Wednesday, 9 January 2008

More alarmist warnings of dangerous products...

I haven't received any of these warnings recently but I have been sent and told about all sorts of warnings not to use certain products or not to do certain things with the barest of anecdotal evidence to support the claims. Here are two firm denials concerning a message being sent around about how the evil Swiffer is apparently killing our poor defenseless household companions: Swiffer WetJet Toxic to Pets? - Netlore Archive and ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center Responds to Swiffer Wet Jet Rumor.

This is a perfect example of why the general public needs more education in the areas of general science (particularly as it relates to health) and in critical thinking and information skills. The average person would read a message like the Swiffer one and would probably think, "I'm not sure that this is so but I love my pet more than I love using this commercial product so I'll stop using the product just in case." This is not entirely a poor line of thinking and would probably have a good outcome if it stopped there or made them more doubtful of other commercial products. But no. Most people take this message and internalize it, spreading it to all their friends and acquaintances, adding their own personal acceptance of the message to the already emotional weight of the warning. They will also go out and buy some competing product, because if WetJet's no good, they'll have to go out and buy the Clorox ReadyMop Mopping System! Cuz you can't live without some sort of mopping system! What did they do before mopping systems?!? lol

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