'Those Are Not Parasites. They Are Obviously Crazy People'

Inside the rise and fall of Black Oxygen Organics
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 18, 2021 8:30 AM CST
Inside the Parasite-Ridding Trend, and One Company Behind It
Parasitic roundworms are shown in this stock photo.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – As far as multi-level marketing companies go, the now-defunct Black Oxygen Organics ("BOO" to its fans) belongs in a category of its own, and not a good one. That's the case Haley Weiss makes in a lengthy piece for Vice about BOO, which "was dedicated to the scientifically questionable therapeutic use of fulvic acids, a family of organic compounds found in soil." BOO "brand partners"—the number hit somewhere around 20,000—promised the company's powders and tablets could rid the body of parasites and other toxins. Social media was full of the claims, which included lines like this, from one BOO group admin, "Do your kids act crazy around the full moon phase? Chances are they have parasites." And then there were the photos of the alleged parasites that had allegedly come out of their body.

But as Weiss writes, "Oddly enough, among the parasite posts, almost no two purported invaders look alike—some were dark, some anemic, some were thin, some globular. There was never a clear consensus on how these so-called parasites had gotten into the body—just that BOO would flush them out." But the Harvard School of Public Health professor who examined a number of the posts was definitive: "Those are NOT parasites. They are obviously crazy people." On the people front, Weiss pieces together what she can on the company's leaders, CEO Marc Saint-Onge and president Carlo Garibaldi. They, along with BOO, got hit with a class-action suit on Nov. 19 that BOO's products actually contained "unsafe levels of toxic heavy metals." The company closed four days later. What set BOO apart, writes Weiss, is that it "was a rare combination of a potentially harmful product and the type of sleek branding usually reserved for larger companies." (Read the full story for much more.)

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