Art critique

“Trust the Science” review uses 3 real images, including one from a video game


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The claim: Pictures show real ads for heroin and other dangerous products

The emergence of COVID-19, a year of lockdowns and limitations, and the deployment of the vaccine have sparked “the most important large-scale, open and public social debate in recent history on epidemiology and science,” according to a June 2020 study in the journal Santé publique.

Americans were asked for an unprecedented level of change and cooperation as governments and the scientific community figured out how to deal with a generational pandemic.

“More closures are preventable, but the public must trust the science,” Dr Anthony Fauci, the government’s leading infectious disease expert, told Harvard University last year.

But many objected to the notion, including the person behind a May 6 Facebook post that features four images as well as a text reading, “A historical retrospective on the phrase: Trust the science,” billed as a criticism of the concept.

The images show advertisements promoting the use of nicotine during pregnancy, the use of DDT insecticide to protect babies from flies, the use of prescription “heroin hydrochloride” by a doctor. doctor and the use of asbestos as an option for building insulation.

The post has been shared over 150 times. USA TODAY has contacted the user for comment.

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We took a closer look and found that three of the images are indeed real, but the fourth is from a video game.

The ad for Nico Time cigarettes is bogus

A “Nico Time” advertisement promoting smoking during pregnancy is bogus. It was posted on a Fandom page called “BioShock Wiki”, dedicated to the BioShock video game series. The site wrote that the ad was designed by Kat Berkley, a concept artist who worked on the game.

The DDT poster is real

DDT was “the first of the modern synthetic insecticides in the 1940s,” according to the US Environmental Protection Agency. And a poster promoting it as a protector against insects for children is very real.

The Gallery of Graphic Design said it appeared in the June 1, 1946 edition of Woman’s Day magazine. The group compiles graphic art from the 1930s to the 1960s.

It was an advertisement for the insecticide company Black Flag, which produced DDT. The full poster comes with a caption that says the substance is preferred by housewives to kill flies and mosquitoes and stresses that it “stays on walls, floors, doors to keep killing people. flies for weeks! “

According to the EPA, DDT was initially used with great effect to control malaria and typhus, as well as other human insect-borne diseases among military and civilian populations. It has also been used effectively as an insect control in crop and animal production, institutions, homes and gardens.

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The United States banned the use of DDT in 1972 after it was discovered to be harmful to humans in high doses, but it is still used in some countries, according to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention .

The ad “heroin hydrochloride” is real

An advertisement promoting “heroin hydrochloride” from The Bayer Co. is also real.

A German group called Coalition Against Bayer Dangers published a similar version of the ad, which promoted heroin use by children to relieve symptoms of cough and “irritation.”

A century ago, scientists at a German pharmaceutical company chemically modified morphine to make it easier to take as a cough suppressant, according to the Yale School of Medicine. The Bayer Co. marketed the drug as “heroin” and began production in 1898 on a commercial scale. By 1912 it had become a recreational drug.

In 1914, the passage of the Harrison Narcotics Act aimed to regulate the use of opium, a key ingredient in heroin, in the United States.

In 1920, the American Medical Association passed a resolution that heroin should be “eliminated from all medicinal preparations” and prohibited for sale in the United States.

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It was almost three decades before the CDC was founded.

The asbestos announcement is real

Asbestos advertising is real.

The ad features a “JM” logo, which stands for Johns Manville, an insulation manufacturer.

The ad can be found on the Asbestos Institute website with the caption “Johns-Manville brochure describing asbestos as the ‘magical mineral of the Middle Ages’”. She identifies the brochure as being from 1937.

In 1990, the company was involved in a string of lawsuits when hundreds of plaintiffs claimed to have inhaled asbestos at the Brooklyn Navy Yard 25 years earlier.

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The website of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health says that “workers exposed to asbestos have developed several types of life-threatening diseases, including asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma.”

Our rating: Partly false

The claim that all four images in the ads are real is PARTLY FALSE, based on our research. Three of the four ads are indeed real and have been promoted in the past, but one is from a video game.

Our sources of fact-checking:

  • Facebook post, May 6
  • ScienceDirect, June 1, 2020, “Assessing Changes in U.S. Public Confidence in Science Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic”
  • WBUR, Aug 6, 2020, “More Shutdowns Avoidable, But Public Must Trust Science, Says Dr Fauci at Harvard”
  • ScienceDirect, January 1, 2021, “Revenge of the Experts: Will COVID-19 Renew or Diminish Public Confidence in Science?”
  • BioShock Wiki, Nico-Time, accessed May 12
  • Kat Berkley, accessed May 12
  • CDC, “Smoking, Pregnancy, and Babies,” accessed May 12
  • CDC, “E-Cigarettes and Pregnancy,” accessed May 12
  • CDC, “Smoking During Pregnancy,” accessed May 12
  • EPA, “DDT – A Brief History and Status”, accessed May 12
  • CDC, “Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) Fact Sheet,” accessed May 12
  • Yale School of Medicine, Jan. 15, 1999, “From Cough Medicine to Deadly Addiction, A Century of Heroin and Drug Addiction Policy”
  • National Library of Medicine, August 2001, “The History of Heroin”
  • United Nations, January 1, 1953, “History of the heroine”
  • CDC, “Our History – Our History”, accessed May 12
  • Coalition Against the Dangers of Bayer, November 14, 2011, KEYCODE BAYER 510
  • Business Insider, November 17, 2011, Yes, Bayer has been promoting heroin to kids – here are the ads to prove it
  • Johns Manville website
  • The Asbestos Institute, March 6, 2015, “What is asbestos?
  • Times Machine, New York Times, July 8, 1990, The Bitter Fight Over the Manville Trust, accessed May 12
  • CDC, The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, “ASBESTOS”, accessed May 12
  • CDC, Notable Milestones in NIOSH History, accessed May 20

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Our fact-checking work is supported in part by a grant from Facebook.

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