Issue 42 - Hoax-Slayer Newsletter
Issue 42: 21st October, 2004
This week in Hoax-Slayer:
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The Hoax-Slayer Newsletter keeps you informed about the latest email hoaxes and current Internet scams. Hoax-Slayer also features
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SC Johnson Refutes Plastics in Microwaves Warning Email
SC Johnson, the makers of Saran® plastic wrap have recently
contacted me regarding a widely circulated email that makes
misleading claims about the safety of plastics in microwave
ovens. The email warns consumers that heating food in plastic
containers or plastic wrap can result in cancer causing agents
being released into the food and specifically mentions Saran®
The company has strongly refuted this claim and has released the
S. C. Johnson & Son, Inc.
1525 Howe Street
Racine, WI 53403-2236
July 30, 2004
Statement Regarding Plastics in the Microwave Hoax
. In 2002, SC Johnson became aware of an e-mail that was being
widely circulated, which warned consumers about the alleged
dangers of using plastics in the microwave. This e-mail claimed
that the combination of fat, high heat and plastics releases dioxin
into the food and ultimately into the cells of the body, thereby
increasing the risk of producing cancerous cells. SC Johnson has
researched these claims and it is clear that the information is
not only misleading, but also unnecessarily alarms consumers.
. When used in the microwave, there is no trace level migration of
dioxins from any Saran™ or Ziploc® product. We know this because
these products are 100% dioxin-free. You also should be aware that
dioxins can only be formed when chlorine is combined with extremely
high temperatures, such as the temperatures generated in waste
incinerators. Those incinerators produce temperatures of more than
1,500 degrees Fahrenheit, an extreme temperature that even the most
powerful consumer microwave ovens are unable to produce.
. Our Saran™ and Ziploc® products can be used with confidence when
label directions are followed. All Saran™Wraps, Ziploc® Containers
and microwaveable Ziploc® Bags meet the safety requirements of the
U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for temperatures associated
with defrosting and reheating food in microwave ovens, as well as
room, refrigerator, and freezer temperatures.
. For more information, please contact Kelly Semrau, Vice President,
Public Affairs and Communication at 262-260-2102.
Example of Hoax:
Subject: Caution Don't freeze your plastic water bottles with
water. It is highly important that you should take time to read
this. This information is being circulated at Walter Reed Army
Discuss This Story
Dioxin Carcinogens causes cancer. Especially breast cancer.
Don't freeze your plastic water bottles with water as this also
releases dioxin in the plastic. Dr. Edward Fujimoto from Castle
hospital was on a TV program explaining this health hazard. (He
is the manager of the Wellness Program at the hospital.) He was
talking about dioxin and how bad they are for us. He said that we
should not be heating our food in the microwave using plastic
containers. This applies to foods that contain fat. He said that
the combination of fat, high heat and plastics releases dioxin
into the food and ultimately into the cells of the body. Dioxin!
are carcinogens and highly toxic to the cells of our bodies.
Instead, he recommends using glass, Corning Ware, or ceramic
containers for heating food. You get the same results...without
So! such things as TV dinners, instant ramen and soups, etc.,
should be removed from the container and heated in something
else. Paper isn't bad but you don't know what is in the paper.
Just safer to use tempered glass, corning ware, etc. He said we
might remember when some of the fast food restaurants moved away
from the foam containers to paper. The dioxin problem is one of
the reasons. To add to this : Saran wrap placed over foods as
they are nuked, with the high heat, actually drips poisonous
toxins into the food, use paper towels.
Pass this on to your friends.
Unborn Baby Footprint Image
The email containing this rather amazing image has been circulating since August 2004. Is the image a real depiction or a fake created with image manipulation software? At this point, no one seems to know for sure (except for the originators of the image, who so far appear to have remained silent).
The image has certainly created a lot of online debate, both for and against. Many people are of the opinion that an average uterus would be too thick and tough for anything less than super-baby to make such a prominent impression.
