Dr. Oz is At it Again
March 13, 2015
Executive Vice President of U.S. Current Programming
Sony Pictures Television
I am writing to ask you to address the continued promotion and dissemination of misleading and potentially life-threatening medical advice for pregnant women on The Dr. Oz Show.
In the episode that ran today entitled How the Worst Insomniacs Finally Got to Sleep and How You Can Too, Oz posits that traces of naturally occurring organic mercury in canned tuna pose a danger to people. This goes against decades of peer-reviewed science, undermines important advice from the UN, World Health Organization, and American Heart Association, and explicitly contradicts an exhaustive Food and Drug Administration review, all of which point to the critical role seafood plays in heart and brain health.
The scientific consensus couldn’t be more clear: the benefits of eating a variety of seafood far outweigh the hypothetical harms. So when Oz irresponsibly peddles pseudo-science and mercury mysticism to his audience, he is not offering medical advice.
Seafood consumption among Americans has declined perilously, especially among those who need it most: expecting mothers and growing children, in large part because of baseless fear-mongering from supposed experts like Oz. By every measure, the great danger to American public health is that people aren’t eating enough seafood, a fact that by one estimate contributes to 60,000 preventable deaths each year.
Worse yet, even as the evidence piles up, Oz doubles down on his ignorance. As we have repeatedly identified Oz puts his viewers at risk and undermines the credibility of his distributors with his misinformation:
- Dr. Oz advises his viewers that mercury in fish was a concern for the general population
- Dr. Oz refuses to change his assessment on mercury levels in tuna after a study by the World Health Organization is released encouraging people to eat more fish
- The Oz Show reruns show with false information regarding the health benefits of fish and mercury
- Dr. Oz brings in his legal team rather than admit he was wrong on the science
- Dr. Oz pens a column advising pregnant women to limit fish consumption
- Dr. Oz contradicts FDA advice in a segment on fish and health
Nor are we the only group to raise concerns about the reliability of Mr. Oz’s claims. Slate has described Mr. Oz’s work as unproven or disproven [and] is irresponsible and borders on quackery. A review of Mr. Oz’s work by Vox lead to the author concluding, “In carefully examining Dr. Oz, unpicking the evidence behind the ideas he peddles, I came to the conclusion that, on balance, the bulk of what he has to say is misleading at best, and total nonsense at worst.” And when Mr. Oz spoke to members of Congress on Capitol Hill, Senator Clair McCaskill noted that “the scientific community is almost monolithic[ally] against you.
All of which raises the question: Why do you willfully continue to spread Oz’s harmful health advice, making you complicit in tangible harm to the American public especially American moms? We await your reply.
Sr. Director of Communications
National Fisheries Institute
cc Steve Mosko
President of U.S. Distribution