FDA Warnings – A Skeptical Tool

Over the past few months I’ve been using a new tool in my skeptical toolbox. The FDA Warnings Website. This website is a wealth of information and can help the average skeptic in a number of interesting ways.

The first, and of course the most obvious is to get a feel for what’s going on and what the FDA seems to be cracking down on. It does seem to come in waves, recently there was a large amount of “detox” items getting letters, this week it seems to be chelation therapies.

Another thing is to see what can be reported. You can see who crossed the line and how. You can use this information to find other people in violation and report them to the FDA.

But the real power with this tool is awareness. Using the website you can sign up for email alerts and you will get 1-2 emails a week telling you that the list of offenders is updated. You can then send this information out to friends that may use the products or post them on a blog. What I do is post them on Google SideWiki. You don’t need to have Google toolbar to use this Google product, they also have a bookmarklet.

While Google Sidewiki is not in widespread use, it is helpful just to keep track. There have been more than a few cases where I’ve gone to put in a new FDA Warning to find out that they already had one or two. If they’re the same complaint I will usually shoot the FDA an email to remind them that they have already notified these people for the same offense.

In closing, the FDA Warning website is an easy tool to use and another to throw in your skeptical toolbox in order to combat pseudoscience on the web.

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