She Did It Again! Food Babe Linked To Another Company Using Same Dyes She Forbids

As if more proof was needed of Vani Hari’s hypocrisy and double standards, the self-styled “Food Babe” can now definitively be linked to a third company using the very same dyes  featured in her campaigns against the likes of Nestle, Kraft, and McDonald’s.

Food Babe earns sales commissions on Giovanni beauty products via an article on “holistic health care” (yes, it’s OK to roll your eyes in amusement).1  Several of her affiliate’s offerings contain dyes such as Red #40 and Yellow #5,2  which the Babe links to a variety of diseases and conditions in her petition wars against other corporations that use the same additives.

Hari cannot excuse herself on the grounds that Giovanni isn’t offering food products, because she explicitly warns against beauty products containing these dyes as well.3  The question must be asked: if she’s dead set on companies removing these ingredients from their products, why is she affiliated with such companies?

The Giovanni news is only the tip of the iceberg.  Food Babe blatantly sells a line of Tarte lip stains containing her “forbidden” dyes via her web site’s shopping page,4 and has been selling another line of cosmetics (Josie Maran) containing the dyes since 2013.5

Giovanni, Tarte, and the other companies mentioned here all have wonderful safety records and I hope they will not be punished because Vani Hari chose to align herself with them.

This is a well established pattern.  Recently, I wrote that Hari has been selling a product containing the preservative BHT, even while she led a petition drive against General Mills and Kellogg’s for using the same additive.  Though she quietly pulled the item from her web site, she continues feature it on her Pinterest page.6

Worse, Food Babe publicly threw her affiliate under the bus, claiming they were “sneaky” about the ingredients listed on their web site–a curious statement coming from an activist who claims to personally use every product she sells.7  The manufacturer clearly lists BHT as an ingredient, and Food Babe urges her followers to always read the product labels.  How did she go nearly 3 years without seeing the BHT?

The bigger questions are, (1) how much longer will members of the “Food Babe Army” (#FoodBabeArmy) continue to blindly follow a leader who obviously doesn’t practice what she preaches, and (2) when will American news organizations stop breathlessly promoting Hari as an activist working for the public good, and instead take just 5 minutes to do what I’ve done (check the ingredients of her products against the list of those she says are dangerous)?

 

 

food babe giovanni

Giovanni beauty products feature prominently in Hari’s Holistic Hair Care article. (click/enlarge)

 

Food Babe highly recommends this company's products. (click/enlarge)

Food Babe highly recommends this company’s products, despite the fact several contain dyes she claims are dangerous.  Experts disagree with Hari–the ingredients are safe.  Please don’t punish Giovanni for Hari’s mistakes.  (click/enlarge)

 

food babe giovanni yellow 5

Giovanni uses safe dyes that Food Babe says are dangerous–but sells anyway.  Confused?  So is she, apparently.  This product contains the same dyes (red 40, yellow 5) over which she lambasts McDonald’s.  And yes, she says the dyes are dangerous in beauty products as well as food products.  (click/enlarge)

 

 

food babe pinterest

Food Babe continues to sell Fresh Brown Sugar Body Polish, which contains BHT, while she’s simultaneously campaigning against Kellogg’s and General Mills to remove BHT. (click/enlarge)

 

Image Credits
Food Babe, Pinterest, Giovanni 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.

References
(1) Food Babe Holistic Hair Care
http://foodbabe.com/2011/11/06/holistic-hair-care-how-why/

(2) Giovanni Product Ingredients
http://www.giovannicosmetics.com/GIOVANNI-INGREDIENT-LIST.PDF

(3) Be A Drug Store Beauty Dropout!
http://foodbabe.com/2011/07/31/how-to-find-safe-beauty-products/

(4) Food Babe Slams Kraft Over Three Dyes but Sells Same
https://badscidebunked.wordpress.com/2015/02/16/food-babe-slams-kraft-over-three-dyes-but-sells-same/

(5) Food Babe “Staring” at Nestle Over Dyes; Should be Looking in the Mirror
https://badscidebunked.wordpress.com/2015/02/18/food-babe-staring-at-nestle-over-dyes-should-be-looking-in-the-mirror/

(6) Food Babe Pinterest
https://www.pinterest.com/foodbabe/beauty-products/

(7) Food Babe’s BHT Denial Doesn’t Hold Water
https://badscidebunked.wordpress.com/2015/02/16/food-babes-bht-denial-doesnt-hold-water/

Food Babe “Staring” at Nestle Over Dyes; Should Be Looking In the Mirror

Yesterday, Vani Hari (the Food Babe) warned Hershey’s that she was “staring” at them after Nestle announced the pending removal of FDA-approved dyes from their chocolate products.1

Hari should have been looking in a mirror, as I’ve found her affiliated with a company selling products containing the same dyes.  (She’s already been caught in a separate dye blunder earlier this week.)

As early as 2013, Food Babe has been in a relationship with Josie Maran cosmetics, earning sales commissions from at least two of their products via her web site.2

Several Josie Maran offerings include the same dyes featured in Nestle’s press release, including Red #40 and Yellow #5.3,4,5,6  Hari campaigns vigorously against yellow #5.  The two items I found on Hari’s web site don’t contain the dyes in question, but that’s beside the point–Food Babe argues (quite loudly) that companies should not be using these dyes at all.  So why is she in business with a company that sells them?

food babe hershey nestle

Food Babe is staring at Hershey’s.  She should have been looking at herself. (click/enlarge)

 

For the record: experts say that these dyes have been extensively tested. They are considered safe by the FDA.7  Josie Maran has an excellent safety record and there is no reason to punish this company because of the poor research and double standards exhibited by Food Babe.

This isn’t the first time Food Babe has been caught out on the dye issue.  On February 16, I revealed that she has been selling a lip stain that contains 3 dyes over which she berated Kraft.8  She has yet to respond.

Why is it OK for Food Babe to scold Nestle because their products contain (safe) dyes and colorings when she’s connected with a company that’s doing the same thing?  How much longer will her double standards and hypocrisy be allowed to go unchecked?

Josie Maran lip stain ingredients.  "Lakes" are water insoluble forms.  "May contain" presumably takes into account that the list is for multiple colors.  (click/enlarge)

Josie Maran lip stain ingredients.  Both straight dyes and “lakes” are found.  Lakes are water insoluble forms–see my article here.  “May contain” presumably takes into account that the list is for multiple colors.  (click/enlarge)

 

Edit History
The original article incorrectly said that the Nestle press release stated dyes were being removed from all products.  It should have said all CHOCOLATE products.  This has been corrected.

Image Credits
Josie Maran 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.