Discuss This Story
Subject: FW: Breath-Taking Picture Of The Year
Cough CPR Email Forward
Message claims heart doctors recommend that recipients learn "Cough CPR", a procedure that involves vigorous coughing as a potential means of surviving a heart attack when alone.
False - In no way condoned or recommended by medical authorities.
(Submitted, August 2007)
Subject: IMPORTANT read this! Cough CPR
A cardiologist says If everyone who gets this mail sends it to 10 people, you can bet that we'll save at least one life.
Read this... It could save your life!! Let's say it's 6.15 pm and you're driving home (alone of course), after an unusually hard day on the job. You're really tired, upset and frustrated. Suddenly you start experiencing severe pain in your chest that starts to radiate out into your arm and up into your jaw. You are only about five miles from the hospital nearest your home. Unfortunately you don't know if you'll be able to make it that far. You have been trained in CPR, but the guy that taught the course did not tell you how to perform it on yourself.
HOW TO SURVIVE A HEART ATTACK WHEN ALONE
Since many people are alone when they suffer a heart attack,
without help, the person whose heart is beating improperly and who
begins to feel faint, has only about 10 seconds left before losing
consciousness. However, these victims can help themselves by
coughing repeatedly and very vigorously. A deep breath should be
taken before each cough, and the cough must be deep and prolonged,
as when producing sputum from deep inside the chest. A breath and
a cough must be repeated about every two seconds without let-up
until help arrives, or until the heart is felt to be beating
normally again. Deep breaths get oxygen into the lungs and
coughing movements squeeze the heart and keep the blood
circulating. The squeezing pressure on the heart also helps it
regain normal rhythm. In this way, heart attack victims can get
to a hospital. Tell as many other people as possible about this.
It could save their lives!!
BE A FRIEND AND PLEASE SEND THIS ARTICLE TO AS MANY FRIENDS AS
An email forward that offers spurious advice about how to survive a heart attack has been continually circulating around the Internet since at least 1999.
The message outlines a technique for surviving a heart attack while alone that involves vigorous coughing. According to the email, a cardiologist has advised forwarding the message to others in order to save lives. However, the alleged cardiologist is not named, nor is there any reference to a reputable medical institution. In my opinion, any life-critical "medical advise" that is not supported by credible reference material should be used with extreme caution.
It should be noted that the cough procedure outlined in the email is not, in itself, a hoax and has
been researched and tested by medical experts. In fact, so called "Cough CPR" might
be beneficial under certain controlled circumstances. However, this does not
mean that the advice in the email message is valid and useful. The most important factor to consider is that, according to medical experts, cough CPR should only be performed under strict professional supervision.
According to the American Heart Association
, "the usefulness of 'cough CPR' is generally limited to monitored patients with a witnessed arrest in the hospital setting". The American Heart Association article also notes:
The American Heart Association does not endorse "cough CPR," a coughing procedure widely publicized on the Internet. As noted in the American Heart Association's textbook Basic Life Support for Healthcare Providers, the American Heart Association DOES NOT TEACH THIS AS PART OF THE CORE CURRICULUM IN ANY COURSE.
Moreover, the Resuscitation Council
in the UK "knows of no evidence that, even if a lone patient knew that cardiac arrest had occurred, he or she would be able to maintain sufficient circulation to allow activity, let alone driving to the hospital".
A victim would probably be better off directing his or her energy towards other life saving options such as seeking immediate help or calling the emergency number. The American Heart Association article
The best strategy is to be aware of the early warning signs for heart attack and cardiac arrest and respond to them by calling [the emergency number in your country]. If you're driving alone and you start having severe chest pain or discomfort that starts to spread into your arm and up into your jaw (the scenario presented in the Internet article), pull over and flag down another motorist for help or phone [the emergency number in your country] on a cellular telephone.
Heart patient support organization Mended Hearts has also debunked the procedure
Despite a contagious rumor, coughing doesn't prevent a heart attack. An e-mail that spread around the world like a contagious disease a few years ago claimed that anyone who feels heart attack symptoms while alone should cough "repeatedly and very vigorously, repeating a breath about every two seconds…until help arrives, or (a normal heartbeat returns)."
