Dr. Mercola Brand Facial Cleanser Contains Pesticide

mercola

Dr. Joe Mercola is infamous for his zero tolerance policy on “harmful” chemicals (read: those not sold via his online store).  He’s pontificated about clearing an entire building due to a mercury spill smaller than the size of a tooth filling, so I find it ironic that after writing nearly three dozen articles on pesticide dangers, he’s selling a personal care product that contains…. wait for it… a pesticide.

Surprised?  You shouldn’t be.  Grab your credit cards and breathing gear.  It’s time for a shopping trip to Mercola.com.

Why look!  Here’s a nice bottle of organic facial cleanser:1

mercola facial cleanser

Let’s let doctor Mercola himself describe some of the key ingredients in this product:

dr mercola organic facial cleanser

Partial ingredients list for Mercola’s facial cleanser, according to Mercola.com. (click/enlarge)

 

Neem oil is really interesting.  Mr. Mercola, if you’d be so kind as to elucidate:1

“Neem oil is the unique ingredient which makes Daily Facial Cleanser clearly stand out.”–Mercola.com

Neem oil stands out, indeed:  It’s a pesticide used in organic farming!  You can pop over to your local lawn and garden shop and pick up a bottle during halftime of next weekend’s football game and be home in time to kill off a large population of the creepy crawlies in your back yard:

Neem oil, found Mercola's facial cleanser, is an organic pesticide (insect killer). (click/enlarge)

Neem oil, featured in Mercola’s facial cleanser, is an organic pesticide (insect killer). (click/enlarge)

If Mercola was here to defend himself, no doubt he’d say this is an all-natural, organic pesticide, and that it’s been used for centuries in folk medicine, with no ill effect. Except there have been ill effects:

“Twelve children were admitted with convulsions and altered sensorium following ingestion of locally obtained neem oil.  Ten died within 24 hours.”–Indian Journal of Pediatrics 2

and…

“This report highlights the toxicity associated with neem oil poisoning in an elderly male. […]  In the emergency department, the patient developed generalized convulsions with loss of consciousness. “–Indian Journal of Critical Care Medicine 3

There are a lot more examples.  Don’t believe me?  Spend some time on PubMed.  True, neem oil can be refined to remove toxic components, but given Mercola’s aversion to refining natural compounds, that isn’t likely a recipe he’d find palatable.

But I’m not here to do Mercola’s research for him.   My goal is to simply point out that the fear mongering de facto king of snake oil salesmen rants, ad nauseam, about pesticide use and then, without blinking an eye, uses a known insecticide in one of his facial care products.  For the record, Mercola isn’t the only pesticide-hater hawking neem oil. His compatriot, the Food Babe, does so as well–in a children’s product!

This isn’t the first time we’ve caught Dr. Joe vending products that contain chemicals (or classes of chemicals) he says are dangerous.  Who can forget the dozen or more highly toxic chemicals in his Himalayan Pink Salt (lead or mercury for breakfast, anyone?), or the Joe-Banned sweetener in Mercola Brand protein bars?

When will the public catch on to the fact that these health care gurus are taking them on an costly, extravagant ride?  At first glance, the answer might seem to be “never”:  Mercola has over one million followers, and most seem to be so indoctrinated that no amount of evidence is ever going to sway them.

I have a more optimistic outlook, however.  There are billions of people who have never heard of Joseph Mercola.  Think of them as unvaccinated, and Mercola as a virus.  Now, what if skeptics such as you and I are a verbal vaccine?  If we can reach out to the uninfected–those who have never been shopping at Mercola.com–and warn them about what they’re going to find there, perhaps we can build up a measure of immunity and save them from this nonsense.

Food for thought.

Oh, anyone need any facial cleanser?

neem oil is a common organic pesticide

Neem oil has many uses, including the killing of annoying insects and, apparently, cleaning your face.   (click/enlarge)

Image Credits
Mercola.com screen snapshots and product image captures are used in strict compliance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 of United States copyright law (commonly known as “fair use law”). This material is distributed without profit with the intent to provide commentary, review, education, parody, and increase public health knowledge.

Commercial neem oil pesticide product image captures are used in strict compliance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 of United States copyright law (commonly known as “fair use law”). This material is distributed without profit with the intent to provide commentary, review, education, parody, and increase public health knowledge.

Mercola in the garden parody image by the author, used under parody provisions of Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 of United States copyright law.

