UnNatural News: The Health Ranger Sells Formaldehyde

mike adams formaldehyde

For the most part, the scientific world simply laughs at Mike Adams, the self-proclaimed
“Health Ranger”.  Adams’ web site, Natural News, regularly publishes supermarket tabloid-style articles on topics such as life on Mars being wiped out by ancient aliens, World War III possibly already being underway, and both 9/11 and the Sandy Hook massacre being hoaxes.  And who can forget this side-splitting video1 of Adams and a puppet expressing (in song) their scientific illiteracy about GMOs?

But there’s a serious, darker side to The Ranger.  In addition to spouting medical misinformation that could actually cost real human lives, such as the well-debunked view that vaccines are dangerous and pushing ineffective holistic cancer cures, Mike Adams is selling merchandise that contains the very same chemicals he claims will kill you.

To illustrate this last point, let’s go shopping at NaturalNews.com.  Having been bent over in the garden doing a lot of weeding these past few weeks, my back is killing me.  The Health Ranger promises that this bottle of NutraCool topical pain relief formula will cure what ails me:2

nutracool product formaldehyde

NutraCool, on sale in the Natural News store, contains an ingredient Mike Adams links to cancer. (click/enlarge)

Before I buy though, I’m keen to take the advice of Mr. Adams and learn what’s in the product I’m considering putting on my body.  If you read Natural News regularly, there are supposedly a lot of sneaky toxic chemicals out there in the cold cruel world–not all of them sitting out in plain sight.  Why, here… check out this advice on hidden formaldehyde in cosmetics and skin care products:

“Formaldehyde is a highly toxic chemical that is still used under the guise of different ingredient names that don’t include “formaldehyde” in the title in a large number of products that are frequently in close contact with consumers.” 3

One of those devious, hidden formaldehyde sources, according to the Health Ranger?  Sodium hydroxymethylglycinate.  This compound is sometimes used as a preservative in cosmetics, much to the chagrin of astroturf “consumer advocate” sites quoted by Adams, such as the Environmental Working Group (EWG), which warns that sodium hydroxymethylglycinate can slowly release formaldehyde into cosmetics over time.

Why might this matter to Mike Adams?

“Formaldehyde is highly effective as a preservative; however, it is also highly toxic to our immune system, nervous system and is also a major carcinogen.” 3

Health Ranger says to avoid sodium hydroxymethylglycinate in personal care products and links it to myriad diseases.  Do you see where this is going?  Maestro, cue the ominous drum roll.  Let’s even add some scary claps of thunder, because this is going to be big.  Without further ado, I present the ingredients in the UltraCool pain relief gel sold by NaturalNews.com:2

natural news nutra cool

NutraCool ingredients

As Minnie Mouse said to Mickey on their wedding night:  Eek!  There it is in all its glory… sodium hydroxymethylglycinate.  The chemical compound Natural News links via formaldehyde to cancer, neurotoxicity, and immune system disfunction is a prominent ingredient in the company’s merchandise.

If Mike Adams is a health “Ranger”, his (moral) compass doesn’t appear to be pointing due north.

A disturbing trait of snake oil salesmen is how openly they run their con games while going unnoticed by their marks.  You might forgive an unsuspecting customer for missing the sodium hydroxymethylglycinate buried deep on a web page, but Natural News also proudly displays the additive on the product label, complete with a magnifying glass feature.  You can’t miss it if you try.  See the following image (click to enlarge).

nutra cool label natural news

Mike Adams proudly displays the “carcinogenic” sodium hydroxymethylglycinate on his product label. Maybe he knows nobody’s looking and/or they don’t know he’s conning them. (click/enlarge)

So NaturalNews wants me to rub this pain-relief lotion all over my skin, even though it contains an additive they’ve linked to cancer?  Let’s pause one last time and let Mike Adams “educate” us on the wisdom of this action:

Given the fact that just about everything you put on your skin gets absorbed into your bloodstream…5

Gee, thanks Mike.

This is just one of many (upcoming) examples of a web site/Facebook page misleading nearly two million followers.  Chuckle over Natural News’ featherbrained conspiracy theories, yes.  But don’t fall for or spread their potentially fatal lies about the dangers of vaccines and GMOS (read: they’re safe).  And by all that’s holy, don’t spend your hard-earned money in the Health Ranger’s online store.  When an unqualified, self-styled “expert” such as Adams tells us to avoid “formaldehyde-releasing” cosmetic ingredients and then sells eight ounces of the very same for $29.95–shame on us for buying.

 

References
(1) Just Label It Song
http://www.naturalnews.com/just-label-it-song.html

(2) NutralCool on NaturalNews.com Store
http://store.naturalnews.com/NutraCool_p_4.html

(3) Four Common Formaldehyde Releasers to Avoid in Your Cosmetics and Skin Care (NaturalNews.com)
http://www.naturalnews.com/041323_formaldehyde_skin_care_cosmetics.html

(4) NaturalNews.com: Chemicals in Skin Care Products
http://www.naturalnews.com/023317_skin_chemicals_products.html

 

Image Credits
Natural News and Mike Adams/Health Ranger screen and product snapshots are used in strict 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.

