On Tuesday, the Iowa Attorney General’s Office filed suit against Osmosis LLC and Harmonized Water LLC, two Colorado-based companies that have been hawking a “drinkable sunscreen” product to consumers. The lawsuit alleges that the companies, both of which are owned by Benjamin Taylor Johnson, deceived Iowans by advertising water with properties it did not have. The “sunscreen” water sells for at least $30-a-pop.
Osmosis, which has been selling its “UV Neutralizer” for several years, advertises the product as the “world’s first drinkable sunscreen.” The company claims that the water contains a “form of radio frequencies called scalar waves.” When ingested, these waves purportedly “vibrate above the skin to neutralize UVA and UVB, creating protection comparable to an SPF 30.” The company also sells a water-based mosquito repellent that similarly purports to create an anti-bug “vibrating shield,” called Harmonized H2O Mosquito.
According to the Iowa lawsuit, the makers of “drinkable sunscreen” failed to prove their product actually protects users against sunburn, instead relying on “seriously flawed” testing that “recklessly gave consumers hollow assurances that they were protected from known health hazards.” In a statement, Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller noted that “the talk about imprinting frequencies on water is classic pseudo-science.” Indeed, when Osmosis announced its drinkable sunscreen back in 2014, science bloggers blasted the product as “drinkable sunscreen snakeoil.” As Dr. Steven Novella, a neurology professor at Yale University’s School of Medicine, explained: “If the claims being made by this company were true, then the ‘founder and formulator’ Dr. Ben Johnson would be up for several Nobel Prizes, in physics, chemistry, and medicine.”
This isn’t Dr. Johnson’s first run-in with the authorities. After two patients complained to the Colorado Medical Board about his laser hair removal services, Johnson surrendered his Colorado medical license in 2001. The Board had previously reprimanded Johnson in 1999 for selling Viagra online without any type of physical exam. Johnson is still licensed to practice medicine in California.
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