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Health Related Hoaxes - Spurious Health Advice - Health Myths

  • HOAX – ‘Cool Drink Contaminated With Ebola Virus’
    Circulating Facebook message warns users not to consume ‘Cool Drink’ because a company worker has added blood contaminated with Ebola virus to the product.
    Published: June 6, 2016

  • ‘Bananas Injected With HIV’ Hoax Warning
    According to would be warning messages that are circulating via social media and various fake-news reports, people are injecting HIV infected blood into bananas so you should not eat bananas that contain a red colour inside. Supposedly, health authorities have discovered that about one million bananas originating from Guatemala have been contaminated with the HIV infected blood.
    Published: February 11, 2016

  • HOAX - 'HIV & AIDS Infected Oranges Coming From Libya'
    Circulating message warns that the immigration services of Algeria have recovered oranges from Libya that have been injected with 'HIV & AIDS blood'.

  • 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

  • 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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