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02 December 2005 @ 10:50 am
Fear mongering for profit.  
I just flicked on Good Morning Australia, and saw the absolute worst, most unethical infomercial ever.

Basically the infomercial talked all about the possibility of the Bird Flu PandemicTM, and how their product will be vital in the case of such a pandemic. They even went so far as to say that because of this (non-existent) pandemic, supplies of their product are low (yeah, right) and only available to GMA viewers (or anyone else who visits their website).

The ad was for the Freychinet, a home air cleaner that uses Ozone to kill viruses, bacteria and fungi.

Okay, I'm willing to believe that the product works as advertised, however even if it does that is not going to stop anyone from catching bird flu, or any other virus for that matter.

The product may clear a room of viruses, but people don't get viruses from rooms, they get them from other people. And considering it is unsafe to be in the room while the unit is running, it is only good for sanitising a room after the fact. You aren't going to get flu of any kind from simply being in a building, you are going to get it from face-to-face contact with others. This unit is useless at protecting you from the scary pandemic.

So, the use of "bird flu" to try and scare people into buying this unit is misleading scaremongering, and I will be contacting the ACCC.

I'm also intrigued by the complete lack of any references to bird flu on their website...
Outlier Manlukeii on December 2nd, 2005 01:10 am (UTC)
Actually, transmission of flu is much more likely through your hands. While face-to-face contact CAN give you flu, the particles that carry it, when someone sneezes or coughs for instance, quickly fall from the air.

What you get flu from, is then touching a surface onto which those particles have fallen, or a surface that someone with the flu has touched. After doing so, you then have to yawn, or you rub your eyes, or other such activity, and you bring those particles into your body yourself.

This is why when I was in China and Hong Kong during the SARS epidemic that we didn't bother with face masks - it was much more important to make sure to wash our hands before eating and trying to avoid rubbing eyes etc.
Jacobyak_boy on December 2nd, 2005 01:30 am (UTC)
Hmm... I still think that you are extremely unlikely to get flu from the surfaces in your home. If someone in your household already has it, then maybe you need to take precautions but, until then, you have far more to fear from being out in public.
Outlier Manlukeii on December 2nd, 2005 03:20 am (UTC)
Part of what I was saying is that it's the surfaces that are the problem, not the air.
Jacobyak_boy on December 2nd, 2005 03:48 am (UTC)
I see. Another strike against the machine that kills airborne particles.
mareth_redorb on December 2nd, 2005 01:47 am (UTC)
I question anyone who thinks that marketting devices that increase the amount of ozone at this altitude is a good idea. There is a lot of research that points towards ozone being a fairly nasty carcinogen when exposed repeatedly to higher than normal* concentrations.

As well as that, ozone is one of the key components in creating photochemical smog. Sure we need it higher up in the atmosphere, just not this layer.

Aside from that, I agree completely with your statement. I remember writing an angry letter to Australian Unity when they released their TV ad showing a woman in the prime of life collapse from a stroke, with a cheery little voiceover telling us that it could happen to anyone, so we'd better sign up with AU today.

*Normal is taken to mean no higher than the ozone you might smell after a thunderstorm for the purposes of this comment.