Debunking Denialism

Fighting pseudoscience and quackery with reason and evidence.

Tag Archives: FDA

Homeopathic Company Finally Recalls Teething Products Containing Belladonna

Homeopathic teething products with Belladonna recalled

Homeopathy is a pseudoscience that is based on two core principles. The first is that like cures like. So if you get bitten by a venomous snake, this same snake venom will prevent you from dying. In reality, a dangerous snake bite from a venomous snake is treated with, for instance, antivenom that via specific molecular mechanisms prevent the venom from having negative health effects on the body. The second is that the more you dilute something, the stronger it becomes. In particular, homeopathy involves diluting products so much that there is almost always not a single molecule left of the supposed active ingredient.

Based on basic science considerations from physics, chemistry and biology, homeopathy does not work and cannot work. Large-scale and methodologically sound scientific studies have also shown that homeopathy is ineffective as a treatment for real medical conditions. In essence, homeopathy is quackery that does not work above placebo. Homeopaths push these ineffective remedies for a large range of real medical conditions and even some minor issues, like teething (when new teeth push through the gums of a young child).

What are these belladonna-containing teething tablets?

The products in question are teething tablets that are manufactured by the Standard Homeopathic Company. These are supposed to contain no detectable levels of belladonna (since it is all diluted away), but since homeopathy is a pseudoscience, one cannot really assume that they will have good manufacturing practices. Laboratory analyses performed by the U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) showed that Hyland’s homeopathic teething tablets contained too large and inconsistent amounts of belladonna (a plant that contains dangerous secondary metabolites such as atropine, scopolamine and hyoscyamine).

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Homeopathic Teething Products Contain Elevated Amounts of Belladonna

FDA homeopathic teething products

Homeopathy is a pseudoscience created around 1800 that ignores basic chemistry and biology. It wrongly claims that the more you dilute something, the stronger it becomes. In reality, the more you dilute something, the weaker it becomes. This is obvious to anyone who has ever mixed juice concentrate and water. The more water, the weaker the juice will taste. If you add no water, it will taste horribly strong. For homeopathy, it involves so extreme dilutions that there is statistically no actual molecules left of the supposed active ingredient.

Homeopathy also wrongly state that “like cures like”, so that you should consume more snake venom to cure a snake bite. This is obviously wrong since you just get more of the bad stuff. In reality, diseases that we can cure almost always have well-defined and mechanistically understood modes of action. So their alleged active ingredient is not actually active against the disease or condition even if it had not been astronomically diluted.

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Decimating the Flawed Beliefs of Anti-GMO Activists

Related: Scientific American Stands Against Mandatory Labeling of GM Foods, Unraveling Five Popular Anti-GMO Claims.

Anti-GMO Activists of Facebook

Recently, the editors of Scientific American took a stand against the mandatory labeling of food products containing ingredients that have been genetically modified using biotech tools.

Their main arguments was that it would only increase the already widespread misconceptions about GM foods, lead to less consumer choice as companies want to avoid labels on their products that may decrease sales, increase food costs for the consumer, give farmers and manufacturers additional administrative work and further stigmatize beneficial technologies that have increased yields and profits for individual farmers and promises to combat deficiency diseases that blinds and kills hundreds of thousands of children. I wrote a blog post about the backlash in the comment section to the Scientific American article, finding the arguments provided by anti-GMO activists to be misguided and inaccurate.

As predicted, the anti-GMO activists were not discouraged one bit by the Scientific American article and tried to drown out the science-based arguments showing that GM foods are stringently tested, heavily regulated and safe, both for human consumption and the environment. This occurred, among other places, on the facebook page Skeptics; Atheists; Realists; Agnostics; Humanists when they shared the Scientific American article. Several anti-GMO activists and misguided bystanders swarmed down on in the comment section and started spreading what, at the time of this writing, added up to least twenty-four anti-GMO falsehoods. This article refutes most of them Read more of this post

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