5 Common Health Myths: True or False

1. There is lead in lipstick.

True: Lead is a known neurotoxin. In 2009, after pressure from consumers the FDA conducted a study to test the lead levels in popular brands of lipstick. They found lead in all samples of lipstick tested at levels ranging from 0.09 to 3.06 parts per million, with the highest levels found in Cover Girl, L’Oreal, Body Shop, Maybelline, and Revlon brands. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states: “No safe blood lead level has been identified” and recommends that consumers avoid all sources of lead exposure, including lead-containing cosmetics.

2. You can catch sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) from toilet seats.

False: Most STDs are only transmitted via sexual contact, either skin-to-skin contact or through body fluid exchange. Most infective agents that cause STD can only survive outside of the body for a short time, so chances of contracting an STD from a toilet seat are very unlikely.

3. You can catch a cold from being outside in cold weather.

False: Colds are caused by infection. You can catch the cold virus when someone coughs or sneezes near you. You can also catch a cold if you touch an object or a person’s hand that is infected with the virus, and then touch your nose, eyes, or mouth. To avoid catching the cold, wash your hands frequently, keep your hands away from your face, and wipe shared surfaces frequently.

4. Sugar causes hyperactivity.

True: Research shows that refined sugar and high glycemic index carbohydrates can affect a child’s activity level. These sugars enter the bloodstream quickly producing a rapid increase in blood glucose levels. This rise in blood glucose levels may cause the child to get an adrenaline rush and become much more active than usual. Foods high in fiber and protein, such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and nuts, help keep blood sugar balanced.

5. Drinking alcohol during early pregnancy is okay.

False: According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, fetal exposure to alcohol is one of the main preventable causes of birth defects and developmental problems in this country. Researchers from the Medical College of Georgia found that even light drinking over a short period of time during early pregnancy may cause fetal problems. Women who are pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant should abstain from drinking alcohol completely.