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Urban Legends and You Urban legends, superstitions and old wives tales can lead to unnecessary fear and disgust if they’re untrue, but they can also be.

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Presentation on theme: "Urban Legends and You Urban legends, superstitions and old wives tales can lead to unnecessary fear and disgust if they’re untrue, but they can also be."— Presentation transcript:

1 Urban Legends and You Urban legends, superstitions and old wives tales can lead to unnecessary fear and disgust if they’re untrue, but they can also be a waste of time and money. So, before you take any email forwards and rumors as fact, consider the following stories. These old wives tales have really impacted people’s lives, and often their wallets too. Photo Credit: shakestercodyshakestercody

2 Death By Water Bottle? One widely forwarded email claims that reusing plastic water bottles is poisonous and can cause cancer. The email warns that the bottles contain the chemical DEHA, and if left in a hot car, can create chemicals that can cause breast cancer. Verdict: FALSE, according to the American Cancer Society. The chemical DEHA isn’t found in plastic bottles and even if it were, it doesn’t cause cancer. Impact: Fearing dangerous chemical reactions, consumers might opt to buy a brand new bottle of water every time they seek hydration, and that can get expensive. But hopefully by now, money-conscious Americans are realizing bottled water is a waste of money, as Mainstreet previously reported, and have been sticking to tap water or using other reusable water bottles like those made of stainless steel. Photo Credit: MuffetAmerican Cancer Society previously reportedMuffet

3 Cold Water and Cancer Another popular email forward warns against drinking cold water after a meal, claiming that cold water could cause the fats you consume to harden in your intestines and cause cancer. Verdict: FALSE. Just like cold water warms when it enters your body, so do fats. Even those that are on the hard side at room temperature. Impact: Unnecessary fear, plus the cost of a teabag or the energy required to heat water. Photo Credit: mawelmawel

4 Eating Before Swimming According to an old wives tale, if you don’t wait 45 minutes to an hour after eating before you go swimming, you could get a stomach cramp and drown. Verdict: FALSE. The human body has enough blood in it that it can delegate some to digestion and have enough to SWIM as well, according to In fact, some competitive swimmers eat something immediately before a big meet to give them the energy they need to perform well, the site says. Swimming after drinking alcohol is another story, however. Impact: When was the last time you saw a guy selling hot dogs on the beach? I bet you can’t remember, and it’s all because of this horrible myth. An entire industry down the tubes! (Boardwalks don’t count.) Photo Credit: davco9200HowStuffWorks.comdavco9200

5 Killer Pop Rocks It’s been a long-held urban legend that “Mikey,” the child actor from the Life cereal commercials, died from a lethal combination of Pop Rocks candy and soda that created too much carbon dioxide gas, ultimately causing his stomach to explode. Verdict: FALSE. Not nearly enough gas can be created by the combination to make you explode, according to the TV show MythBusters. And "Mikey" appears to be alive and well. Impact: Parents can rest assured that the side effects of this combination may just be tooth decay. But that means it will be harder to make an excuse not to buy the sugary goodies. Photo Credit: Alisha V MythBusters alive and wellAlisha V

6 Kentucky Fried Meat Product There are plenty of documentary films and other movies discussing hormone injected chickens that have grown so big that they can hardly hold themselves up, but a once- common email forward about KFC (Stock Quote: YUM) accused the company of even more Frankenstein-like chicken growing. According to the email, KFC “birds” were genetically engineered to not have beaks, feathers or feet and could no longer be defined as chickens. Because of this, KFC could no longer go by the name Kentucky Fried Chicken, according to the legend. Verdict: FALSE. KFC repeatedly uses the word “chicken” in its promotional materials. Impact: This rumor may have lost KFC some customers to large competitors like Popeye’s. Or die-hard KFC fans have switched over to a diet that’s a bit less artery-clogging.YUM

