Quackwatch – Stephen Barret, Gary Young, and Young Living
QuackWatch Rebuttal: Examining the Truth By Terry S. Friedmann, MD, ABHM and Sabina DeVita, EdD, DNM, RNCP with Karen Boren
As Young Living Essential Oils’ products, influence, and business opportunities extend around the world, the company and its founder occasionally come under attack by those who take an adversarial stance toward natural healthcare. Unfortunately, these attacks are often full of inaccurate information and are intended to discredit alternative medicine and malign leading proponents of natural healthcare.
With today’s information technology, these anti-natural agendas are easily channeled through the media and Internet and convincingly portrayed as truth. Because of today’s busy lifestyles, viewers and readers have little time to investigate, and therefore oftentimes accept negative information thought to be authoritative as truthful.
In order to provide accurate information and aid to those individuals and groups who have become aware of false claims and are troubled by them, we offer the following documented facts that will prove the integrity of Young Living Essential Oils, its founder and its products. In addition to this summary, there are thousands of university and scientific studies that validate alternative medicine and its role in modern healthcare.
Young Living Essential Oils
Young Living Essential Oils is dedicated to uniting ancient traditions and modern science to produce the highest-quality essential oils and oil-enhanced products in the world. They empower individuals and families to achieve their highest potential and enjoy increased physical, mental, emotional and financial health. Young Living’s global growth is attributed to its superior products.
The company manufactures and sells the highest quality essential oils available anywhere in the world. Its products are endorsed by hundreds of medical professionals, including such nationally recognized figures as Ronald Lawrence, Ph.D., M.D.
Quality is first and foremost at Young Living. No expense is spared in testing and proving that Young Living products are superior to competitors’. This claim is supported by gas chromatography testing which is conducted at two French laboratories that are AFNOR-certified. AFNOR (the Association French Normalization Organization Regulation) sets the standards for essential oils to differentiate true therapeutic-grade essential oils from similar oils with inferior chemistry.
The therapeutic benefits of essential oils are well documented—research abounds and is ongoing in the scientific and medical community. The United States National Library of Medicine (PubMed) website (with more than 14 million medical abstracts from peerreviewed journals) featured 3,780 abstracts about essential oils as of May 2004. Scientists and researchers are investigating essential oils on such topics as: “Terpinen-4-ol, the main component of Melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree) oil inhibits the in vitro growth of human melanoma cells” (Feb. 2004), “Composition and the in vitro antimicrobial activities of the essential oils of some Thymus varieties,” (Jan-Feb. 2004), “Susceptibility of methicillin-resistant staphylococci to oregano essential oil, carvacrol and thymol” (Jan. 2004).
As a global leader in the cultivation, distillation and production of pure therapeutic-grade essential oils, Young Living Essential Oils is guided by seasoned executives and is firmly based with more than 250,000 independent distributors worldwide.
These distributors are passionate about achieving their highest potential—by improving their physical, emotional and financial well-being—and helping others achieve the same success. Their own positive experiences with Young Living products have driven them to learn more about alternative medicine and to share these health discoveries with family, friends and co-workers.
Young Living offers seminars and training meetings to keep members and their guests updated and educated about the latest research and discoveries made by the scientific community and medical field. The company takes pride in the fact that its distributors are knowledgeable, professional individuals and that the company is led by an experienced executive team.
Alternative Medicine in Modern Society
Alternative medicine grew out of a desire for people to take responsibility for their own health and well-being. Many see the need to find sources other than prescription drugs for balance and nutritional benefit. Modern medicine will always have its place, but so will alternative methods and products.
Young Living’s founder, Gary Young, has steadfastly stated his desire to promote health and wellness through excellent, high quality products.
Young Living Under Attack
Specific allegations have been directed at Young Living Essential Oils and the company’s founder, Gary Young, in an effort to discredit them. These false and misleading statements appear on a website identified as Quackwatch. The defamatory campaign of Quackwatch and the pharmaceuticals (see part II of this article) is to discourage people from using natural products and health remedies, therefore leaving people to believe that high-priced patented drugs are the only answer. We encourage you to examine the truth and exercise your power of choice. Following are some of the more virulent accusations that have been leveled against Gary Young and Young Living. Because of the blatant nature and lack of integrity inherent in this campaign of defamation, we have felt it necessary to respond to these allegations.
