We’ve all seen falsely advertised products, but when those products claim to have health benefits that don’t exist or boast fake “cures” for real and serious health issues, it can put the public at risk. Our health is one thing we can’t afford to be lenient about.
Online retailer Lemongrassrice, which sells health and beauty products, recently ran a paid Facebook ad featuring an image of a bra alongside an X-ray image of a breast. Above the image, the company claimed their bra had an ergonomic design, a front closure, and better comfort due to its supportive but “less tight” design. The text below the image, however, went a little too far—it claimed that the advertised bra could “reduce the risks of breast cancer.”
There was no information included in the advertisement or on the company’s website about how the bra decreases the risk of breast cancer or creates any other health benefits for buyers.
Luckily, an unnamed health professional specializing in breast health saw the article and realized there was something amiss. That person made the smart decision to report it to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), an industry watchdog that polices such matters.
The ASA investigated and found that the advertisement had indeed overstepped the boundaries set in place by the ASA advertising code. There was no evidence that the product in question was capable of reducing the risk of breast cancer or that it was a CE-marked medical device.
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The ASA released a statement, saying, “Lemongrassrice did not provide any evidence to show that the bra could reduce the risks of breast cancer. We concluded that the claim ‘reduce the risks of breast cancer’ had not been substantiated and was misleading.”
The organization banned Lemongrassrice’s ad from running again in its current form. Lemongrassrice has apparently not yet responded to the ASA’s inquiries.
If you see any advertisements that falsely claim health benefits, please don’t hesitate to report them to the proper authorities. These types of advertisements can be very dangerous, particularly for vulnerable populations like the elderly, who may not have good internet literacy skills and may be easily tricked into believing what they read online.
Elizabeth Nelson is a wordsmith, an alumna of Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, a four-leaf-clover finder, and a grammar connoisseur. She has lived in west Michigan since age four but loves to travel to new (and old) places. In her free time, she. . . wait, what’s free time?