Health and wellness might seem like a fairly straightforward and factual subject, but there is quite a lot of debate once you get further into the details of living a healthy lifestyle. In most cases, this just leads to minor debates about things like whether or not low-carb diets are healthy. However, some people take it way too far and end up believing in wild conspiracy theories. These sort of ideas typically focus on the idea that big companies or governments are intentionally deceiving people about commonly believed health concepts. Health conspiracy theories are particularly dangerous because they can cause individuals to make unsafe decisions regarding their health. As crazy as it might seem, some people actually believe these five myths about health.
Vaccines Cause Autism
Since they were first introduced in the 1800s, vaccines have been the source of many conspiracy theories. Those who are wary of medical regulations and scientific innovation tend to see vaccines as some sort of dangerous, unknown substance that medical doctors keep pushing on an unsuspecting public. Despite overwhelming proof that vaccinations are safe, conspiracy theorists grab onto any tiny shred of risk associated with vaccinations and use this to demonstrate their claims that vaccines cause autism and are a source of population control. This can lead to a lot of trouble. For example, the study claiming that vaccines cause autism has been routinely disproven and the author is forbidden from practicing medicine due to his data falsifying, yet countless parents are now skipping vaccines. Some people take it a step further and suggest that vaccines are actually a form of population control. Depending on which conspiracy you look into, some people say vaccines kill directly or limit fertility.
Fluoride Infested Tap Water
The idea that there is fluoride in tap water and more toxic chemicals is actually one of the oldest conspiracy theories on our list. In the 1940s, people were insisting that adding fluoride to tap water was a Communist plot designed to weaken and mentally impair American children. More modern versions of this theory are essentially that fluoride is supposedly poisonous and the government continues to pump fluoride into the water despite knowing it is dangerous. However, the reality is that the level of fluoride in tap water is so low it is safe for even an infant, and many areas have naturally occurring fluoride in their water. In areas where fluoride has naturally existed in water for centuries, the only effects have been a reduced rate of cavities. These sorts of conspiracy theories play on modern concerns about vague toxins and harmful chemicals in water, but there is no actual proof that the average glass of tap water contains unsafe levels of any sort of chemical.
Governments Create Artificial Diseases To Attack Enemies
The idea of artificial diseases dates back to the HIV/AIDS epidemic in 1981. Conspiracy theorists claimed that the CIA created a synthetic disease designed to target homosexuals, African-Americans, and other groups that displeased the government. Though that particular theory has faded, a similar one pops up with each new epidemic. Any time a new and unusually contagious disease, such as Ebola or Zika appears, people start theorizing that it was created by some government agency intent on using a synthetic disease to attack an enemy. In most cases, this is just due to a lot of public misinformation. The theories are typically disproven once scientists are able to find the actual source of the disease. Despite the fact that no major epidemics have been launched by a government, many conspiracy theorists still fear the idea of the government weaponizing an illness.
GMOS Control The Population
A general culture of public mistrust in technology and science has made GMOs the target of many conspiracy theories. Genetically modified organisms are typically just things like rice that contain extra levels of vitamin A, but conspiracy theorists claim that there is a darker, hidden agenda behind GMOs. The lighter theories about GMOs revolve around the idea of big corporations rushing GMOs to the market without proving they are safe. More fringe conspiracies suggest that companies actually know GMOs are not safe, and the companies are purposefully creating unsafe GMOs. Supposedly, these evil companies are producing genetically modified crops that do not provide enough nutrition or purposefully alter hormones to impair fertility. Conspiracy theorists suggest that the end goal of GMO companies is to reduce population growth, and they fear that the government may be behind this. In reality, the GMOs for population control theory does not hold up because most GMOs actually boost population growth as they make it easier to grow more nutritious food on smaller areas of land.
There Is A Cure For Cancer
According to a 2005 survey, over a quarter of all Americans believe that there is a cure for cancer withheld due to big pharma companies. This complicated theory basically boils down to the idea that pharmaceutical companies are holding back the cure for cancer so they can exploit and charge patients for slow, ineffective cancer treatments. The high number of believers in this theory shows that much of the public feels pharmaceutical companies are untrustworthy and profit obsessed. It might be true that pharmaceutical companies put profit over human needs, but the reality is that creating a cure for cancer would just bring in far more profit. They could charge whatever they like for the cure, so they could easily recoup costs from not selling other cancer drugs. The conspiracy theory also ignores the fact that cancer is very complicated. There are hundreds of types of cancer with hundreds of different causes, so it is impossible to create a drug that could cure all of them at once.