*(Quackwatch allegations): * “[Gary Young] graduated from the Challis, Idaho high school on May 23, 1967. This is the only legitimate educational credential that I have been able to verify.” (Emphasis added.)
Gary Young received his Doctorate of Naturopathy from Bernadean University. At the time when Gary was working on his degree (1982-85), Bernadean was the only school offering these studies. During this time, the school was under the direction of Joseph M. Kadans, Ph.D. All the coursework that Gary completed was reviewed by a medical doctor. The university, however, did not participate in the accreditation process. Gary is currently pursuing further studies from accredited universities.
In his pursuit of health secrets, Gary has studied in places all over the world—from remote villages to cosmopolitan cities—from world-renowned experts in natural health medicine. He has dedicated himself to learning not only the science behind essential oils, but also the art of growing and distilling them so that the result is the highest-grade oils available.
Gary Young has studied with such experts as J.C. Lapraz, M.D., in France (effects of essential oils on the respiratory system), and in Egypt with Radwan Farag, Ph.D., (essential oil chemistry and its effect on the immune system). He also studied essential oil chemistry, absolute extraction and gas chromatography at Anadolu University in Eskisehir, Turkey.
He has traveled around the world seeking the health secrets of the peoples of Ningxia, China, Hunzaland in Pakistan, southern Ecuador, the Talish Mountains of Azerbaijan and the Tarahumara Indians of central Mexico.
Gary Young also commands impressive designing and fabricating skills. Essential oil experts from France (including Marcel Espieu, former president of the Lavender Growers Association and Jean-Noel Landel, M.B.A.) have paid high compliments for the essential oil distilling equipment Gary Young designed and built.1
The education that Gary Young has sought throughout the world has its culmination in the business he built, the farms and distilleries he engineered and the pure oils he creates and markets.
* “He claims that while he was working as a logger in 1973, a falling tree struck him on the head.”
Gary Young’s wife at the time of the accident, Donna Jean Datoff, has verified in a notarized statement the reality of the accident and Gary’s time spent in two Canadian hospitals.
* “I seriously doubt that he can substantiate his claim that the products he used actually cured him.”
By following his nutrition and exercise program, 55-year-old Gary Young cured himself after his injuries and is in excellent health. He leads a very active lifestyle, including weight-lifting each day, backpacking into wilderness areas and jousting in tournaments.
Gary placed first in the National Physique Committee, Inc. (NPC) Western States Fitness Contest in 2002 and second in the 2003 competition. He took second place in the 2003 World Championship Jousting Association’s International Dragon’s Lair Jousting Tournament (jousting skilled-at-arms) and fifth place in the light armor division.
Gary teaches the importance of proper nutrition and exercise, and encourages others to follow healthy habits in their lives as well. There is an exhausting list of medical abstracts showing how crucial nutrition and exercise are to health and well-being. By typing in the key words “nutrition” and “exercise” on the PubMed website of the National Library of Medicine, 5,822 peerreviewed articles appear.
* “This description [the story of a man and his mission from the YL website] suggests that before Young embarked on his health-related career, he was mentally unstable and possibly even brain damaged.”
The author of this site, Stephen Barrett, has made an unsubstantiated psychiatric diagnosis which is both inaccurate and unprofessional. Stephen Barrett has never met with nor talked to Gary Young at any time in his life, and is therefore unqualified to make a diagnosis of his mental health.
Gary Young’s life and his many accomplishments are proof of his mental stability—he has acquired immense knowledge about essential oils, has designed and fabricated complicated essential oil distilling equipment, has conducted extensive research, has formulated several products, oversees the harvest and production on his farms, has written and published books, is the founder and president of an international company and has created a humanitarian project that is helping improve the lives of the Tarahumara Indians.