References
(1) Nestle Announcement
http://www.nestleusa.com/media/pressreleases/nestl%C3%A9-usa-commits-to-removing-artificial-flavors-and-fda-certified-colors-from-all-nestl%C3%A9-chocolate-candy-by-the-end-of-20

(2) Food Babe Shopping
http://foodbabe.com/shop/for-your-beauty/

(3) Josie Maran Coconut Water Lip Stain Ingredients (Manufacturer Web Site)
http://www.josiemarancosmetics.com/coconut-watercolor-lip-stain-shine.html#.VOUXiMa5X_4

(4) Josie Maran Argan Love Your Lips Hydrating Lipstick
http://www.josiemarancosmetics.com/argan-love-your-lips-hydrating-lipstick.html#.VOUvnMa5X_4

(5) Josie Maran Argan Color Stick
http://www.josiemarancosmetics.com/argan-color-stick.html#.VOUvP8a5X_4

(6) Josie Maran Coconut Watercolor Cheek Gelee
http://www.josiemarancosmetics.com/coconut-watercolor-cheek-gelee.html#.VOUc6ca5X_4

(7) FDA: Color Additives
http://www.fda.gov/ForIndustry/ColorAdditives/

(8) Food Babe Slams Kraft Over Three Dyes But Sells Same (Bad Science Debunked)
https://badscidebunked.wordpress.com/2015/02/16/food-babe-slams-kraft-over-three-dyes-but-sells-same/

Food Babe Slams Kraft Over Three Dyes but Sells Same

Note: In December 2015, after two years of selling this product, Vani Hari quietly pulled it from her shopping page without any explanation.  She had previously refused to remove the lip stains described here despite numerous (very public) warnings that it contained the same ingredients she claimed were dangerous.  

Despite a very vocal campaign against Kraft over the use of the dyes Blue #1, Yellow #5, and Yellow #6 in their products,1,2 Vani Hari (the “Food Babe”) sells items containing a form of these same dyes via her shopping page, and has apparently been doing so since December, 2013.

The items sold by Kraft are food products, while those sold by Hari are cosmetics intended for use on the lips.

The only difference in the dyes is the addition of a metallic salt in the cosmetics to prevent the dyes from becoming water soluble.  Unfortunately for Hari, the metal in question is aluminum, which she falsely links to Alzheimer’s disease and breast cancer.3,14  It must be pointed out that experts in food/product safety strongly disagree with Hari over her claims about the dyes in question–and the aluminum.

Not only did Food Babe miss the presence of the dyes in an item that she claims to use personally–also escaping her attention were 4 compounds she specifically warns should be avoided in beauty products because of alleged endocrine system disruption,4 saccharine (which she says is toxic),5 and retinyl palmitate (which she falsely links to skin cancer when used in the presence of the sun).6

I am not writing as an expert in food and product safety–only to point out Food Babe’s double standards.  The products being discussed in this article all have a solid safety record.  Please keep that in mind as you read.

Hari earns an Amazon.com sales commission via click-throughs on a Tarte Cosmetics link on her shopping page, where she features that company’s Lipsurgence Lip Stain:7

capture19

Screen capture of FoodBabe.com shopping page. Note the highlighted Amazon affiliate ID. (click/enlarge).

 

There are several color options available.  Let’s have a look at the full list of ingredients, according to the Tarte web site.8  Please click to the image to enlarge in a new window.

Tarte Lipsurgence dyes

Ingredients for the full color array of Tarte Lipsurgence lip stains. (click/enlarge)

 

A bit of explanation is in order here.  You’ll notice the word “lake” after each of the dyes.  According to the FDA, approved dyes become lakes when a “salt” is added to make them non-water soluble.9  Simply put, in some products (such as cosmetics or potato chips) you don’t want the colors to run.  According to both the FDA and the manufacturer, the salt in this case is an aluminum compound (e.g., aluminum hydroxide).

Does making the dyes into lakes change their toxicology?  That is, would you expect them to behave in a different manner than Hari’s gloom and doom cherry picked “research” would indicate?  I’m not a chemistry expert, but I found 3 scholarly resources who all cite the FDA.  These sources state that for toxicological purposes, the dyes and their lake forms are identical.10,11,12

Of course, if Food Babe wants to argue this point, she’s left in the awkward position of explaining how the addition of an element she claims to be toxic (aluminum) to a dye she claims is toxic suddenly makes both safe.

 

image

The FDA says lakes are used when you don’t want colors to run–like in this bag of potato chips.    (click/enlarge)

So how long has Food Babe been selling Blue #1 lake, Yellow #5 lake, and Yellow #6 lake? A quick look at the source code of her shopping page at FoodBabe.com7 suggests that she’s been doing this since December, 2013.  By convention, uploaded content (such as product images) is stored in folders tagged with the month and year the content was stored on the web site.  Looking at the screen snapshot below, the association is readily apparent:

Capture

Food Babe appears to have uploaded her Tarte Cosmetics content in December, 2013. (click/enlarge).

 

But, as I said in the introduction, the food coloring is only the tip of the iceberg.  In “Be a Drug Store Beauty Dropout”, Hari warns her readers to avoid the following in all beauty products:

“Siloxanes. Look for ingredients ending in “-siloxane” or “-methicone.” Used in a variety of cosmetics to soften, smooth and moisten. Suspected endocrine disrupter and reproductive toxicant (cyclotetrasiloxane). Harmful to fish and other wildlife.” 4  (emphasis mine)

Yet the product she sells and claims to personally use includes:

  1. Cyclopentasiloxane
  2. Phenyl Trimethicone
  3. Dimethicone
  4. Castor Oil Bis-hydroxypropyl dimethicone esters

For someone who previously tried to blame a manufacturer’s web site when caught red-handed, the following online ingredient list isn’t good news: (click to enlarge):

methicones and siloxanes

“methicones” and “siloxanes”–Food Babe somehow missed all of these. (click/enlarge)

 

I’d like to pause here and remind the reader that all of these ingredients have been studied by experts who, unlike Hari and myself, are qualified to pass judgement on them.  Tarte is a reputable company with a superb safety record and I hope that Ms. Hari’s lack of research doesn’t reflect negatively on them.  When caught in this situation before, Food Babe’s response has been to blame the manufacturer for her own mistakes.

I’ve contacted Tarte customer service several times with questions about their ingredients and have always received swift replies with references to scientific literature and government safety regulations.  Just like Kraft, Tarte is selling products that experts overwhelmingly say are safe.  Please do not punish an honest company for Vani Hari’s mistakes.

Having said that:  Food Babe’s lip stain also contains saccharin, which she links to unspecified diseases,5 retinyl palmitate (vitamin A), which she falsely links to cancer,6 and even an IARC group 2B carcinogen (titanium dioxide)–significant because it’s on the very same list as “4-Mel”, a compound found in the caramel coloring over which she previously lambasted Starbucks.13

Of course all of these additives are recognized as safe–it’s just that Food Babe cherry picks literature to make them sound dangerous.  Rather than debate the safety issue with her, however, why not just ask her: if these additive are so dangerous, why does she sell so many products that contain them?  It’s hard to find an item on the Food Babe shopping page that doesn’t contain something she says is harmful.  And yet she accuses other companies of hypocrisy and double standards?

there's more

Food Babe says all these additives are dangerous.  They’re not.  But why is she selling products that contain them?  (click/enlarge).

 

[edited for clarity: statement on aluminum hydroxide clarified 17 Feb 2015]

Image Credits
Amazon.com, Tarte, 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.

