Inside the anti-vaccination movement: CBC's Marketplace consumer cheat sheet

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There’s no reason to worry about the safety of vaccines, say experts, but misinformation distributed online by members of the anti-vaccination movement can often muddle the message for vaccine-hesitant parents. (itsmejust/Shutterstock)

Miss something this week? Don't panic. CBC's Marketplace rounds up the consumer and health news you need.

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We go deep inside the anti-vaccination movement

Marketplace producers travelled to Washington, D.C., to speak with members of the anti-vaccination movement. Misinformation spread by the movement has been successful in convincing some people to turn away from vaccinations. But with epidemics breaking out worldwide, vaccine hesitancy is considered one of the biggest health threats of our time. Our hidden cameras show anti-vaxxers sharing strategies for spreading their message on platforms like Facebook, and a confrontation with one of the movement's leaders.

Del Bigtree, an anti-vaccination activist, speaks before a crowd of anti-vaxxers at a VIP event in Washington, D.C. Bigtree is a controversial documentarian and one of the movement's biggest figures. (CBC)

Experts say there's no need to worry about vaccine safety

There's nothing dangerous about vaccines, despite the anti-vaccination movement's campaign to convince people otherwise. Meggan Larson, a mother of three, learned this the hard way when her unvaccinated children contracted the whooping cough. Now, she's urging other vaccine-hesitant parents to take action.

Meggan Larson, scarred from her children's own close call with the whooping cough, is now urging other parents to vaccinate their children. (Bill Arnold/CBC)

Cancer linked to Biocell breast implants no longer 'rare,' data suggests

A cancer in women with textured breast implants is more widespread than previously believed, raising questions for patients and physicians about continuing to describe it as "rare." As of Dec. 20, 2019, Health Canada said it had received 106 reports describing "breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma," including both confirmed and suspected cases. That's double the number of confirmed cases the regulator said it had received before last May.

In 2018, Marketplace went undercover to find out if plastic surgeons were downplaying the risk of breast implants.

Canada faces shortage of heartburn drug Pepcid after Zantac recall

The common heartburn medication Pepcid is in short supply across Canada, and experts say it's a direct result of the recent international recall of Zantac. Zantac was recalled in the U.S. and Canada in October after a potentially cancer-causing chemical was found at low levels in the drug. Barry Power, a spokesperson for the Canadian Pharmacists Association, said he has spoken with pharmacists across the country who have been told Pepcid is on back order until March.

Pepcid currently hard to come by in Canada due to a 'domino shortage.' Zantac, which treats heartburn, was recently recalled in the U.S. and Canada, creating a demand for Pepcid, which is a similar medication. (CBC)

What else is going on?

Juul to stop selling most flavoured vaping pods in Canada. Vaping company to halt production of mango, vanilla, fruit and cucumber varieties

McDonald's still rejects reusable mugs — but promises change following customer outrageFast-food chain anticipates a national pro-reusable-mug policy by the end of February.

These fashion design profs are turning your unwanted clothes into bags, scrunchies and narwals. It's a clever way to make something new and reduce the environmental impact of the textile industry.

'I felt like it was on fire': Woman burned by laser hair removal warning others to do their research.  A Toronto woman whose face was burned during a laser hair removal session is warning others to do their research before undergoing the procedure in a largely unregulated industry.

The latest in recalls

Inside the anti-vaccination movement

Marketplace's Asha Tomlinson confronts anti-vaccination activist Del Bigtree outside of a VIP event in Washington, D.C. Bigtree is a controversial documentarian and one of the movement's biggest figures. (Bill Arnold/CBC)

This week on Marketplace, we go undercover inside the anti-vaccination movement at a rally and VIP event in Washington, D.C.

Once there, we speak with anti-vaxxers and confront one of the movement's leaders face to face.

We wanted to know why the movement's dangerous message continues to spread and why nearly half of Canadians now say they have some concerns about vaccine safety.

With epidemics breaking out worldwide, vaccine hesitancy is considered one of the biggest health threats of our time.

Hearing from anti-vaxxers directly about the tactics they use, you can understand how their messaging might be compelling to people who see it on social media.

But after sifting through mountains of studies and anti-vaccination arguments to get a deeper sense of the misinformation being distributed, our experts maintain there's nothing harmful about vaccination.

You'll want to stay tuned for my confrontation with Del Bigtree, a controversial activist and filmmaker, and one of the key figures in the movement.

Tune in to our full investigation and on catch up on past Marketplace episodes on Gem and YouTube.

-Asha Tomlinson and the Marketplace team