Trix Are For Food Babe

According to the old breakfast cereal slogan, “Trix are for kids.”

Vani Hari  (the “Food Babe”) has a new variation on this theme with her latest misinformation campaign: Tricks are for kids–and their gullible parents.

Let’s look at a Hari Facebook rant from October 2, accusing General Mills of targeting children with alleged carcinogenic compounds in General Mills’ Trix cereal.1  As we’ll see in a moment, Food Babe also targets children with products containing these very same chemicals, and has been doing so for at least six years:

food babe artificial colors targeting children

Food Babe sells the same falsely-labeled toxins in her Facebook post, ironically targeting children in the process.  (click/enlarge)

Hari asks if marketing artificial colors to children should be illegal.  An ironic question coming from a woman who markets products containing artificial colors to children herself.2  Not just any artificial colors, but the same “coal tar dyes” she rants about in her October 2 post.

Sherman, set the WayBack Machine to November, 2015, when I pointed out the (pink?) elephant in the room to Food Babe:

piggy paint sold by food babe contains artificial colors

Two years ago, it was clearly pointed out to Vani Hari that she’s selling to children the same class of “coal tar dyes”that she labels toxic.  From Bad Science Debunked, November 15, 2015.   (click/enlarge)

Yes, this children’s fingernail polish marketed by Vani Hari is made from the same artificial colors that are causing her Blue #1 sky to fall.  But the hypocrisy doesn’t end there.  Not that anyone in the #FoodBabeArmy seems scientifically literate enough to pick up on the fact, but this children’s product also contains an organic pesticide, neem oil.  Vani Hari is an outspoken opponent of pesticides, but apparently has no qualms about selling them to children.

Hari does not get a “get out of jail free card” because she’s lambasting a food product and here she’s hawking a cosmetic.  Thus sayeth the Food Babe:

“Your skin is your largest organ!  What you put on your skin, is absorbed into your blood.”–Vani Hari3

This is a common theme in the world of “all natural” product salespeople–it doesn’t matter if it comes from food or beauty products–it it’s a toxin, it’s gonna kill ya, whether you swallow it, inhale it, or get it on your skin.

But it gets worse for Ms. Hari.  Several of the dyes that she calls out by name, including Blue #1 and Yellow #6, were openly sold via her online “Food Babe Shop” for several years before being quietly pulled overnight when called out on her gaffe.4  These products were ingested by humans, as they included a dozen different shades of Tarte lipstick.  Placed on the lips, the very dyes Hari calls “neurotoxins” were happily and enthusiastically lapped up by every woman who licked her lips while wearing Food Babe-recommended cosmetics.

The third artificial color, Red #40, which Hari curiously links to hyperactivity?  It has been a mainstay in the Giovanni Hair Care products she’s been hyping on FoodBabe.com since 2011.7  You’re three-for-three Vani. Well done.  Well done, indeed.

Food Babe highly recommends Giovianni hair care products. There’s only one problem…

food babe red #40

Red #40, much maligned by Hari, is found in hair care products that she hawks in her blog. (click/enlarge)

Last but not least, Vani takes issue with the presence of genetically modified ingredients in Trix cereal.  Let’s rinse and repeat our investigative pattern for the #FoodBabeArmy crowd who are missing the obvious:  Food Babe has been selling you a product containing GMO corn long enough for Seralini to have faked a dozen more GMO cancer studies.6

food babe selling gmo corn

This product, featured on FoodBabe.com, is made from GMO corn. (click/enlarge)

As the commercial goes, Trix may be for kids, but Tricks are for Food Babe.

Let us then revisit the original, deceptive General Mills Trix cereal box graphic that Vani Hari presented in her October 2 Facebook post, and put it into proper context by comparing her alleged toxic ingredients with those she sells or has consistently sold for years:

food babe trix gmo food dye

Food Babe’s Babes “Box of Tricks” includes an online store pushing products containing every single ingredient she disparages in General Mills’ Trix cereal.  

Gentle reader, there’s nothing dangerous in Trix cereal, or, indeed, any of the products that Vani Hari “trix” her followers into buying by pretending that the alternatives are harmful.  Buy any of the products mentioned in this article with complete confidence they’re safe.  Just please… don’t buy them from FoodBabe.com.