Edit History
16 Feb 2015–Added additional reference for Food Babe aluminum toxicity claim

References
(1) Food Babe Kraft Complaint
http://foodbabe.com/2013/03/25/kraft-acknowledged-petition-but-didnt-address-concerns-of-over-a-quarter-million-people/

(2) Food Babe Kraft/Jello Complaint
http://foodbabe.com/2014/05/21/this-childhood-favorite-has-a-warning-label-in-europe-why-not-here/

(3) Food Babe “Throw This Out Of Your Bathroom Cabinet Immediately”
http://foodbabe.com/2013/04/10/throw-this-out-of-your-bathroom-cabinet-immediately/

(4) Be a Drug Store Beauty Dropout
http://foodbabe.com/2011/07/31/how-to-find-safe-beauty-products/

(5) Habits for the New Year and Beyond – #2 Develop a Distaste for Refined Sugar
http://foodbabe.com/tag/refined/

(6) The Ingredients in Sunscreen Destroying Your Health
http://foodbabe.com/2013/05/05/what-you-need-to-know-before-you-ever-buy-sunscreen-again/

(7) Shopping at Food Babe.com
http://foodbabe.com/shop/for-your-beauty/

(8) Tarte Lipsurgence Full Ingredients (official site)
http://tartecosmetics.com/tarte-item-lipsurgence-natural-matte-lip-tint

(9) FDA Color Additive Status List
http://www.fda.gov/ForIndustry/ColorAdditives/ColorAdditiveInventories/ucm106626.htm

(10) Food Additive Toxicology
Maga, CRC Press, Sep 13, 1994. p. 185.
https://books.google.com/books?id=6mGmxYqqiREC&pg=PA185&lpg=PA185&dq=fda+lakes+toxicology&source=bl&ots=vO3fpYSTc9&sig=NWIh5whBHCLLOZTvxCpYaBskYe8&hl=en&sa=X&ei=KB7iVOXTOfXCsASw1oDgDA&ved=0CD4Q6AEwBA#v=onepage&q=fda%20lakes%20toxicology&f=false

(11) Handbook of Food Toxicology
Deshpande S.S., CRC Press, Aug 29, 2002. ISBN 0-8247-0760-5. p. 228.
https://books.google.com/books?id=Ex5QNLO-UkMC&dq=fda+lakes+toxicology+deshpande&source=gbs_navlinks_s

(12) Food Safety Handbook
Schmidt R, Roderick G,  Wiley, Mar 10, 2003. ISBN 0-471-21064-1. p. 254

(13) Wake Up And Smell the Chemicals
http://foodbabe.com/2014/09/02/drink-starbucks-wake-up-and-smell-the-chemicals/

(14) How to Find the Best Natural Mascara that Actually Works
http://foodbabe.com/2013/07/27/how-to-find-the-best-natural-mascara-that-actually-works/#more-14046

Food Babe’s BHT Denial Doesn’t Hold Water

After it was revealed that Food Babe (Vani Hari) has been selling a product containing BHT for over 2 years–while simultaneously blasting other companies for doing the same–she quickly (and quietly) pulled the item from her web site.  What’s incredible is that Hari is now saying she didn’t know what was in a body polish she claimed to personally use–despite the fact that each and every box is clearly labeled with the ingredients.

food babe bht denial

Food Babe denial.  (Click/enlarge).

Hari says “there’s no story here”.  On the contrary:

Vani Hari claims to use each and every product she sells.  The packaging of this item could not be more clear: it contains BHT.  If she actually uses the body polish, Food Babe could not have missed this.  It doesn’t matter what a  web site said.  Trying to shift the blame onto a company with which she’s been affiliated for nearly 3 years is disingenuous.  Fresh (the manufacturer) should not be punished for Food Babe’s hypocrisy.  They correctly listed the ingredients on the web site where she sold the body polish, and they correctly listed them on the packaging:

food babe recommends

Hari says she personally uses this product, and every product that she sells. (Click/enlarge).

ingredients

Product purchased from FoodBabe.com.  The PACKAGING clearly lists BHT. (Click/enlarge).

 

Amazon listing

Ingredients listed on Amazon.com, where Food Babe was selling the Fresh body polish. (Click/enlarge).

If you really want to understand how hypocritical Vani Hari’s denial is, you just need to read a little further.  She says:

“we must be vigilant and read the labels always”

What?  How could this self-styled investigator be selling a product for so many years, claiming to use it on a daily basis, stressing the importance of reading labels–and never once read the label?

Food Babe Claim

Food Babe claims to use the products she sells on a daily basis. (Click/enlarge).

 

Image Credits
Amazon.com, Fresh, 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.

Manufacturer Confirms Hari Wrong About Ingredients; BHT Product Purchased from FoodBabe.com

Authors note: after selling the product described here for nearly 3 years, Vani Hari quietly removed it from her web site after this information went public. For the most recent information, please see Food Babe’s BHT Denial Doesn’t Hold Water.

All of her denials aside, a product being sold by Vani Hari (the Food Babe) contains BHT, and she has apparently been associated with a company selling at least a dozen such products since the summer of 2012.  This despite the fact that she’s gone on record  saying BHT should be avoided in all beauty products, due to supposed toxicity.  Because Hari claims to personally use each and every product she sells, it’s troubling that she feigned ignorance of the product contents in a Chicago Business Journal interview yesterday, during which she offered a rebuttal of the article you’re now reading.

In a tweet last week, Hari called my proof of BHT in her product “bull****” and said the ingredients listed on the manufacturer’s web site (no BHT) were correct–despite being confronted with photos of product labels clearly showing the additive.

food babe tweet

Food Babe tweet. Click to enlarge.

I reached out to the manufacturer and received the following response today:

“Dear Mark,

Thank you for contacting us!

“Our apologies that our website incorrectly does not list BHT as an ingredient in Brown Sugar Body Polish.  The packaging picture you attached lists the correct ingredients included in the product.

Fresh uses BHT as an antioxidant to protect the ingredients against the risk of oxidation.  Our toxicologists certify that this use of BHT may be incorporated in our products according to the recommendation of the joint FAO/WHO expert committee on food additives and the Cosmetic Ingredient Review expert panel which confirm that the use of BHT in cosmetics is safe.”

Here is the “packaging picture” referred to in the email (click to enlarge):

ingredients

Email attachment (click to enlarge)

Fresh is correct–according to experts, BHT is safe.  I appreciate the honesty of this company.  What I want to concentrate on here is the hypocrisy of Food Babe.  How is it possible that she has been selling this product for 2.5 years without ever reading the label?

To be absolutely certain of my claims, I placed an order for Fresh Brown Sugar Body Polish via the FoodBabe.com shopping page on Friday, February 6.  Food Babe earned an affiliate sales commission from this purchase.

My order confirmation is shown below (click any image to enlarge).

food babe shopping

The Fresh Brown Sugar body polish available on FoodBabe.com on February 6, 2015.  Click image to enlarge.

amazon order details

I placed my order on February 6 via FoodBabe.com’s shopping page, which redirects to Amazon.com.  Click image to enlarge.

 

The order arrived today, February 9.  Let’s open the box:

food babe box

Box received from FoodBabe.com order. Click to enlarge.

ingredients

Snapshot of ingredients. Click to enlarge.

product

The product Food Babe is selling. Click to enlarge.

order confirmation

My order confirmation. Click to enlarge.

As you can see, the item I purchased from FoodBabe.com contains the same additive at the center of Hari’s campaign against General Mills and Kellogg’s.

Food Babe’s web site claimed she used this product personally.  If Vani Hari believed so strongly that this product didn’t contain BHT, why did she delete it from her web site after being confronted?

web site (after)

After photos were published showing that her product did in fact contain BHT, Food Babe quietly deleted the item from her web site.  Compare this image of her shopping page (February 9) to the one above, from which I placed my order (February 6).  Click image to enlarge.

 

Based on simple forensic work on her site, it’s apparent that Hari has been associated with Fresh since July, 2012.  The date of her association can easily be determined by examining the source code of her shopping page, which I saved before she had a chance to delete it:

bht markup

Markup from FoodBabe.com shopping page. Click to enlarge.

