousy job of explaining risks. For the most part, I suspect, it’s because they don’t have a clear understanding themselves. The companies that make and sell vaccines do as little as required. So, Michelle and other parents are trying to do their best in a world where information either comes from kooks or from experts who aren’t really expert.

    I have no answers. When asked, I generally point out that there are loads of people we see every day in urban America who may not have the best health because they are poor or immigrants. Unless your child is never around anyone who could have been exposed to a given disease, you should give serious consideration to vaccination. As witness, this post on leprosy and TB in a small community in Arkansas.

    Indeed.

    MORE: Dr. Kevin Fleming emails:

    I am a physician and I very much doubt any connection between autism and vaccines. However.

    Medicine is famous for being dogmatic about things that turn out to be wrong later. For example, the “globus” phenomenon, the sensation you have something in your throat, used to be called “globus hystericus” because it was felt to be anxiety or hysteria. Now it’s often thought to be sign of esophageal reflux, to be treated with Prilosec.

    Not too long ago, medicine used to believe in frontal lobotomies for the mentally ill. Since I have been in practice, estrogen therapy has been in then out then in then out of favor as a treatment after menopause. But never was there any doubt expressed at the time.

    Bruno Bettelheim, the University of Chicago child psychologist favored the now-discredited “refrigerator mother” theory of autism, which blamed autism on mothers who did not want their children to live. Around 1967, he told my mother that she had rejected my autistic older brother “in the womb” and that was why he was autistic. My folks followed his advice and left him on a farm in Illinois. He almost starved to death there. (My dad rescued him as we left the state, but that’s another story).

    The point is, medicine is often dogmatic about things which are as yet unproven or unknown. Do vaccines cause autism? Probably not, for there is very little evidence to support that theory of origin. On the other hand, the market speaks, and many consumers are rejecting vaccines. Are they all wrong? Probably, but the perceived relationship may be a clue. Medicine cannot fully reject the theory when there is no real idea what causes autism in the first place. (Prenatal ultrasounds, mercury exposure from eating fish, and genetics are also blamed.) Are answering “almost certainly not” and “there is no evidence” sufficient for parents wishing to avoid a devastating developmental disorder?

    My own kids got their vaccines. What would a libertarian do?

    http://instapundit.com/archives2/016909.php

  59. Come on, can’t we come up with more than Alar and Swine Flu?

    Gay Marriage?

  60. Crime/horror comic books are turning our youth into juvenile delinquents!

    And the modern equivalent of the same scare:
    Violent video games are turning our youth into mass-murderers!

    Don’t forget the 70’s/80’s bridge between these two, D&D.

  61. Pornography. Wait, they were right about that one.

  62. John,

    I don’t want to get into a debate with you about vaccinations. But I do want to point this out…

    From this link.

    After years of insisting there is no evidence to link vaccines with the onset of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), the US government has quietly conceded a vaccine-autism case in the Court of Federal Claims.

    Furthermore, do you know how many vaccine related deaths/illnesses occur each year? Me neither. Because the government doesn’t keep track. Isn’t that something that they should be keeping track of considering how many more people have concerns about vaccines? In fact, if they were to keep and publicize the stats they could show how rare it is?

    It’s easy to just poo pooon people who have doubts/concerns/fear but the reality is that there are legitimate questions that people have, and people should definitely be able to say “no thanks, ill pass” vaccinating their children.

  63. Mercury in fish.

  64. Sorry for the length of the post but they are worth reading

    Links, people, links.

    After years of insisting there is no evidence to link vaccines with the onset of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), the US government has quietly conceded a vaccine-autism case in the Court of Federal Claims.

    I can think of a dozen reasons for the feds to settle out of a case, none of which require that the underlying claims be legitimate.

    people should definitely be able to say “no thanks, ill pass” vaccinating their children.

    Kudos on the “ill pass” typo.

    Still, real public health (as in, the prevention of epidemics) is one of the areas where I struggle with my libertarian reflexes. There’s a definite free rider problem here, and as the number of unvaccinated kids declines, the risk of a disease outbreak that can affect lots of people increases.

  65. Blast. Should be “as the number of unvaccinated kids increases

  66. Whatever the risk from vaccinations, the risk presented by disease is much. much greater. Our pediatrician also noted that today’s vaccines are much less questionable than they once might’ve been.

