Health Related Hoaxes - Spurious Health Advice - Health Myths
Salt Water Ebola Prevention Hoax Leads to Deaths
A social media hoax, which falsely claimed that drinking or bathing in salt water could prevent infection from the deadly Ebola virus, has reportedly led to at least two deaths.
Updated: October 9, 2014
UNFOUNDED - 'Kinder Joy Contains Wax Coating That Can Cause Cancer'
Circulating warning claims that children's chocolate treat, Kinder Joy contains a wax coating that can cause cancer. It further claims that Styrofoam containers also have a wax coating.
Updated: August 15, 2014
Misleading and Inaccurate Warning – 'Don’t Answer Calls While Charging Cell Phone'
Social media message claims that a boy died in Mumbai because he took a call while his mobile phone was charging. The message also claims that people should not make or answer calls when a mobile phone's battery is low because the radiation is 1000 times stronger.
Updated: July 22, 2014
Contact Lens BBQ Warning Hoax
Message claims that staring at a BBQ fire while wearing contact lenses can cause the lenses to melt and lead to permanent blindness.
Updated: July 21, 2014
False Claim - Onions are Magnets for Bacteria
Circulating health warning claims that raw or leftover onions are poisonous because they are magnets for bacteria and are therefore not safe to eat.
Updated: July 16, 2014
Flip Flops From China Skin Reaction Warning - Hawaiian Sandals Rash Images
Email and social media messages featuring several photographs of a severe foot rash claims that the rash was caused by chemicals used in the manufacture of flip flops (Hawaiian sandals) made in China and sold at Wal-Mart.
Updated: June 5, 2014
HOAX - 'Semen Found on McDonald's Burger'
Circulating report claims that a woman in Michigan found semen in the mayonnaise of a McDonald's burger and caught herpes as a result of the contamination.
Published: May 28, 2014
HOAX - 'Frooti HIV Contamination Warning'
Circulating message purporting to be from the Delhi Police warns people not to drink any product from Frooti because a worker has added HIV contaminated blood to the drinks.
Published: May 22, 2014
Spurious Health Claim - 'Asparagus Can Cure Cancer'
Long circulated Internet message claims that pureed asparagus can cure cancer. The message cites several cases as examples. It claims that the information came from one Richard R. Vensal, D.D.S. and was printed in the 'Cancer News Journal' back in December 1979.
Published: March 25, 2014
AIDS From Contaminated Take Away Food Warning
Message claims that a ten-year-old boy was diagnosed with AIDS after eating take-away food contaminated with blood from a cook who already had the illness.
Updated: March 12, 2014
Can a Positive Home Pregnancy Test Indicate Testicular Cancer?
Circulating message claims that if a man takes a pregnancy test and gets a positive result, it means he most likely has testicular cancer.
Published: December 18, 2013
Bogus Health Warning - Scratch Card 'Silver Nitro Oxide' Coating Causes Skin Cancer
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.
Updated: November 27, 2013
Bogus Warning - Canned Fruit From Thailand Contaminated With HIV
Circulating message claims that HIV carriers in Thailand have deliberately contaminated canned fruit in a factory by dripping their blood into the food.
Published: October 28, 2013
Instant Noodles do NOT contain a Wax Coating That Causes Cancer
Message circulating via social media claims that instant noodles have a wax coating to stop them from sticking together and that this wax can build up in your body and cause cancer.
Published: October 25, 2013
Hoax - HIV Needles Hidden Under Gas Pump Handles
Message going viral via social media claims that HIV infected needles are being placed under gas pump handles and that 16 people have already been stabbed by the needles when they tried to fill their gas tanks.
Published: October 9, 2013
Hoax: HIV Infected Blood In Pepsi
Circulating messages warn people not to drink Pepsi products because a Pepsi worker has contaminated bottles with his HIV infected blood.
Updated: September 19, 2013
Circulating Warning Claims Antiperspirants Cause Breast Cancer
Long circulated message claims that antiperspirants are the leading cause of breast cancer because they stop toxins from being removed in sweat and instead deposit the toxins in the lymph nodes.
Published: July 26, 2013
Hoax Warning Claims Deadly Swine Flu Epidemic in South Africa
An Afrikaans language message circulating rapidly via email and social media claims that 65 people have died and 25 women have miscarried in recent months due to an outbreak of a deadly strain of swine flu.
Published: July 4, 2013
Cold Water Causes Cancer Warning Message - Warm Water and Heart Attacks
Message claims that drinking cold water after a meal will solidify "oily stuff" present in the food consumed and will lead to cancer. A new version recommends drinking warm water with meals and tacks on unrelated information about heart attacks.
Updated: June 3, 2013
Does Drinking Water at Certain Times Of The Day Maximize Its Health Benefits?
Message purporting to be from a cardiac specialist claims that drinking water at specified times of the day can help activate organs, aid digestion, lower blood pressure and stop people from suffering strokes or heart attacks.
Published: May 18, 2013
Tick Removal Advice - Liquid Soap Technique
Message advises that the best way to remove a tick is to cover it with liquid soap and wait for it to detach itself.
Updated: April 23, 2013
Use Left Ear For Mobile Phone Hoax
Message supposedly endorsed by the "Apollo medical team", claims that mobile (cell) phone users should always use the left ear for calls because using the right ear will directly affect the brain. A later version, which circulates as a graphic, omits the medical team reference but maintains that using the right ear for mobile phone calls makes our brains more prone to mobile radiation.
Updated: March 23, 2013
Is Sour Sop a Cancer Killer 10,000 times Stronger Than Chemotherapy?
Widely circulated message claims that sour sop, the fruit from the graviola tree, is a miraculous natural cancer killer that is 10,000 times stronger than chemotherapy.