Here’s a closer look:

food babe bht snipNote the highlighted sections of the above images.  The year and month that Food Babe uploaded each product image is included as part of the URL (Uniform Resource Locator).  In this case, she uploaded the brown sugar body polish content in July, 2012.  (Similarly, she got started with Josie Maran “Eye Love You” in December 2013, and John Masters’ Shampoo in December, 2011.)

I think the Food Babe Army deserves an explanation as to how their leader could have been using this product for 2.5 years and not seen the BHT on the label.  Here’s what Hari said about the body polish in 2012.  I’m taking this quote directly from the HTML markup of her web page:

“This is quite an amazing scrub. I could use it everyday. Makes my skin baby smooth and the smell is so nice.”–Vani Hari

You have to ask: if she personally uses this product and it’s clearly labeled as containing BHT, how did she miss it?

food babe capture

Screen capture from FoodBabe.com.  “Approved and researched herself.”  Really?

Apparently, everyone else has known about the BHT all along.  Sephora’s question and answer page listed it as far back as 2011–a full year before FoodBabe.com put it on sale.  Amazon.com, the fulfillment source for Food Babe, lists BHT.  The product label lists BHT.

Does Food Babe actually use this product, or has she just been quoting the Fresh.com web site?

Fresh sells over a dozen products containing BHT.  Isn’t it hypocritical for a blogger to criticize companies for selling a product with a certain additive and yet have a commercial affiliation with one that does the same?  In July, 2011, she specifically said BHT in beauty products should be avoided.  In her Chicago Business Journal interview, Hari waffled, saying, in effect, that her BHT wasn’t as dangerous as the General Mills/Kellogg’s BHT.  A clever dodge, as the charge made against her is much more simple: she told her readers not to buy any beauty product with BHT, but sold that very thing for over 2 years and claimed to use it personally.

It’s important to stress yet again that Fresh is not the villain here.  Like Kellogg’s and General Mills, they are selling a product with an additive that is recognized as safe by experts.  On a personal note, my wife and I like Fresh products.  I hope they won’t be punished for this.

What really saddens me is the willingness of some news outlets to promote Ms. Hari as a hero campaigning against giants.  The fact that Food Babe has been “in bed with BHT” since 2012 has been made known to these publications and is now public knowledge.  Thankfully the Chicago Business Journal (and sister publications) did present my BHT charges to her.  Sadly, she sidestepped the issues.

food babe bht product

Product sold by FoodBabe.com.  Click to enlarge.

Edited for Clarity
11 Feb 2015–link to Hari’s statement that BHT in beauty products should be avoided has been emphasized in response to comments she’s only against BHT in food products.  Also added additional screen capture of Hari recommending the product in question.

12 Feb 2015–link to Chicago Business Journal added along with refutation of claims Hari made there.

 

Image Credits
Amazon.com, Fresh, 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.

 

References
Why Is Food Babe Selling A Product With BHT?
https://badscidebunked.wordpress.com/2015/02/06/why-is-food-babe-selling-a-product-with-bht/

Food Babe Shopping (She deleted the body polish after being confronted–see screen snapshots in article)
http://foodbabe.com/shop/for-your-beauty/

Sephora Questions and Answers: Fresh Brown Sugar Body Polish
http://answers.sephora.com/answers/8723/product/P7844/questions.htm

Food Babe on BHT in Beauty Products
http://foodbabe.com/2011/07/31/how-to-find-safe-beauty-products/

 

 

You May Also Be Interested In
Food Babe Pushing “Dangerous” Items: Tarte Blush
https://badscidebunked.wordpress.com/2015/01/09/food-babe-selling-dangerous-items-tarte-blush/

Food Babe Pushing “Dangerous” Items: Avalon Organics Repair Milk
https://badscidebunked.wordpress.com/2015/01/29/food-babe-pushing-dangerous-items-avalon-organics-repair-milk/

Food Babe Pushing “Dangerous” Items: Tarte Lights Camera Action Mascara
https://badscidebunked.wordpress.com/2015/01/14/food-babe-pushing-dangerous-items-tarte-lights-camera-action-mascara/

Food Babe Pushing “Dangerous” Items: Aubrey Organics Honeysuckle Shampoo
https://badscidebunked.wordpress.com/2014/12/29/food-babe-pushing-dangerous-items-honeysuckle-shampoo/

Food Babe Pushing “Dangerous” Items: Physician’s Formula Organic Wear
https://badscidebunked.wordpress.com/2015/01/08/food-babe-pushing-dangerous-items-physicians-formula-organic-wear/

Why Is Food Babe Selling a Product With BHT?

Author’s note: after this article was written, Vani Hari initially (loudly) denied the BHT sales before quietly removing the featured product from her web site.  She sold a BHT-laden product for nearly 3 years, all the while telling her followers she used it daily (and urging them to read labels). A follow-up article detailing the purchase of the product from her web site is available here.  You can read a debunking of her denials here.

 

Why is Vani Hari (the “Food Babe”) harassing Kellogg’s and General Mills because their cereals contain BHT, when she’s earning a sales commission on a product that contains BHT?  She specifically warns her readers to avoid BHT in beauty products!

I’ve been reporting for several months now on the hypocrisy and double standards of Food Babe, who sells a wide range of products that contain the very same ingredients she says are dangerous.  But this one takes the cake.  In a well-timed publicity stunt in preparation for the release of her new book in 4 days’ time, Hari has rallied her “Food Babe Army” against Kellogg’s and General Mills because their cereal contains Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT),1 a preservative considered safe by the FDA.

Well, guess what else contains BHT?  The Fresh Brown Sugar Body Polish sold by Vani Hari on FoodBabe.com.  Here’s a screen snapshot from her web site:2

food babe shopping

Foodbabe.com shopping page featuring the BHT-laden Fresh “Brown Sugar Body Polish”.  Click image to enlarge.

Let’s put on our official Food Babe Investigator HatsTM and go over to Amazon.com and look at the ingredients of this body polish (click image to enlarge):3

brown sugar ingredients

Sugar Bath “Brown Sugar Body Bath” ingredients. Click to enlarge.

We can zoom in for emphasis:

bht zoom

It matters not that you’re putting this on your skin instead of eating it.  Hari specifically says to avoid BHT in all beauty products:4

“Next – do this crucial step to become educated about what is lurking in those beauty products. Check the list below to find out if any of your products contain these dirty dozen chemicals.

1. BHA and BHT. Used mainly in moisturizers and makeup as preservatives.  Suspected endocrine disruptors and may cause cancer (BHA). Harmful to fish and other wildlife.”

Hari did finally get something right–depending on the chemical characteristics of a compound, you’d be right to worry about absorption via the skin–but the fact she’s staging a publicity stunt over BHT without ever checking the ingredients of her own products… well… what was it you said, Vani?

“I shake my head in disbelief.”

Yes, that’s it.

After this article was published on February 6, Vani Hari tweeted the following denial.  She directs followers to the Fresh.com website for product information:

food babe tweet

Food Babe directs followers to Fresh.com for authoritative product information. I purchased this exact product and it does contain BHT.  Click image to enlarge.

 

So on February 7, in the interest of fairness,  I purchased the exact product displayed on Fresh.com, the authoritative source as per Food Babe’s tweet.5  The product is clearly labelled as containing BHT.  Images are below.  Click any photo to enlarge:

box1

Original box.

receipt

My receipt

ingredients

Ingredients. Note the BHT.

product

Contents. Compare to Fresh.com.

upc code

UPC code.