 

References
(1) Food Babe Trix Post
https://www.facebook.com/thefoodbabe/posts/1696483297053041

(2) Food Babe Selling Pesticides, Coal Tar Dyes To Children
https://badscidebunked.wordpress.com/2015/11/13/food-babe-selling-pesticide-coal-tar-dyes-to-children/

(3) So Fresh And So Clean–Skin Care Tips
http://foodbabe.com/2011/08/09/so-fresh-and-so-clean-skin-care-tips/

(4) Food Babe Slam Kraft Over Three Dyes But Sells Same
https://badscidebunked.wordpress.com/2015/02/16/food-babe-slams-kraft-over-three-dyes-but-sells-same/

(6) Food Babe is Selling GMOs
https://badscidebunked.wordpress.com/2015/12/18/food-babe-is-selling-gmos/

(7)  She Did It Again!
https://badscidebunked.wordpress.com/2015/02/27/she-did-it-again-food-babe-linked-to-another-company-using-same-dyes-she-forbids/

Image Credits
Food Babe screen snapshots are used in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, 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.

“American Pie” imagery photoshopped/produced by the author, used under the parody provisions of Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, 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.

“Trix/Tricks” imagery photoshopped/produced by the author, used under the parody provisions of Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, 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.

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Eclipse Blinds Pets! (And Other Bad Science)

pool closed due to eclipse

The road to Science Hell is paved with good intentions.

As I anxiously await my ninth total eclipse of the sun here in Western Kentucky, I was shocked to see that the swimming pool would be closed during the event in the interest of public safety. Is our resort afraid people will lose their way in the darkness and fall in & drown, or has a viral Internet rumor been spreading that looking at an eclipse while immersed in water will cause blindness?

Egad.

Bad science abounds around eclipse time.  From people locking children indoors for “protection”, to religious leaders predicting the end of the world is nigh, something about losing the sun for a few minutes brings out the daft among us.

Knowing that I’m an eclipse buff, some well-meaning coworkers at the office passed along the following semi-viral internet meme, warning of the dire consequences of not locking your pets inside during the “Great American Eclipse” of August 21:

eclipse will not cause pet blindness

Bad eclipse science runs rampant on social media (click/enlarge)

Pets going blind because of the eclipse?  No.  Just no.

If you aren’t in the path of totality, staring at the partially eclipsed sun is going to be just as painful and counterintuitive for your cat/dog/guppy as it would be for you. Even with 99% of the sun blocked by the moon, as it will be near my home town of Lexington, KY, the sun will be far too bright to look at with the naked eye. So why, pray tell, would Whiskers and Fido suddenly feel the urge to stare intently at the sun and fry their retinas like bacon?

Answer: they won’t. The only odd behavior you might notice from a pet during this eclipse would be if you happen to own a critter that routinely feeds or beds down at sunset. Animals sometimes get tricked into thinking that the eclipse signals nightfall. Bessie the Cow might head for the trough, Trigger the Horse might head for the barn, but if you plan on putting either in the house to protect them from the eclipse, you’re wasting your time (and risking severe carpet damage).

The only animals who need to worry about protecting their eyes during this eclipse are humans. We know something special is happening, so we tend to do something unnatural and stare at the sun. Proper eye protection is de rigeur in this case during the partial phases of the eclipse.

Fido and the other pets will have no clue what’s going on, and will happily go about their business–unless some Facebook addict ruins their day by locking them in the house.

Anti-GMO Conspiracy Theorist Alex Jones is Selling GMOs

Alex Jones pep band parody by Bad Science Debunked

 

We’re living in a strange new reality in the United States.  Our citizens are forced to deal with problems such as terrorist attacks that never happened (e.g. Bowling Green, KY) and life-saving vaccines causing problems that they don’t.  A large percentage of the population is happy to accept lies and contradictions without question.  Alternate facts seem to be accepted in more places than MasterCard, Visa, and Discover combined.

