Alicia Silverstone's Clueless Vaccine Advice
Photo Credit: Debby Wong/Shutterstock.com
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Alicia Silverstone and Jenny McCarthy have a lot in common. They’re both blondes who were famous in the ’90s and who now use their celebrity to spout dubious parenting advice. But whereas McCarthy has of late been clumsily trying to rewrite her very public record of unscientific statements, Silverstone seems willing to pick up the slack. Behold “The Kind Mama.”
Silverstone has long been an active and outspoken vegan and advocate for living “eco-friendly.” But since the birth of her son Bear nearly three years ago, she’s also appointed herself a mothering expert. Look, if Cher Horowitz wants to pre-chew her toddler’s food for him, I say, whatever works. If she wants to teach her kid to poop in the yard, good for her. And if she’s raising her child on a vegan diet and it’s working for them, they can knock themselves out. But when she starts spouting nonsense in the form of advice “you might want to consider,” “just to give you information,” then she’s actually becoming a problem.
In Silverstone’s new book, “The Kind Mama,” she promises “an authoritative, one-stop guide that empowers women to trust their instincts” while warning against stuff like tampons and vaccines. “Unfortunately, feminine-care manufacturers aren’t required to tell you what’s in their products,” she says, urging women to reconsider their feminine protection for the sake of their fertility, “which means that no one’s talking about the potential pesticide residues from non-organic cotton and the ‘fragrances’ containing hormone-upsetting, fertility-knocking phthalates.” It’s true that a Women’s Voices for the Earth study last year showed that major tampon brands can contain chemicals like dioxin. But as Elle quickly rebutted, “dioxins from tampons are approximately 13,000-240,000 times less than the levels of dioxins we’re exposed to in our diets.” And good luck finding any solid research correlating tampon use with infertility, though there is, surprisingly, evidence that using them can stave off endometriosis – a leading cause of infertility.
Silverstone also has some thoughts on vaccination. On her Kind Life site last year, Silverstone posted a story on pediatrician Jay Gordon, a man famed mostly for being Jenny McCarthy’s son’s doctor. In it she quotes Gordon’s rather unreliable statistic that “One of my biggest problems is that 99% of pediatricians don’t feel that parents should even participate in the decision about how or when, let alone if a baby should get all, some or none of the shots at any given office visit.” Gordon’s skepticism about vaccines is well-established. In an interview with the now defunct Cookie magazine a few years ago, he declared, after being asked about the side effects of immunization, that “I’ve seen kids who developed autism shortly after vaccination,” and added, “I think that the public health benefits to vaccinating are grossly overstated. I think that if we spent as much time telling people to breastfeed or to quit eating cheese and ice cream, we’d save more lives than we save with the polio vaccine.”