Category Archive: Natural

What Happens Without Chlorine-treated Water? Disease Outbreaks.

“Raw” or “live” water has the potential to be the “natural” movement’s most deadly trend. Its appeal is everything you’d expect to read on a sign warning against swimming in polluted waters: Unfiltered, untreated, and unsterilized. Although the raw water movement received swift criticism from comedians and academics alike, it doesn’t seem to have stemmed the flow (pun intended) of interest. Jugs have sold for as much as $60 in the Bay Area. One of the primary drivers of the raw water movement is the irrational fear of chemicals added to municipal water systems. Chief among the concern is chlorine, which is used to kill...

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Shoppers Want Parabens – But Have No Idea What Parabens Are

In recent years, activist groups have spent millions of dollars convincing consumers that the chemicals lurking in their cosmetics pose an unreasonable risk to human health. The narrative isn’t true –as any elementary school science teacher can tell you, everything in the world is made of chemicals. And the vast majority of substances you encounter every day won’t hurt you. But do consumers see through the activist scaremongering? We decided to find out by gauging consumer opinions on parabens. Parabens are chemicals added to shampoos, lotions, makeups and other personal care products to prevent bacteria and fungus from calling your toiletries home. They’re...

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Gwyneth Done Gooped

This week on Jimmy Kimmel Live, Gwyneth Paltrow admitted what everyone in the scientific community already knew to be true: She has no idea what she’s talking about. Paltrow built herself a small empire in goop, a “modern lifestyle brand” dedicated to reviving archaic, anti-science health claims. Recently, she found herself in hot water after convincing female followers to leave a golf ball sized “jade egg” in their vagina to promote sexual health. Dr. Jen Gunter and Dr. Leena Nathan, both board certified OB/GYNs, immediately lashed out with a laundry list of reasons why women should not take the celebrity’s advice, including the potential for bacterial vaginosis,...

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Keep Marching for Science

This weekend, science advocates in over 500 cities celebrated Earth Day by taking to the streets to March for Science. Emerging from the comfort of our laboratories might be a good thing. Despite the fact that Pew Research surveys show Americans invest a high degree of trust in scientists – far more than the news, elected officials, or even community leaders – 83 percent of Americans cannot name a single living scientist. (A few recognizable names for your personal reference: Bill Nye, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Stephen Hawking, James Watson, Richard Dawkins.) Americans appreciate “science” in the abstract, yet common chemistries and technologies have whipped many parents and hasty health reporters into a fear-filled...

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New Video: How Much Sunscreen is Safe?

In recognition of Cancer Control Month, we're diving into a news story from across the pond claiming that a popular natural additive, titanium dioxide, causes cancer. If you’ve read our research brief, you know that the naturally occurring mineral compound is one of the world’s most important and widely used substances. Its unique optic properties and bright whiteness lend pigmentation and brilliance to everything from paint and cosmetics to candy and medicines. Perhaps most importantly, titanium dioxide is an excellent UV blocker, and one of only two physical UV blockers used in sunscreen (the other, zinc oxide, probably sounds more familiar). Despite significant evidence showing titanium dioxide...

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HuffPost’s Chemophobia

It seems Huffington Post needs a fact checker. The outlet recently published an article painting the decision between beauty and safety as one where consumers always loses. The article perpetuates the myth that all chemicals are bad by waging war against sunscreen. The author questions whether her readers know both chemical and physical types of sunscreens exist – as if one should be avoided in favor of the other. She quotes a mother’s concern that she had “no idea the chemicals in sunscreen could be so detrimental to our health.” In reality, physical sunscreens (think zinc oxide) work by sitting atop the skin and creating a barrier from UV rays. They leave a characteristic white...

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Your Favorite Foods Before and After Genetic Modification

Anti-GMO groups often define GMOs as organisms modified by humans. Though modern technologies are in mind, here’s the problem: humans have been tinkering with genes since antiquity. If foods were labeled using this broad definition, virtually every fruit, nut, or vegetable would be included. That’s because even the traditional practice of selective breeding is considered genetic modification. In other words, GMO labeling should have begun about 10,000 years ago when agriculture started. Just because something has been modified by humans doesn’t make it bad. In fact, it’s more than likely an improvement. Check out these infographics of foods humans have ‘genetically modified’...

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Pseudoscience: As Seen on TV

QVC, the TV shopping network, recently announced it would start carrying the Good For You Girls skin products, a brand that markets its products as natural and gluten-free. Though these buzzwords sound good, the science doesn’t support these superficial claims. The front page of the Good For You Girls website says their products are “Gluten-Free.” Obviously, this is a ridiculous claim because skin products are applied topically on the body and gluten sensitivity occurs in the small intestine through ingestion. In other words, the only reason you’d need gluten-free skin products is if you eat them—a problem that points to a bigger issue than gluten sensitivity. Unfortunately, the companies marketing products...

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Your Produce Isn’t Covered in Pesticides

Every year, the activists with the Environmental Working Group put out their “Dirty Dozen” list of produce most covered in pesticides and “Shoppers’ Guide” to avoiding pesticides in food. The list certainly sounds scary, and it generates a host of alarming headlines. But the good news is it doesn’t take much effort to expose the EWG’s weak science and fearmongering arguments. The guide isn’t scientific— it’s neither a study, nor peer reviewed. (In this regard, the guide is just the latest in a procession of EWG releases masquerading as credible scientific research). In fact, a peer reviewed analysis demonstratively discredited the EWG list...

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Don’t Listen to Mercola: the Whooping Cough Vaccine Works

Dr. Joseph Mercola promotes an “all-natural” solution to wellness that doesn’t involve the use of many modern medicines, or vaccines. While Dr. Mercola is skeptical about many scientific innovations, including genetically modified foods, his views on vaccines are particularly dangerous. This week on his website, Mercola, he published an article: “Whooping Cough Vaccine Not as Effective as Thought and Spreads Through Those Vaccinated.” The article begins by laying out very real concerns with the whooping cough vaccine. Researchers have discovered that immunity wanes over time and that infections can spread even among those who are vaccinated. Mercola’s solution, however, isn’t to...

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