 

The Forgotten Part of This Discussion
Food Babe has attacked Kellogg’s and General Mills because they are companies selling products that contain BHT.  Yet you can’t swing a dead cat in a room full of “Fresh” products without hitting one that contains the additive.  I picked four items at random and hit three: the Soy Face Cleanser,6 Rose Hydrating Eye Gel Cream,7 and Black Tea Instant Perfecting Mask.8  Alert readers have found at least 9, and I’ll be linking them all with screen snapshots in future updates.

Why is it OK for a self-styled activist to attack companies over a supposedly “dangerous” additive while at the same time openly earning sales commissions from a company selling at least ten products that contain that same additive?

It’s important to stress that Fresh.com is not the villain here, and I strongly urge readers to not behave in the manner of the “Food Babe Army”.  Please–no silly petition drives, spamming of an innocent company’s web site or Facebook page, etc.  We’re better than this.  According to the currently available science, Kellogg’s, General Mills, and Fresh are using a safe ingredient in their products.

Finally, I’d like to mention that I left the following message on Food Babe’s web page with a link to this article, hoping for a clarification and giving her a chance to respond:

“May I respectfully ask why you are selling products that contain BHT when you say it is so dangerous?”

My post was deleted within 3 minutes and I was banned from posting on her page.

I don’t believe in censorship, and welcome debate and dialogue on the subject. Thanks for reading.

 

Edited for Clarity:
The initial article used Hari’s statements about putting any “toxic” chemical on your skin to assert that she would not support using a beauty product containing BHT.  It has been updated to include a specific statement from Hari stating that beauty products containing BHT should not be used.4

 

References
(1) “Kellogg’s & General Mills: Drop the BHT From Your Cereal”
http://foodbabe.com/cereal/

(2) Food Babe Shopping Page (“For Your Beauty”)
NOTE:  Ms. Hari deleted the Brown Sugar Polish from this page on the evening of Feb 7, 2015–Please see screen snapshots in article.
http://foodbabe.com/shop/for-your-beauty/

(3) Fresh “Brown Sugar Body Bath” on Amazon.com
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000Z5Y4S4

(4) Be a Drug Store Beauty Dropout
http://foodbabe.com/2011/07/31/how-to-find-safe-beauty-products/

(5) Fresh BHT-Free Link
http://www.fresh.com/US/body-exfoliant/brown-sugar-body-polish/BrownSugarBodyPolish.html#q=brown%2Bsugar&start=1&cgid=null

(6) Soy Face Cleanser
http://www.fresh.com/US/cleansing/soy-face-cleanser/H00001408.html#start=5&cgid=cleanser

(7) Rose Hydrating Eye Gel Cream
http://www.fresh.com/US/rose/rose-hydrating-eye-gel-cream/H00003060.html#start=2&cgid=eyecare

(8) Fresh Black Tea Instant Perfecting Mask
http://www.fresh.com/US/mask/black-tea-instant-perfecting-mask/H00001466.html#start=2&cgid=mask

(9) The Web Never Forgets: Sources for BHT in Fresh Brown Sugar
https://www.evernote.com/shard/s13/sh/091edc33-38b7-4fca-aba7-f4dde7d8a9b3/17da96036caaabfe

 

Image Credits
Amazon.com, Sugar Bath, 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.

 

You May Also Be Interested In
Food Babe Pushing “Dangerous” Items: Tarte Blush
https://badscidebunked.wordpress.com/2015/01/09/food-babe-selling-dangerous-items-tarte-blush/

Food Babe Pushing “Dangerous” Items: Dandelions
https://badscidebunked.wordpress.com/2015/02/03/food-babe-pushing-dangerous-items-dandelions/

Food Babe Pushing “Dangerous” Items: Avalon Organics Repair Milk
https://badscidebunked.wordpress.com/2015/01/29/food-babe-pushing-dangerous-items-avalon-organics-repair-milk/

Food Babe Pushing “Dangerous” Items: Tarte Lights Camera Action Mascara
https://badscidebunked.wordpress.com/2015/01/14/food-babe-pushing-dangerous-items-tarte-lights-camera-action-mascara/

Food Babe Pushing “Dangerous” Items: Aubrey Organics Honeysuckle Shampoo
https://badscidebunked.wordpress.com/2014/12/29/food-babe-pushing-dangerous-items-honeysuckle-shampoo/

Food Babe Pushing “Dangerous” Items: Physician’s Formula Organic Wear
https://badscidebunked.wordpress.com/2015/01/08/food-babe-pushing-dangerous-items-physicians-formula-organic-wear/

The Food Babe Ban List
https://badscidebunked.wordpress.com/2014/12/17/the-food-babe-ban-list/

Vaccination Op-Ed (Lexington Herald Leader 05 Feb 2015)

I’m grateful to the Lexington Herald Leader for publication of an op-ed piece I wrote on Kentucky Senator Rand Paul’s uninformed comments on vaccinations.  Both Paul and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie have made potentially damaging comments on the topic this week.

In the face of a burgeoning measles outbreak, there are countless Americans who would love to take advantage of vaccines but cannot because of their age or existing medical conditions. They are relying on the rest of us to make unselfish decisions in the interest of public health.  We in turn need to be able to rely on representatives like Senator Paul and Governor Christie, who are in unique positions to shape health policies.  Given the statements they’ve made recently, I’m not so sure that we can.

You can read the op-ed here.

herald

Oh Bloody…

“Blood Moon” over Kentucky. Photo by the author.

As an avid astronomer, it would be nice to have just one celestial event that wasn’t hijacked by an astrologer, new age mystic, cult, or end-of-days preacher.10,11,12  This time it’s the latter — old earth creationist John Hagee popping up with his twisted interpretation of last November’s “blood moon”, a beautiful lunar eclipse visible from much of the world.

Hagee believes that lunar eclipses are tied to major events in the history of Israel and the Jewish calendar.  He couldn’t be more wrong.

Following is a debunking in simple quote/response format using Hagee’s statements as they appeared in an online article published by CBN.Since this is a science blog, I’ll concentrate mainly on the astronomy, but weave in enough history and religion to show just how far the preacher goes in violating his religion’s prohibition against lying.

What we’re going to see is that (1) there are no lunar eclipses occurring on most of the dates that Hagee claims, and (2) major events in Israel’s history occurred when there weren’t any eclipses, and (3) events on the Jewish calendar are tied to the lunar cycle because people designed it that way.

We’ve got a lot of ground to cover, so let’s get started…

 

John Hagee

John Hagee.

Quote:

“A blood moon is when the Earth comes between the sun and the moon,  […] and the sun is shining through the atmosphere of the Earth and casts up on the moon a red shadow.  And so the moon appears to be red.”

Response:  One point to Hagee.  He got something right.  Unfortunately, it’s all downhill from here…

 

Quote:

“The sun and the moon and the Earth are controlled by God almighty,” Hagee said. “He is the one that is getting them in a direct alignment on a certain day at a certain time — but each time, it’s a Passover or Sukkot.”

Response:  The paths of the sun and moon are controlled by gravity and inertia, just like all the other bodies in the universe.  But even if you grant Hagee the point and say that God created inertia and gravity, there’s still nothing special about a blood moon occurring on a Jewish holiday.

Jewish holidays are based on a lunar calendar, not a solar calendar.  This means that, from year to year, they don’t  begin on the same day of the solar calendar that Hagee uses (running from January through December).  Stay with me…

Lunar eclipses can only occur during a full moon, when the earth is between the sun and the moon.  It’s important to keep this in mind, so I’ll say it again: lunar eclipses (blood moons) can only occur during a certain phase of the moon (full moon).

