Sunday, 10 April 2011
There's also dog and cat collars made of...er...rubber and lycra which apparently relieve pain.
And there's also a magnet for your phone to protect you from harmful radiation (endorsed by the Daily Mail in 2004!).
Saturday, 9 April 2011
So I revisited the Ecozone website which makes the same claims as the leaflet I complained about back in February. And today I sent another complaint to the ASA of the same spurious magnet water softening and stainless steel odour neutralising claims (yes really, see my previous post).
We'll see what happens...
Sunday, 27 February 2011
Which brings me on to Ecozone, a company that offers "eco friendly products". And their advertising leaflet which fell out of the Soil Association's (Boo! Hiss!) Organic Farming journal.
According to their website, Ecozone products are stocked by Amazon, Comet, Currys, The Co-operative, House of Bath, John Lewis, Lakeland, The National Trust, Ocado, Oxfam, Scotts of Stow and Whole Foods.
"Well…" I say.
"Well what?" you say.
"Well, give me a chance," I respond. Bloody hell.
So, as I was saying, they sell the usual eco stuff, energy saving lightbulbs and the like. But a couple of items (well, three) caught my eye.
The first is called Magnoloo. Can you guess what woo it contains yet, kids?
Yes, that's right, magnets! Yes, using the power of magnets you can
The second product is called Magnoball. Any guesses?
Use the power of magnets to soften the water in your washing machine or dishwasher. Using magnetic power the Magnoball reduces limescale in your appliance by crystallising the particles - this prevents limescale build up in your machine or on pipes.Yup. Same as the Magnoloo but for your kitchen appliances. Just pop a ball in with your washing and no more limescale! Or not.
The third product is my favourite. It's called Toilet Smellkiller. And surprisingly it isn't based on magnets. So what is it?
Eliminate horrid smells coming from your toilet with the Ecozone Toilet Smellkiller which lasts an absolute lifetime!Yup, it's a bit of stainless steel in a plastic clip.
The Toilet Smellkiller is made from special high grade stainless steel that neutralises odours as soon as they come into contact with air and water, leaving your bathroom smelling clean, fresh and non-toxic.
No, really, that's it. Check out the image. See? Who'd have thought you can eliminate potty smells with a bit of stainless clipped to your loo? Brilliant.
So not so much saving the planet as flogging products which don't do what they claim to. Unless Ecozone have some evidence to back these claims up, of course. Which is where the ASA come in. Here's my email to them.
To whom it may concern:And the ASA's response
I am writing to complaint about an advertising leaflet I have found in the Winter 2010 issue of Organic Farming. The advertisement makes a number of claims which I believe to be unsubstantiated.
I have attached a copy of the full leaflet. The pages of concern are in the files Ecozone2.jpg and Ecozone3.jpg.
1. The product Toilet Smellkiller description claims "Eliminate horrid smells coming from your toilet with the Ecozone Toilet Smellkiller which lasts an absolute lifetime!"
I doubt that Ecozone have any evidence to back up their claim that the Smellkiller "eliminates horrid smells coming from your toilet".
2. The advert states:
"The Toilet Smellkiller is made from special high grade stainless steel that neutralises odours as soon as they come into contact with air and water, leaving your bathroom smelling clean, fresh and non-toxic."
While some people believe that stainless steel objects can reduce strong odours, the advertisement presents these beliefs as true. I do not believe that Ecozone possesses evidence to back up the claims that;
a. "high grade stainless steel" "neutralises odours as soon as they come into contact with air and water."
b. that the interaction of air and water with the stainless steel part of their product can leave "your bathroom smelling clean, fresh and non-toxic."
3. Ecozone claims that the product Magnoloo Toilet Descaler "can prevent unsightly limescale build up in your loo and save you time and money." and "Magnoloo harnesses the power of magnets to crystallise the calcium particles so that they do not settle in the toilet bowl."
I doubt that Ecozone have evidence to back up their claims that;
a. the Magnoloo product can "prevent unsightly limescale build up in your loo."
b. the product saves consumers time and money.
c. that magnets can "crystallise calcium particles so that they do not settle in the toilet bowl."