* [While delivering his own child] “He left the baby under water for almost an hour, causing the death of an apparently healthy infant on September 4, 1982. Although the coroner said that the baby would have lived if she had been delivered in a conventional manner, Young was never charged in that case.” (see notorized statment)
This statement, which is completely false and misleading, shows a lack of humanity from the accuser. No one caused the tragic death of the Youngs’ infant, and it was not “apparently healthy” as Barrett accuses, nor was it “under water for almost an hour.” The baby died due to serious complications that were not related to the delivery. Legal charges were never considered, as there was no question concerning the integrity of the delivery.
* “Butch Owen, an American essential oils exporter living and working in Turkey, investigated Young’s claims of Turkish credentials and found them to be unsubstantiated. Professor Mustafa Keviz, a lecturer on the Agricultural and Plants faculty of Anadolu University, stated that Gary Young had never given lectures there. The United Nations Development Organization (sic) never sponsored Young or invited him to speak. He showed up uninvited and convinced some officials to permit him to present on two topics.”
Professor K. Husnu Baser, Head of the Department of Pharmacognosy, Faculty of Pharmacy, Anadolu University in Eskisehir, Turkey, refuted these false accusations in an e-mail sent on March 27, 2004, to Emily Wright, executive assistant to Gary and Mary Young.
Dr. Baser said he knows Butch Owen and that Owen “is against him [Gary Young] and his deeds in full force. This is possibly due to a more established market situation of Gary’s business and he and people like him are jealous and trying to destroy [Gary] and his fame as much as possible.”
Dr. Baser further stated, “Gary was invited to the 1995 UNIDO Workshop by Prof. Tuley de Silva, who was the person in charge of UNIDO’s programmes on medicinal and aromatic plants at the time. Gary gave more than one lecture during the workshop.” With regard to the statement by Professor Mustafa Keviz, Dr. Baser said: “I do not know that Mustafa person. I was the person in charge of organizing the meeting but all the lectures were decided and invited by UNIDO.” (see the original document)(see the original UN document/certificate)
Dr. Baser also confirmed that Gary studied essential oil chemistry, absolute extraction, and gas chromatography at Anadolu University when Professor Baser was director of the Medicinal and Aromatic Plant and Drug Research Centre (TBAM). (see the original document)
Dr. Baser concluded, “I hope this is enough clarification about the nasty claims people make using my name about Gary Young. Please give my best wishes to Gary, Mary, Sue and all other friends in Payson, too many to name. Best wishes, Prof. Dr. K. Husnu Baser.”
* “What about Young’s claims to be an authority on essential oils? The publisher of the Journal of Essential Oils [sic] (JOAR) has confirmed that Young co-authored at least one paper in the JEOR. The publisher also pointed out that the JEOR did not verify his credentials.”
The correct title is the Journal of Essential Oil Research. Gary Young was a co-author on two scientific papers submitted to JEOR. In addition, as a grower, distiller and formulator of essential oils and blends, he understands and uses a gas chromatograph to analyze the chemical constituents in essential oils. The research involved is valid science conducted according to rigorous scientific standards and overseen by Young Living scientist Sue Chao, Diane Horne of Weber State University and D. Gary Young.
Essential Oil Seminar
Gary Young’s credentials include his lecturing worldwide. He lectured at the First International Symposium on Integrated Medical Aromatherapy in Grasse, France, March 21-22, 1998. Among the other presenters were essential oil experts Pierre Franchomme, director of research, Bucharest, Romania, and Daniel Penoel, M.D.
* “Young also claims expertise in the design of equipment for the distillation of essential oils and says that he has designed and built several distillers for producing his oils. On August 17, 2000, one of his homemade distillers ruptured at the lid/cover joint, fatally injuring a worker at Young Living Farms in Mona, Utah.”
Gary Young designed his first small cooker/distiller in 1989. In 1991 he built a second carbon steel portable distiller with an 80-liter capacity. By 2002, Young Living Essential Oils had four 4,100-liter cookers, a 6,900-liter cooker, three 8,700-liter cookers, two 12,500-liter cookers, and one specially designed 1,600-liter cooker.