References
(1) Organic Daily Facial Cleanser–Mercola.com
http://shop.mercola.com/product/organic-daily-facial-cleanser,1030,488,0.htm

(2) The Indian Journal of Pediatrics
May 1982, Volume 49, Issue 3, pp 357-359
N. Sundaravalli, B. Bhaskar Raju M.D., K. A. Krishnamoorthy M.D. (1)
http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2FBF02834422

(3) Neem oil poisoning: Case report of an adult with toxic encephalopathy
Indian J Crit Care Med. 2013 Sep-Oct; 17(5): 321–322.
Ajay Mishra and Nikhil Dave
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3841499/

Food Babe Is Selling GMOs

Her virulent protests and bluster to the contrary, it can now be revealed that Vani Hari (the “Food Babe”) is selling a product with an ingredient that’s derived from genetically modified corn.

Follow me, dear reader, into the Vani Hari online store, and have a look at the natural hand sanitizer that earns her a nice sales commission on Amazon:1

food babe cleanwell gmo corn sugar

Clean Well is indeed non-toxic.  It just happens to be made from sugar derived from GMO corn, which Food Babe falsely links to myriad health problems. (click/enlarge)

The ingredient in question?  One that Vani loves to rant about:  GMO corn:2

food babe gmo corn sugar

According to the USDA, the amount of GMO corn planted in the United States in 2015 has reached approximately 85%.3  It’s hard to avoid it, and Vani’s product doesn’t.

Notice, if you will, the “emulsifier derived from corn sugar”.  If you’ve followed the GMO debate for any amount of time now, you’re well aware that most corn produced in the United States is genetically modified “Bt corn”, a variety that produces a natural pesticide that’s completely safe for humans but opens up a can of chemical whup-ass on one of corn’s primary predators.  Win-win.

But Vani Hari doesn’t like GMO corn.  Not only for purposes of eating.  She doesn’t like all the imagined (and I do mean imagined) evil things it does to the environment.4  And slathering anything “toxic” on your skin is a faux-pas, according to Vani.5 For Food Babe, GMO is the ultimate boogeyman, to be avoided at all costs.  It doesn’t matter to Hari that in this case we’re talking about sugar, which isn’t an organism, and so can’t possibly be a GMO.  If it was derived from a GMO, that’s bad enough for her.  You’ll find myriad non-organisms on my “Food Babe Ban List“, which contains over 600 products/brands/items Vani Hari has banned, many because she wrongly believes they’re genetically modified organisms.

This is an important point: when I say “Food Babe is selling GMOs” in this article, I mean so in the vernacular.  I fully understand the difference between an organism and a carbohydrate.  Food Babe doesn’t–that’s why she commonly refers to things like sugars as “GMOs”.

I spoke with the manufacturer of Clean Well hand sanitizer by phone, and they’ve confirmed that the corn is in fact GMO sourced, though they said non-GMO corn may also be mixed in as well.  To be honest, they had no idea who Food Babe even was, and I sensed a great deal of confusion over the fact people made such a big deal over nothing.  “Don’t they know this is a sugar, not an organism?”, seemed to be the theme of the conversation.

I couldn’t agree more.

At this point in my brief one year stint as a writer, I’ve uncovered over four dozen products that contain the very same ingredients Vani Hari says are dangerous.  This hand cleaner won’t be the last.  Could another GMO product be in Vani’s cupboard?  You’ll have to stay tuned and see!

On a more somber note… I feel sorry for the good people at Clean Well because Vani Hari chose to slap her affiliate ID on their product.   If you read their back story, their search for a low-allergenic cleanser has a touching personal slant many could identify with.  I’ve also rarely found a company so willing to answer questions about their products.   It’s my hope that Clean Well won’t be penalized by Food Babe’s attempt to earn a sales commission by featuring their products on her shopping page.  Out of the thousands of studies on GMO safety, not a single one has found a problem. There’s no reason to fear this product–especially since sugars aren’t GMOs (take a science course, Vani!)

Buy Clean Well products with full confidence. Just please… don’t buy them from Food Babe.

 

Image Credits
Food Babe website screen snapshots and Clean Well product image captures are used in strict compliance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 of United States copyright law (commonly known as “fair use law”). This material is distributed without profit with the intent to provide commentary, review, education, parody, and increase public health knowledge.