It should come as no surprise then that virulent anti-GMO campaigner and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones is selling genetically modified (GMO) soy via his online store, while simultaneously and falsely claiming that GMOs cause cancer, infertility, IQ reduction, and deformities.1

The soy in question is found in a men’s health supplement named Prosta Guard,2 sold by Jones’ InfoWarsShop.com.  Knowing that nearly all soy grown in the United States is genetically modified3 and painfully aware of Jones’ “America First” attitude, I contacted the InfoWars store and asked if the soy used in this product was genetically modified.  The response, was, unsurprisingly,  “Yes.”  InfoWars customer service added that any non-GMO products sold by Jones’ haberdashery would be clearly marked.

prosta guard gmo soy from infowars/alex jones

Prosta Guard as advertised on Alex Jones’ InfoWars store web site.  The soy is highlighted in this screen capture.  (click/enlarge)

I don’t give a tinker’s damn if the soy is genetically modified or not, and experts agree that consumers have no reason to be concerned either.  There’s no evidence that genetically modified foods are anything but safe, nutritious, and a boon to agriculture.  But arguing the point with conspiracy theorists is an exercise in futility.

Consider, if you will, that Alex Jones believes that the government uses chemicals to create homosexuals as a form of population control, Michelle Obama is a man who married Barrack to prove a point on transgender rights, the United States Government has a secret weather control machine, and the “new world order” is opening thousands of portals to allow demons to pour out onto Earth.4,5  How do you debunk a reasoned argument when one is never presented?

Irony of ironies, InfoWars also spreads fear and paranoia about food-based chemicals believed to disrupt the human endocrine system.6   Yet they completely ignore the fact that the soy in their Prosta Guard contains naturally occurring compounds known as phytoestrogens, which are (wait for it)… endocrine disruptors.  Alison Bernstein, who runs the outstanding science page Mommy PhD, authored an excellent article7 on endocrine-disrupting chemical (EDC) science and associated paranoia.  Using soy as one example, Bernstein expertly picks apart the Appeal to Nature fallacy displayed by those such as Alex Jones, who eschew BPA food containers only to consume the very class of chemicals they’re trying to avoid.

In his blatant act of marketing hypocrisy,  Mr. Jones joins a host of other hucksters whose scholarly and ethical compasses arguably don’t exactly point north. For over three years, anti-GMO campaigner Vani “the Food Babe” Hari has sold a skin care product made with GMO corn despite warning that the “toxic” ingredients can be absorbed by the skin and into the bloodstream.  Mike “the Health Ranger” Adams of NaturalNews.com peddles wares containing GMOS here, here, and here, even though his web site contains over twenty pages of search results falsely linking GMOs from everything to cancer to farmer suicides to the destruction of agriculture in Africa.

Jones’ followers stare at his hypocrisy like a deer in headlights, blissfully ignoring the truckload of truth bearing down on them, a blaring horn of facts trying to warn them off the roadway.  It’s a scene growing ever more common in a country that once took pride in science, reason, and truth.  There’s nothing to fear from the GMO soy in the Prosta Guard sold by the InfoWars store, but many reasons to avoid funding the store’s owner, who spreads dangerous anti-vaccine propaganda that endangers public public health.

Buy Prosta Guard if you must.  Just please don’t buy it from Alex Jones.

References
(1)  “GMOS=HUMANITY’S DEATH SENTENCE (Cancer rates, Autism and other medical tragedies are spiraling out of control)”
The Alex Jones Show/InfoWars

(2) Prosta Guard (with ingredients) via InfoWars Store
http://www.infowarsshop.com/ProstaGuard_p_1547.html

(3) USDA: Adoption of Genetically Engineered Crops in the US
(Recent Trends in GE Adoption)
https://www.ers.usda.gov/data-products/adoption-of-genetically-engineered-crops-in-the-us/recent-trends-in-ge-adoption.aspx

(4) Comprehensive Guide to Alex Jones Conspiracy Theories
http://www.mediamatters.org/blog/2016/12/01/comprehensive-guide-alex-jones-conspiracy-theorist-and-trump-valuable-asset/214668

(5) Is Hilary Clinton a Witch? Some of the Worst Alex Jones Conspiracy Theories (Salon)
http://www.salon.com/2017/02/09/is-hillary-clinton-a-witch-rank-some-of-the-worst-alex-jones-conspiracy-theories/

(6) “ENDOCRINE DISRUPTORS ARE IN YOUR FOOD, TOO”.  (InfoWars.com)
https://www.infowars.com/bpa-free-not-enough-endocrine-disruptors-are-in-your-food-too/

(7) “A Chemical is a Chemical is a Chemical”. (Dr. Alison Bernstein, PhD)
http://www.crediblehulk.org/index.php/2016/03/29/a-chemical-is-a-chemical-is-a-chemical/

Image Credits
Alex Jones pep band parody image by Mark Alsip/Bad Science Debunked uses elements from Hormel, Alex Jones/InfoWars, and YouTube under provisions of Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, 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.

