Graphene oxide in vitamins? Nope, just iron oxide, a harmless ingredient
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Graphene oxide is a material that vaccine sceptics claim is dangerous and present in Covid-19 vaccines. Recently, several videos have circulated online claiming that it also appears in Blackmores, a food supplement manufactured in Australia. But the substance in the videos is likely iron oxide, which is non-toxic and used as a dye in the tablets' coating.
Two videos have circulated widely on TikTok, Twitter and Facebook, alleging that there is graphene oxide in Blackmores, a nutritional supplement manufactured in Australia, notably its vitamin D3 supplement.
A video posted on TikTok on January 4, which has since garnered 30,000 views, shows a Blackmores tablet sticking to a magnet. “Weird… never buying Blackmores again!” reads the caption. The account that shared this video also shared false information about how Australian Aborigines were treated during the pandemic, a story debunked by the FRANCE 24 Observers team.
A second video, which garnered 14,000 views on Twitter, and which was published in January by an anti-vaccine account, shows what is allegedly a Blackmores tablet dissolved in a glass of water. Some black material appears in the glass and then moves when a magnet is placed near it.“That's graphene oxide!” says the woman doing the demonstration.
Graphene Oxide found in Blackmores. pic.twitter.com/aofTuAqU9h— The Juggernaut (@TheJuggernaut88) January 2, 2022
Graphene is a nanomaterial made of carbon. Researchers are interested in the material because of its strength and its potential for storing energy. Graphene oxide is a graphene derivative which, unlike graphene, dissolves in water. There is currently a lot of research into potential industrial and biomedical uses for these two materials.
Some people suspicious of the Covid-19 vaccines have, since May 2021, spread rumours that the vaccines contain graphene and graphene oxide.
People online have shared videos of so-called experiments featuring a mysterious black substance with magnetic properties, which they claim is graphene oxide. In reality, thee videos do not feature graphene at all, as previously demonstrated by our team.
According to some vaccine skeptics, the Pfizer vaccine contains graphene, which makes it magnetic – a claim we've already debunked.
Iron oxide, a common dye
Our team spoke to Jean-François Berret, a director of research at Paris Diderot University who specialises in biophysics. Berret says the two videos almost certainly show the chemical compound iron oxide. Oxides are magnetic and dark in colour when concentrated.
That’s iron oxide in particle form. It’s without a doubt the size of a micrometer (1 millionth of a meter) [...] These particles are magnetic: They are magnetite or maghemite particles [Editor’s note: both in the family of iron oxides], both of which have been studied extensively in labs. There is a lot of research currently into these two materials. In a magnetic field, the particles line up with one another and form chains. You can see this characteristic behaviour in the video.
Iron oxide is not toxic, Berret says:
There are quite a few studies on cells and rodents (some of which we have done in our lab) that show that living beings have no problem with iron oxides. A lethal dose would be a huge amount and it’s safe to say the vitamin in the video would contain a weak to very weak dose.
In any case, the substance shown in the video isn’t graphene oxide, because graphene oxide isn’t magnetic.
Blackmore vitamins do indeed contain some iron oxide, according to their ingredients list.
The coating used on some tablets contains iron oxide, which can be used as a dye. Iron oxide is also magnetic.
Not graphene or graphene oxide
Leah Boonthanom, Group Communications & Content Manager for Blackmores, assured news agency Reuters that "graphene oxide is not in any of our product specifications or raw material specifications".
Blackmores products also respect rules established by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), the medicine and therapeutic regulatory agency of the Australian government, which does not accept graphene oxide in medicine, as the company stated in this tweet from January 4.
Our team spoke to Emmanuel Flahaut, a director of research at French research institute CNRS, who specialises in graphene. Flahaut said that these videos do not show graphene or graphene oxide.
Graphene oxide isn’t magnetic so the fact that the substance in the video is attracted by a magnet at room temperature [...] is proof that it isn’t graphene oxide.
Moreover, there is no proof that what is in the glass is actually a tablet from the bottle sitting next to it.
Graphene oxide doesn’t have any vitamin or nutrient properties so there is no reason to add it into a dietary supplement.
Flahaut says that there is no definitive answer on the toxicity of graphene or graphene oxide.
Graphene oxide is genotoxic, [Editor’s note: meaning that it can alter the genomes of living beings] but it is possible to eliminate this property.
In any case, to my knowledge, graphene oxide isn’t an ingredient in any product meant for wide public consumption.
Last November, social media accounts with anti-vaccine leanings also alleged that an antibiotic called flucloxacillin, used to treat infections, contained graphene or graphene oxide, when, in reality, it contains iron oxide.