References
(1) Food Babe Shop
http://foodbabe.com/shop/

(2) Clean Well Hand Sanitizer Ingredients
http://www.cleanwelltoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/CW_Ingreds_10_15_13.pdf

(3) Adoption of Genetically Engineered Crops in the U.S
http://www.ers.usda.gov/data-products/adoption-of-genetically-engineered-crops-in-the-us/recent-trends-in-ge-adoption.aspx

(4) Difference Between Organic and Non-GMO Labels (Food Babe)
http://foodbabe.com/2015/02/26/difference-between-organic-non-gmo-labels/

(5) Holistic Hair Care
http://foodbabe.com/2011/11/06/holistic-hair-care-how-why/

PABAble Cause: A “Carcinogen” From Dr. Axe

axefeature copy

When we last visited our good friend Josh Axe, he was hard at work selling antimatter-laden miracle dirt to unsuspecting customers, with the claim it would sweep toxins out of their bodies while simultaneously delivering vital nutrients. (Yes, I was confused too.)

Today I’d like to take a look at another product being peddled by “Dr.” Axe. If you read to the end, I can guarantee you’ll be outraged.  The hypocrisy could not be more blatant.

The topic of the day–and don’t be scared by the long words–is para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA).  Let’s start off with Josh Axe giving us a quick backgrounder on PABA:1

“A recent study published in Environmental Science Technology has also shown the common sunscreen ingredients oxybenzone, methoxycinnamate, and PABA are estrogenic chemicals linked to cancer. That’s right, I read the labels on not only my food products, but on anything I’m putting on or near my body, and you should too.” 1

(Emphasis mine.)  So PABA is an “estrogenic chemical linked to cancer”, Josh?  Hold that thought, and let’s go shopping at draxe.com.  You might want to put on some older clothing. This is going to get messy.

Here’s a nice vitamin B supplement:2

dr axe vitamin b

Dr. Axe Vitamin B supplement. (click/enlarge)

If you’ve read my blog before, having seen me highlight Josh’s disdain for PABA followed by a screen snapshot of a product he’s selling, you’ve probably guessed where this article is heading.  You won’t be disappointed.  Time to have a look-see at what’s actually in the supplement Axe is hawking:2

paba in dr axe vitamin b complex

Dr. Axe’s supplement contains PABA (para-aminobenzoic acid), the very same compound he just linked to cancer. (click/enlarge)

Oh, good grief…  this supplement contains PABA!  Para-aminobenzoic acid.  The cancer-causing boogeyman of Josh Axe’s nightmares: on sale now for only $39.99 on the Dr. Axe web site (you save $11.25!).

This would almost be comical if not for the fact that in the same sentence in which Axe attacked PABA, he said:

“That’s right, I read the labels on not only my food products, but on anything I’m putting on or near my body, and you should too.”1

So there you have it.  Here’s a chiropractor/”natural medicine doctor” who warns his followers to avoid putting a chemical on their bodies due to cancer concerns, sells them that very same compound in a supplement they’re supposed to ingest, and in the same breath tells them he reads product labels to avoid putting dangerous product on or in his body.

The mind boggles.

 

Image Credits
Josh Axe product and website screen snapshots are used in strict compliance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 of United States copyright law (commonly known as “fair use law”). This material is distributed without profit with the intent to provide commentary, review, education, parody, and increase public health knowledge.

Axe “look at that” parody by the author.  Created and used under parody/education/public health knowledge provisions of Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 of United States copyright law (commonly known as “fair use law”).

References
(1) 75% of Sunscreens Are Toxic: What To Do Instead
http://draxe.com/75-of-sunscreens-are-toxic-what-to-do-instead/

(2) Dr. Axe Vitamin B Complex
https://store.draxe.com/collections/supplements/products/vitamin-b-complex

Food Babe Selling Another Product She Says May Give You Leukemia

Happy Friday!  As is our custom here at Bad Science Debunked, Friday means a freshly printed paycheck has been pocketed, which in turn leads to yet another shopping spree at FoodBabe.com.  Those of you who have followed this series for any length of time are aware that we’ve had some amazing finds.  If you’re a first-timer, let me caution you that we evaluate the safety of our prospective purchases according to rules set forth by Vani Hari (the Food Babe) herself.  For example…

In her article, “Holistic Hair Care–How & Why”,1 the Food Babe makes an amazing claim about the safety of Aubrey Organics hair care products.  In doing so, Hari’s mouth writes a check that a certain product label can’t cash:

food babe claims all of Aubrey Organics hair products are safe

Food Babe claims that all of Aubrey Organics Hair Care products are safe. We’ll apply her own standards, and challenge that claim. (click/enlarge)

All Aubrey Organic hair care products are safe?  Alright then, let’s put on those Food Babe Investigator HatsTM we’ve had hanging on the hall coat rack and examine this bold statement.  First, we’ll pick a product: perhaps this bottle of Aubrey Organics GBP Balancing Protein Conditioner.2

food babe aubrey organics

“Aubrey Organics Hair Care–They have the most fantastic products that all are safe!” gushes Food Babe. (click/enlarge)

Seems innocent enough, right?  Hold onto your pants.  And your credit cards.  With both hands.  Before we discover the hidden dangers (according to Vani) in this product, we need to take a step back and talk about hummus.

