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Health- and Safety-Related
Urban Legends, Rumors, and Hoaxes

Stephen Barrett, M.D.

Hardly a week goes by without my receiving several inquires about widely circulated e-mail messages, most of which contain dire warnings. My reaction is always the same: Ignore them, because if the information were true, it would be making headlines everywhere. This page has been compiled for those who want more detailed analyses. Most items link to the Web sites of David Emery, the San Fernando Valley Folklore Society, the Urban Legends Research Library, or the NetSquirrel Urban Legend Combat Kit.

E-mail hoaxes are a nuisance because they waste people's time. So, if you receive a health-or safety-related message that urges you to forward it to everyone you know, please don't do that. The following messages have been investigated and found to be bogus:

More about Internet Health Scares ||| The Dihydrogen Monoxide Counterhoax
Hoaxbusters ||| Quackwatch Home Page

This page was revised on March 3, 2002.