Dr. Oz magic will protect you from toxic chemicals. No it won t.

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Yes, you heard that right: the Wonderful Lizard of Oz is at it again, spreading fear about toxic chemicals, apparently snuck into our food by evil corporations. Bottom line: nothing to fear in the real world.

The_Dr._Oz_Show_logoAlways be selling seems to be the watchword on the Dr.Oz Show, or perhaps it should be called The Dr.Oz Travelling Medicine Show, given the snake-oil and related supplement junk he purveys in the guise of public health. But in order to convince as many of his star-struck viewers to buy his Dr. Oz Diet, he first has to scare them away from traditional fare. That s where his new theme comes in.

In a recent video and accompanying posting, entitled The Secret Ingredient Companies Are Hiding in Your Favorite Foods, the great and powerful Oz indicates that this secret ingredient namely, phthalates has been somehow snuck into your foods and plastic wrappings and utensils, etc., by evil corrupt food companies who don t care about poisoning their customers to make a quick buck.

Here s what s wrong with his scenario:

A: phthalates are not an ingredient they are a group of structurally similar chemicals whose main common function is to make PVC plastic flexible, without which your various flexible products, including household goods, wrappings, utensils, cups, et al ad infinitum, would be firm and mostly useless. Think for instance of flexible medical devices, tubing, blood/IV bags: until the 1950s or so, these were either not present or made of glass.

B: which leads to another of his distortions: phthalates have been around for decades, 5o years at least, and not of recent vintage, to be added in the dead of night to various foods and food-related items.

C: perhaps most importantly, phthalates (contrary to what Oz and his many acolytes and related toxic terrorists and chemophobic fearmongers allege) have not been shown to be of any health threat to anyone. The studies he refers to are from high-dose rat experiments. In 2000, ACSH s Blue-ribbon Panel studied phthalates for over a year; the Chair of the 17-member study group was former Surgeon General Dr. C. Everett Koop. Our conclusion: nothing to worry about from phthalates in our environment, including in our food.

D: finally, measuring levels of phthalates in concerned women is complete nonsense, as the mere detection bears no relation to any health threat, and (as we ve said) there are at least 9 different phthalate chemicals.