Hummus?

Yes, hummus.  (Thanks for asking.) Tell us something frightening about the ingredients in off-the-shelf hummus, won’t you Vani? (emphasis mine) 3

Sodium Benzoate is another preservative added to commercial hummus – when combined with Vitamin C this can produce benzene that has been known to cause Leukemia and other cancers. It’s a small risk this may happen, but why should the consumer be put at risk in the first place?”3

Gee golly Bob!  Sodium benzoate combined with vitamin C can produce benzene and cause leukemia?  We’d better steer clear of this dangerous combination!

Oh, I almost forgot.  What about the ingredients in the hair care product that Vani is selling?  You remember, the one from Aubrey Organics, who makes those “entirely safe” hair care products? 2

Food Babe Aubrey Organics GPB Balancing Protein Conditioner 11oz

Ingredients for Food Babe Aubrey Organics GPB Balancing Protein Conditioner. (click/enlarge)

The sodium benzoate could not be more clearly labeled; the same goes for ascorbic acid, a form of vitamin C.  For added effect, we have extract of grapefruit, a fruit rich in vitamin C.4  Here on this label, on a hair care product that received a full pardon from Food Babe  against any future charges of toxicity, we have the very two compounds that she links to leukemia in her hummus article.

But does Vani Hari receive a “get out of jail free card” because she wrote about sodium benzoate/Vitamin C cancer dangers in food, and we are instead talking about hair care products?  Answer: No.  I always like to let Food Babe speak for herself on these issues (emphasis mine):

Your skin is your largest organ!  What you put on your hair, is absorbed into your blood through your scalp and face. Nurture it, be kind to it, and most importantly LOVE it!1

So there you have it.  Buy this hair care product via Food Babe’s affiliate link (finance her next vacation!), slather some sodium benzoate & vitamin C on your hair where it’ll be absorbed into your blood,  and find yourself unable to sleep at night from fear you’re going to develop leukemia.

Or, consider the fact that we’re now rapidly approaching a total of four dozen products  sold by Vani Hari that contain the same “toxic” ingredients she warns about.  Maybe, just maybe, a few people are eventually going to catch on to the fact that they’re being taken for a very expensive ride.

In reality, there’s nothing dangerous about this conditioner, or anything else Food Babe denigrates.  To the best of my knowledge, Aubrey Organics has a shiny safety record and I’d recommend buying their products with wild abandon, if you’re so inclined.

Just don’t buy them from Food Babe.

 

Image Credits
Food Babe and Aubrey Organics screen snapshots are used in strict compliance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 of United States copyright law (commonly known as “fair use law”). This material is distributed without profit with the intent to provide commentary, review, education, parody, and increase public health knowledge.

References
(1) Holistic Hair Care–How & Why?
http://foodbabe.com/2011/11/06/holistic-hair-care-how-why/

(2) Aubrey Organics GPB Balancing Protein Conditioner 11oz
http://www.aubrey-organics.com/ProductInfo/001.aspx

(3) Why Aren’t You Making Your Own Hummus?
http://foodbabe.com/2011/05/18/homemade-hummus/

(4) USDA Nutrition Database: Search for “Grapefruit”
http://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods

Anti-GMO “Natural Society” Links Formaldehyde To Cancer–But Sells Formaldehyde

Recently I wrote about the so-called Natural Society’s hypocrisy in criticizing cellulose as indigestible food filler while at the same time using it in the dietary supplements they sell.  This offense is minor compared to the gaffe they’ve committed in their virulent anti-GMO campaign.

The Natural Society doesn’t like formaldehyde. I mean, they really don’t like formaldehyde.2,3  Ranting about the supposed natural production of this compound by GMO soy, author Christina Sarich terrifies readers with tales of an IARC Group 1 carcinogen skulking in their food, while compatriot Patrick Gallagher warns that even the vapor content is so dangerous it should be avoided.

So:  why is the Natural Society selling formaldehyde to their followers?

