ICB: Using homeopathy for radiation poisoning
Welcome to a new regular Punch piece – I Call Bullshit!
(We’ve used this one before, but it really is supremely funny)
It’ll be dedicated to all the quackery, bullshenanigans and bogus science out there, everywhere.
Today’s was going to be all about psychics. Then I saw this piece in The Australian about a homeopathy clinic offering remedies for radiation sickness. They thoughtfully spruiked their wares at a time when so many people in Japan are scared out of their wits as the radiation threat worsens.
Homeopathy Plus is running a series on Remedies to Use in a Disaster. They say:
Floods, wars, famines, accidents, earthquakes.
Hardly a day goes by without a disaster making headlines somewhere in the world – they are an inescapable part of life and whether natural or manmade have always been with us…Homoeopathy is frontline medicine at its best. It has much to offer the victims of disaster and those who rush to their aid. It can be safely used before other medical help arrives.
The homeopaths explain their basic theory – that like treats like. You can read more about the theory behind homeopathy here. This particular clinic says they are only offering suggestions supported by science. These include giving patients, in an emergency: cadmium iodatum, cadmium sulphuricum, phosphorus, strontium carbonicum, and x-ray. Yes, x-ray.
Any of which may be used if under threat of radiation exposure at a potency of 30C – for an explanation of dilution and potency see here.
The substances homeopaths use are often poisonous. But luckily they dilute them so much through ‘potentisation’ that in many cases there’s not even a molecule of the original substance left.
It’s not clear how they would actually administer an x-ray homeopathically. Perhaps by shaking the machine often enough that it does not work at all, then placing the patient near it.
So what they are doing is unlikely to harm someone. The recommended potency of 30C means, according to Quackwatch, that:
The original substance has been diluted 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 times. Assuming that a cubic centimeter of water contains 15 drops, this number is greater than the number of drops of water that would fill a container more than 50 times the size of the Earth.
So where’s the danger? That people take this stuff seriously, fork out money for it, and might forgo an actual, proven remedy instead of something worthwhile.
This one’s almost too easy.
I Call Bullshit!
And dangerous bullshit at that.
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