Alex Jones/InfoWar screen captures used in compliance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, 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.

Edit History
This article was modified on March 28, 2017, to reference material from “A Chemical is a Chemical is a Chemical”.

Thrive’s Plethora of “Poisonous” Powders

thrive cosmetics coupon

Today we continue our series probing the hypocrisy of Thrive Market, the putative all-natural online store whose products often contain the very ingredients they claim to be toxic–but apparently only when found in competitor’s offerings.

In “The 9 Worst Chemicals Hiding in Your Makeup”, Thrive Market Lifestyle and Beauty Editor Dana Poblete calls out titanium dioxide in cosmetics for its possible carcinogenic properties.  She cautions readers to avoid makeup containing this compound, especially in pressed and loose powders, where inhalation is possible.1  Poblete cites the pseudoscientific Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) “Skin Deep” database as an authoritative reference on cosmetic ingredients and, not coincidentally, goes on to refer potential shoppers to Thrive’s own collection of makeup as an alternative (“No more nasty chemicals to mess up your makeup game!”).

Right then.  Thrive Market tells us to avoid titanium dioxide in cosmetics, especially in powders.  Got it!

Let’s go shopping at Thrive:

Mineral Fusion Pressed Powder Foundation, "Deep 3"

Mineral Fusion Pressed Powder Foundation, “Deep 3” for sale on ThriveMarket.com. (click/enlarge)

 

Above is a snapshot of Thrive’s Mineral Fusion Pressed Powder Foundation, “Deep 3”.2  I wonder what’s inside?

deep 3 ingredients (thrivemarket.com)

“Deep 3” ingredients. Wake the kids and phone the neighbors: there’s titanium dioxide! (click/enlarge)

 

Zut alors! Did you catch it?  Let me zoom in for you:

ingredients closeup thrivemarket titanium dioxde

Yes, it’s titanium dioxide. Thrive is selling us the very compound they linked to cancer, in the same product where they warned it could be hidden!  Lulled into a false sense of security, shopping on an “all natural” web site backed by the astroturf “research group” EWG,3  frightened shoppers are duped into forking over hard earned cash for a Xerox copy of the chemicals they were told could kill them.

“But surely this is just a one-off mistake!”, I hear the all-natural crowd cry.  Au contraire mon frère:

Mineral Hygenics at thrive market contains titanium dioxide

Mineral Hygienics Foundation, on offer at Thrive Market, also contains titanium dioxide, which the web site disingenuously links to cancer in humans. (click/enlarge)

 

A second powder on offer from ThriveMarket.com (above) is Mineral Hygienics Fair Mineral Foundation.  Without further ado, let’s look at the listed ingredients:4

Fair Mineral Foundation from ThriveMarketOops!  Titanium dioxide again!  “But… but… but…” the organic apologists mutter, “the good people at Thrive are only human.  So they just slipped up twice!”  Hey, I’ve got you covered:

harmony blush on thrivemarket

Harmony Blush, sold on ThriveMarket.com, also contains titanium dioxide, which the site links to cancer–but apparently only in products they don’t sell. (click/enlarge)

 

Strike three.  Act now, my friends, and you can save 31% on this nice Mineral Fusion Harmony Blush from our good friends at ThriveMarket.com.  Just ignore the titanium dioxide(or like Bill Clinton, don’t inhale):13

mineral fusion harmony blush on thrive market (ingredients)

I could go on (I really could), but I’m sure you get the point: Thrive’s little shop of horrors is loaded with the same chemical cocktail they claim can kill you if you buy it in a competitor’s product.

To add insult to injury, before you can purchase from Thrive, you have to buy a yearly membership.6  Bend over and grease up–you’re about to get screwed.