Don’t believe me? Let’s visit the Natural Society online store. Here’s a nice 8-ounce jar of Sombra Pain Relieving Gel:

Sombra Pain Relieving Gel from the Natural Society

Sombra Pain Relieving Gel from the Natural Society. (click/enlarge)

 

The list of ingredients seems innocent at first, but I’ve highlighted something interesting:

Sombra ingredients

Sombra contains sodium hydroxymethylglycinate, aka a “formaldehyde releaser.” (click/enlarge)

As Winnie the Pooh is famous for saying: “Oh, bother!”.  Sodium ‘hydromethylglycinate’, the preservative in Natural Society’s Sombra gel, is either accidentally or intentionally misspelled.  We can go to the Sombra web site and confirm it’s actually sodium hydroxymethylglycinate:  a compound known as a “formaldehyde releaser.”

As you might guess from the name, a formaldehyde releaser slowly releases formaldehyde into a product over time.  The purpose is to act as a preservative, deterring the growth of bacteria, fungi, and other undesired “guests.”  Here’s the correctly-spelled ingredient list, courtesy the Sombra web site:11

Sombra's ingrdient list

Natural Society either accidentally or intentionally misspelled one of the ingredients.  Here’s the correct ingredient list, straight from the manufacturer. (click/enlarge)

For a small fee, the Natural Society could have gone through PubMed or PubChem and purchased access to one of the many papers confirming their favored preservative’s role in releasing formaldehyde into the product they’re selling.5,6,7 It cost me just $6.00 and 15 minutes of reading time to learn about sodium hydroxymethylglycinate in “Formaldehyde-releasers in cosmetics: relationship to formaldehyde contact allergy”: 5

sodium hydroxymethylglycinate

Sodium hydroxymethylglycinate, excerpt from “Formaldehyde-releasers in cosmetics: relationship to formaldehyde contact allergy.”5

 

But it gets worse.  Like so many other snake oil peddlers on the internet, Natural Society quotes the non-science-based Environmental Work Group (EWG) at every drop of the hat.8,9  And even EWG pegged the formaldehyde releasing capabilities of sodium hydroxymethylglycinate.10

So where did Natural Society go wrong?  Was it a lack of research?

“After working to find all of the best brands in the industry, we settled on Sombra’s Cool Therapy gel after over an entire year of testing and research.” 4

Whoa.  An entire year of testing and research, and they missed the formaldehyde?

Or did they?

Remember Christina Sarich, the Society writer/formaldehyde-hater we discussed at the beginning of this article?  Here she is again, writing for the Natural Society on  the subject of toxic formaldehyde releasers in skin care products:

“Furthermore, many face and body soaps contain ‘antibiotic cleansers’ like Triclosan. What else? Benzethonium chloride, artificial colorants, BHA, BHT, silicone derived emollients, parabens, and Formaldehyde releasers [DMDM hydantoin diazolidinyl urea, Imidazolidinyl urea Sodium hydroxymethylglycinate, N-(Hydroxymethyl) glycine, monosodium salt, and quaternium-15]. YUCK!”12

Holy GMO-free sh*t!  The same author who writes about the dangers of carcinogenic formaldehyde in GMO food also warns about it avoiding in skin care products–then turns around and sells it to you.

And all of this after an entire year of testing and research.  Cojones the size of Texas!  But I weep for the masses who hand their hard-earned money to businesses like this.

I weep.

 

Revision history:  corrected spelling of cojones (10 Dec 2015);

corrected title of reference (6) (12 Dec 2015)

 

 

 

Image Credits
Natural Society, Sombra screen and product snapshots are used in strict compliance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 of United States copyright law (commonly known as “fair use law”). This material is distributed without profit with the intent to provide commentary, review, education, parody, and increase public health knowledge.

Sodium hydroxymethylglycinate, from “Formaldehyde-releasers in cosmetics: relationship to formaldehyde contact allergy. Part 1. Characterization, frequency and relevance of sensitization, and frequency of use in cosmetics” 5, used under Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 of United States copyright law (commonly known as “fair use law”) with the intent of providing education.

References
(1) Study: GMO Soy Accumulates Cancer-causing Formaldehyde
http://naturalsociety.com/study-gmo-soy-accumulates-cancer-causing-formaldehyde/

(2) New Study: GMO Soy Accumuluates Cancerous Formaldehyde
http://naturalsociety.com/new-study-gmo-soy-accumulates-cancerous-formaldehyde/

(3) Styrene and Formaldehyde Use Causing Health Complications
http://naturalsociety.com/styrene-formaldehyde-use-causing-health-complications/

(4) Sombra Pain Relief Cream on Natural Society Shopping Page
https://shop.naturalsociety.com/product/sombra-cool-therapy-pain-relieving-gel-8-oz