Opening photo parody/illustration by Mark Alsip/Bad Science debunked.  Produced with elements (c) Natural News; also used instrict 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.

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Anti-GMO “Natural Society” Links Formaldehyde To Cancer–But Sells Formaldehyde

Recently I wrote about the so-called Natural Society’s hypocrisy in criticizing cellulose as indigestible food filler while at the same time using it in the dietary supplements they sell.  This offense is minor compared to the gaffe they’ve committed in their virulent anti-GMO campaign.

The Natural Society doesn’t like formaldehyde. I mean, they really don’t like formaldehyde.2,3  Ranting about the supposed natural production of this compound by GMO soy, author Christina Sarich terrifies readers with tales of an IARC Group 1 carcinogen skulking in their food, while compatriot Patrick Gallagher warns that even the vapor content is so dangerous it should be avoided.

So:  why is the Natural Society selling formaldehyde to their followers?

Don’t believe me? Let’s visit the Natural Society online store. Here’s a nice 8-ounce jar of Sombra Pain Relieving Gel:

Sombra Pain Relieving Gel from the Natural Society

Sombra Pain Relieving Gel from the Natural Society. (click/enlarge)

 

The list of ingredients seems innocent at first, but I’ve highlighted something interesting:

Sombra ingredients

Sombra contains sodium hydroxymethylglycinate, aka a “formaldehyde releaser.” (click/enlarge)

As Winnie the Pooh is famous for saying: “Oh, bother!”.  Sodium ‘hydromethylglycinate’, the preservative in Natural Society’s Sombra gel, is either accidentally or intentionally misspelled.  We can go to the Sombra web site and confirm it’s actually sodium hydroxymethylglycinate:  a compound known as a “formaldehyde releaser.”

As you might guess from the name, a formaldehyde releaser slowly releases formaldehyde into a product over time.  The purpose is to act as a preservative, deterring the growth of bacteria, fungi, and other undesired “guests.”  Here’s the correctly-spelled ingredient list, courtesy the Sombra web site:11

Sombra's ingrdient list

Natural Society either accidentally or intentionally misspelled one of the ingredients.  Here’s the correct ingredient list, straight from the manufacturer. (click/enlarge)

For a small fee, the Natural Society could have gone through PubMed or PubChem and purchased access to one of the many papers confirming their favored preservative’s role in releasing formaldehyde into the product they’re selling.5,6,7 It cost me just $6.00 and 15 minutes of reading time to learn about sodium hydroxymethylglycinate in “Formaldehyde-releasers in cosmetics: relationship to formaldehyde contact allergy”: 5

sodium hydroxymethylglycinate

Sodium hydroxymethylglycinate, excerpt from “Formaldehyde-releasers in cosmetics: relationship to formaldehyde contact allergy.”5

 

But it gets worse.  Like so many other snake oil peddlers on the internet, Natural Society quotes the non-science-based Environmental Work Group (EWG) at every drop of the hat.8,9  And even EWG pegged the formaldehyde releasing capabilities of sodium hydroxymethylglycinate.10

So where did Natural Society go wrong?  Was it a lack of research?

“After working to find all of the best brands in the industry, we settled on Sombra’s Cool Therapy gel after over an entire year of testing and research.” 4

Whoa.  An entire year of testing and research, and they missed the formaldehyde?

Or did they?

Remember Christina Sarich, the Society writer/formaldehyde-hater we discussed at the beginning of this article?  Here she is again, writing for the Natural Society on  the subject of toxic formaldehyde releasers in skin care products:

“Furthermore, many face and body soaps contain ‘antibiotic cleansers’ like Triclosan. What else? Benzethonium chloride, artificial colorants, BHA, BHT, silicone derived emollients, parabens, and Formaldehyde releasers [DMDM hydantoin diazolidinyl urea, Imidazolidinyl urea Sodium hydroxymethylglycinate, N-(Hydroxymethyl) glycine, monosodium salt, and quaternium-15]. YUCK!”12

Holy GMO-free sh*t!  The same author who writes about the dangers of carcinogenic formaldehyde in GMO food also warns about it avoiding in skin care products–then turns around and sells it to you.

And all of this after an entire year of testing and research.  Cojones the size of Texas!  But I weep for the masses who hand their hard-earned money to businesses like this.

I weep.

 

Revision history:  corrected spelling of cojones (10 Dec 2015);

corrected title of reference (6) (12 Dec 2015)

 

 

 

Image Credits
Natural Society, Sombra screen and product snapshots 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.

Sodium hydroxymethylglycinate, from “Formaldehyde-releasers in cosmetics: relationship to formaldehyde contact allergy. Part 1. Characterization, frequency and relevance of sensitization, and frequency of use in cosmetics” 5, used under Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 of United States copyright law (commonly known as “fair use law”) with the intent of providing education.