Just to throw a little science and logic at you: there’s nothing really dangerous about any of these products.  There is no evidence that titanium dioxide causes cancer in humans.  The woomeisters who attempt to push it as a carcinogen seem to be referring to the International Agency for Research on Cancer’s (IARC) list of Group 2B carcinogens,8 which, for perspective, includes pickled vegetables, the profession of carpentry, and caffeic acid,10,11,12 a compound found in the Roasted Dandelion Tea sold by Thrive.9  The IARC lists these agents as “possibly carcinogenic” to humans.7  That doesn’t mean that they are.

But if Thrive argues that an ingredient is linked to cancer as a way to scare us away from certain products, why is their store loaded with items that contain the same additive?  And their store is loaded.  Perhaps because of my series of articles pointing this out,  a kind reader recently wrote to ask if I had a vendetta against Thrive.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Of the one hundred articles published on this blog since its creation in 2014, only four have mentioned this hypocritical market.  They’re no worse–and no better–than any of the other snake oil pushers I’ve written about (Vani Hari, Gwyneth Paltrow, Dr. Mercola, Dr. Mark Hyman, David Avocado Wolfe, etc.)

Thrive has my attention at the moment partially because their hypocrisy is so easy to spot–just read their labels–and partially because of the underhanded way some of their vendors are propping up their own brands through disingenuous research by non-scientific groups, such as EWG, that they themselves fund.  As we’ll see in an upcoming piece, the Environmental Working Group isn’t the only firm with financial ties to markets such as Thrive.  If you have’t heard of U.S. Right to Know and the Organic Consumer’s Association, get familiar with the names.  Along with EWG, they’re being funded in part by the labels you see on the virtual shelves of your favorite online organic vendor.

Stay thirsty (for knowledge) my friends.

 

References
(1) The 9 Worst Chemicals Hiding in Your Makeup (ThriveMarket.com)
https://thrivemarket.com/blog/noxious-chemicals-in-makeup

(2) Mineral Fusion Pressed Powder Foundation, “Deep 3” Ingredients (Thrive.com, retrieved 05 Aug 2016)
https://thrivemarket.com/mineral-fusion-pressed-powder-foundation-deep-3?utm_source=nextag&utm_medium=pla&CAWELAID=120220540000112219#Ingredients

(3) Environmental Working Group/ThriveMarket Deal
https://thrivemarket.com/partner/ewggift

(4) Fair Mineral Foundation Ingredients (Thrive.com, retrieved 05 Aug 2016)
https://thrivemarket.com/fair-mineral-foundation#Ingredients

(5) Mineral Fusion Harmony Blush (Thrive.com, retrieved 05 Aug 2016)
https://thrivemarket.com/mineral-fusion-harmony-blush#Ingredients

(6) How Thrive Works
https://thrivemarket.com/how-it-works

(7) IARC Monograph on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risk to Humans
http://monographs.iarc.fr/ENG/Classification/

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

(9) Thrive Market Traditional Medicinals Roasted Dandelion Tea
https://thrivemarket.com/traditional-medicinals-roasted-dandelion-root-tea

(10) Yarnell, E. ND, RH and Abascal, K. JD, RH.  Integrative Medicine, Vol. 8, No. 2. Apr/May 2009
http://www.imjournal.com/resources/web_pdfs/0409_yarnell.pdf

(11) Li, Yan, Tan, et al. 2006. Qualitative fingerprint and quantitative determination of caffeic acid in compound dandelion enema.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17062364

(12) PubChem Summary for Compound ID #689043 (Caffeic Acid)
http://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/689043

(13) Bill Clinton: I Didn’t Inhale
http://swampland.time.com/2013/12/03/clinton-i-never-denied-smoking-pot/

 

Image Credits
Thrive Market screen snapshots are used in strict accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, 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.

Thrive Market coupon parody by Mark Alsip/Bad Science Debunked.

The Thrive Market/Environmental Working Group Connection

thrive ewg bronner gmo

“Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practise to deceive”. Walter Scott, Marmion, Canto VI, XVII

In days past, we’ve browsed the virtual shelves of Thrive Market and found astounding examples of hypocrisy: deodorant containing aluminum sold by the very store that links this combination to cancer,1 and products containing derivatives of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), although Thrive’s raison d’être seems to be the eradication of all GMO crops from the face of the Earth.2

Mentioned, but not deeply explored in those articles, is that Thrive Market is being aggressively pushed by the pseudoscientific Environmental Working Group (EWG). EWG, although they apparently do no actual scientific research, have set themselves up as an authority on food and product safety.  You’ll often see EWG’s “research” quoted by online vendors such as Thrive.

