When is science not science? When you read about it in e-mail or see it on TV. Hyperbole in advertising is universal and the more ludicrous the claim, the less it seems to violate FTC truth in advertising laws at least in terms of enforcement. I'm not talking about the ability of advertisers to distract from facts, like running a Toyota Camry through some kind of roller coaster contraption to 'prove' that's it's not a boring, soulless transportation appliance for dull people, or inventing "the star safety system" to distract from stories about how people are dying because of it's defects. I'm not even talking about TV ads claiming that after driving a Nissan, the speed of light doesn't seem so fast or showing SUVs beating sports cars on a track. I'm talking about the level of deceit in the marketing of health and science products and advice -- the kind of pervasive disinformation that makes people believe they can eat double bacon cheeseburgers with impunity as long as they don't eat the bun -- eat chili cheese fries and lose weight by buying Dr. Oz's magic beans and miracle berries, or put their faith in "the proven science of the glycemic index" as though an index could be science. -- as though that handsome guy in the lab coat were a real scientist and his doctorate not in marketing.
about the kind of massive promotion of ideas about gluten and fructose
that have no scientific support, about making your brain work better by
doing 'exercises' that really doesn't have support from neuroscience as
claimed, about getting "grain brain" or removing those mysterious
"toxins" from your blood or colon. Never mind none of these "studies"
ever appear in professional, peer reviewed journals, but only in
advertising. Never mind that what they call "studies" never are more
than anecdotes, inventions, gross distortions and deliberate
misrepresentations. You just can't get to the science through the
smokescreen of marketing -- and in marketing we trust.
live in an age of snake oil where all it takes is some actor in a white
coat, some diet book salesman posing as a scientist to convince our
gullible nation that unhealthy things will make them well, that lethal
germs and 'toxins' are lurking under the bed, that green tea or green
coffee beans or Doctor Bonkers' Egyptian Oil will let them eat 10,000
calories a day while they stay thin and live forever. The sun will kill
you quick, we just know it and even on cloudy days and even
wrapping yourself like a Bedouin in wool won't help unless the clothing
has extra sun protection chemicals in it. Your kitchen counter of course
is a dangerous place that needs to be laved with "anti-bacterial"
products lest your family die horribly and everything we touch has to be
anti-bacterial. Does it surprise you that SPF 50 doesn't give you twice
the protection of SPF 25 -- hell no and while the marketing guys smile
we cover ourselves with lead foil and hide in the basement.
and Toxins and Germs, oh my! Unless you buy anti-bacterial products
you'll be eaten alive by bacteria, no matter that there are more of them
inside and all over you than there are people in the world and you
wouldn't be healthy otherwise. Anti-bacterial soap, lotion, shampoo,
body wash, eye drops, sprays, food, gels, creams, toothpastes -- there
are kitchen utensils, toys, bedding, socks, and trash bags -- we're
told to be afraid of such things on the food we eat, but we're soaking
in it. is it even practical, necessary, healthy or smart to attempt
living in a bacteria free bubble? Is that attempt involved with all the
allergies everyone seems to have these days?
There are at least 2000 anti-bacterial products on the market says the FDA. They're finally going to begin to ask for evidence that they are safe.
It's about time. In fact scientists have been pressing for the FDA to
remove one chemical, triclosan, that interferes with the thyroid gland
in rats, since 1978 even though there is no evidence that soaps
containing it are any more effective
at preventing disease in your home than washing with plain soap and
water. The Government is finally going to demand evidence of safety and
effectiveness and it's about time!