Cracked Science: Diluted Deniability | The Body of Evidence

Cracked Science: Diluted Deniability

Cartoon of Jonathan


On January 27 of this year, the US Food and Drug Administration released a consumer warning about certain homeopathic teething tablets. Following adverse event reports, laboratory analysis revealed inconsistent amounts of a toxic substance, belladonna. The plant, also known as deadly nightshade, is supposed to be diluted one part in ten for a total of 12 serial dilutions in these teething tablets. The laboratory results quoted by the FDA beg to differ.

The FDA recommends that consumers stop using these teething tablets manufactured by Hyland's and throw away any tablet stock they may have. One would think that a company that brands itself as providing safe, effective medicines for all members of the family would make the safety of their customers a priority.

Yet here are excerpts from a letter they wrote to their consumers regarding the FDA recommendation. In it, they claim that the FDA warning "has created confusion among parents and limited access to the medicines." They go on to state that "putting you in a position of having to choose who to trust in the face of contradictory information is burdensome and undermines the FDA."

Now, contrast the FDA's recommendation to dispose of these products with Hyland's affirmation that "we are confident that any available Hyland's teething products, including those you already have, are safe for use."

Is this consistent with their affirmation that "our first commitment is to you, the parents who trust us every day with the wellbeing of your families"?

As for how inconsistent and potentially dangerous levels of belladonna came to be found in homeopathic products, remember that natural health products, including homeopathy, are not subject to the same manufacturing regulations as medical drugs. A 2013 study out of Ontario reported that only 2 of 12 companies whose natural health products were tested using DNA barcoding had products without any substitution, contamination, or fillers.

Something to keep in mind the next time you are considering doing an overdose of homeopathic sleeping pills to prove that homeopathy doesn't work.

As we mentioned in our first podcast, "Who knows what's inside if it's natural?"