    Mercury in fish is still an issue, isn’t it? Just not a total terror. The health benefits of fish are great enough to offset entirely the risk of mercury consumption, provided that one doesn’t eat too much fish that contains mercury (e.g., don’t eat too much tuna).

  67. All I know is that I want that little Three Mile Island cartoon for my next album cover…

  68. I recently was treated to a lengthy dissertation on parasites in salt water fish, particularly farmed salmon. It included a fabulous anecdote about worms in a swordfish steak rising up out of the flesh as heat was applied, “like blades of grass.”

  69. Ron Bailey disclaimers.

    (And I note there isn’t one on this post. Hmmm)

  70. Let’s assume there is a autism risk with vaccinations.

    If I vaccinate my kid there is a slight chance she’ll develop autism.

    If I don’t vaccinate my kid there is a huge risk she’ll get measles, mumps, rubella, polio or any number of horrible diseases that still lurk the earth, but we rarely see anymore due to mass vaccinations.

    I’ll take vaccinations with a slight risk of autism please.

  71. Satanic cults performing human sacrifices in the 80s and early 90s.

  72. I can think of a dozen reasons for the feds to settle out of a case, none of which require that the underlying claims be legitimate.

    RC — read the article…this wasn’t an “it’s cheaper to settle” decision.

    From the article:
    In its written concession, the government said the child had a pre-existing mitochondrial disorder that was “aggravated” by her shots, and which ultimately resulted in an ASD diagnosis.

    “The vaccinations received on July 19, 2000, significantly aggravated an underlying mitochondrial disorder,” the concession says, “which predisposed her to deficits in cellular energy metabolism, and manifested as a regressive encephalopathy with features of ASD.”

    Mercury in fish is still an issue, isn’t it? Just not a total terror.

    Yes it is. And certain types of fish have higher levels than others. And for a healthy adult with a properly functioning immune system they reccomend eating high mercury fish only once a week. For children and pregnant women they reccomend avoiding them altogether.

    An infant has a very susceptible immune system. Their risk of mercury exposure is higher than yours and mine.

  73. You all laugh now but you’ll feel differently someday when you have Jennifer’s children.

  74. Let’s assume there is a autism risk with vaccinations.

    Autism isn’t the only risk. There are cases where the vaccination in fact causes a sever onset of the disease you are vaccinating against.

    Not saying it’s common or probable, but it happens. The issue is more than just autism.

  75. If you’re middle aged, ask your parents about sending kids to school and polio fears. It was a damned legitimate fear. For parents who neglect to vaccinate their offspring, I’m all for flogging in the public square. And sterilization because they’re too stupid to be cluttering up the gene pool.

  76. There’s a definite free rider problem here, and as the number of unvaccinated kids declines, the risk of a disease outbreak that can affect lots of people increases.

    Polio, (one of the more famous successful vaccine examples) was actually on the decline in significant number (oer 40% decline) for the two years PRIOR to the vaccine being available.

    Sorry I don’t have links for this. I am going by memory of a book I am reading about vaccines and children — it has documented it’s sources for the statistics.

    And again..I want to be clear. I am not advocating against vaccinations, but there is a dogmatic element on both sides of this issue. My wife is expecting, and this is an issue I am trying very hard to get as much good information as possible.

    And I find it rather odd that many of the same people who accuse Global Warming scientists and supporters of being “cult-like” tend to ridicule those have the same skepticism towards the dogmatic pro-vaccine community.

  77. ChicagoTom,

    Don’t forget the horrors of the pre-vaccination world. Vaccines may have issues, but their net benefit has been so huge that we can comfortably debate those issues today. The pandemics we’re avoiding through vaccination are a dim memory for most Americans. That doesn’t mean we should blindly ignore negative effects associated with vaccination, but it does mean that vaccination in general has some excellent supporting history. Unless you read Kevin Trudeau, I suppose.

  78. True story.
    When I was in the Navy back in the mid 80’s I was serving aboard a submarine tender…

    Warren – You were a tender puke too! I was on the Holland & Hunley as a squid and the Hunley and Simon Lake as a tech rep.

    As I write this I am looking at a picture of the Hunley with four subs along side and the Los Alamos (AFDB-7) with sub in it. I slept soundly near all of those nuclear power plants, but would hate the idea of living anywhere near a coal fired power plant.

