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/

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Sweet Nothings: Dr. Mercola’s Hypocrisy Revealed In One Simple Product Label

Regular readers of this blog are familiar enough with my debunking methods that I think we can dispense with a verbose rundown on today’s featured snake oil salesman, Dr. Joseph Mercola, and just leap to the big “reveal”.  Here’s the scoop: Like others of his ilk, Mercola is selling products that contain the same ingredients he says are dangerous.  I’m going to quickly tour his online store and expose his hypocrisy.

In a “sky is falling” article on fructose found in food, Mercola warns readers about hidden sources of this innocent sugar.  Quoting biochemist Russ Bianchi, Mercola warns: 1

Mercola warns of tapioca syrup.

Mercola warns of tapioca syrup. (click/enlarge)

 

Oh dear.  Tapioca syrup can be an “intentionally or deceptively labeled” source of fructose?  Mercola goes on to flag fructose as a danger to our diets, warning that in many cases we’ll want to keep our total fructose intake below 25 grams per day (no more than 15 grams from fruit sources).1   We’re cautioned to keep an eye out for that sneaky fructose because, apparently, there’s no telling where it’ll be found.   I’ll keep that in mind as I go shopping.

Right then.  Off we go to Mercola.com!

How about some tasty protein bars? 2

mercola protein bars

Hmm.  We better take a look at the ingredients…

mercola protein ingredients

Pure Power Peanut Butter Bar Ingredients. (click/enlarge)

Zut Alors!  Mercola just finished warning us about hidden tapioca syrup in our food,1 and here he is selling us food with… tapioca syrup!

Nutrition information on the protein bars only goes so far as to tell us there are 10 grams of sugar per bar.  We don’t get a breakdown of the fructose content, so it’s hard to say how close we’re coming to Mercola’s arbitrary limit of 15-25 grams of fructose if we eat one or two of these things.

But that’s not the point of the debunking.  The issue is that Mercola warns about hidden sources of fructose, then proceeds to sell his followers a food that contains, by his own admission, a hidden source of fructose.  A hidden source he mentioned by name!

Wouldn’t it be amazing if Mercola’s followers took his advice and actually read the labels of the products they’re buying?

 

References
(1) The Plague of High Fructose Corn Syrup in Processed Foods (Mercola.com)
http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2007/02/01/the-plague-of-high-fructose-corn-syrup-in-processed-foods.aspx

(2) Pure Power Protein Bars (Mercola.com)
http://shop.mercola.com/product/pure-power-peanut-butter-protein-bars-12-per-box,1172,207,0.htm

Image Credits
Dr. Mercola/Pure Power Protein Bar 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.

Got Milk?

I was recently introduced to the work of Dr. Joseph Mercola through a dangerous article he penned.  In “Fight for Raw Milk Heats Up in Wisconsin and Illinois“,1 Mercola sings the praises of raw, unpasteurized milk.  Before somebody ends up seriously ill, I’d like to draw attention to some facts about consuming unpasteurized dairy products.  I’ll be using selected quotes from Mercola’s article to drive the narrative, but encourage readers to check out his full write-up in case there are any suspicions of quote-mining.

For those who’ve forgotten, pasteurization is simply the rapid heating — then cooling — of milk. This eliminates most of the bacteria that would make you sick, and it allows the milk to stay fresh longer.  Pasteurization isn’t the same as boiling/sterilization: it doesn’t wipe out all the pathogens, but it also doesn’t destroy the flavor or essential nutrients.2, 3, 6, 12

Pinnochio

Pinocchio, patron saint of liars. See footnotes for image credit.

Mercola claims:

“Raw milk dairy products from organically raised pasture-fed cows rank among some of the healthiest foods you can consume. It’s far superior in terms of health benefits compared to pasteurized milk, and if statistics are any indication, it’s safer, too”

This is an outright lie.  According to the Centers for Disease Control, unpasteurized dairy products are 13 times more likely to cause hospitalization and 150 times more likely to result in foodborne illness.2  Unpasteurized milk is a common source for the bacteria that causes diseases such as diphtheria, tuberculosis, and, typhoid fever.3  It’s irresponsible for anyone labeling themselves as “doctor” to spread deceit like this.  Some of the dangers include:

Salmonellosis, usually transmitted to humans by consuming animal products contaminated by animal feces:4  Put bluntly, those organic cows you see standing in the organic fields munching organic grass growing in piles of organic shit… yeah, that’s what “feces” means. Salmonella is at best an uncomfortable disease, featuring diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps.  In extreme cases it can lead to hospitalization.  Untreated, in can result in death.

Brucellosis, most commonly acquired by consuming unpasteurized dairy products:5 Common symptoms include fever, anorexia, muscle/joint pain, swelling of the heart/liver/spleen, and swelling of the testicles/scrotum in men.  (If you’re a female reporting swelling in the testicles, you’re most likely an anti-vaccine proponent reporting a fake adverse reaction.)

The cautionary list is a long one.  For more, please see the CDC page “Food Safety and Raw Milk.”6

Caveman

Living in the good ol’ days. See footnotes for image credit.

“it’s worth remembering that raw milk was consumed for eons before the invention of pasteurization.” — Mercola

It’s also worth remembering that in the 1900s the average adult didn’t live beyond age 50,7 and the earliest humans were lucky to make it out of their 20s.8  Scientific advances in fields such as medicine and agriculture have led to significant increases in the average adult life span.  “Eons ago” is a piss-poor argument.  Speaking of piss… eons ago, humans allowed their sewage to mix freely with drinking water.  Then we learned better.