Published: March 14, 2013
'Toasted Skin Syndrome' From Laptop Warning
Health warning circulating in the form of a graphic claims that using a laptop computer across your legs can cause a heat related condition known as "toasted skin syndrome" that may lead to skin cancer.
Published: March 7, 2013
Spurious First Aid Advice - Flour For Treatment of Burns
Widely circulated message recommends covering burns with plain flour as a first aid treatment and claims that the "miraculous" remedy will stop the burn from blistering.
Published: January 23, 2013
Lead in Lipstick Alert - Cancer Causing Lipstick Hoax
Email claims that certain brands of lipstick contain dangerous amounts of lead and can cause cancer. The message includes a list of lipstick brands and instructions for testing lipsticks for lead content.
Updated: January 18, 2013
Holiday Horrors – Are Common Seasonal Decorations Toxic?
As every year comes to a close, persistent rumors make their annual appearance regarding the lethality of the common holiday plant, the Poinsettia. While largely overblown, there are other common seasonal decorative plants that are far more of a hazard to your 2- and 4- legged charges.
Published: December 10, 2012
DEW Bottled Water Fatal Poisoning Hoax
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.
Updated: November 21, 2012
Post Circulating Rekindles a 1990’s Anti-Margarine Email
In the late 1990’s, an email was circulated extolling the virtues of butter v. the sins of margarine. Aside from the more preposterous claims (it killed the turkeys it was invented to feed), it was largely based on health effects of the products based on margarine being high in trans fatty acids. At the time of the original email, trans fatty acids were just beginning to attract attention, and since then many countries have enforced product labeling laws to advise consumers of products that are high in trans fats. Many of the claims made are true as they relate to margarines that contain trans fats, but reformulations in the past 6 years have seen a number of margarine products that contain no trans fats.
Published: October 24, 2012
Hoax - 'Deadly Sanitary Pad' Responsible for 53 Deaths
Widely circulated warning message claims that a "deadly sanitary pad" called DARIES has recently caused 53 women in Johannesburg to bleed to death due to the inclusion of chemicals in the pad's material.
Published: August 16, 2012
Misleading Health Advice Email - 'Mayo Clinic on Aspirin and Heart Attacks'
Message claiming to be from the Mayo Clinic offers health advice related to the use of aspirin for preventing heart attacks.
Published: August 9, 2012
Spurious First Aid Advice Message - Eggs For Treatment of Burns
Circulating message claims that egg white is a "healing miracle" for burns and should be applied to burns as an immediate first aid measure. The message also claims that firemen in training are taught to treat burns with egg whites and that applying egg white can regenerate burnt skin.
Published: 17th May 2012
Hoax - Eating Shrimp and Taking Vitamin C Can Cause Death by Arsenic Poisoning
Circulating health message warns recipients not to eat shrimp or prawns while taking vitamin C because it can cause a chemical reaction that can lead to sudden death by arsenic poisoning.
Published: 23rd February 2012
Mini Lobster Contamination Warning
Message warns people not to eat "mini lobsters" because they feed on sewerage, are full of worms and poisonous metals and can cause lung infections in humans
Published: 23rd April 2008
Bacteria on Restaurant Lemon Slices Warning
Message claims that a study found potentially harmful bacteria on lemons slices used in restaurants.
Published: 17th February 2008
Optical Mouse Cancer Warning Hoax
Email warns that radiation emitted by an optical computer mouse can cause cancer and damage hand tissue.
Published: 23rd July 2007
Olive Garden Syphilis Hoax
Email claims that a girl developed Syphilis in her mouth after eating semen-contaminated food at an Olive Garden restaurant in West Des Moines, Iowa
Published: 20th July 2007
Heroin Needles and Snakes in Ball Pits - HIV Needles on Gas-Pump Handles
Email warning claims that a child died after being injected with a heroin-filled hypodermic needle left in a McDonald's ball pit and that another child died in a Burger King ball pit after being bitten by venomous snakes. It also claims that HIV infected needles are being deliberately left under gas-pump handles.
Published: 5th July 2007
Disprin Dangerous for Children Warning Email
Email forward warns that Disprin should never be given to children who have bronchitis or phlegm on the lungs and cites the case of a child who became critically ill after taking the medication
Published: 31th May 2007
Panadol Toxic To Body Warning Message
Message warns that Panadol is toxic to the body and should never be taken
Updated: 9th April 2007
Cold-fx Cancer Warning Hoax
Email forward claims that the cold and flu remedy Cold fx contains a substance that can "feed" cancer cells and should never be taken by women with cancer.
Published: 13th December 2006
Mr Clean Magic Erasers Contain Formaldehyde Hoax
Email forward warns that Mr Clean Magic Erasers contain formaldehyde and can pose significant health risks to users
Published: 21st July 2006
Liquid Candy Laryngospasm Warning
Email warning claims that a child suffered laryngospasm after drinking a form of liquid candy that was intended to be sprayed into the mouth
Updated: 15th June 2006
Mold in Pancake Mix Warning
Message warns that mold in old pancake mix can cause serious health problems and claims that a person died after eating mold-contaminated pancakes
Published: May 2006
Cadbury Chocolate Egg Recall in Canada
Messages warn that some Cadbury chocolate eggs produced and distributed in Canada have been recalled because they may contain hard pieces of plastic
Published: March 2006
HIV Infected Blood in the Ketchup Hoax
Email claims that HIV infected blood has been placed in the ketchup dispensers of fast food outlets
Published: October, 2004
Reusing Plastic Bottles Causes Cancer Hoax
Email claims that reusing plastic bottles can lead to the ingestion of cancer causing chemical agents
Published: August 2004
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