It’s not a coincidence that the moon is in a certain phase when a given Jewish holiday begins–and it’s not a miracle–it’s the only time it can happen.  Judaism placed its holidays on a lunar calendar, just as Americans placed the 4th of July holiday on a solar calendar.

Compare a list of Jewish holidays to moon phases during 20142,3 and do the same for 20152,3 and 2016,2,3 and you’ll quickly see the connection.  Keep in mind that the cited tables list solar calendar dates, but the Jewish holidays are based on a lunar calendar.  These different calendars add to the woo factor of Hagee’s miracles.  The Jewish holidays keep popping up on different dates on Hagee’s solar calendar and the moon appears to be “chasing” those holiday dates.  It’s magic!

Well, not really…

Jewish Calendar

24-year Jewish calendar showing the month Adar II (the month of Adar bumped from its normal spot on the calendar by the leap-year addition Adar I). Click image for large version.

There’s a fun twist: it takes the moon a little over 29.5 solar days to orbit the earth, so the Jewish month is about an odd half solar day long.  Over time this “error” accumulates and would force holidays to occur out of season as days shift on the calendar.

To compensate, every few years, an extra month is inserted into the calendar.  The regular month of Adar becomes “Adar II”, and the temporary extra month is named “Adar I”.  This concept should be familiar to many — a solar year is really 365.25 days long, not 365.  Over time, this error would accumulate and the seasons/holidays of the solar calendar would become “off”.  (For Northern Hemisphere Christians, Christmas (December 25) would eventually occur in the summer!)

We know the corrective measure as the leap year.

Why am I banging away at the details like this?  To impress upon the reader just how hard people have worked throughout history to make sure that events such as religious holidays here on earth line up with an event going on up in the sky.

There’s an additional twist: in Judaism, days begin at nightfall, not at midnight as they do on the solar calendar.  For those of you keeping score at home, tying a calendar to both the moon and sun in ways like this technically makes the Jewish calendar a “lunisolar” calendar.  (You’re welcome).

But is there an eclipse every full moon? No.  This is because of yet another twist: with respect to the earth’s orbit around the sun (the “ecliptic”), the moon’s orbit forms an angle of approximately 5 degrees.  Put more simply, if you drew a line between the middle of the earth to the middle of the sun, the moon would appear to swing “above” or “below” the line by 5 degrees as it orbits.  Usually, when the moon is full, it is “above” or “below” our planet’s shadow, and no eclipse occurs.

So, given all of this information on Jewish holidays, full moons, and lunar eclipses, we’re finally ready to look at some actual historical events and Hagee’s claims, and see what, if anything, has been happening on certain Jewish holidays.  Can we make any prophecies of future events based on what we find?

 

Quote:

“I believe that in these next two years, we’re going to see something dramatic happen in the Middle East involving Israel that will change the course of history in the Middle East and impact the whole world.”

Response:  When is something not happening involving Israel that impacts the Middle East and the whole world?13  This is, remember, a country straddling the geographic heart and soul of 3 major world religions.  This kind of prophecy is as easy as predicting an earthquake on the San Andreas fault.  Can you be more specific please?

1948 War map

Israel’s 1948 War.  When is something of importance NOT happening here?  Click image to enlarge.

Quote:

In the past, the rare appearance of four blood moons on these feast days has coincided with major events for Israel and the Jewish people.

In 1492, Spain expelled the Jews. Columbus also discovered America, which became a safe haven for the Jewish people.

Response:  Columbus didn’t “discover” America.  There were millions of people living there when he arrived.  But the honor of being the first foreigner to discover the continent is seriously in doubt.5  Historians say that serious claimants include John Chabot and the Vikings.  But it doesn’t matter.  There were a lot of people living in America when Columbus arrived… consensus estimates seem to put the total around ten million, though some go higher.4

Unfortunately for Hagee there were no total eclipses of the moon in 1492.  There’s nothing even close.  Had he bothered to check, he would not have found totality before November 27, 1490 and then not again until April 2, 1493.16

Having already missed the mark with no total lunar eclipses in Columbus’ banner year, Hagee will be saddened to learn that not even his 1490 and 1493 eclipses occurred during Passover or Sukkot.16,17,18

As a side-note… America did indeed become a safe haven for the Jewish people, as Hagee states, but sadly it did not remain so for the millions of people already living there when Columbus arrived.15

 

Quote:

 “In each of these blood moons, you have something that begins in tragedy and ends in triumph”

Response:  On October 6, 1973,  Arab states launched a surprise attack on Israel during Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year in Judaism.  Israel was sent reeling by the attack but turned tragedy into triumph, reaching the outskirts of Damascus in Syria and completely encircling the Egyptian army in the Sinai Peninsula.6

There was no set of 4 blood moons.  There wasn’t even a lunar eclipse during the holidays.7

Wait a minute.  I thought events beginning with tragedy and ending in triumph were supposed to be signaled by blood moons?

Israeli tank, Yom Kippur War

Destroyed Israeli tank, 1973 Yom Kippur War. The war began in tragedy and ended in triumph.   There was no “blood moon.”

 

In all fairness to Hagee, I picked the 1973 date.  So let’s let John pick the date…

 

Quote:

“In 1967, Israel won the Six-Day War and recaptured Jerusalem.

“For the first time in 2,000 years, Jerusalem and the State of Israel were together again,” Hagee said.

Response:  It kills me when authors don’t take time to do their own research.  Notice that in the previous response, I picked the war, and could be accused of cheating.  This time, Hagee picked the war.  Let’s look at 1967:

In 1967 PLO attacks on Israel, Syrian attacks on Israeli civilian settlements, and massing of Egyptian troops on the Israeli border resulted in Israel launching an attack on Jordan, Egypt, and Syria.  The three main Arab belligerents were supported by 11 additional Arab countries and/or political factions.  In just 6 days, Israel won large swathes of new territory, turning tragedy into what some consider miraculous victory.8

There was no set of 4 blood moons.  There wasn’t even a lunar eclipse during the holidays.9

Israeli soldiers, 6 Day War

Israeli soldiers, 1967 “6 Day War”.  The war began in tragedy and ended in triumph.  There was no “blood moon.”

 

Quote:

“He said it’s still unclear what the coming blood moons will bring, but he is certain of one thing.”

Response:  Given Hagee’s horrendous track record in history and predictions, I don’t even want to know what that one thing is.

 

Eclipse over home

Totality is ending. So is this article.   Image by the author.

Image Credits

All lunar eclipse photography by the author.  Copyright (c) 2014 Mark Aaron Alsip.  All rights reserved.

“John Hagee at Podium” from Wiki Commons, by owner Christians United for Israel.  Released into public domain by owner.    Image owner does not necessarily agree with or endorse the views expressed by the author.

“24 year Jewish Calendar for Adar II” from Wiki Commons.  This work is in the public domain of the United States because copyright has expired due to publication date prior to January 1, 1923.

“Israeli Soldiers in 6 Day War” from Wiki Commons.  Released into public domain for all use by owner “ROSENMAN424“.  Image owner does not necessarily agree with or endorse the views expressed by the author.

“Destroyed Israeli Tank” from Wiki Commons.  Image is in public domain as a work of the Egyptian government.

