Current Netlore: Health/Medical
Internet hoaxes, email rumors and urban legends
Hoax = False, deliberately deceptive information
UL = Urban Legend - a popularly believed narrative, typically false
Rumor = Anecdotal claims - may be true, false, or in between
Junk = Flotsam and jetsam of the Net
NOTE: You can also locate specific items by typing relevant words into the Search box at the top of any page.
'Abortion Art' Project at Yale
Yale art student claims her senior project will document her artificially impregnating herself and inducing miscarriages.
Antiperspirants Cause Breast Cancer
This false rumor has been thoroughly trounced by medical professionals.
Asbestos in Tampons
Toxic tampons? Two versions of this email alert are circulating, one more fraudulent than the other.
"Rabidly inaccurate" email flyer dating from 1995, alleging that NutraSweet causes just about every malady known to humankind.
Bacteria on Women's Purses
Forwarded email relays the findings of a TV news investigative report on fecal contamination and e coli bacteria detected on women's purses.
Bananas Spread Flesh-Eating Disease
Necrotizing fasciitis, a rare and deadly disease, allegedly infects an entire crop of Costa Rican fruit.
Bird Flu, Tamiflu and the Rumsfeld Connection
Forwarded email asserts a conspiratorial connection between the worldwide alarm over a possible avian flu pandemic and Donald Rumsfeld's financial interest in the company that patented the antiviral drug Tamiflu.
The 'Blue Star' LSD Tattoo
Email alert claims that colorful cartoon stickers laced with LSD pose a threat to children everywhere.
Bottled Water: Don't Drink Bottled Water Kept in Car
Forwarded email warns women not to drink bottled water that has been left in a car because the heat supposedly releases cancer-causing toxins which "leak" from the plastic into the water.
Brain Maggots/Sushi Worms
Disturbing images of what appears to be a worm infestation of a live human brain are circulating attached to two completely different stories, both of which are frightening, but false.
Breast Cancer Awareness Stamp
This email rumor circulating since 1998 is true: the U.S. Postal Service is selling special stamps and donating part of the proceeds to breast cancer research.
The Breast Cancer Site - Click to Donate Free Mammograms
TRUE: Clicking on sponsor's ads at the Breast Cancer Site provides funding for free mammograms to low-income women.
Breast Cancer Donation Sites (NFL, Yahoo)
True, but outdated. The Yahoo Health and NFL for Her sites offered one-click donation pages in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Breast Ogling Makes Men Live Longer
Tabloid journalism and email rumormongering intersect once again.
Brown Recluse Spider Bite (Photos)
Emailed photos purport to show the progressive deterioration of a wound caused by the bite of a brown recluse spider.
Buy Pink & White M&Ms to Support Breast Cancer Research
Email flier urges recipients to buy special pink and white M&Ms to help fund breast cancer research through the SUsan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.
Canola Oil Is Hazardous to Your Health!
Here we go again! Internet rumormongers claim that canola, usually touted as one of the healthier food oils, is in fact very toxic to human beings.
Cell Phones Cause Gas Station Explosions
Still unsubstantiated, but 'tis better to be safe than sorry.
Chicken Wings Cause Cyst in Woman
According to this email rumor, a woman developed a cyst after eating chicken wings that had been injected with steroids to accelerate growth.
Cockroach Eggs on Envelopes
Postal Service worker's tongue gives birth to live cockroach!
Cockroach Egg Tacos at Taco Bell
A fast-food horror story, as told in six different locations around the U.S.
Copper Pennies and Bee Stings
Forwarded email claims that taping a copper penny over a bee sting (or hornet sting) will provide overnight relief from redness and swelling.
'Cough CPR' Can Save Your Life
According to the American Heart Association, the "live-saving" technique advocated in this email is not recommended in the absence of medical supervision.
Cruise Control and Hydroplaning (Safety Warning)
TRUE: Using cruise control when driving at high speeds on wet pavement can cause a car to hydroplane and might result in a deadly accident.
'Death Calls' Emit Killer Cell Phone Frequencies
Forwarded emails warn mobile phone users not to accept calls from certain numbers which supposedly transmit high-frequency signals causing brain hemorrhage and death.
Dihydrogen Monoxide (DHMO) Safety Warning
Forwarded email warns of serious health hazards associated with the chemical substance dihydrogen monoxide, also known as DHMO.
