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Issue 118 - September 2011 - Page 17

DEW Bottled Water Fatal Poisoning Hoax

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Outline
Circulating message warns consumers not to drink any bottled water called "DEW" because it contains a poisonous chemical that has already killed 180 people in Nigeria.



Brief Analysis
The claims in the warning message are false. Nigerian authorities have refuted the claims. There are no credible reports about deaths caused by a brand of bottled water called "DEW" in Nigeria or elsewhere. The warning has no basis in fact and should not be forwarded.

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Detailed analysis and references below example.

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Last updated: 2nd August 2011
First published: 2nd August 2011
Article written by Brett M. Christensen
About Brett Christensen and Hoax-Slayer


Example
Subject: Urgent Notice

Dear Colleagues & Friends

Please don't buy or drink any bottled water called "DEW". Customs say it was shipped into Nigeria from Tanzania where it has killed 180 people. It is said to contain a poisonous chemical. Please pass this on and save millions.

DEW Bottled Water Facebook Warning




Detailed Analysis
According to a warning message that circulates via SMS, social media posts and email, people should not drink a bottled water product called "DEW" because it contains a poisonous chemical that has killed 180 people in Nigeria. The message, labelled as an "urgent notice" suggests that the information came from Customs. It requests users to pass on the information to warn other consumers thereby potentially saving "millions" from also dying.

However, the claims in the message are nonsense. Nobody has died from drinking contaminated bottled water called DEW in Nigeria, Tanzania, or anywhere else in the world. Nigeria's National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has investigated the claims in the warnings and found that they are untrue. In June 2011, NAFDAC issued a public statement refuting the claims. The agency asked members of the public to disregard the warnings, noting that "NAFDAC hereby informs the general public that the text message is false and mischievous as there is no poisonous water imported into the country". The agency statement also noted:
Investigations so far by NAFDAC in several hospitals across the nation showed that there was no incident of hospitalization or death arising from consumption of Dew water, or any other brand of water.
Moreover, if 180 people had really died from drinking contaminated bottled water - in Nigeria or elsewhere - then the tragedy would have been extensively reported by news media. And, of course, there would have been immediate and well-publicized recalls for the contaminated products along with official health warnings. No such news stories, recalls or health warnings have been published.

The hoax apparently gained momentum after a Blackberry message about the supposed contamination began circulating around Lagos in mid June 2011. It rapidly began circulating to users outside of Nigeria, via Facebook, Twitter and email as well as phone text message.

According to NAFDAC, a water product called "Dew" was registered in 2005 while another product named Dewluk Table Water is also registered in Nigeria. The Dewluc company has refuted the claims in the warning and has suggested that they may have been created by "individuals who might not be comfortable with the rapid growth of the product".

Sending on false health warnings will do nothing other than create unnecessary fear and alarm in communities. If you receive this hoax message, please do not post it to others. And please let the sender know that the claims in the message are untrue.

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References
NAFDAC
NAFDAC refutes SMS on ‘Dew’ table water
Public Alert Notice on 'Dew' Water
Contaminated water causes scare in Lagos
Dewluk Table Water
Nigeria: Nafdac Dismisses Anxiety Over Dew Water



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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