- Published on Monday, 13 August 2012 02:05
- Written by Karl Lyimo
- Hits: 2153
IN recent days and weeks, there has been circulating in all manner and style a ‘new cancer’ alert to the general effect that scratching recharge cards and similar items to reveal numbers, data, etc ‘concealed’ thereunder using one’s finger nails can cause skin cancer.
There has also been circulating, in similar manner and style, rebuttals of the alert by different self-styled ‘authorities’ on the subject — more on which anon!
The former school of thought — most of whom are probably good-natured well-wishers who are out to do humanity a wealth of good this side of Heaven — have been sending out a message via the Internet, and urging recipients to further disseminate same to their loved ones, known and unknown.
Generally speaking, the message warns people not to use their fingernails to scratch off the coating on scratch tickets because the coating contains a substance called ‘Silver Nitro Oxide’ that can cause skin cancer.
A typical message reads as follows: ‘Medical Research Authority of the United States has found a new cancer in human beings caused by 'Silver Nitro Oxide'. When u buy recharge cards or calling cards, don't scratch them with ur nail, as they contain 'silver nitro oxide' coating which can cause skin cancer. Copy and paste this status and spread awareness please!’
That is one school of thought for you. The presumption here — for now, at least — is that the disseminators of such a message are well-intentioned altruists who have no ulterior motive(s) behind their effort(s) to save the world from a cancer that could be caused by otherwise innocent human activity, either on the part of the scratch card manufacturers in particular, or the scratching community in their
On the other side of the fence is the fraternity of (possibly also) well-wishers who pooh-pooh the alert, saying in no uncertain terms that it is a hoax that must be debunked! One of these ‘Later-day (socio-political) Saints’ is the self-styled ‘Hoax Slayer,’ one ‘Brett M. Christensen,’ who claims to have been
debunking what he describes as ‘email hoaxes and exposing Internet scams’ since the Year of Our Lord 2003!
If you want to get it from the horse’s mouth (Christensen in this case), then go to <www.hoax- slayer.com/silver-nitro-oxide-cancer-warning.shtml> on the Internet, where h says that “the information in the warning message is untrue.
“The coating on scratch tickets is made of specialized latex inks. There’re no credible references to a compound called 'Silver Nitro Oxide…' No credible medical or scientific reports which suggest that scratch ticket coating has been linked to skin cancer… (or) to an organization known as the 'Medical Research Authority of the US...
“The coating on scratch tickets isn’t made from 'silver nitro oxide'. There’s no evidence that such a compound exists. There’re two chemical compounds with similar names: 'Nitrous oxide,' commonly known as laughing gas.
“The other is 'Nitric oxide,' a diatomic gas that’s a cell-signaling molecule in mammals, also used in the chemical industry. Neither ofthese is used to create the coating on scratch tickets. The coating is
created from specialized latex or UV ink that 'dries' under UV radiation.
“UV inks are essentially a mixture of coloured monomers and oligomers (the individual chemical units that eventually form 'polymers') and reaction 'photo-initiators' that become active when exposed to UV
“There’s no chemical called 'silver nitro oxide' being used in these UV inks. Nor are there any credible reports that suggest a link between inks used on scratch tickets and cancer! Furthermore, there are no credible references to ‘Medical Research Authority of the US. The closest to that is the US-based ‘Biomedical Advanced Research & Development Authority’ (BARDA).
But, there’s no information on the BARDA website that supports the claims in this hoax message in any way! “Scratch tickets are just about everywhere these days, and vast numbers of people in dozens of countries are happily scratching away, often using their fingernails as scratching tools.
So, of course, any credible link between scratch ticket coating and cancer — even a tenuous one — would have certainly been widely publicized by the main-stream media and medical authorities. There’s nary a trace of such media or medical reports!
“Thus, this supposed health warning is nothing more than one more sad bit of utterly pointless Internet junk, and should certainly not be reposted!” [© Brett M. Christensen, 2012 All Rights Reserved]. Now you know all that, what next, pray?