Young Living has distilled sage, clary sage, thyme, lavender, bergamot, tarragon, German and Roman chamomile, melissa, tansy, peppermint, goldenrod, hyssop, oregano and spearmint. From wildcrafted trees, YL has distilled pine, fir, balsam fir, juniper, cedar, white fir and tsuga. [this information is close to ten years old and the plants YL grows and distills today is far greater, and YL is now the largest distiller in the world.]
In 15 years of distilling essential oils from farms in two states, there has been only one accident. Tragically, a worker was killed in this accident. Young Living provided financial compensation to the family and immediately adopted a recommendation made by the Utah Occupational Safety and Health Division on how to avoid over-pressurization.
Young Living has complied with all recommendations of the Utah Occupational Safety and Health Division (UOSHD).
* “Young’s book Aromatherapy: The Essential Beginning has a whole chapter on ancient and modern equipment used for steam distillation. Although the chapter emphasizes that ‘the best quality of oil would be produced when the pressure was zero pounds during distillation,’ the UOSHD report noted that steam had delivered to the vessel at 125 p.s.i. (pounds per square inch) of pressure.” [Emphasis added.]
For the plants distilled at the Mona, Utah farm, Gary designed the equipment to distill at no more than 5 p.s.i.. The steam enters the cooker under slight pressure in order to force the steam up through the column of plant material, carrying away the essential oil. The steam naturally convects up through the plant material. By the time it reaches the top of the cooker, there is virtually no pressure.
During the accident, there was an over-pressurization event, however, even the UOSHD inspector could not say exactly what happened. This malfunction allowed excessive pressure to build, causing the vessel lid to fail.
Pressure is needed to deliver the steam from the boiler. The maximum pressure possible in the boiler is 125 p.s.i.. However, as the steam moves through the pipes into the cooker, the pressure is less than 5 p.s.i. (depending on the plant being distilled). The steam encounters an “open vessel.” This means that the steam freely goes up through the plant material, then flows to the condenser where it goes through 270 tubes that are 9/16ths of an inch in diameter, cooling back into water and entering the separator. The essential oil floats on the top where it is collected, and the water freely flows out of the separator. There is nothing to hinder the movement of first the steam, and then the water.
It is important to note that Barrett is incorrect when he states: “the UOSHD report noted that steam had delivered to the vessel [that ruptured at the lid joint] at 125 p.s.i.” What the report actually states is: “steam is delivered to the vessels at a maximum pressure of 125 p.s.i. from a gas-fired boiler.”2 [Emphasis added.] Barrett has misread the report.
* “All product descriptions include the disclaimer, ‘This statement has not been evaluated the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.’ The FDA has warned the company not to claim that certain products are intended to treat, prevent, cure, or mitigate disease.”
These disclaimers are required by law, and Young Living, as well as thousands of other alternative, natural health manufacturers comply with the requirements. The FDA only allows information about structure and function of the body and certain approved health claims. Only drugs can legally make therapeutic claims.
* “The mere fact that a substance was used by past cultures does not prove that it is safe, effective, or useful for any disease state.”
Of course it doesn’t. Research is required to determine which substances are safe and effective, and that is why Young Living conducts extensive scientific research. Perhaps Barrett is taking issue here with Egyptian and biblical uses of essential oils and modern applications of such knowledge. Oils and unguents are mentioned nearly 100 times in the Bible. The ancient Egyptian document, the Ebers Papyrus, (discovered in 1817) listed over 800 different herbal prescriptions and remedies.
The fact is that many traditional folk treatments have led to modern-day formulas prescribed by doctors. Willow bark was used in China for centuries before chemists broke down its ingredients and came up with the chemical formula for aspirin. The pain-relieving methyl salicylate found in wintergreen and birch essential oils has been synthesized for use in sports massages. The herbal wisdom of ancient cultures has been proven over and over by modern science.
Regarding Dr. David Hill, he is no longer with Young Living.
The question must be asked, “Do hospitals ever treat patients who later die?”