4. The product description for the product Magnoball is thus:
"Use the power of magnets to soften the water in your washing machine or dishwasher. Using magnetic power the Magnoball reduces limescale in your appliance by crystallising the particles - this prevents limescale build up in your machine or on pipes."
I doubt that Ecozone has evidence to back up the claim that magnets "soften the water in your washing machine or dishwasher".
Furthermore the Drinking Water Inspectorate in their Water Hardness leaflet states (emphasis mine):
"Some devices are sold on the basis that they produce a magnetic field which reduces scaling by altering the shape of the crystals from needle like to rhomboid – which means they are less adherent to the heating elements in boilers. These devices do not soften the water. The science behind them is based on continuous water flow and they were designed originally for large industrial water systems, not for the household situation, where water tends not to flow for up to 8 hours in 24 hours (at night)."
5. The Magnoloo description continues with this claim "Save money on water softening tablets and washing powder (you can use up to 70 per cent less detergent)"
I would contend that money cannot be saved on water softening tablets due to the use of this product as there is no evidence that the product softens water (as noted in point 4 above).
Also, I doubt Ecozone has evidence to show that "up to 70 per cent less detergent" can be used when using this product - the implied claim being that this would be as effective.
I am complaining as a concerned member of the public and wish to confirm I have no commercial interest.
Dear Mr WilliamsUnfortunately the ASA does not report the actions of their compliance team. So for now, job done. Though Ecozone have the above claims on their website, so roll on March 1st!
YOUR COMPLAINT ABOUT ECOZONE (UK) LTD
Thank you for contacting the Advertising Standards Authority. I’m sorry to learn that this ad has caused you concern.
As this ad contains several claims similar to those that we have not seen evidence for in the past I’ve passed the case to our Compliance team, which will follow it up. The Compliance team doesn’t report to complainants or publish the details of its work but it will address the problem.
Thank you for taking the time to bring this matter to our attention. Further information about the ASA and the work we do is available on our website, www.asa.org.uk.
Sunday, 6 February 2011
Members from Sheffield Skeptics in the Pub took part in the 10:23 Challenge on Sunday 6th February protesting against homeopathy by making the statement, 'Homeopathy - there's nothing it'.
Over 300 protesters in Manchester and more than 1000 around the world participated in the largest ever single demonstration against the treatment by 'overdosing' on homeopathy.
The protesters took 100 times the recommended dose of belladonna (deadly nightshade) to show that homeopathy ie nothing more than sugar and water.
Homeopathic remedies are made from successive dilutions of a substance that causes the symptoms trying to be relieved, caffeine to relieve insomnia for instance. Even though there is an ingredient listed on the bottle, the dilution in a standard remedy means that you would need take many trillions of pills to get just one molecule of the original substance. Homeopathy is not the same as herbal medicine.
When tested under rigorous conditions -when neither the patient nor the doctor knows whether they're using homeopathy or not until all of the tests are done -homeopathy has shown to work no better than a sugar pill. That doesn't mean people do not feel better after taking homeopathy; only that those feelings aren't related to the homeopathy. This is known as the placebo effect and is often misunderstood. Conventional medicine also has a placebo effect, on top of its other benefits. The choice between medicine and homeopathy comes down to a simple question: would you have a placebo, or a placebo plus a treatment that has been proven to work?
The theoretical principles that underpin homeopathy lack any scientific credibility and the so-called 'laws of homeopathy' do not tally with anything we know about the world around us. Only a basic understanding of chemistry is needed to demonstrate that that homeopathic remedies can only be plain water.
Buy a vial of 30C homeopathic sulphur at your local pharmacy and one thing you can be sure you won't find in the bottle is any sulphur. You have significantly more chance of winning a triple rollover on the lottery than you have of finding even a single atom of sulphur in that tube; but the label still reads 'Sulphur'.
Saturday, 22 January 2011
Homeopathy - There's Nothing In It
"Which remedy will you choose?"
We are concerned by some homeopathic products. For example, it is possible to buy homeopathic products made from body parts such as hip joints and colons, animals such as iguana and dragonfly, and different kinds of sunlight. We are doubly concerned that it is also possible to buy products derived from precious archaeological features such as the Great Wall of China and Stonehenge.56 We do not understand what symptoms could be induced (and therefore be treated) by these products under the like-cures-like principle.