  79. Bonus quote: “In 1979, Three Mile Island killed fewer people than … robot attacks.”

    And I’m one of them. We lived in Lebanon, PA at the time, about 30 miles downwind.

    If you buy a Pinto, you will die horribly, in a gigantic ball of flame!

    Wimp. I learned to drive on a Corvair. “Unsafe At Any Speed.”

    Jazz Music! (And pretty much every style before and after.)

  80. I did a paper in grad school on the Peruvian Cholera experience (mostly on the public sector reaction).

    While the low levels of chlorination in Lima and Cuzco drinking water was an issue the reality is that most rural Peruvians do not have access to municipal water sources, use ground and surface water for most needs, do not have adequate sewage treatment (much human waste goes into surface water) and farmers often use contaminated water for crops. In fact, since cholera had been absent from South America for about 100 years, the use of waste water on crops is fairly common.

    The cholera did come from ship sewage initially and quickly spread. I was under the impression that the lack of adequate chlorination was a government incompetence or lack of funds issue rather than a cancer scare and I really doubt that Peru in the 1980’s early 90’s would have given a crap about cancer risks considering the economic and political crises they were going through. I had Sendero Luminoso (or Tupac Amaru) bombs going off blocks from where I was staying, there was massive inflation, the country had defaulted on its debt …. I mean really, worried about cancer risks from chlorine?

  81. ProLib,

    I don’t disagree.

    But like I said upthread….if polio was already on the decline in significant numbers prior to the availability of the vaccine, then maybe something else also had a hand in curbing polio. (Maybe hygiene, cleaner drinking water, safer food preparation/handling? )

    Also, the number of ailments being vaccinated for is increasing even when there are no pandemics they are addressing. It does give me pause, personally.

    Unless you read Kevin Trudeau, I suppose.

    I don’t. But that doesn’t meant that there aren’t home remedies that have an efficacy rate equal or better than the products you find at the pharmacy (and with less side effects to boot)

  82. The Peruvian government took the environmentalists and the EPA seriously. Peruvian bureaucrats bought the rhetoric wholesale and greatly reduced the chlorine pumped into the country’s water supply.

    This action set the stage for horror when, Pan American Health Organization officials suspect, a Chinese freighter released its cholera-contaminated bilge water into Lima’s harbor. Eventually the bacteria made its way into open wells, which hadn’t been chlorinated, and to other fresh water supplies in which chlorine levels had fallen too low to kill the germ.

    Yer a spinner Pig! πŸ™‚

    https://www.reason.com/news/show/29905.html

  83. I can’t wait for the 2050 version, when we all have a good chuckle over that “Global Warming” silliness.

  84. Or, are breathing through genetically engineered gills. Really, either one works for me.

  85. TWC:

    I stand partially corrected…

    But even your excerpt states: “Eventually the bacteria made its way into open wells, which hadn’t been chlorinated, and to other fresh water supplies in which chlorine levels had fallen too low to kill the germ.” Which supports my recollection. Wells are almost never chlorinated and “fresh water supplies” are not either… in fact no one ever chlorinates rivers or lakes…. That’s just silly. While I was wrong about the municipal chlorine reduction, I remain correct on how it spread rurally – where the real problems took place.

    So there πŸ™‚

  86. ChicagoTom,

    No snark intended with the Kevin Trudeau remark. He just came to mind as the ungood extreme of the anti-medicine view. I think doctors do still tend to pay short shrift to preventative medicine, although the claims made for some forms of that are extremely inaccurate.

  87. Listening to Judas Priest can cause suicide?

  88. ChicagoTom,

    I’m still going to play the odds and get my kid vaccinated.

  89. TrickyVic,

    Ozzy caused suicide before Judas Priest did.

  90. Satanic cults performing human sacrifices in the 80s and early 90s.

    There you go!

    And how did we forget:
    Your Daycare is molesting your toddler while you work.

  91. Listening to Judas Priest can cause suicide?

    Everything of the “Kids today are going to hell in a hand basket” nature, is eternal. However, specific scares that came up empty like:
    If you listen to Judas Priest backwards it says “Worship Satan”,
    should be on the list.

    Heavy metal induces suicide?… Hmmm OTOH the establishment is always going to bitch about the music of the youth, general allegations of “devil’s music” are out. OTOH suicide!
    OK it’s in!