7 Giving Wendy’s the Finger Many Americans rely on fast food chains for a quick, easy and fairly-cheap meal on a regular basis, but concerns about foreign objects, bugs and unwanted human and animal parts in foods could change people’s minds about quick and convenient dining. While that’s not necessarily a bad thing for consumers, it can hit fast food companies where it hurts. In one case a woman said she found a human finger in her Wendy’s (Stock Quote: WEN) chili bowl. Verdict: FALSE. Anna Ayala, who said she found the finger in her chili, reportedly planted it there herself. Impact: Chili lovers may have gone elsewhere for more expensive chili after hearing about the incident, and of course chili sales at Wendy’s probably took a hit. Photo Credit: aresauberWEN planted it there herselfaresauber

8 Roach Tacos? We've heard of and tried some pretty exotic sounding tacos, but according to one urban legend, roach eggs from a Taco Bell taco found their way into a woman’s mouth and her gums became their incubator. There’s another version of this story in which the eggs come from licking an envelope. Verdict: FALSE. First of all, roach eggs are found in pods and wouldn’t be found individually. Secondly, it’s unlikely that roach eggs would survive in hot food. Impact: Roaches or roach bits may inevitably find their way into food – we’ve heard of stories of flies being baked into Subway bread - but Taco Bell likely paid dearly for this false urban legend. Photo Credit: atp_tyreseusurban legendpodsatp_tyreseus

9 Nasal Sprays and Loss of Smell Using medication and other health treatments that work directly at the site of your symptoms may seem to make better sense than taking a pill, but Zicam nasal spray has been blamed for consumers’ loss of the sense of smell. Verdict: TRUE, according to the Food and Drug Administration, but false according to the manufacturer, Matrixx Initiatives (Stock Quote: MTXX). The FDA warned consumers not to use certain Zicam cold remedies, including its cold remedy nasal gel and nasal swabs. Impact: The manufacturer’s stock price was cut in half on the announcement, according to, but users of the remedy may have suffered greater losses. Photo Credit: Ana OmeletFood and Drug AdministrationmanufacturerMTXXCNNMoney.comAna Omelet

10 Buttering Up According to an old wives tale, the healing properties of butter, its coating affect and ability to ease pain make it an effective treatment for burns. Verdict: FALSE. Any treatment that’s oil based can actually prevent heat from escaping your skin which could make a fresh burn hurt even more. Plus, since it’s greasy, it can attract bacteria, making you more susceptible to infection, according to Reader’s Digest. Impact: Using butter as treatment for a burn not only uses up one vital ingredient for delicious cookies, but if it attracts bacteria and causes an infection, that could mean significant additional expenses to treat the burn. Photo Credit: Robert S. Donovanold wives tale Reader’s DigestRobert S. Donovan

11 Twitter Haiti Hoaxes According to some posts on Twitter, American Airlines has been offering free flights to Haiti for doctors and nurses and UPS has been sending packages under 50 pounds there for free as well. Verdict: FALSE. American Airlines says the rumor is false, according to, and UPS posted on its blog that the shipping deal was fake as well. Impact: Trips planned and items purchases to take advantage of these rumored offers may have led to Americans spending money on tickets and items that they won’t be able to use or send abroad. Photo Credit: Don Hankins CNN.comDon Hankins

12 Catching Colds From the Cold It’s still a commonly-held belief that cold weather leads to the common cold. Verdict: FALSE. As much as your parents or grandparents might urge you to dress warmly, temperature does not actually cause the common cold, according to Healthcare South, an association of doctors. Impact: Outerwear powerful enough to protect you from polar climates can be expensive. You may consider a very heavy coat an “investment” that will prevent the common cold, but being overly bundled up in the winter could be a waste of your precious wardrobe money. Photo Credit: Orin Zebest Healthcare SouthOrin Zebest

13 Chocolate-Induced Breakouts Possibly to discourage an unhealthy diet, or at least provide some way to explain teenaged acne, parents have long told their children that chocolate and other unhealthy foods can cause breakouts. Verdict: FALSE. Junk food loving teenagers can rejoice! Chocolate and greasy foods don’t inevitably cause pimples, says Impact: Junk food can actually be cheaper than the healthier stuff, which may be a short-term benefit. But in the long term, eating healthy will almost always pay off. Photo Credit: Fotoos Van Robinstylelist.comJunk foodFotoos Van Robin

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