Lately it seems like Facebook is trying to scare us all to death with ominous warnings about brominated vegetable oil, deadly cake mix, killer brown recluse spiders and child-abducting men in silver cars, or cops who beat up civilians and might get their jobs back.
Then there’s the “fun facts” type posts about the main ingredients of WD-40.
The problem? All the stories about these things are only partially true at best. Each one leaves out vital pieces of information or includes vast swathes of incorrect information.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t repost information when you get it or when you see it on Facebook, but please take the 30 seconds it requires to check it out on snopes.com or otherwise verify it.
Don’t add to the vast array of bad “information” out there. Don’t help make the world a little more ignorant. It only takes a moment to determine some of these things are not accurate.
Brominated Vegetable Oil
What the warning says: I’ve seen two warnings about this substance, which is found in Mountain Dew. One of them attempted to terrify people by asking “Do you feed your children flame retardants?” To which the answer is, of course, “Yes,” because water is a very effective flame retardant, and it is required to keep the human body functioning.
The other warning calls BVO a “poisonous, corrosive chemical.” The same can just as accurately be said about water: it can act as a poison in large enough quantities and its corrosive action is easy to see if you leave an iron object in the water for a while. And of course, everything is made out of chemicals, from good old H20 (water) to the oxygen we breathe, O2. (Oh, and that oxygen is explosive, by the way.)
What the warning leaves out: No studies have shown serious health issues caused by moderate consumption of beverages containing BVO at the concentrations typically used in those products.
That said: there have indeed been cases in which people have suffered ill effects from BVO in soft drinks, so there’s a grain of truth in the fear-mongering. However, those people were drinking 2-8 liters of soda in a day.
Dose makes the poison, and there are no toxic substances, only toxic doses. In sufficient amounts, water is a poison too, and excessive amounts of vitamin D can be very harmful. And drinking 2-8 liters of soda in a day is probably not a good idea anyway, BVO or no BVO. Caution and moderation is definitely called for; pouring out all your Mountain Dew really isn’t.