Econet scratch cards do not cause skin cancer!

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Social networks can be great things. If you’ve ever heard of a ‘viral video’ you know how easily something funny and unique can spread like wildfire through the use of social connections.

The same problem can occur with hoaxes and bogus information. The problem is when someone socially well-connected either tweets or posts something bogus, and the network takes this as gospel.

These people need to know that a little Google goes a long way. In the example above, I found it a little fishy because I’ve heard of a lot of things, but never “silver nitro oxide”. So I checked it out.

This is all a hoax. There’s no such thing as silver nitro oxide, and scratching Econet recharge cards with your nails does NOT expose you to cancer. In fact, most scratch panels are made with specialised latex, which is a natural by-product of rubber and does NOT cause cancer, or UV inks, which dry under UV radiation (don’t panic).

Exactly what’s in Econet’s scratch panels I don’t know, but I’ve put an email in to them if they want to comment.

There are no credible medical or scientific reports that suggest that scratch ticket coating has been linked to skin cancer. There are no credible references to an organization known as the “Medical Research Authority of the US”.

There are two chemical compounds with similar names to “silver nitro oxide’.  One is Nitrous oxide, more commonly known as laughing gas. The other is Nitric oxide, a diatomic gas that plays a role as a cell signaling molecule in mammals. Neither of these compounds is used to create the coating on scratch cards.

These are the perils of of social networking, because sometimes they can do a lot of harm.

While we’re at it, believe me, there is no way to see who viewed your Facebook profile. It’s a hack. Also, if you want to see which of your ‘friends’ viewed your profile, maybe not all of your friends are your friends.

The Internet is a jungle, people; tread softly, but wield a big machete.