Did two university students get cancer, specifically leukaemia, from this plant?!
Take a look at the viral claim, and find out what the facts really are!
Claim : Two University Students Got Cancer From This Plant!
This photo and warning keeps going viral on WhatsApp, and social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook:
My daughters Sis- in- law age 31 died yesterday cos of leukemia.
She got leukemia while doing master in botanical at USM.
Research on the plant above.
Her friend doing the same research also got CA and died last year.
USM and Health Ministery proved that these two uni students got leukemia due to the plants above.
If u have these plants, destroy it by burning it before it flowers.
Pass the info to the group to remind the danger of this plant. Don’t know how true but better be safe than sorry. 🙏🏻
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Truth : No University Students Got Cancer From This Plant!
This is yet another example of FAKE NEWS circulating on WhatsApp, and social media platforms, and here are the reasons why…
Fact #1 : This Has Been Circulating Since 2015
First, let me just point out that this viral warning and photo have been circulating for many years now, at least since December 2015.
Like many of such viral fake news, it keeps reappearing and going viral every year or so.
Fact #2 : USM Refuted The Claims As Fake News
When the photo and story first went viral in December 2015, University Sains Malaysia (USM) was inundated with queries about it. In response, the USM Media and Public Relations Centre director Mohamad Abdullah publicly refuted the claims, and said that it was “false news”.
We have been bombarded with many queries on this. We would like to urge those posting this up to prove their claims so we can conduct an official investigation.
USM would like to plead to all to stop spreading the false news on the matter immediately.
Needless to say, no one ever stepped forward to share with USM which 31 year-old university student of theirs died from cancer, after doing research on the plant.
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Fact #3 : Plant In Photo Is Likely Zanzibar Gem
The viral message never identified the plant, but after a close examination and reverse image searches, the plant appears to be the Zanzibar Gem (Zamioculcas zamiifolia).
While some fact checkers have claimed that this is the money plant (Epipremnum aureum), that’s incorrect. The leaves of money plant have light and dark green patterns, while the Zanzibar Gem (also known as ZZ) has even green leaves.
Fact #4 : Neither Plants Cause Cancer
Both the money plant and Zanzibar Gem are considered poisonous houseplants, and toxic to humans and pets. However, neither the money plant or Zanzibar Gem cause cancer.
The money plant is known to be toxic to cats and dogs due to insoluble raphides. It is also mildly toxic to humans if consumed, due to its calcium oxalate content. However, it does not cause cancer.
The Zanzibar Gem is also toxic to humans and pets, because it contains calcium oxalate. However, it also does not cause cancer.
Incidentally, both plants are toxic to consume and irritating to touch at all times, not just when they are flowering as the viral message claims.
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Fact #5 : This Is Just Fake News About Nature
This is yet another example of FAKE NEWS created about nature. Here are other examples you may have seen on WhatsApp, and social media platforms:
- Do Amaravalli Flowers Look Like Birds?!
- Does Viral Video Show Super Moon At Arctic Circle?!
- Do Mahameru Pagoda Flowers Only Bloom Every 400 Years?!
- Are Rohingyas using chemicals to freshen old vegetables to sell?!
- Did US Send 7000 Insects To Destroy Crops In China?!
- Can Flower of the Holy Spirit Transform To Dove?!
- Will Aphelion Phenomenon Create Cold Weather?!
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Dr. Adrian Wong has been writing about tech and science since 1997, even publishing a book with Prentice Hall called Breaking Through The BIOS Barrier (ISBN 978-0131455368) while in medical school.
He continues to devote countless hours every day writing about tech, medicine and science, in his pursuit of facts in a post-truth world.
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