It is hardly credible to suggest that any healthcare provider could cure all patients.
* “Young initially claimed that RDT (Raindrop Technique) could effectively treat scoliosis by affecting toxins and viruses, which he said cause scoliosis. There is no scientific basis to this claim because there is no evidence that either viruses or toxins cause scoliosis.”
Essential Science Publishing has found scientific documentation. The Essential Oils Desk Reference and the Essential Oils Integrative Medical Guide include the following two studies, which show Barrett’s ignorance.
Studies at Western General Hospital in Edinburgh, Scotland, have linked virus-like particles to idiopathic scoliosis. “The nature of virus-like particles in the paraxial muscles of idiopathic scoliosis,” J Pathol. 1979 Sep;129(1)9-12 and “Virus-like particles in paraspinal muscles in scoliosis,” Br Med J. 1976 Oct 16;2(6041):912-3.
There is much scientific evidence that certain microorganisms lodge near the spinal cord and contribute to deformities. Research at the Pasteur Institute in France, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, documented increasing numbers of patients showing evidence of spinal disease caused by tuberculosis. (Jenks PJ, Stewart B, “Images in Clinical Medicine: Vertebral Tuberculosis,” N Engl J Med. 1998 Jun 4;338(23):1677.)
Reuters just reported on April 23, 2004, that a common cold virus can hide out in the lungs for weeks or months. Viruses certainly hide out along the spine as well.
* “Raindrop uses seven single oils plus two blends formulated by YLEO. The concentrations of several oils exceed recommended safe doses and can cause skin irritation, sensitivity, phototoxicity, and essential oil toxicity.”
The third edition of the Essential Oils Desk Reference notes: “Using undiluted essential oils in the Raindrop Technique is consistent with the French model for aromatherapy—which is the most extensively practiced and studied model in the world. An illustrious roster of 20th century French physicians provides convincing evidence that undiluted essential oils have a valuable place in the therapeutic arsenal of clinical professionals. Rene’ Gattefosse’, Ph.D., Jean Valnet, M.D., Jean-Claude Lapraz, M.D., Daniel Penoel, M.D. and many others have long attested to the safe and effective use of undiluted essential oils and the dramatic and powerful benefits they can impart.”
Should there be skin irritation, adding a pure vegetable oil or massage oil soothes away any sensitivity. David Stewart, Ph.D., has compiled “A Statistical Validation of Raindrop Technique” that lists the overwhelmingly positive experiences that more than 400 respondents had to the Raindrop Technique. (Available at Essential Science Publishing.)
Ralph Moss, Ph.D., author of The Moss Reports on cancer notes that…
“Quack was often a convenient term to attack one’s ideological opponents. The essence of a quack, however, was that he ‘transgressed what those in the saddle defined as true, orthodox, regular, good, medicine.’”
D. Gary Young received this word of praise from Alexander G. Schauss, Ph.D., CEO and President of the American Institute for Biosocial and Medical Research, Inc.:
“I have known Gary for well over a decade, during which time I have marveled at his desire to continuously travel worldwide in his pursuit of knowledge. As a lifetime student of health care, Gary possesses that immutable desire to seek knowledge for the sake of knowledge and thereby find therapeutic applications that would benefit others. He also possesses an exceptional ability to teach and educate others. I have observed Gary in several situations in which he can captivate an audience of hundreds, even thousands, with his methodical and commanding presentation. His ability to translate highly technical information for lay people is exceptional. I have been impressed with how Gary does this accurately without compromising scientific accuracy.”
Ronald M Lawrence, M.D., Ph.D., author of several books and a founding member of the International Association for the Study of Pain, makes this fitting conclusion about Quackwatch and Gary Young:
“Quackwatch is not respected by anyone who has knowledge of complementary and alternative medicine. They [Quackwatch] themselves are deceitful and fabricators. My knowledge of Gary Young and Young Living leads me to believe that Young Living helps far more people than Quackwatch ever could. I think Gary Young has done a fabulous job on aromatherapy and I am 100 percent supportive of what he is doing.”