  92. I’m still going to play the odds and get my kid vaccinated.

    And I will support your decision whole heartedly, and refrain from judging you or your decision πŸ™‚

    Like I said…I am not advocating for or againt vaccines. My main point of even talking about it is to just ask that people whose initial response is to mock/ridicule those of us who are struggling with/questioning the status quo to be a bit more open-minded about decisions that others make — even if they do go against the conventional wisdom.

  93. An infant has a very susceptible immune system. Their risk of mercury exposure is higher than yours and mine.

    Very true, but I have never read anything regarding an immunorepsonse to mercury. Rather, at sufficiently high doses, it can interfere with development, such as myelin sheath growth on nerve cells.

  94. My official list of Hysteria American Style

    The Cracked five:
    1 DDT
    2 Asbestos in New York City Public Schools
    3 The Cranberry Scare of 1959
    4 Artificial Sweeteners Circa 60’s
    5 Three mile island

    The list naturally brings to mind
    a Asbestos rip-outs in general
    b The Alar Scare
    c Artificial Sweetener Saccharine

    HnR additions:
    1 Swine Flu
    2 Y2K
    3 Crack Babies
    4 Satanic Cult Human Sacrifices
    5 Heavy Metal Music played backwards causes suicide
    6 Daycare Sex Rings

    Vaccines, reefer madness, and others didn’t make the list because too many people still believe it.

  95. Kolohe, didn’t the alarmists claim D&D would make kids grow up to not be able to distinguish fantasy from reality? I’m not sure I would entirely dispute that. OK, just kidding, but it does destroy your soul, obviously.

  96. Episiarch and Warren, could you guys fix the wikipedia DDT entry? It’s got quotes like:

    “Although the publication of Silent Spring undoubtedly influenced the U.S. ban on DDT in 1972, the reduced usage of DDT in malaria eradication began the decade before because of the emergence of DDT-resistant mosquitoes.”

    and

    “Greenpeace, World Wildlife Fund, Physicians for Social Responsibility and over 300 other environmental organizations advocated for a total DDT ban, starting as early as 2007 in some cases.”

    2007? That really messes with the “environmentalists are responsible for more deaths than Stalin” narrative.

  97. bigbigslacker,

    yes, and I think there’s even a made-for-TV movie on the topic, Mazes and Monsters. Starring an insane Tom Hanks.

  98. Tomatoes (“wolf’s peach”) are poisonous. That goes back a few hundred years, though.

    And one that’s still in vogue: Hormones in milk are causing early-onset puberty in girls.

  99. Ooh, I know — has killer bees been mentioned yet?

    This also had its own made-for-TV movie.

  100. And one that’s still in vogue: Hormones in milk are causing early-onset puberty in girls.

    Then how do you explain my 9-year-old daughter’s cock?

  101. Then how do you explain my 9-year-old daughter’s cock?

    Chlorinated drinking water. Duh.

  102. Satanic cults performing human sacrifices in the 80s and early 90s.

    No joke, my nutcase sister full on believes she was a victim of this. She spins an outlandish tale that includes city council members, the police chief, my parents, and includes a number of other zombie children held under the spell of witchcraft and sorcery where they were routinely sexually abused, drugged, and used in deranged satanic worship.

  103. Pig, I demur to your expertise on the matter.

  104. If fact-free rants are your thing, one is as good as another, I suppose — but are you really meaning to suggest that more people have died from robots than the big cases with the big payouts?

    Or were you just unaware that you’re poking fun at real people and real deaths?

    Cracked.com’s complaints about DDT are exactly wrong. Is the rest of their stuff as erroneous? Where does the parody begin? Were they intending to parody conservatives and Reason.com?

  105. Legionnaire’s disease? No, please don’t forget it:

    “Each year, between 8,000 and 18,000 people are hospitalized with Legionnaires’ disease in the U.S. However, many infections are not diagnosed or reported, so this number may be higher. More illness is usually found in the summer and early fall, but it can happen any time of year.”

    http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dbmd/diseaseinfo/legionellosis_g.htm#1

    It killed 34 Legionnaires in 1976. They’re veterans – why don’t you poke fun at their deaths, too?

  106. Ed Darrell

    You are absolutely the only person to bring up Legionnaire’s disease on this thread. That’s right, absolutely the only one.

    I have to ask, why the fuck are you bringing it up when noone else has and it has nothing to do with the subject at hand? Not even in some odd tangential way.

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