(5) Formaldehyde-releasers in cosmetics: relationship to formaldehyde contact allergy. Part 1. Characterization, frequency and relevance of sensitization, and frequency of use in cosmetics.
Contact Dermatitis. 2010 Jan;62(1):2-17. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0536.2009.01615.x.
de Groot AC1, White IR, Flyvholm MA, Lensen G, Coenraads PJ.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20136875
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1600-0536.2009.01615.x/abstract  (full text, last accessed 08 Dec 2015)

(6) Sodium Hydroxymethylglycinate
Dermatitis. 2010 Mar-Apr;21(2):109-10.
Russell K1, Jacob SE.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20233550

(7) Sodium hydroxymethylglycinate: a potential formaldehyde-releasing preservative in child products.
Dermatitis. 2009 Nov-Dec;20(6):347-9.
Jacob SE1, Hsu JW.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19958742

(8) Natural Society Quotes EWG: Toxic Flame Retardants in Baby Products
http://naturalsociety.com/toxic-flame-retardants-found-in-80-of-baby-products/

(9) Natural Society Quotes EWG: Glyphosate Doubles Cancer Risk
http://naturalsociety.com/ewg-monsantos-herbicide-chemical-glyphosate-doubles-cancer-risk/

(10) EWG: Sodium Hydroxymethylglycinate
http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ingredient/706077/SODIUM_HYDROXYMETHYLGLYCINATE_(FORMALDEHYDE_RELEASER)/#

(11) Sombra Gel Ingredients (manufacturer website)
http://www.sombrausa.com/cool-therapy

(12) Five Healthier Swaps for Expensive Toxic Skin Care Products
http://naturalsociety.com/5-cheaper-healthier-swaps-expensive-toxic-skin-care-products/

Axe-idental Poisoning (Josh Axe Debunked)

magical periodic table

How are iron and copper released by bentonite clay while chromium and manganese are targeted and swept away?  Dr. Axe doesn’t sufficiently explain this, but accidentally delves into antimatter and magic in his attempt (see text).

 

So you’ve had another gut-wrenching GMO-free meal at Chi-coli (aka Chipotle) and you’re in need of a quick detox?  Is that what’s bothering you Bunky?  Well set your mind at ease. According to chiropractor and “natural medicine doctor” Josh Axe, all you need to do is eat some dirt.  But not just any dirt.  No, what’s needed here is bentonite clay, a miracle soil that will cleanse and heal the body (get your credit cards ready).1

“Bentonite clay benefits your body by helping to expel many of these toxins [mercury, cadmium, lead, and benzene] and therefore increases immunity and reduces inflammation” 1 — Josh Axe

Golly gee!  I want to know more!

“On top of being able to draw-out toxins from the body, the clay itself has a range of nutrients” 1 — Josh Axe

 

Wait.  Hold on.  Does the clay draw elements out of the body, or put them in?

“When ingested into the body, either in a drink form or by eating the clay, its vitamins and minerals are absorbed similarly to how a supplement would be. Therefore some people use it as a supplement since the clay is a natural source of important dietary nutrients.” 1 –Axe, again

Clay is a source of “important dietary nutrients”, so it puts them into the body?  OK, I’ll bite (no pun intended).  For the sake of argument, let’s take this claim and run with it.  What are the nutritional benefits of bentonite clay, Dr. Axe?1

dr axe bentonite clay

Dr. Axe’s claimed nutritional benefits for bentonite clay include many elements he claims are toxic. (click/enlarge)

 

¡Madre de Dios!  Let’s look at some of the “nutritional elements” I’ve highlighted in the above graphic from draxe.com, and see what the man himself has to say about them:

Mercury exposure, both in one large dose and through low level exposure over time, is linked through scientific data to kidney, brain, urological, fertility, neurological, and renal problems” 2  (emphasis mine)

Low level exposure to mercury over time is linked to some very nasty problems by Axe.  But you’ll find it in the clay he wants you to eat.  The story is even worse with lead:

No level of lead exposure appears to be ‘safe’ and even the current ‘low’ levels of exposure in children are associated with neurodevelopmental deficits.” 3 (emphasis mine)

Axe’s lead quote comes from an article he penned on “toxic” chemicals found in lipstick.  According to him, there’s no safe level of this poisonous element, but you’ll find 1.17mg of lead in each heaping helping tablespoon of his recommended clay.1

Not content with both feet in his mouth, Axe figuratively inserts other remaining body parts as well: in his bentonite clay, you’ll find each and every element I emphasize in his following quote:

The European Union has banned the presence of cadmium, chromium and lead altogether in cosmetics. The Canadian government has set limits for the content of antimony, arsenic, cadmium, chromium, mercury and lead in cosmetics. They’re still trying to determine what levels are avoidable in the manufacturing process.” 3

Why limit the levels of these elements, Dr. Axe?

