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Issue 118 - September 2011 - Page 10

Bogus Health Warning - Scratch Card 'Silver Nitro Oxide' Coating Causes Skin Cancer

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Outline
Message warns people not to use fingernails to scratch off the coating on scratch tickets because the coating contains a substance called "Silver Nitro oxide" that can cause skin cancer.



Brief Analysis
The information in the warning message is untrue. The coating on scratch tickets is made of specialized latex inks. There are no credible references to a compound called "Silver Nitro oxide". There are no credible medical or scientific reports that suggest that scratch ticket coating has been linked to skin cancer. There are no credible references to an organization known as the "Medical Research Authority of the US". The warning is a hoax and should not be forwarded.

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Detailed analysis and references below example.



Last updated: 11th August 2011
First published: 11th August 2011
Article written by Brett M. Christensen
About Brett Christensen and Hoax-Slayer


Example
ATTENTION. .....Medical research Authority of the US have found that new cancer in human beings caused by 'Silver Nitro oxide'. Whenever u buy recharge cards or calling cards don't scratch them with ur nail as it contain 'silver nitro oxide' coating and can cause skin cancer. Copy and paste this status and spread awareness please

Silver Nitro oxide warning




Detailed Analysis
According to this health alert, which is circulating vigorously via social media and email, an organization identified as the Medical Research Authority of the US has discovered that the removable coating on scratch tickets can cause skin cancer. The message claims that a substance contained in the coating called 'silver nitro oxide' is the cancer causing agent. The warning advises people against using their fingernails to remove scratch ticket coating because of this supposed cancer risk.

However, there is no credible support whatsoever for the claims made in this supposed health alert.

The coating on scratch tickets is not made from a substance called 'silver nitro oxide'. In fact, I could not find any evidence that such a compound even exists. There are two chemical compounds with similar names. One is Nitrous oxide, more commonly known as laughing gas, which has been used as an anesthetic in medical procedures since the 1840's and is also used in rocketry and to enhance engine power in motor racing. The other is Nitric oxide, a diatomic gas that plays a role as a cell signaling molecule in mammals and is also used as an intermediate in the chemical industry. Neither of these compounds is used to create the coating on scratch tickets. In fact, the coating is created from specialized latex or UV inks. A technical article about the material used in such coating published on Quora notes:
The material is known as a UV ink. Not the ink that becomes visible under UV light as is referred to on Wikipedia, but an ink that 'dries' under UV radiation.

UV inks are essentially a mixture of colored monomers and oligomers (the individual chemical units that eventually form 'polymers' ) and reaction 'photo-initiators' that become active when exposed to UV radiation. The monomers and oligomers form a viscous liquid, thus serving simultaneously as the 'pigment' and 'solvent' of a conventional ink; they do not need an organic solvent as a fluid base, and do not 'dry' in air like typical solvent-based inks. On exposure to UV light, the initiators set off the polymerization reaction, rapidly cross-linking the monomers and oligomers into a solid 'plastic' polymer, in a process known as 'curing'. This polymerization process also inspired the alternative naming of UV inks as 'latex inks'.

[.....]

The production of scratch-off tickets is a two-step process - a substrate is covered by a thick, smooth layer of UV ink coating, and then printed with a special 'scratch-off' black/silver UV ink (scratch-off inks can sometimes be solvent-based ). An optional third step could involve printing text or images over the scratch-off area, with yet another type of UV ink.
There is no mention of a chemical called silver nitro oxide being used in these UV inks. Nor are there any credible reports that suggest a link between inks used on scratch tickets and cancer.

Furthermore, there are no credible references to an organization known as the Medical Research Authority of the US. The closest I could find is the US based Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA). But, not at all surprisingly, there is no information on the BARDA website that supports the claims in this hoax message in any way.

Scratch tickets of various types are these days just about everywhere. On any one day vast numbers of people in dozens of countries are likely to be happily scratching away, often using their fingernails as scratching tools. So, of course, any credible link between scratch ticket coating and cancer - even a tenuous one - would have certainly been widely publicized by the main stream media and medical authorities. In reality, there is nary a trace of such media or medical reports.

Thus, this supposed health warning is nothing more than one more sad bit of utterly pointless Internet junk and certainly should not be reposted.

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References
Nitrous oxide
Nitric oxide
What is the material used to make the silver scratch-off area on prepaid cards and lottery tickets?
Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority



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Issue 118 Start Menu

Pages in this month's issue:
  1. Protest Message - First Responders Not Invited to 9/11 Tenth Anniversary Ceremony
  2. Amazon Account Review Phishing Scam
  3. 'May God Bless This Kind Person' Spyware Hacker Warning Hoax
  4. Diego Mendez Prayer Request
  5. 'Numerous Spams Activities from a Foreign IP' Webmail Phishing Scam
  6. Hoax - Professional Hacker 'Faceb Hu' Taking Control Of Computers Via Friend Requests
  7. ACH Payment Canceled Malware Email
  8. Fake Child Abduction Alert - Three Year Old Missing from Wollongong
  9. Request to Change Facebook Status to Support Injured Biker George
  10. Bogus Health Warning - Scratch Card 'Silver Nitro Oxide' Coating Causes Skin Cancer
  11. Bogus 'Free Items for Participating' Facebook Events
  12. Overblown and Outdated Warning - Facebook Instant Personalization
  13. Drano Bottle Bomb Warning Message
  14. Hotel "Wrong Transaction" Malware Emails
  15. Invitation FB Olympic Torch Virus Hoax
  16. Warning - ALDI External 4-in-1 Hard Drive Contains Built In Malware
  17. DEW Bottled Water Fatal Poisoning Hoax
  18. Unfounded Rumour - Facebook Friend Request Warning - People Trying to Access Photos of Children
  19. Massive Mound of Writhing Rattle Snakes
  20. eBay 'Trusted Selling with Identity Confirmation' Phishing Scam