Doctors Find Live Worm in Patient's Eye
Revolting photos show the surgical removal of a live worm from the eye of a patient who purportedly contracted the parasite from ordinary dust.
Dole Pre-Packaged Salad Mix
Email flier warns of lettuce and spinach in Dole pre-packaged salad mixes contaminated with e coli bacteria.
Dollar Store Toothpaste Warning
Email flier says imported brand-name toothpastes sold at dollar stores such as Dollar Tree and Greenbacks don't meet U.S. health standards and may contain dangerous amounts of fluoride.
Drinking Cold Water with Meals Causes Cancer
Email flier claims drinking cold water after a meal slows down digestion and coats the intestines with 'sludge,' leading to cancer.
Drug-Laced Suckers/Lollipops a Threat to Children
Email flier purporting to originate from the North Little Rock Police Department warns parents that drug-laced candy in the form of suckers and lollipops pose a hazard to children and teenagers.
Dust-Off Warning: Teenager Dies After Inhaling Cleaning Spray
Circulating via email: A father's first-person account of finding his son dead after the teenager inhaled Dust-Off cleaning spray to get high.
EPA to Use Poor Kids as Guinea Pigs in Pesticide Study
Email flier says the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is launching "an outrageous new study in which participating low income families will have their children exposed to toxic pesticides."
An email warning in circulation since January warns that the fabric deodorizer Febreze is toxic to pets.
Fellatio May Decrease the Risk of Breast Cancer in Women (Study)
Web page masquerading as a CNN/AP news story claims women can decrease their risk of breast cancer by "performing the act of fellatio on a regular basis."
Fish Contaminated with Deadly 'Zulican' Virus After Tsunami
Text messages and forwarded emails warn Asian consumers to avoid eating seafood because fish killed by the Indian Ocean tsunami are supposedly infected with a deadly virus called 'Zulican.'
Flesh-Eating Bananas (South Africa Variant)
2005 variant of a forwarded email warning that shipments of bananas from Costa Rica are infected with bacteria that cause necrotizing fasciitis ('flesh-eating disease').
Flesh-Eating Disease from Unwashed Underwear
Emailed images allegedly show examples of flesh-eating disease contracted by women who wore new bras and underwear without washing them first.
Freezing Water in Plastic Bottles Releases Cancer-Causing Dioxin
Email flier purporting to relay information from a Johns Hopkins newsletter claims freezing water in plastic bottles can release toxic dioxin and cause cancer.
Gel Candles Pose Fire Hazard
OVERBLOWN: Consumers report that gel candles have caused fires and serious burns. Please note, however, that this is true of all candles.
Halloween Warning: Candy-Flavored Meth
Circulating via email, a "Halloween Warning" urges parents to instruct their children to beware of a new form of crystal meth that looks and smells like strawberry Pop Rocks candy and comes in other flavors such as chocolate, peanut butter, and cola.
'Hand of Hope' Fetal Surgery Photo
TRUE: Emailed photo shows the hand of a 21-week-old fetus, Samuel Alexander Armas, grasping the finger of a surgeon performing a prenatal operation.
Hand Sanitizer Hazardous to Children
Forwarded email cites danger of children licking or eating hand sanitizer, which contains a high percentage of alcohol and can cause accidental intoxication or alcohol poisoning.
Heroin Needle Kills Child in McDonald's Ball Pit
The "Kevin Archer" story, curiously similar to 1998's tall tale about snakes in a Burger King ball pit.
HIV Needles on Gas Pump Handles
More needle-stick incidents, this time centered in Jacksonville, Florida.
HIV Needles in Movie Theater Seats
"Welcome to the world of AIDS." The latest round of needle-stick incidents.
HIV Needles in Pay Phone Coin Slots
Are drug addicts everywhere trying to kill us all with their dirty syringes?
HIV Needles in Vending Machines - Canada
Is a bizarre cult in western Canada booby-trapping the coin slots of Coke machines with HIV-tainted needles?
Inflammatory Breast Cancer
Forwarded email warns female recipients to be on the watch for a form of breast cancer known as IBC, or inflammatory breast cancer.
Ketchup Tainted with HIV-Positive Blood
Email flier warns fast food consumers to use only ketchup from sealed packets because a man was supposedly caught placing HIV-tainted blood in a ketchup dispenser.
The Klingerman Virus
Not your ordinary bogus virus alert. This one's about a real, live bug that is fatal to human beings!