A couple of days ago a news item in the British Telegraph caught my attention. Apparently, the Haruyama Trading Co. in Japan has developed a suit it claims protects the wearer from getting the H1N1 influenza virus!
Ever since the global outbreak began, Japan has been gripped by swine flu fear. This country now reports 21 deaths and 11,636 confirmed cases. World-wide there are been 401569 confirmed cases with 4262 deaths.
Whenever there is a significant amount of fear or paranoia about almost anything, and especially health-related issues, opportunists lurk nearby. The manufacturer of this suit claims to have spent more than a year developing it. It is coated with titanium dioxide, a common ingredient in toothpaste and cosmetics, which supposedly reacts to light and kills the viruses which come in contact with it.
The suit looks like an ordinary suit, comes in four pleasing colors, and retails for US$ 580! Nobody has really verified whether these suits actually do what they claim to do! But hey, people are buying them in hopes that they will be protected from the flu–Haruyama Trading Co. is making money too, and it is helping the economy.
Is there anything wrong with this scenario? Titanium dioxide is a common compound found in many products that come in direct contact with the skin and mucous membranes. What harm can it do when applied to the fabric of a suit? It is probably harmless, but we don’t really know. Does it do what it is claimed to do? We don’t know that, either.
A friend of mine was recently diagnosed with a fatal cancer. I was amazed at the so called “friends” who came out of the woodwork offering 101 unproven, and sometimes dangerous products that would “cure” him. Most of these “friends” wanted to sell product to this unfortunate fellow, often at an astronomical price.
So, what to do? Should we all run out and start buying “anti-viral suits”? I for one am not going to do that. I want to at least know the following things:
- Is there good, sound evidence that this actually works, and in what percentage of cases is it effective. (Nothing works 100% of the time.) Where did this evidence come from–academic research or industry studies?
- Does the manufacturer have a track record in the field of proven products for the prevention of infection and disease?
- Is this product promoted with undocumented case histories by consumers or doctors claiming amazing results.
- Are there “conventional” methods that might be more effective in preventing this disease? In this case, we know the flu vaccine has been proven to be effective–but not 100% in everyone.
Buyers must always be wary of false claims. The world is filled with scams. The Bible says: “An honest witness does not lie; a false witness breathes lies (Proverbs 14:5). I want truthful products–and I want to be a truthful person!
What do you think?