Stephen Barrett’s Bias and the Quackwatch Propaganda
Phillip C. McGraw, Ph.D., author of the book Self Matters: Creating Your Life from the Inside Out, states, “Negative information can seem more vivid, more real, than even truthful information that is positive.”
In our society today, we are barraged with a constant flow of information. We have been conditioned to accept that what we hear is truth and what we see is real.
The publisher Robert Collier once said, “Any thought that is passed on to the subconscious often enough and convincingly enough is finally accepted.”
In society today, we allow too much to pass through; we have become entranced by that which is sensational, cheap, and filled with flashy emotionalism.
One organization spreading much of this sensational, misinformation is called Quackwatch, which is an organization with questionable practices. Stephen Barrett, M.D., is the person behind the website Quackwatch.
Barrett also serves as vice president and webmaster of an organization called the National Council Against Health Fraud (NCAHF), another “quackwatcher” website that attacks natural medicine and its practioners.
It is often through this organization that Barrett files spurious lawsuits against natural health practitioners.
Why the Vendetta Against Natural Medicine?
Today, the success of alternative and complementary medicine has caught the attention of conventional medicine. This has been the focus of two important statistical studies published in the New England Journal of Medicine3 and the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA)4. In fact, a search of PubMed, the website of The National Library of Medicine, turned up 7,712 peer-reviewed articles on complementary and alternative medicine. The November 11, 1998 JAMA article reported that “Estimated expenditures for alternative medicine professional services increased 45.2% between 1990 and 1997 and were conservatively estimated at $21.2 billion in 1997, with at least $12.2 billion paid out-of-pocket. This exceeds the 1997 out-of-pocket expenditures for all US hospitalizations.”
This study reported that more visits were made to unconventional practitioners in 1990 than to conventional—488 million unconventional visits compared to 388 million conventional visits to primary care physicians.
The surprising impact of alternative medicine in America led the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to organize the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) in 1998.
The Department of Health and Human Services of the United States oversees this institute with this important area of focus: “To integrate scientifically proven CAM [Complementary and Alternative Medicine] practices into conventional medicine, we announce published research results; study ways to integrate evidence-based CAM practices into conventional medical practice; and support programs to develop models for incorporating CAM into the curriculum of medical, dental, and nursing schools.”5 The director of the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Stephen E. Straus,M.D., said, “We’ve moved into a whole new way of thinking about nutrition and dietary supplements.”6
The scientific documentation of the value of alternative and complementary medicine cannot be ignored. From articles in the premier peer-reviewed medical journals to the highest government agencies, natural medicine is becoming mainstream.
With the growing awareness of the value of alternative and complementary medicine, those who view natural medicine as “competition” to conventional medicine are growing louder in their opposition.
The Price of Ensuring Freedom of Choice in Healthcare
Freedom of choice extracts a costly price. The pioneers of natural health are under unwarranted attack by front organizations with tremendous financial resources.
Stephen Barrett of Quackwatch is paid to testify as an “expert witness” in lawsuits he and associate Robert Baratz, president of the NCAHF, originate as they attack natural health practitioners with misinformation and innuendo.
Barrett’s and Baratz’s many web pages and their vendetta against natural health seem to be enriching these men.
The question is raised:
Who is putting up the money for their many lawsuits?
Are they being funded by pharmaceutical companies? Pharmaceutical companies have the most to lose when people practice alternative medicine.
According to the Smart Publications Health & Wellness Update, the United States’ $100 billion drug industry is the most profitable industry in the nation, and has had enormous influence over the medical industry for years.
The fact is that alternative medicine is drawing more and more money away from mainstream medical practice and even more significantly, from pharmaceutical corporations. When people use “natural” remedies instead of high-priced patented drugs, pharmaceutical companies lose money.
Consumer writer Tim Bolen believes that “Quackwatchers” such as Barrett and Baratz are being funded by the pharmaceutical companies, and he has written about the assault against those who offer alternatives to the drug/surgery medical paradigm.
He believes that “Big Pharma” or the giant pharmaceutical corporations organized “quackbusters.”
