Dr. Joe Mercola is infamous for his zero tolerance policy on “harmful” chemicals (read: those not sold via his online store). He’s pontificated about clearing an entire building due to a mercury spill smaller than the size of a tooth filling, so I find it ironic that after writing nearly three dozen articles on pesticide dangers, he’s selling a personal care product that contains…. wait for it… a pesticide.
Surprised? You shouldn’t be. Grab your credit cards and breathing gear. It’s time for a shopping trip to Mercola.com.
Why look! Here’s a nice bottle of organic facial cleanser:1
Let’s let doctor Mercola himself describe some of the key ingredients in this product:
Neem oil is really interesting. Mr. Mercola, if you’d be so kind as to elucidate:1
“Neem oil is the unique ingredient which makes Daily Facial Cleanser clearly stand out.”–Mercola.com
Neem oil stands out, indeed: It’s a pesticide used in organic farming! You can pop over to your local lawn and garden shop and pick up a bottle during halftime of next weekend’s football game and be home in time to kill off a large population of the creepy crawlies in your back yard:
If Mercola was here to defend himself, no doubt he’d say this is an all-natural, organic pesticide, and that it’s been used for centuries in folk medicine, with no ill effect. Except there have been ill effects:
“Twelve children were admitted with convulsions and altered sensorium following ingestion of locally obtained neem oil. Ten died within 24 hours.”–Indian Journal of Pediatrics 2
“This report highlights the toxicity associated with neem oil poisoning in an elderly male. […] In the emergency department, the patient developed generalized convulsions with loss of consciousness. “–Indian Journal of Critical Care Medicine 3
There are a lot more examples. Don’t believe me? Spend some time on PubMed. True, neem oil can be refined to remove toxic components, but given Mercola’s aversion to refining natural compounds, that isn’t likely a recipe he’d find palatable.
But I’m not here to do Mercola’s research for him. My goal is to simply point out that the fear mongering de facto king of snake oil salesmen rants, ad nauseam, about pesticide use and then, without blinking an eye, uses a known insecticide in one of his facial care products. For the record, Mercola isn’t the only pesticide-hater hawking neem oil. His compatriot, the Food Babe, does so as well–in a children’s product!
This isn’t the first time we’ve caught Dr. Joe vending products that contain chemicals (or classes of chemicals) he says are dangerous. Who can forget the dozen or more highly toxic chemicals in his Himalayan Pink Salt (lead or mercury for breakfast, anyone?), or the Joe-Banned sweetener in Mercola Brand protein bars?
When will the public catch on to the fact that these health care gurus are taking them on an costly, extravagant ride? At first glance, the answer might seem to be “never”: Mercola has over one million followers, and most seem to be so indoctrinated that no amount of evidence is ever going to sway them.
I have a more optimistic outlook, however. There are billions of people who have never heard of Joseph Mercola. Think of them as unvaccinated, and Mercola as a virus. Now, what if skeptics such as you and I are a verbal vaccine? If we can reach out to the uninfected–those who have never been shopping at Mercola.com–and warn them about what they’re going to find there, perhaps we can build up a measure of immunity and save them from this nonsense.
Food for thought.
Oh, anyone need any facial cleanser?
Mercola.com screen snapshots and product image captures are used in strict compliance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 of United States copyright law (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.
Commercial neem oil pesticide product image captures are used in strict compliance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 of United States copyright law (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.
Mercola in the garden parody image by the author, used under parody provisions of Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 of United States copyright law.
(1) Organic Daily Facial Cleanser–Mercola.com
(2) The Indian Journal of Pediatrics
May 1982, Volume 49, Issue 3, pp 357-359
N. Sundaravalli, B. Bhaskar Raju M.D., K. A. Krishnamoorthy M.D. (1)
(3) Neem oil poisoning: Case report of an adult with toxic encephalopathy
Indian J Crit Care Med. 2013 Sep-Oct; 17(5): 321–322.
Ajay Mishra and Nikhil Dave