Vani Hari (the “Food Babe”) heavily censors all commentary on her web and social media sites.1,9 On Facebook those who legitimately question her statements are banned, with their commentary deleted. On her web site no comments can be posted without their first being approved by Hari or a moderator. Criticism–no matter how factual and polite–is not allowed.
With this in mind, I think it’s only fair that we hold Vani responsible for the content of commentary that she does approve.
Let’s look at this example from “Amber”, a regular contributor on FoodBabe.com:2
The topic being discussed is cosmetics. (So that I’m not accused of taking a quote out of context, you can read the entire Food Babe article here.)
The dire warnings from FoodBabe.com on cyclopentasiloxane are interesting because of a guest piece Vani Hari wrote for the online magazine Well+Good. In “My Five Beauty Obsessions”,3,4 Vani recommends Tarte Lights Camera Action Mascara:
Let’s have a look at the ingredients in this mascara, courtesy Vani’s encrypted Amazon.com affiliate link:5 (click image to enlarge)
You can click that ingredient list to enlarge it. Or, let me zoom in for you:
Now back to Vani’s web site:
Wait! Let me get this straight: FoodBabe.com has a moderated post that says cyclopentasiloxane is “toxic, persistent” and has “the potential to bio-accumulate”… but Food Babe recommends Tarte Cosmetics Lights (which contains cyclopentasiloxane), and earns a sales commission when you buy it?6
I can hear the Food Babe Army (FBA) protesting already–“Vani didn’t say this! It was one of her commentators!”
On a heavily censored, moderated web site, I would strongly disagree. But to be honest, I just like yanking the Food Babe Army’s chain.
You see, Vani said it too (click image to enlarge):11
Where does this wild claim come from? It’s always interesting to see where Vani does her so-called research:7
She uses a database produced by the Environmental Working Group (EWG). I wonder what EWG has to say about cyclopentasiloxane? Well, it’s not good:8
Mon Dieu! The mascara from which Food Babe earns a sales commission contains an ingredient that, according to the source she recommends, is “classified as expected to be toxic or harmful,” “persistent, bioaccumulative in wildlife,” and <GASP!> “one or more animal studies show tumor formation at moderate doses.”
I just… I mean… I… I…
As the Facebook group “Banned By Food Babe” has so thoroughly documented,1,9 Food Babe and her moderators heavily censor all posts on her web and social media sites, so it is more than reasonable to hold Vani Hari responsible for statements that she does approve–including those about cyclopentasiloxane.
But her “army” is really only echoing her ignorance–Food Babe makes the original statement about the compound. Her followers only expand upon it. That’s why I led off with a quote from a minion rather than the Babe herself in this article. Disinformation is dangerous. It snowballs–as you can see from the additional “dangers” Vani’s commentator heaped upon cyclopentasiloxane.2
So Vani Hari earns a sales commission from a cosmetic that contains this compound, says it’s dangerous, and urges her “army” to use a database that links it to tumors in animals.8 Brilliant.
But… is Tarte Lights Mascara really dangerous?
I don’t think so.
I am not a professional chemist. But, like you, I can use my university education as a foundation, read and evaluate information (from experts) on cyclopentasiloxane,10 and make an informed decision. Spend some time reading the scientific references in the “Toxicity” section of the PubChem writeup on cyclopentasiloxane,10 and I predict you’ll be unafraid. Very unafraid.
There’s just nothing there.
Vani seems to have once again cherry picked scary looking quotes to terrify you about other products–in order to sell you her own.
So, please buy Tarte Lights Mascara. Just don’t buy it via a FoodBabe.com affiliate link.
Decamethylcyclopentasiloxane (cyclopentasiloxane–compound ID 10913) courtesy PubChem (compound ID 10913)
Amazon.com and Tarte product, and Food Babe screen snapshots are used in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, commonly known as “fair use law”. This material is distributed without profit with the intent to provide commentary, review, education, parody, and increase public health knowledge.
Well+Good and other web site screen snapshots are used in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, commonly known as “fair use law”. This material is distributed without profit with the intent to provide commentary, review, education, parody, and increase public health knowledge.
Facepalm montage created from WikiCommons images by the following authors, used in accordance with the licensing specified by their names. Image owners do not necessarily agree with or endorse the views presented in this article:
–Vesa Linja-aho, Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license
— i_hate_sult, Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license
–daveoratox, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license
–Joe Loong, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license
–Joachim S. Müller, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license
–Alex E. Proimos, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license
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The Food Babe Ban List
Please note: To prevent increasing search engine exposure for objectionable web sites, I use the DoNotLink service to obfuscate their URLs. I promise you are not being redirected to porn.
(1) Banned By Food Babe (Facebook)
(2) Food Babe commentary on cyclopentasiloxane
(3) Food Babe: “My Five Beauty Obsessions”
(4) Well+Good: My Five Beauty Obsessions
(6) Food Babe: “How To Find The Best Natural Mascara That Actually Works”
(7) Vani on the EWG
(8) EWG on Cyclopentasiloxane
(9) Cyclopentasiloxane (compound ID 10913) on PubChem
(10) Banned by Food Babe (with examples of censorship, banning, preemptive banning)
(11) Food Babe: Be A Beauty Store Dropout