“Israel 1948 War map” from Wiki Commons.  Image released into public domain by Mr. Edward J. Krasnoborski and Mr. Frank Martini, Department of History, U.S. Military Academy.   Map authors do not necessarily agree with or endorse the views expressed by the author.

 

References

Note: To avoid increasing search engine exposure for quack web sites while still providing a link to all my references (like a good scientist should), I use the DoNotLink URL obfuscator to alter links to those sites.  I promise you I’m not redirecting you to porn 🙂

(1) Divine Sign for Israel? Hagee Explains Blood Moons (CBN article being debunked)
http://www.donotlink.com/gp0

(2) Jewish Holidays and Festivals for 2014, 2015, 2016 (Chabab.org)
http://www.chabad.org/holidays/default_cdo/jewish/holidays.htm

(3) Full Moon Calendar – dates and times for 2014, 2015, 2016
http://moongiant.com/Full_Moon_New_Moon_Calendar.php

(4) Alan Taylor (2002). American colonies; Vol 1, Penguin History of the United States, p. 40. ISBN 9780142002100
http://books.google.com/books?id=NPoAQRgkrOcC&pg=PA40&dq=pre-Columbian+population+million&cd=6#v=onepage&q=pre-Columbian%20population%20million&f=false

(5) So, Who Did Discover America?
http://www.historytoday.com/s-frederick-starr/so-who-did-discover-america

(6) Jewish Virtual Library, Chapter 8: The 1973 Yom Kippur War
http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/myths3/MF1973.html

(7) Lunar Eclipses: 1971 – 1980
http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/LEdecade/LEdecade1971.html

(8) The Six-Day War: Background & Overview
http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/History/67_War.html

(9) Catalog of Lunar Eclipses: 1901 to 2000
http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/LEcat5/LE1901-2000.html

(10) New Age followers still waiting for aliens to beam them up 15 years after Heaven’s Gate cult suicides left 39 people dead
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2120869/Heavens-Gate-cult-committed-mass-suicide-15-years-ago.html

(11) Alignment 2012 by John Major Jenkins
http://www.donotlink.com/bz8t

(12) Major Planetary Configurations (“Astrology- Find Your Fate”)
http://www.donotlink.com/bz8s

(13) Key Dates in Israel’s History
http://archive.adl.org/israel/advocacy/chronology.html#.VDbmyRaV00o

(14)  Jewish Calendar
http://www.jewfaq.org/calendar.htm

(15) Wounded Knee
http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com/knee.htm

(16) NASA Five Millennium Catalog of Lunar Eclipses (1401 to 1500)
http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/LEcat5/LE1401-1500.html

(17) Hebrew Calendar 2271 – 2272 (Roman year 1940 B.C.)
http://www.cgsf.org/dbeattie/calendar/?roman=1490b.c.e

(18) Hebrew Calendar 2268 – 2269 (Roman year 1943 B.C.)
http://www.cgsf.org/dbeattie/calendar/?roman=1493b.c.e

Food Babe Pushing “Dangerous” Items: Borage Therapy Dry Skin Lotion

I’ve got some extra spending money this week, so I thought I’d go shopping at FoodBabe.com.1  I want to be extra careful though, and not buy anything that might harm my body.  So I’m going to use Vani Hari (the Food Babe)’s excellent article, “Be a Drug Store Beauty Dropout”2 as a reference, and closely examine the ingredients of any product I might buy.

Come with me, won’t you?  It’ll be fun!

One warning that particularly stands out in chemistry expert Hari’s thought-provoking piece is the following, where she says we must avoid:

“Siloxanes. Look for ingredients ending in “-siloxane” or “-methicone.” Used in a variety of cosmetics to soften, smooth and moisten. Suspected endocrine disrupter [SIC] and reproductive toxicant (cyclotetrasiloxane). Harmful to fish and other wildlife.”2

OK.  Avoid anything ending in “-siloxane” or “-methicone”.  Got it.  Let’s go shopping!

Mmmm… that Borage Dry Skin Therapy lotion looks wonderful.  The cold winter weather does have me feeling a bit chapped in the old nether regions.  And the highlighted Amazon.com affiliate ID tells me that Food Babe earns a sales commission from every purchase.  This means I’m helping further this woman’s vitally important work.  What’s not to love?

Borage on FoodBabe.com

Borage Dry Skin Therapy on FoodBabe.com’s shopping page.  Note the highlighted Amazon.com affiliate ID.

But wait…  don’t click the “buy” button just yet!

Following the sage advice of Food Babe, we need to take a close look at the ingredients in this skin therapy lotion.  We wouldn’t want to find anything harmful in there!  Thankfully Borage gives us a nice ingredient list on Amazon.3  You can click the following image to enlarge it, or I’ll zoom in for you momentarily:

Borage ingredients

Borage Dry Skin Therapy ingredients.  Click to enlarge.

 

Uh oh:

oops!Help me out here:  Food Babe said that we’re supposed to avoid ingredients ending in “-siloxane” or “-methicone”!  Damn my eyes, but doesn’t “dimethicone” end in “-methicone”?

Maybe the Babe just made a mistake.  She’s a fully qualified researcher, but she’s also human, after all!  This could just be a case of mistaken identity.  Let’s see if we can find a more commonly used name for dimethicone by heading over to the U.S. National Library of Medicine’s PubChem database:3

Pubchem dimethicone

Out of the frying pan and into the fire–dimethicone is better known as octamethyltrisiloxane–which ends in Food Babe’s banned “-siloxane”.  (Click to enlarge).

Oops!  Octamethyltrisiloxane.  That ends in “-siloxane”!

This isn’t going very well.  I’d better pull up that Food Babe reference again and make sure I read what she wrote correctly, because she clearly told me to avoid:

“Siloxanes. Look for ingredients ending in “-siloxane” or “-methicone.” Used in a variety of cosmetics to soften, smooth and moisten. Suspected endocrine disrupter [SIC] and reproductive toxicant (cyclotetrasiloxane). Harmful to fish and other wildlife.” 2

What the hell?  In addition to her inability to spell “disruptor”, is Food Babe also trying to sell me a skin care product that’s going to mess with my endocrine system, screw up my reproductive organs, and–as an afterthought–kill my pet fish?

I want my money back!

Conclusion
If you’ve read any of the other articles in this series, you know that this is where I usually debunk Vani Hari’s claims that the ingredient in question (in this case, octamethyltrisiloxane) is really dangerous.

It’s getting old.  I’ve written about a dozen of these pieces now, and have already once shot down the -siloxane/-methicone garbage here.  I just don’t have the energy to do it all again. Why reinforce the negative impact of Food Babe’s ridiculous claims by going on and on about the safety?  Psychiatrists call this the “backfire effect”, and I’m loathe to do it. Borage Dry Skin Lotion is completely safe.

However, if you’re curious and would like to hear what experts say about octamethyltrisiloxane (dimethicone, the ingredient in the skin lotion), you’re welcome to read the toxicity summary at PubChem and see that Food Babe’s been pulling the wool over your eyes.

On the other hand, if you believe Food Babe and think that octamethyltrisiloxane (dimethicone) is toxic, then head over to her Facebook page and ask her why she’s selling a product laced with it.  I can guarantee that your comment will be deleted and you’ll be banned… never allowed to comment again.

I’m out of here.  I’m going to go buy some Borage skin lotion.  I’m just not going to buy it from Food Babe.