“While the FDA does limit lead in certain color additives used in cosmetics, it doesn’t set limits on lead in final products.  This is troubling because heavy metals accumulate in the body over time. Low amounts can add up to big effects.3

 

But… but… all of these “heavy metals”, according to you, Dr. Axe, are found in the clay you’re pushing.  But do go on…  what kind of “big effects” can consumers of your super soil expect to experience as the toxins accumulate in their bodies over time?

dr josh axe warns about these metals accumulating over time

Axe issues dire warnings for specific metals accumulating in the body over time.  But each and every metal on this list is found in the bentonite clay he recommends you eat. (click/enlarge)

 

Pot.  Kettle.  Black.

Of course, you could still buy into Axe’s contradictory argument that bentonite clay hunts down and removes these metals from the body.  The problem is, he can’t explain how the good metals are dropped off at the physiological bus stop while the bad ones are picked up by the heavy metal police and carted off to jail without ever passing go.  He makes a hilarious attempt, referencing “positively charged electrons” (that’s antimatter!), but in the end it boils down to magic.  So that I’m not accused of quote mining, I invite you to read his entire article.

Speaking of buying:  Bien sûr, after Axe sings the praises of bentonite clay, he just so happens to have a particular brand he recommends…

dr axe's hidden affiliate link

“Dr.” Axe has a favorite clay–and an undisclosed Amazon.com affiliate link. (click/enlarge)

 

Not only does Axe recommend bentonite, he earns money when you buy it.   In the above image, I’ve highlighted the hidden, encoded Amazon.com affiliate link.  When you’re redirected to Amazon to snag this product, not only does Josh Axe get a cut of the purchase price, he’s also set up to earn commissions on anything else you happen to buy during your shopping session.4,5  Amazon pays out because they’re grateful to Axe for directing you to their web site.  The problem is, legally, the good doctor is supposed to clearly disclose his affiliation when he sends you off to buy–but he never does.

axe hidden link expanded

You can clearly see Axe’s affiliation in the decoded URL (uniform resource locator) after being directed to Amazon.  Axe earns money not only from this purchase, but others you make as well. (click/enlarge)

 

I’ve covered a lot of ground (another dirt pun; sorry) in this piece, and for good reason: there are few things worse, in my humble opinion, than a person hiding behind the title of “doctor” using bad science and fear mongering to sell you products that contain the very same ingredients they’re telling you will harm you.  Here’s a brief recap and, as always, thanks for reading:

  • Axe simultaneously claims bentonite clay both sweeps elements out of your system and puts them in.  Which is it?
  • No scientific explanation is given for the above contradiction.  Axe ascribes near-magical abilities to bentonite, allowing it to hunt down toxins with “positively charged electrons” (antimatter?  WTF?) after coming into contact with water.  Harry Potter would be proud.
  • The so-called doctor’s mastery of chemistry is so poor he can’t differentiate between elements and minerals.
  • The “no safe level of chemical to ingest” mantra could not be more clear in Axe’s writing, yet he proudly lists the levels of each proclaimed toxic chemical in bentonite clay.  Does he ever read his own words and labels?

 

axe unadvertised affiliate link

Help Dr. Axe go on vacation by giving him a cut of all qualifying purchased you make after visiting Amazon.com via his hidden affiliate link.  (click/enlarge)

 

Image Credits
Josh Axe, Redmond Clay, and Amazon.com website screen snapshots are used in strict compliance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 of United States copyright law (commonly known as “fair use law”). This material is distributed without profit with the intent to provide commentary, review, education, parody, and increase public health knowledge.

Snippet of the periodic table of the elements taken from ptable.com and also used under Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 of United States copyright law (commonly known as “fair use law”) with the intent of providing education.  Happy faces poorly drawn by the author.

 

References
(1) 10 Proven Bentonite Clay Benefits And Uses
http://draxe.com/10-bentonite-clay-benefits-uses/

(2) Dangers of Amalgam Fillings
http://draxe.com/dangers-of-amalgam-fillings/

(3) Is Your Lipstick Toxic?
http://draxe.com/is-your-lipstick-toxic/

(4) Amazon.com Affiliate Program Description
https://affiliate-program.amazon.com/

(5) Amazon.com Affiliate Compensation Schedule
https://affiliate-program.amazon.com/gp/associates/join/compensation.html

Carcinogen Poker: Farm Fairy Crafts’ Biodynamic Grapes

My recent post about Farm Fairy Crafts1 upset a few anti-GMO activists who didn’t like me calling out a member of the $39 billion organic industry for selling products that could, by their own standards, be classified as dangerous as the ones they lambaste.