“26 drug companies banded together and funded it, put leaders and directors in place, and set it up as a business—one that would act as a mechanism to constantly damage, and discourage, competition to drug ‘treatment.’
Their primary target is the emerging ‘healthcare’ industry—those entities that propose ‘alternatives’ to the drug/surgery paradigm.”
“The ‘quackbusters’ as a tactic, deride ALL new health ideas as ‘quackery.”
Bolen also explains Big Pharma’s “propaganda gambit” of creating an information base.
“Websites appeared, sounding authoritative, like Stephen Barrett’s sleazy http://www.quackwatch.com and others. The questionable organization, the National Council Against Health Fraud (NCAHF), was to provide so-called ‘expert witnesses’ for testimony.”7
Bolen refers to Stephen Barrett’s website “Quackwatchers” perhaps because it is the most well-known of the home pages for these attacks on natural health.
On the Quackwatch website, several hundred natural health care professionals are being attacked.
There are 164+ names on Barrett’s “Living” list of doctors, nurses, chiropractors, naturopaths, and even a United States Congresswoman, who support natural health ideas and are therefore targets for his attacks.
Among the people Stephen Barrett attacks on his website are:
D. Gary Young, Andrew Weil, M.D.; Julian Whitaker, M.D.; Deepak Chopra M.D.; Bernie Siegel, M.D.; Ralph Moss, Ph.D.; Earl Mindell, R.Ph.; and Gary Null, Ph.D. Also, the late Dr. John R. Lee, who questioned the wisdom of the now-proven-dangerous Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT), is on Barrett’s list.
Some examples of Barrett’s attacks include his criticism of Harvey Diamond’s book Fit For Life because of its discussion of food combining.
Barrett also criticizes Joe Weider, the bodybuilder, for believing that “athletes have special protein needs, that protein supplements have special muscle-building and health-giving powers, and that the most efficient way to get enough protein is by using supplements.”
In addition, Barrett criticizes U.S. Representative Diane Watson (D-CA) for her work in notifying the public about the mercury found in “silver” dental amalgams.
Hundreds of scientific studies published in peerreviewed scientific journals document the dangers of this compound: “dental amalgam is most probably the major source of chronic mercury exposure in humans.” (Hahn LJ, et al., “Dental ‘silver’ tooth fillings: a source of mercury exposure revealed by whole-body image scan and tissue analysis,” FASEB J. 1989 Dec;3(14):2641-6.)
Rep. Watson was successful in getting a law enacted mandating this notice in all dental offices in California:
“WARNING: Amalgam fillings contain a chemical element known to the State of California to cause birth defects or other reproductive harm.” Furthermore, several distinguished doctors, including the late Linus Pauling, Ph.D., who was the only person to ever win two unshared Nobel prizes, are victims of Barrett’s hostility toward natural medicine. Barrett derides the accomplishments of Dr. Pauling, whose theories continue to find vindication by researchers and scientists.
Clearly, Barrett’s Quackwatch site takes jabs at those who disagree with his views.
This includes the White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medicine Policy and Newsweek magazine for “promoting false notions about so-called complementary and alternative medicine.”
It is therefore necessary to understand the background and motives of the man who maintains this site that is dedicated to assaulting alternative medicine and its practitioners.
A Critical Look at Stephen Barrett
It is important to look at the qualifications and motives of the man behind the vitriolic attack against Gary Young and so many others.
What is Barrett’s motivation in attacking Gary Young?
Gary has built an international company that is helping many people create a vital and healthy lifestyle. He now has four herb farms, and a park for families. He employs approximately 400+ people and his company,Young Living Essential Oils, has tens of thousands of dedicated distributors.
Occupational Schizophrenia? Stephen Barret’s Career Timeline
On the other hand, a careful look at Stephen Barrett, M.D., reveals some questions about his career, and ultimately about his character.