 

 

You May Also Be Interested In
Food Babe Pushing “Dangerous” Items: Tarte Blush
https://badscidebunked.wordpress.com/2015/01/09/food-babe-selling-dangerous-items-tarte-blush/

Food Babe Pushing “Dangerous” Items: Dandelions
https://badscidebunked.wordpress.com/2015/02/03/food-babe-pushing-dangerous-items-dandelions/

Food Babe Pushing “Dangerous” Items: Avalon Organics Repair Milk
https://badscidebunked.wordpress.com/2015/01/29/food-babe-pushing-dangerous-items-avalon-organics-repair-milk/

Food Babe Pushing “Dangerous” Items: Tarte Lights Camera Action Mascara
https://badscidebunked.wordpress.com/2015/01/14/food-babe-pushing-dangerous-items-tarte-lights-camera-action-mascara/

Food Babe Pushing “Dangerous” Items: Aubrey Organics Honeysuckle Shampoo
https://badscidebunked.wordpress.com/2014/12/29/food-babe-pushing-dangerous-items-honeysuckle-shampoo/

Food Babe Pushing “Dangerous” Items: Naturally Fresh Deodorant
https://badscidebunked.wordpress.com/2014/12/30/food-babe-pushing-dangerous-items-naturally-fresh-deodorant

Food Babe Pushing “Dangerous” Items: Physician’s Formula Organic Wear
https://badscidebunked.wordpress.com/2015/01/08/food-babe-pushing-dangerous-items-physicians-formula-organic-wear/

The Food Babe Ban List
https://badscidebunked.wordpress.com/2014/12/17/the-food-babe-ban-list/

 

Image Credits
Octamethyltrisiloxane courtesy USNLM PubChem, which does not necessarily agree with the views expressed by the author.

Amazon.com and Borage 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.

 

References
(1) “For Your Beauty” (Shopping on FoodBabe.com)
http://foodbabe.com/shop/for-your-beauty/

(2) Be a Drug Store Beauty Dropout!
http://foodbabe.com/2011/07/31/how-to-find-safe-beauty-products/

(3) Borage Dry Skin Therapy Product Page on Amazon.com
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0012QYX18

(4) PubChem Summary for Compound CID #24705 (Trisiloxane, aka dimethicone)
http://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/24705

Food Babe Pushing “Dangerous” Items: Dandelions

dandelionAh!  Spring is just 6 weeks away here in the Northern Hemisphere.  I can hardly wait for the warm weather.  And the Food Babe (Vani Hari) can’t wait to start digging weeds out of her yard and making juice out of them.

What the…?

Incredibly, in her article “Super Detox Juice”,1 Vani argues that the humble dandelion can be used to detoxify and beautify your body–inside and out.  Well!

The only problem is, by Food Babe’s own logic, drinking dandelion juice will also give you cancer!

How can this be?  Well, to explain, we’ve got to flash back to one of the Babe’s most notorious slander wars: the infamous Starbucks campaign.

Ms. Hari seems to be perpetually enraged–enraged I say (!)–that Starbucks pumpkin latte contains a coloring composed of 4-Methylimidazole (“4-Mel”).2  She uses the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) as her source for the claim made in the following info-graphic:

food babe's 4-mel campaign

Screen capture from Food Babe’s Starbucks misinformation campaign.

 

The Babe grossly misrepresents the dangers of 4-Mel, which is only classified as a “group 2B” carcinogen by the IARC.  I’ll explain the group “2B designation” in more detail momentarily (don’t get scared), but for now please keep in mind these two very important points:

  1. Food Babe says the Starbucks latte is dangerous because it contains a group 2B carcinogen
  2. She clearly says her source is the IARC–just read her article.2

Here, let me show you 4-Mel, straight from Food Babe’s source (the IARC list):3

4-mel

 

OK, so what does this have to do with dandelions?

Thank you for asking!  Botanical experts who’ve analyzed dandelions have found that they contain a compound called caffeic acid.4,5,6

So let’s go to the same list from which Food Babe pulled her 4-Mel Starbucks reference and see what else we might find there (queue ominous sounds of thunder):

IARC caffeic acid

 

Caffeic acid?

homer simpsonCaffeic acid, a group 2B carcinogen, is found in dandelions!

Why oh why is it OK for Food Babe to wage a two-year social media, print, and television campaign against Starbucks because of a group 2B carcinogen in their pumpkin latte, but then recommend making a juice out of another group 2B carcinogen?  She has nearly a million followers on Facebook.  Does she care about their well being?  Does she ever actually investigate the food and products she pushes?  Or is she just trying to sell a book with recipes and health advice?

She asks this about a drink containing a group 2B carcinogen:

“Wouldn’t it be nice to walk into a Starbucks and order a drink without potential cancer-causing additives and to know exactly what you are drinking?”2

So why is she saying this about a juice that contains a group 2B carcinogen:?

“[…] one of the most healing greens you can buy […] proven to reduce swelling, bloating and stimulate the digestive system to release toxins. You can say bye bye to water retention after travel, a heavily salted meal or eating too much.” 1

Could the answer be that she’s making money from the advice in the second paragraph?

 

I think the great Vince Lombardi said it best…

vince lombardi meme

I think Vince Lombardi would have had this to say about Food Babe’s investigative skills…

 

Conclusion
Group 2B carcinogens–by their very definition–have not been shown to cause cancer in humans.7,8  Group 2B carcinogens are:

“[…] agents for which there is limited evidence of carcinogenicity in humans and less than sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity in experimental animals. [the term] may also be used when there is inadequate evidence of carcinogenicity in humans but there is sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity in experimental animals. ” –International Agency for Research on Cancer7,8

(Emphasis mine.)

I’m not a doctor or chemist but I’m not too worried about group 2B carcinogens, given that other items in this same group include coffee, pickled vegetables, talc body powder, and the professions of firefighting and carpentry.3

If you want to eat the weeds from your yard, be my guest.  Just remember that Vani says to chew your juice–don’t drink it. 😉

 

Image Credits
Dandelion image by Kate Jewell, from Wiki Commons.  Used under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License.  The image creator does not necessarily agree with the views expressed by the author in this article.

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.

Homer Simpson image is 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.

Vince Lombardi/Green Bay Packers image is 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.

 

References
Please note: I use the DoNotLink service to obfuscate links to questionable web sites and prevent increasing their search engine exposure. I promise you are not being redirected to porn. 🙂

(1) Food Babe: “Super Detox Juice”
http://foodbabe.com/2012/03/17/super-detox-juice/

(2) Food Babe: Drink Starbucks? Wake Up And Smell The Chemicals!
http://foodbabe.com/2014/09/02/drink-starbucks-wake-up-and-smell-the-chemicals/

(3) Agents Classified by the IARC Monographs, Volumes 1–111
http://monographs.iarc.fr/ENG/Classification/ClassificationsAlphaOrder.pdf

(4) Yarnell, E. ND, RH and Abascal, K. JD, RH.  Integrative Medicine, Vol. 8, No. 2. Apr/May 2009
http://www.imjournal.com/resources/web_pdfs/0409_yarnell.pdf

(5) Li, Yan, Tan, et al. 2006. Qualitative fingerprint and quantitative determination of caffeic acid in compound dandelion enema.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17062364

(6) PubChem Summary for Compound ID #689043 (Caffeic Acid)
http://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/689043

(7) IARC Monographs: Classification
http://monographs.iarc.fr/ENG/Classification/

(8) IARC Monographs: Scientific Review and Evaluation
http://monographs.iarc.fr/ENG/Preamble/currentb6evalrationale0706.php