There’s a problem here: a vicious circle in which money, advertising, and pseudo-research circulate in a complex “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” cycle. It goes something like this:

  • Organic companies like Bronner’s and Organic Valley donate to EWG to fund their work.
  • EWG publishes non-original, cherry-picked “research” that makes their donors’ products look superior.
  • The donors offer their wares on ThriveMarket.com.
  • EWG launches an email campaign pushing Thrive, touting membership discounts, and citing cherry-picked “research” to guarantee product safety.
  • Thrive cites EWG as an authority when advertising ThriveMarket.com products, claiming superiority over competing brands.
  • Feeling assured by all the supposed research, the unsuspecting public purchases the donors’ products from Thrive.  After Thrive gets its cut, proceeds from the sales go back to the companies who donated to EWG… who promoted Thrive.  Dizzy yet?
  • To add insult to injury, the public doesn’t realize many of the products they’re buying contain the same ingredients they were told were harmful.1,2

To be honest, I get confused reading it too.  Here’s a pretty picture: (click to enlarge):

thrive/ewg relationship

Follow the money: Thrive Market and the Environmental Working Group. (click/enlarge)

How widespread is the problem?  It’s hard to say.  The Environmental Working Group is tight-lipped about their donors, publishing only a small subset online.3  Not all of the organic companies listed on the EWG funding page can be found selling in the Thrive Market (yet),4,5 but that’s just one store, and, as we’ll see in upcoming article, this isn’t the only way EWG props up companies who are friendly to their cause.

Thrive’s love affair with the Environmental Working Group is evident in the rampant quoting of EWG’s so-called research throughout the market’s web site,6 and, to be blunt, when watching Thrive founder Gunnar Lovelace praise EWG President Ken Cook and his company’s work, you want to tell tell the two to get a room.7  Really guys.  Please.

This tangled web will get even more complicated in upcoming days, as we look at the financial involvement of faux “consumer advocate” organizations such as U.S. Right to Know and the Organic Consumers Organization which, via the Environmental Working Group, have a tenuous link to Thrive Market.  The upshot of all this is that it’s easy to sell products when you create your own astroturf-like research research and advocacy organizations and quote them liberally.  Sadly, not enough of mainstream American media is aware this is happening.

Tomorrow though, we’ll return to the lighter side and look at a rather horrific blunder by Thrive: after warning shoppers to avoid a particular form of cosmetic ingredient and claiming their store is free and clear of it… [insert ominous sounds of thunder].

 

References
(1) Thrive Market’s “Toxic” Deodorant: I Smell A Rat (Bad Science Debunked)
https://badscidebunked.wordpress.com/2016/08/18/thrive-markets-toxic-deodorant-i-smell-a-rat/

(2) Anti-GMO Thrive Market Sells GMOs (Bad Science Debunked)
https://badscidebunked.wordpress.com/2016/08/22/anti-gmo-thrive-market-sells-gmos/

(3) Partial List of EWG Funding Sources
http://www.ewg.org/about-us/funding

(4) Dr. Bronner on Thrive Market
https://thrivemarket.com/catalogsearch/result/?q=dr+bronner

(5) Organic Valley on Thrive Market
https://thrivemarket.com/catalogsearch/result/?q=organic+valley

(6) Thrive Market, Articles Tagged “EWG”
https://thrivemarket.com/blog/tag/ewg

(7) Thrive Market: What You Can Do To Shed Light On Bizarre Ingredients In Your Food
https://thrivemarket.com/blog/watch-can-shed-light-bizarre-ingredients-food

 

Image Credits
Thrive, Dr. Bronner’s, Organic Valley, and EWG product/screen snapshots are used in strict accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, 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.

Anti-GMO Thrive Market Sells GMOs

thrive pinocchio gmo

This very important public service announcement just in from Thrive Market, guardian of all that is good and holy in the world of organic goods:

“Thrive Market is passionately committed to creating a world that is free of genetically modified organisms, or GMOs. We believe everyone has a right to know what they are eating and what chemicals are used in the foods they consume every day. That’s why we have carefully screened our products to ensure we do not carry any GMO foods.”1

Amen!  Preach it, brother!  Testify!

