Published March 26, 2017
My favorite late night television host of all time was David Letterman. He was on the air for 33 years,...
— William Wilberforce
Helmut R. R. Wakeham, PhD (chemistry)1 was chief scientist and director of research and development at Philip Morris tobacco company in the 1970s. In 1976, he was interviewed on television by British journalist Peter Taylor of the BBC and asked about the dangers of cigarette smoking, specifically about the harmfulness of the ingredients in cigarettes.2
In that particular exchange, Dr. Wakeham stated, “None of the things that have been found in tobacco smoke are in concentrations which can be considered harmful.” Taylor followed up by noting,”But the components themselves can be considered harmful, can they not?” To that, Wakeham nonchalantly responded, “Anything can be considered harmful. Applesauce is harmful if you get too much of it.”3
Taylor: “I don’t think many people are dying from applesauce.”3
Wakeham: “They’re not eating that much.”3
Taylor: “People are smoking a lot of cigarettes.”3
Wakeham: “Well, let me say it this way. The people who eat applesauce die. The people who eat sugar die. The people who smoke cigarettes die. Does the fact that the people who smoke cigarettes die demonstrate that smoking is the cause?”3
For a long time, I thought Wakeham, who earned his degree from the University of California at Berkeley,1 had to take the cake for outright shamelessness by someone in the position of power and responsibility responding to a major public health concern. But then pediatrician Paul A. Offit, MD came along a few years ago and adopted a similar logic when it comes to the dangers of vaccine ingredients such as Thimerosal, aluminum and formaldehyde. In his book, Deadly Choices: How the Anti-Vaccine Movement Threatens Us All, Dr. Offit argues that even water is toxic if consumed in large enough doses.4
In an interview with Britain’s The Guardian newspaper on July 26, 2013, Dr. Offit said the following:
Not surprisingly, you can overdose on practically anything, including B complex vitamins. Indeed, you can overdose on water. People who drink large quantities of water during a short period of time have occasionally suffered seizures as they’ve exceeded their bodies ability to hold onto sodium. As Paracelsus, a chemist, once said, ‘The dose makes the poison.’5
You can overdose on drinking too much water? We are supposed to take this as a scientific comparison of the effect of highly toxic chemicals and metals being injected into fatty tissue, and ultimately the bloodstream and brain? Repeatedly injected, without much pause, over the course of our lifetime, from the time we are a fetus in our mother’s womb, through our infancy, teenage and adult years, and finally until we are elderly and in the twilight of our years.
The first inclination is to chuckle and say, “He’s kidding, right?” But no, Dr. Offit doesn’t give the impression he’s joking around. The quote from Paracelsus is one of his favorites, which he often uses in interviews.6 The man really believes it’s solely about the dose, and that whether it’s mercury or water (… or applesauce, for that matter), it all comes down to how much you consume or inject.
When you believe a leader on your side of a debate speaking about an important issue comes up with a line of reasoning that will disable the opposition, it’s always tempting to adopt it without analyzing it. That is precisely what California State Senator Richard Pan did on November 5, 2015 at a seminar titled “Child Immunization: Herding Parental Concerns” held at the University of California, Berkeley’s School of Public Health. Pan, who is also a pediatrician said:
There’s nothing that’s 100% safe. In fact, actually, people talk about what are in vaccines. Right, They say, ‘Oh, I’m worried about formaldehyde… I’m worried about aluminum.’ Thimerosal is not in childhood vaccines. People say they are worried about thimerosal. You know what’s the most dangerous substance in vaccines? Water! More children die of water toxicity, than anything else that’s in the vaccine!7
At that point, the moderator of the seminar interrupted, saying… “I, I’m sorry, I don’t understand that.”7
Dr. Pan continued…
Oh, more children die from drowning. Actually, it’s the second leading cause of death in children that’s in between two and five, so, sort of vaccine age. But, yet, we’re not worried about water, because we know the dose matters, right? They’re not going to drown from an injection.7
What can you say about this tortured logic?
The thought processes of Drs. Wakeham, Offit and Pan alone speak volumes. They reinforce each other. Apart from that, anything I might add would be superfluous.
1 Kluger R. Ashes to Ashes, Obscuring the evidence (Page 230-236).
2 Proctor RN. Golden Holocaust: Origins of the Cigarette Catastrophe and the Case for Abolition. 2011.
3 Philip Morris compares smoking to eating applesauce. Youtube.com Nov. 3, 2006 (published).
4 Simons D. Book review: Deadly Choices by Paul Offit. The Invisible Gorilla Jan. 2, 2011.
5 Popovich N. Vitamins: should you stop taking the pills?—Q&A with Dr Paul Offit. The Guardian July 26, 2013.
6 Vacines Are Not Safe. Youtube.com (26:16) Mar. 13, 2014 (published).
7 Richard Pan—’Water is the Most Dangerous Ingredient in the Vaccine!’ Youtube.com Nov. 20, 2015 (published).