References
(1) Study: GMO Soy Accumulates Cancer-causing Formaldehyde
http://naturalsociety.com/study-gmo-soy-accumulates-cancer-causing-formaldehyde/

(2) New Study: GMO Soy Accumuluates Cancerous Formaldehyde
http://naturalsociety.com/new-study-gmo-soy-accumulates-cancerous-formaldehyde/

(3) Styrene and Formaldehyde Use Causing Health Complications
http://naturalsociety.com/styrene-formaldehyde-use-causing-health-complications/

(4) Sombra Pain Relief Cream on Natural Society Shopping Page
https://shop.naturalsociety.com/product/sombra-cool-therapy-pain-relieving-gel-8-oz

(5) Formaldehyde-releasers in cosmetics: relationship to formaldehyde contact allergy. Part 1. Characterization, frequency and relevance of sensitization, and frequency of use in cosmetics.
Contact Dermatitis. 2010 Jan;62(1):2-17. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0536.2009.01615.x.
de Groot AC1, White IR, Flyvholm MA, Lensen G, Coenraads PJ.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20136875
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1600-0536.2009.01615.x/abstract  (full text, last accessed 08 Dec 2015)

(6) Sodium Hydroxymethylglycinate
Dermatitis. 2010 Mar-Apr;21(2):109-10.
Russell K1, Jacob SE.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20233550

(7) Sodium hydroxymethylglycinate: a potential formaldehyde-releasing preservative in child products.
Dermatitis. 2009 Nov-Dec;20(6):347-9.
Jacob SE1, Hsu JW.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19958742

(8) Natural Society Quotes EWG: Toxic Flame Retardants in Baby Products
http://naturalsociety.com/toxic-flame-retardants-found-in-80-of-baby-products/

(9) Natural Society Quotes EWG: Glyphosate Doubles Cancer Risk
http://naturalsociety.com/ewg-monsantos-herbicide-chemical-glyphosate-doubles-cancer-risk/

(10) EWG: Sodium Hydroxymethylglycinate
http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ingredient/706077/SODIUM_HYDROXYMETHYLGLYCINATE_(FORMALDEHYDE_RELEASER)/#

(11) Sombra Gel Ingredients (manufacturer website)
http://www.sombrausa.com/cool-therapy

(12) Five Healthier Swaps for Expensive Toxic Skin Care Products
http://naturalsociety.com/5-cheaper-healthier-swaps-expensive-toxic-skin-care-products/

Attention Diet Soft Drink Haters (Aspartame Myth Debunked)

Aside

DietMountainDew10603521_323332731185413_142995927934390093_n

Would you intentionally drink something that turns into methanol and formaldehyde in your body?

No?

I’ve got bad news for you then. Head to your refrigerator and throw out all the fruit juices and fruit. Don’t forgot those tomatoes and tomato juice. Sorry to break the bad news, but citrus fruits and juices, just like the artificial sweetener aspartame (found in diet soft drinks) break down into methanol and formaldehyde after you eat/drink them.

The only difference is that the citrus fruits usually produce MORE methanol and formaldehyde.

It gets worse. Are you a beer lover? Do you like wine or mixed drinks? The ethyl alcohol in your drinks is eventually broken down into a close poisonous relative of formaldehyde known as acetaldehyde. So while you’re tossing out the fruit and juices, don’t forget the beer, wine, and bourbon. (There are of course other dangers of alcohol abuse. That’s fodder for another article. I just want to point out the formaldehyde issue here).

Now that you’ve thrown out the worst methanol and formaldehyde offenders, you can, in good conscience, toss out the diet soft drinks. OR KEEP READING 

It just so happens that our bodies are set up to naturally process everything that’s broken down by the digestive system when you eat a grapefruit, orange, tomato, or drink orange juice or diet soda.

True, you’re pushing even MORE methanol and formaldehyde through your system with some of the fruits than with the Diet Mountain Dew, but that’s OK — your body can handle that. There is no difference in the methanol and formaldehyde that comes from soft drinks and that that comes from citrus fruits. Period. Case closed.

In an upcoming post, I’ll be attacking another popular myth that’s back in the news lately, courtesy Dr. Oz.: do soft drinks cause cancer?

—————– References ————–

Relationship Between Aspartame, Methanol and Formaldehyde Explained
Bernadene Magnuson, Ph.D., Cantox Health Sciences International, for the Aspartame Expert Work Group (2008)
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics http://www.andeal.org/topic.cfm?cat=4089

Artificial Sweeteners: Is Aspartame Safe?
Harriet Hall
Science-Based Medicine http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/are-artificial-sweeteners-safe/

Aspartame and Formaldehyde (or not…)
Josh Dewald
What Does the Science Say?http://whatdoesthesciencesay.wordpress.com/2010/06/13/aspartame-and-formaldehyde/

Alcohol Metabolism: An Update
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/AA72/AA72.htm