Wrong, says the American Heart Association.
"It's right up there with voodoo as far as I'm concerned," says Dr. Cary Fishbein, a cardiologist with the Dayton Heart Center.
Another version of the message arrives as an email attachment rendered in Microsoft PowerPoint format. Someone has gone to quite a lot of trouble to convert the original message into an attractive presentation complete with graphics and sound. In spite of the probable good intentions of the creator, the advice presented in the PowerPoint version is as equally spurious as it is in the email version. The PowerPoint version falsely attributes the information to an article in the "Journal Of General Hospital, Rochester". However the Rochester General Hospital denies that such an article exists
and has included the following statement on its website:
Important Notice Regarding the article "How to Survive a Heart Attack When Alone."
Hundreds of people around the country have been receiving an e-mail message entitled "How to Survive a Heart Attack When Alone." This article recommends a procedure to survive a heart attack in which the victim is advised to repeatedly cough at regular intervals until help arrives.
The source of information for this article was attributed to ViaHealth Rochester General Hospital. This article is being propagated on the Internet as individuals send it to friends and acquaintances - and then those recipients of the memo send it to their friends and acquaintances, and so on.
We can find no record that an article even resembling this was produced by Rochester General Hospital within the last 20 years. Furthermore, the medical information listed in the article can not be verified by current medical literature and is in no way condoned by this hospital's medical staff. Also, both The Mended Hearts, Inc., a support organization for heart patients, and the American Heart Association have said that this information should not be forwarded or used by anyone.
Please help us combat the proliferation of this misinformation. We ask that you please send this e-mail to anyone who sent you the article, and please ask them to do the same.
Thus, the "advice" presented in this email forward is not condoned by medical experts and it certainly should not be forwarded to "as many friends as possible". Forwarding this sort of misinformation is irresponsible. Using the procedure outlined in the message in place of immediately seeking medical help could actually cost a life rather than save it.
American Heart Association: Cough CPR
Resuscitation Council: Statement on Cough CPR
Coughing Won't Fend Off a Heart Attack
Rochester General Hospital - Important Notice: How to Survive a Heart Attack When Alone
Virus Report: Weekly Virus Wrap-Up
The list below represents some of the most significant new virus
threats identified by Symantec Security Response
over the last
Yet another variant of the MyDoom worm, W32.Mydoom.AF@mm
causing problems. The worm searches the infected computer for
email addresses and sends itself to them using its own SMTP
engine. It can also allow remote access to the infected computer
via a backdoor. The attachment file extension will be .cpl, .pif,
A worm known as W32.Darby.B
is using email, file-sharing networks
and Internet Relay Chat to spread itself. The worm also tries to
disable computer security applications by deleting certain files
and terminating processes.
Another current worm threat, W32.Spybot.FCD
, can be controlled
remotely by way of Internet Relay Chat. The worm tries to steal
information from the infected computer and can exploit
vulnerabilities on Windows systems in order to spread. It can
carry out Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks and has
is a worm that can modify the local hosts file in
order to prevent access to certain websites. It can also disable
computer security applications such as anti-virus software. The
worm collects email addresses from the infected computer and
sends itself using its own SMTP engine. It will have a .zip or
an .exe file extension.
Discuss This Story
Spam from Share Your Experiences.com
It appears that many people are still receiving the
"Share Your Experience" spam emails.
Basically, the emails are just a hook to entice people to sign up
for the company's dubious "service". The emails claim that
"A user is attempting to share experiences and opinions about
you via our website."
If you access the website via the link provided, you can view an
"Experience Request" that lists some vague details. It may state
that the user has information about you, but does not say what
this information actually is. In order to gain more information,
you need to use the "Identity Protection System" to contact the
supposed user. However, to access the "Identity Protection
System", you need to pay for a "Premium" membership.