To recap, the kind folks at Farm Fairy Crafts are trying to use the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classification of glyphosate as a Group 2A carcinogen to scare consumers, while at the same time selling a product that contains Group 2B carcinogens.  Apparently, I’ve touched off a game of Carcinogen Poker, with an irate reader pointing out (rather unkindly) that Group 2A “outranks” 2B:

carcinogen poker--what trumps what?

Not everyone reacted kindly to my pointing out the use of “IARC scare tactics.” Spelling and classification errors are not my own. (click/enlarge)

Never mind that Farm Fairy Crafts and their ilk don’t really differentiate between the rankings in their cancerous arguments: simply being classified by the IARC is good enough–or bad enough in this case–for them.  Never mind that the angry scholar who left the above comment fiddles with the IARC definitions to suit her own purposes.  Let’s go ahead and play “Carcinogen Poker” with this incensed reader.  Do you know what outranks Group 2A?  Group 1.

With my best poker face, I say:  “I see your glyphosate, and I raise you a bottle of Farm Fairy Breathe Easy Respiratory Relief Mister.”

farm fairy crafts breathe easy mister

Farm Fairy Crafts Breathe Easy Mister.   (click/enlarge)

The contents of this mist?  Johnny, show us what’s behind door number three: 2

farm fairy crafts breathe easy mister

“Organic biodynamic grape alcohol?” Why not just say “ethanol”? (click/enlarge)

 

“Organic biodynamic grape alcohol”?  Ach du lieber Gott!   Why do the earthy organic types have to invent such fanciful names for common substances?  Let’s call this what it is:  ethanol.  You know… the alcohol you get from fermented grape juice.  Ever heard of wine making?

Do you know where the IARC ranks ethanol in alcoholic beverages?  Group 1: substances known to cause cancer in humans.Oh, I can hear the objections now: “Farm Fairy Crafts isn’t suggesting you drink this carcinogenic mist, they only want you to breathe it.”

Hold your organic horses, cowboy:

Leaving no room for ambiguity, the Farm Fairy Crafts Twitter feed is loaded with tweets showing exactly how this company feels about humans breathing (or otherwise coming into contact with) chemicals that the IARC labels as carcinogenic:

farm fairy crafts tweet

Farm Fairy Crafts doesn’t want you to breathe IARC-listed carcinogens, unless they’re selling them. (click/enlarge)

Oh dear.  Farm Fairy Crafts apparently suggests protective clothing and breathing apparatus are in order when handling Group 2A carcinogens.  Are we to conclude then that we should not be inhaling the “more dangerous” Group 1 carcinogen in their Breathe Easy Mister?  But isn’t a mister designed to help you breathe more easily supposed to be inhaled?  On the Farm Fairy Twitter feed, you’ll find nearly a dozen photographs of workers wearing breathing masks, ostensibly because of the dangers of breathing glyphosate.  Not a word about the hidden carcinogen in their own product.  Welcome to the world of anti-GMO “logic”.

Fear mongering, games like Carcinogen Poker, and “biodynamic grape alcohol”: these are great tools for selling your own products while making those of competitors look dangerous.  But when you turn the rules of woo peddlers against them and examine their own wares under the same virtual microscope, all of a sudden they’re left with the need to wear bio-hazard suits to use their own products.

When pseudoscientists play Carcinogen Poker, they’re usually dealing off the bottom of the deck, and they’re always going to be trumped by logic and science.

 

Image Credits
Farm Fairy Crafts product and tweet snapshots are used in strict compliance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 of United States copyright law (commonly known as “fair use law”). This material is distributed without profit with the intent to provide commentary, review, education, parody, and increase public health knowledge.

 

References
(1) Farm Fairy Crafts Breathe Easy Respiratory Relief Mister
https://www.etsy.com/listing/242790889/breathe-easy-respiratory-relief-mister?ref=shop_home_active_20

(2) Farm Fairy Crafts Selling Products With Caffeic Acid, a Group 2B carcinogen
https://badscidebunked.wordpress.com/2015/11/18/3583/

(3) Agents Classified by the IARC Monographs, Volumes 1–112
http://monographs.iarc.fr/ENG/Classification/ClassificationsGroupOrder.pdf