There’s no scientific evidence homeopathy works, and when it does, it’s usually because it contains medicine. In fact, much of homeopathy directly contradicts modern science. Grown adults, of course, can do whatever they want with their money and time; there’s no law against foolishness. Children are another matter, and a major homeopathy company stands accused of quite literally selling parents poison.
Scientific American has an in-depth look at the failure and recall of a teething remedy from Hyland’s, a billion-dollar homeopathy company in the US. Homeopathy, for those unfamiliar, is the belief that an extremely dilute amount of a toxic substance has beneficial effects. In other words, adding a tiny bit of something dangerous to a large amount of water is allegedly good for you. But is that a risk you really want to take with one of the deadliest plants in the Eastern Hemisphere?
In diluted form, the substance is not expected to pose any health risk. In 2010, however, FDA inspectors who examined Hyland’s facilities criticized the company for substandard manufacturing practices and found inconsistent levels of atropa belladonna in its products. The agency issued a public warning, noting “reports of serious adverse events in children taking this product that are consistent with belladonna toxicity.” It also noted that “infants are very susceptible to the neurotoxicity of drugs” because of how the body distributes and responds to drugs, and noted that “absorption of belladonna from the skin and mouth was fairly rapid. “
According to STAT, there’s a dark history of children being harmed by the teething tablets:
You probably know atropa belladonna better as “deadly nightshade,” an incredibly dangerous plant children are particularly at threat from because of the high levels of toxins. In fact, one of the first results you find is a medical case study where a little girl was fed it to treat her jaundice, and it nearly killed her.
The problem is that while the FDA has authority over homeopathic companies, it doesn’t test for safety or effectiveness, and it also doesn’t test to ensure safe levels. So in this scenario, a product can be on the shelves for years before doctors realize it may be an issue, and then the agency has to go back, check with the patient and their family, and rule out other causes, a time-consuming process for an agency that struggles with inadequate funding and staffing. Homeopathic products, which are basically vials of water, scientifically speaking, aren’t even on the stove, forget the back burner.
The best solution, of course, is to simply avoid homeopathy altogether. Again, there’s no scientific evidence it works, and it’s contrary to most science in the first place. And as this proves, the risk may be to far more than your wallet.
(Via Scientific American)