Even after you fork out money to sign up for the service, it
appears that the only way you can really find out what someone
was supposed to have said about you is by using this completely
anonymous "Identity Protection System". Apparently, the real
identity of the author of the request is not revealed to you even
if you are a premium subscriber. According to the site, "sharing
of experience and opinions at this website occurs via direct,
private email communication between two members using our Identity
Protection System". Thus, *anybody* could have filed an "Experience
Request", including the owners of the website, and there is no
evidence that the user actually does have further information about
you at all. In any case, anonymous "information" such as this is
hardly worth procuring and certainly not worth paying for. What's
more, in order to access the alleged information, you are dependant
on the author's willingness to send it to you via the site's
anonymous email system. In other words, you end up paying for a
service that provides little more than a means of communicating with
an unknown user.
There have been quite a few websites that offer almost identical
services, including several "Word Of Mouth" sites. The sites are
very similar in functionality and style, and I strongly suspect that
the same people operate them all.
In short, this is just another grubby little scam that relies on our
natural curiosity. These emails should go directly to the deleted
######This is not commercial email.######
Discuss This Story
A user is attempting to share experiences and opinions about you
via our website.
The purpose of this email is to inform you that a posting has
been made about you at our website. This is email is not
commercial in nature.
If this email message was delivered to your spam or bulk email
folder please notify your ISP or spam filtering company regarding
this mistake on their part.
To view postings about you click here:
Our Identity Protection System is a simple system in which this
website sends email messages to the Experience Request author on
your behalf, and vice versa. This website will never reveal the
identity of the Experience Request author to you, nor will it
reveal your identity to the author of the Experience Request.
The Experience Request author will receive your message in an
email sent from our website. He/she can then respond to your
message via our website by clicking a custom link that appears in
Communication then continues back and forth via our Identity
Protection System until one party or the other provides other
contact means (phone number, etc.).
IMPORTANT - To add this email address to our Do Not Email List
SYEC Support Department
Gmail Invites Available
Several weeks ago I finally received an invitation to start a
Gmail account. Gmail is Google's web based email
Currently, you can only get a Gmail account via an official
invitation. I believe this is Google's way of rolling out the
new product in a controlled and sensible fashion. So far I'm
very impressed. Gmail is great! For someone who has never been a
fan of web-based email, that is high praise indeed!
Gmail has some quite innovative ways of handling web-based email.
It is also very fast, and has a massive amount of storage space.
Very powerful search facilities make it easy to find exactly what
you want. I've transferred some of my ezine subscriptions over
to my Gmail account. With a 1000mb of storage and excellent search
capability I will be able to store 100's of issues of a newsletter
and find the article I'm searching for very quickly.
Soon after you receive an invitation and activate you Gmail
account, you will be given an opportunity to send invitations to
others. As more people open accounts, invitations are becoming
more readily available, often via online forums or email
I currently have a few Gmail invitations available. If you would
like one, you can ask via the new "Google" forum
of the Hoax-Slayer Forums (in the Gmail Invites thread).
You can also use the Google forum
if you would like to discuss Google or Gmail in general.
Feedback from Readers and Site Visitors
If you receive an email that you suspect is a hoax or scam, I'd
appreciate it if you would send me a copy
Please Note: The above email address is only
examples. Due to the volume of email I receive, I cannot reply to
every hoax or scam example submitted. If you would like to ask a
scam or hoax related question, please use the Hoax-Slayer Forums
A lot of site and email activity over the last week involved the
William Hung death hoax
that began circulating back in August.
An increased rate of submissions and website hits indicate that
the old Nokia Giveaway hoax
is again briskly circulating.
The HIV infected blood in the ketchup hoax
that I discussed last week also appears to be gaining momentum.
As well, the Hoax-Slayer article about the Glade Plug-In fire
has proven to be a popular destination for site visitors this week.
As usual, I have received many lottery
and phisher scam
Once again, thank-you for all of your examples and feedback.
Discuss This Story
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©Brett M. Christensen, 2008
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