Actually, you might want to hold off on that.  Thrive, how about getting down off your high horse and looking at the ingredients in your own products?  Here, let me help you: Take a look at this nice bottle of Quantum zinc throat spray featured in your online store:2

quantum thera zinc spray from thrive market

Quantum Thera zinc throat spray from Thrive Market. (click/enlarge)

Vanna, show us the ingredients please (click to enlarge):

thrive market zinc spray ingredients contain gmo soy

I’d like to buy several vowels. Enough to form the words “soy lecithin”. (click/enlarge)

Take note of the soy lecithin (highlighted).  Derived from soybeans, soy lecithin is a natural, safe emulsifier–an additive that lends stability to foods.  The problem for Thrive Market is that almost all soy produced in the United States is genetically modified.3  A quick phone call to Quantum’s customer service department confirmed that the soy in many of their products, including the throat spray sold by Thrive is, in fact, GMO.

So Thrive Market’s promise of a GMO-free store falls as flat as an Olympic pole vaulter who didn’t realize his shoestrings were tied together before setting off on his run.

Thrive Market is selling products with ingredients derived from GMOs.

We could quibble over the fact that the product in question is a throat spray–not a food–but it’s still clearly intended to be ingested:

“A great alternative to yucky-tasting zinc lozenges! In fact, just two spritzes every couple of hours of Thera Zinc Oral Spray is the most effective, tastiest way to deliver ionizable zinc to your throat. Thera Zinc is sprayed in the back of the mouth, sending powerful nutrients to the areas requiring the most protection.”–Quantum throat spray marketing statement 2

More importantly, Thrive and their misinformed organic backers are intent on ridding the world of GMOs in their entirety, no matter what product they’re found in.  The anti-GMO zealots are horribly wrong about the effect that genetically modified crops have on the environment, wanting them to be removed entirely.  Actually, there are ways in which GMOs are beneficial.  For example, farmers who grow Bt corn are able to use less pesticides.  Regardless,  it’s rather dishonest of Thrive to demonize a perfectly safe crop production method, then sell products derived using that same method to their customers.

And, having said this, we must pause and state in the strongest possible terms that there is nothing harmful in Quantum’s zinc throat spray.  This is just another small business trying to eke out a living that, unfortunately, got caught up in the tangled web of a $39 billion organic food industry using fear to market their products as “better”.  There’s nothing superior, in any way imaginable, about organic products compared to their GMO counterparts.  However, Quantum did tell me that they hope to eventually switch over to non-GMO soy.  This saddens me.  Yet another company bows to the irrational demands of a public that doesn’t realize how easily they’re being manipulated.

Hold On, It Gets Worse
Alert label readers may have noticed the company’s misspelled “Proplylene Glycol” [sic] next to the soy lecithin on the product label.  They’re actually talking about propylene glycol, a harmless additive with a wide range of uses, including as surfactants and preservatives.

Woe unto Thrive Market, however, as they label propylene glycol as a dangerous endocrine disruptor in another of their hilariously bad scare pieces.  In “Five Simple Pro Tips for Perfect Skin”,4 author Lauren Whitehouse warns readers to not allow “toxic” propylene glycol to touch their skin via cosmetics.  Yet we now find Thrive Market literally trying to shove this so-called poison down our throats.  Well, OK, spray it down our throats.  Don’t worry though:  just like GMO soy, propylene glycol is harmless.  As intimated by Pinocchio in the opening graphic, Thrive and their backers aren’t exactly behind honest with us.

From whence comes so much of Thrive Market’s bad science and resulting hypocrisy?  One culprit seems to be the pseudoscientific Environmental Working Group, a special interest group that does no real research but is oft-cited by Thrive as a scientific authority.  It turns out that EWG may have more of a financial stake in Thrive and other organic markets than meets the eye.  Check back tomorrow, and I’ll start laying it out for you.

 

References
(1) Thrive Market’s GMO-free Promise
https://thrivemarket.com/gmo-free

(2) Quantum Zinc Throat Spray
https://thrivemarket.com/quantum-thera-zinc-throat-spray

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

(4) Five Simple Pro Tips for Perfect Skin
https://thrivemarket.com/blog/skin-dos-donts

 

Image Credits
Thrive and  Quantum product/screen snapshots are used in strict accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, 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.

