In an ideal world the Daily Mail’s credibility as an information source should have been lost forever as a result of their role in undermining measles vaccinations back in the late 1990s. But we don’t live in an ideal world and the Mail remains one of the most important platforms where people find out about cosmetics and personal care. So it is really frustrating when the publish rubbish articles like this one that suggests that chemicals in shampoo containers might be leached out, get into your body and subsequently make you fat.
It is hardly worth the trouble of debunking the science they have used to make this claim. If you have even a modest grasp of the way research is carried out and reported you only need to follow the link to the original story to see that the Mail’s reporting is hyperbolic to put it at its most charitable.
But you don’t even need any science knowledge to debunk this story. A bit of common sense with a seasoning of critical thinking is enough to do the trick. The Mail’s proposal is that using shampoo might lead to chemicals entering your body and disrupting it enough to make you fat. Does this seem remotely likely? If so, why doesn’t the disruption make you thinnner rather than fatter? And if it is that easy to have an effect on the body via shampoo, why do pharmaceutical companies go to all the trouble of putting vaccines into vials and requiring you to inject them?
It’s much easier to explain why an article like this should be doubted. Playing on people’s fears and anxieties about their appearance is hot copy. How many of us aren’t worried about our weight. Telling us that we need to worry about it even more than we thought is a good way of getting attention and clicks, which can be turned into income for the Mail.
There are real environmental problems with plastic packaging that we need to address. But to do so we need a clear head, good science and imagination. Junk journalism isn’t helping.