Back to dairy…  by the 1900s, mothers knew the dangers of raw milk, but the pasteurized product wasn’t widely available.  They began boiling it to reduce the risk to their infants.3   Has Mercola learned nothing from history?

It’s sad how champions of alternative living long for the good ol’ days — without remembering how bad those days really were.11  

 

“Organically raised cows that are allowed to roam free on pasture where they can graze for their natural food source produce very different milk.”  — Mercola

Mercola doesn’t tell us what’s in his “different milk”.  Milk is milk.  It’s hard to debunk ghost claims.  And they’re frustratingly, frequently, common in quack articles such as the good doctor’s.  What we do know is the chemical composition of milk.9  Milk, by any other name… is milk. The next time you see a woomeister talking about “different” milk, ask them what’s in their milk, and compare.

The implication here is that “organic is better”, and that’s just not true.  Crude oil is 100% natural and organic.  Is it good for you?  That’s not a joke.  It’s not sarcasm.  Look it up.  (But don’t drink it.)

 855“It’s also important to realize that pasteurization is only really required for certain kinds of milk” — Mercola

And condoms are only necessary for safe sex with certain kinds of strangers.  Sorry, but no.  Look: cows aren’t the most sanitary of creatures.  They don’t exactly wash their hooves (or udders, or any other body part) after going to the bathroom.  They wade through fields full of cow dung all day munching on… well… dung-laden grass.  You don’t know what’s growing there, other than the very real possibility it won’t be good for you.   For example, consider this photo:

Agrocybe pediades spores

Spores from poisonous Agrocybe pediades, a mushroom found growing on a cow patty

Dairy cattle are subject to other disease vectors such as insects and wild animals.  Drinking unpasteurized milk is rather like playing the lottery.  Instead of picking numbers, you’re picking bacteria, spores, and other contaminants, and hoping against hope that you don’t swallow something dangerous.

 

Tinfoil hats“While the US government, public health, and dairy industry officials say they want to restrict the sale and distribution of raw milk because of safety concerns, it’s quite clear that safety isn’t the motivating factor.” — Mercola

Except that:

In industrialized countries, milk-borne and milk product-borne outbreaks represent 2–6% of the bacterial foodborne outbreaks.2

I snuck one in on you.  That’s not a Mercola quote above.  That’s from real scientists, something you won’t find in a Mercola article.  Since being introduced to Dr. Mercola, all I’ve found in his work is pseudoscience and conspiracy theories.  Safety is the motivating factor here, and has been since pasteurization was introduced.

So why is milk pasteurized, according to Mercola?  Hang on to your seats…

“The fact of the matter is that Big Dairy depends on pasteurization”

(Sigh).  And Big Pharma depends on cancer: they’re causing it on purpose to increase drug sales.

And aliens are controlling us via hidden signals in our television sets.  And… and…

 

References

(1)  Fight for Raw Milk Heats Up in Wisconsin and Illinois
http://www.donotlink.com/c81v

(2) Raw or heated cow milk consumption: Review of risks and benefits
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S095671351200535X

(3) The Dangers of Raw Milk (USDA)
http://www.fda.gov/Food/ResourcesForYou/Consumers/ucm079516.htm

(4) Salmonellosis
http://www.cdc.gov/nczved/divisions/dfbmd/diseases/salmonellosis/#catch

(5) Transmission | Brucellosis (CDC)
http://www.cdc.gov/brucellosis/transmission/index.html

(6) Food Safety and Raw Milk
http://www.cdc.gov/foodsafety/rawmilk/raw-milk-index.html

(7)  National Institute on Aging:  Living Longer
http://www.nia.nih.gov/research/publication/global-health-and-aging/living-longer

(8) Late Pleistocene adult mortality patterns and modern human establishment
http://www.pnas.org/content/108/4/1267.abstract

(9)  Basic Report:  01077, Milk, whole, 3.25% milkfat, with added vitamin D
http://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/70?fg=&man=&lfacet=&format=&count=&max=25&offset=&sort=&qlookup=milk+whole

(10) Agrocybe pediades
http://www.rogersmushrooms.com/gallery/DisplayBlock~bid~5509.asp

(11) Gastroenteritis Conveyed by Raw Milk
http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v142/n3594/abs/142507d0.html

(12)  Raw Milk Questions and Answers (CDC)
http://www.cdc.gov/foodsafety/rawmilk/raw-milk-questions-and-answers.html

 

Image Credits

Unpasteurized milk (skull and crossbones) photo illustration by the author, using two public domain works from WikiCommons: “P0772931750(37561)(NRCS Photo Gallery).jpg” from the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Services — milk in a bottle, extensively photoshopped by author for effect.  Image in public domain as a work of the U.S. Government.  Skull and crossbones in image by “ScottForesman”, released into public domain with no restrictions.  Use of these images does not imply that the original owners share the opinions expressed by the author.

Gladys the Swiss Dairy Cow from Wiki Commons, released into the public domain by James Lebinski.  Image owner does not necessarily share the opinions expressed by the author.

“Jager út de Stientiid” (caveman boy) is from Wiki Commons and is in the public domain of the United States, having been published prior to 1923.

Trojan brand condoms from copyrighted image, Church & Dwight Co., inc.  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

Agrocybe pediades spores:  image from Wiki Commons, uploaded by user Ron Pastorino, shared under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 license.  Image owner does not necessarily share the opinions expressed by the author.

“Jim Dines Pinocchio-skulptur Walking to Borås” by Wiki Commons author “Mrkgrd”, used with permission under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.  Image owner does not necessarily share the opinions expressed by the author.

Tinfoil hats still from the movie “Signs”, copyright 2002 Touchstone Pictures.  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