Are your products killing people?

by Akbar Jaffer
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Are your products killing people?

Okay so as a marketer I am guilty of using a dramatic attention getter. However, I feel that its justified. There are some serious general health related consequences and even life threatening number of products we use today. Albeit some deliberate and some are just the result of the evolution of us humans learning about the nature, science, earth, and everything in between. Some call it slow death or slow poison, depending on the category of products. Nevertheless, there in lie tremendous opportunity to innovate. Specifically, there are opportunities to re-innovate our existing innovations out of being harmful to human beings. Therefore we must adhere to one condition for these new sets of innovations. Our new solutions must not kill human beings.  In other words every time a product is released into the consumer markets we must ask ourselves this one questions, are your products killing people?


Let’s identify select areas of innovation or specific products or operational practices that have unfortunately introduced impacts, side-effects and byproducts that are harmful to human beings, both in the short-run and the long-run. I won’t venture to suggest ideas in this article. I will merely state a problem and leave the rest to the creative minds of innovators.


Shiny Foods

Coating apples and other fruits and vegetables with wax and other material to give them an appearance of shine. Wax does not wash off and no one thinks to use a knife to scrape off the wax from an apple before you eat it. Who asked for it? Biggest questions is, how much wax is safe to digest in a human body and what happens to all the wax we eat? Additionally, if an organic and Non-GMO apple is coated with wax, is it still organic?


Radiation, Mobile Devices, and Connected Homes

Radio frequency emitted by our mobile devices and smart phones. Most phones are operated very close to our exposed skin, close to our brain, close to our hearts, and reproductive organs. People sleep with them, have them at the dinner table while eating, and hold it between their legs while driving. We now have smart watches with phone functionality that have emit radio waves. This device is attached to us all the time. Some devices also emit pulses to tap our hand like Apple Watch. I know people who wear their Bluetooth headsets in their ears all day long. Then there are all these risks of being around WiFi. Numerous studies are being conducted and no short-term serious harm has been detected except tissue heating, we haven’t been using mobile phones and Bluetooth long enough to know the long-term effects. Some say it might be just like the cigarettes and what we knew about them 80 years ago and what we know about them today.



Home IoT:  Very soon connected homes are going to be the norm. Every single device in our home will be emitting pulses, radio waves, Bluetooth signals, RF Chips, and more. What will be the impact of all that on our body as well as on our psychology? There are various health risks associated to connected homes. We don’t know I will tackle security risks in another article.



GMO and Food Supply

Our food supply has been altered down to the seed level. Genetically created or enhanced foods (GMO foods) are mass producing food (in factories instead of farms) for our growing population. We are also making our foods look uniformly consistent in physical looks but that’s not natural. Growth hormones, pesticides, and other enhancements are helping to produce food faster to keep up with the manufactured demand. However, humans are not designed and supposed to eat as much as we do today.  All the genetically modified foods we consume today is causing a number of health risks, diseases that’s getting out of hand. In addition, there is a whole bunch of “convenience” packaging of products that brings a good set of their own problems. Ever wonder how those millions of garlics and carrots are peeled for those cute little packages?  Sure its giving rise to other industries but at a terrible cost.



Pharmaceuticals increasingly have more horrific and devastating side effects than the actual symptom. In trying to play God (to prolong life) we are literally killing off humans in record number. We have abandoned the natural remedies in favor of synthetic drugs. Watch any drug commercial on television and pay attention to the list of side effects at the end. Check out Accutane that’s used to treat Acne. Ortho-Novum for birth control that may give you benign but dangerous liver tumors with fatal internal bleeding or develop liver cancer. Some are just down right absurd, Advair for asthma treatment which may cause asthma related death.


These problems are mostly created by us, humans. I won’t go into the argument of ethical responsibilities vs greed for money.  Based on what all we know today, we do have ethical responsibilities to solve these problems. And the only way to do that is by being creatively innovative.

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