Pinocchio and Wheel of Fortune meme characters are used under parody provisions of Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, 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.

Thrive Market’s “Toxic” Deodorant: I Smell A Rat

thrive market deodorant meme by mark alsip
Thrive Market, a new, supposedly all-natural online store being heavily pushed by the pseudoscientific Environmental Working Group, is concerned with body odor.  Sadly, the hypocrisy of both groups stinks to high heaven.  After scaring the caca out of readers over a perfectly safe ingredient in competing deodorants, Thrive author Michelle Pellizzon turns around and sells a Thrive product that contains the same compound she’s just linked to cancer.

First, the setup (emphasis mine):1

Aluminum, the active ingredient in deodorant that keeps you from getting stinky when it gets hot out there, has been linked to breast cancer and hormonal [im]balances (sic) when applied to underarms. The aluminum in antiperspirant is also the reason that your white t-shirts all have yellow pit stains—as if you needed another reason to switch to the organic stuff! All natural deodorants boast a formula that’s aluminum free, but that’s pretty much where the similarities end.”–Michelle Pellizzon, writing for Thrive Market1

Never fear, Pellizzon and Thrive Market are ready to leap to the rescue by offering alternatives.  Why, look here… even as we speak, there are three contenders in the very article that just promised us cancer and hormonal imbalances if we go to competing, aluminum-laden brands:

Thai crystals from Thrive Market contain aluminum

Thrive Market is happy to sell us alternatives. But not so fast… (click/enlarge)

One of the author’s favorites is simply referred to as “the crystal”, and, lucky you, it’s currently on sale for the low, low price of $4.75 USD.

thai crystal deodorant from thrive

Act now Thrive customers, it’s on sale! (click/enlarge)

The ingredients are rather disingenuously listed as “Mineral salts and purified water”2  What exactly does that mean?  Is Thrive hiding something from us?  Let’s sashay over to the manufacturer’s web page and dig into the FAQ:3

deodorant stones of america aluminum

Deodorant Stones of America’s FAQ reveals the hidden aluminum–and a heavy dose of scientific misinformation.

The deodorant in question is manufactured by Deodorant Stones of America (DSA).  A quick glance at the FAQ on the company’s web3 site reveals that their products are made from alum, a class of chemical compounds that contain aluminum.  Yes, you read that correctly–the Thrive Market article that claims aluminum in deodorants is toxic is, incredibly, selling you a deodorant that contains aluminum.

It gets laughably worse.  DSA claims that aluminum is a mineral.  It’s not–it’s an element. One of the few things DSA gets right about the most common metal in the crust of the Earth is that it’s natural.  They should have continued:  There’s no reason to fear this metal, unless you have a medical condition such as kidney failure, in which case you’d be on dialysis, and want to avoid exposure in excess.  But Deodorant Stones of America isn’t the guilty party here–it’s Thrive Market and their blatant fear mongering, designed to steer consumers away from safe products that contain the very same element found in the deodorant they’re hawking in their “sky is falling” tripe.

As we’ll see in upcoming articles, the link between Thrive Market and the Environmental Working Group (EWG) is particularly worrisome.  Although EWG claims to have no financial stake in Thrive, they’re aggressively marketing the online store through an email campaign that includes the astounding demand that consumers be allowed to use food stamps to buy the overpriced organic products found there.  Organic products are no more safe than their commercial counterparts–they’re just designed to lighten the wallet. And Thrive heavily cites EWG as a scientific authority (even though they’re not) when disparaging competitor’s products and touting their own.  You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours.

One promise I’ll make, and deliver upon quite often in the future: Thrive Market is loaded with products that their and EWG’s “research” claims to be dangerous.  See you soon!

 

References
(1) Thrive Tries It: We Test 3 Natural Deodorants
https://thrivemarket.com/blog/thrive-tries-natural-deodorant

(2) ThriveMarket.com: Deodorant Stones of America Crystal Deodorant Stick
https://thrivemarket.com/deodorant-stones-of-america-crystal-deodorant-stick

(3) Deodorant Stones of America FAQ
http://www.deodorantstones.com/faqs.html

Image Credits
Thrive and Deodorant Stones of America product/screen snapshots are used in strict accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, 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.