Master of Arts (MA)
In this story, I investigate the marketing and sale of concentrated hydrogen peroxide to individuals who are desperate to cure serious health maladies. The story follows an online marketer who was warned by the FDA more than ten years ago to stop claiming hydrogen peroxide ingestion could cure cancer and other ailments. But in spite of the warning and subsequent FDA investigation, the individual continues to claim high strength hydrogen peroxide helps with brain tumors and leukemia and he can now be tied to several different websites marketing various “brands” of high strength hydrogen peroxide. Another marketer distributes hydrogen peroxide to health food stores across the country, including several in New York City. In a recent interview, a company representative divulged that the majority of their customers are elderly. Those marketing concentrated hydrogen peroxide encourage people to drink the chemical with the unfounded belief that it will fight cancer, temper stomach ailments and relieve arthritis. What they don’t say is that ingesting the chemical has been documented to cause injuries, hospitalizations and even deaths, and their claims run counter to medical studies and public health warnings. Not only does the FDA warn against consuming the chemical, but state poison control centers have also cautioned against drinking concentrated hydrogen peroxide. The Illinois Poison Control Center advises: “We consider this product so dangerous that ALL calls ... are immediately referred to the nearest emergency room for treatment.” But in spite of the warnings, the chemical is easy to find online and in stores, and vulnerable people are often left with devastating consequences.
Savage, Karen M., "PREYING ON THE DESPERATE" (2016). CUNY Academic Works.
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Available for download on Saturday, January 12, 2019