Barrett’s curriculum vitae is listed on the Internet in at least two places. He manages 8 or 9 websites and is currently involved in numerous lawsuits (as the instigator), but there is additional revealing resume information on his MLM Watch site. This resume shows what his Quackwatch resume doesn’t: since the time that he claims he finished his 2-year Air Force active duty and a 23-month post as “Chief, psychiatric service” at Scott Air Force Base Hospital, he never again held a full-time psychiatric position. This resume reveals that all of his positions as a psychiatrist have been half-time or part-time. A timeline of Barrett’s career path reveals he often worked as many as 6 parttime positions at once. Is Stephen Barret a Board-Certified Expert?
Barrett hasn’t held a medical license since 1993 and was never board certified in his field of psychiatry.
In one court document, he stated that it is not necessary to be boardcertified to practice psychiatry. Yet board certification is the criteria by which one can assess a doctor’s ability as noted by the…
American Board of Medical Specialties:
The American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) is an organization of 24 approved medical specialty boards. The intent of the certification of physicians is to provide assurance to the public that those certified by an ABMS Member Board have successfully completed an approved training program and an evaluation process assessing their ability to provide quality patient care in the specialty.
The ABMS serves to coordinate the activities of its Member Boards and to provide information to others concerning issues involving specialization and certification of medical specialists. (http://www.abms.org/)
The American Psychiatric Association states:
“After completing their residency training, most psychiatrists take a voluntary examination given by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, to become a ‘board certified’ psychiatrist.”(American Psychiatric Association website: http://healthyminds.org/whatisapsychiatrist.cfm)
On Barrett’s Quackwatch website he writes:
“Medical specialty boards require high standards of training and performance and ensure them by rigid examinations. Successful applicants receive diplomas and are considered ‘boardcertified.’”
Barrett foregoes mentioning that he has never achieved board certification in his field, although he styles himself as an “expert” qualified to testify against natural health practitioners.
Yet the psychiatric website of Barrett’s home state, the Pennsylvania Psychiatry Expert Witnesses and Consultants (http://expertpages.com/experts.php/psychiatry_pennsylvania.htm), shows a directory of 16 individuals or firms and all but one specifically list board certification as an integral part of their credentials.
The only non-board-certified expert witness on the Pennsylvania expert witness listing is Dr. Brian Crowley, who has the following exemplary credentials to recommend him:
• Senior Attending Psychiatrist and Immediate Past Chairman of the Department of Psychiatry at Suburban Hospital in Bethesda, Maryland. • Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association • Associate Professor of Psychiatry (He teaches medical students at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland.)
Fellow of the American Academy of Psychoanalysis
Also, Dr. Crowley received the Roeske Award for Excellence in Medical Student Education from the American Psychiatric Association.
Stephen Barrett lists no membership in any psychiatric association.
He mentions having won a freshman chemistry prize when in college, a citizen award from his local dental society (possibly for his pro-fluoridation stance and support of mercury amalgams), and status as fellow of the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal.
Barrett also says he received an Honorary Member Award from the American Dietetic Association. This is the group that accepted $75,000 from NutraSweet® and then allowed NutraSweet to write its fact sheets. In court testimony from one of his many anti-alternative medicine lawsuits, Barrett stated he gave up his medical license when he retired.
Consumer writer Tim Bolen stated that Barrett said in court he had only seen nine patients in the last years of his practice and he was no longer working at the State Mental Hospital, where his part-time employment in a ward there comprised the longest stint of his psychiatric career. 8
Barrett’s Associate—A Critical Look at Robert Baratz
Barrett has aligned himself with a man who has impressive academic letters behind his name: Ph.D., D.D.S., and M.D., yet this highly-educated man currently operates a hair removal and ear piercing salon in Braintree, Massachusetts.
Robert S. Baratz serves as president of the National Council Against Health Fraud (NCAHF) with Stephen Barrett as vice president.
Barrett and Baratz have found it lucrative to instigate lawsuits and then accept payment for their testimony (reputed to be $350 an hour). While this strategy worked for a while, the legal tide is beginning to turn against them.
Baratz provided the most stunning and ludicrous testimony when he was cross-examined as an “expert witness” in a trial in Wisconsin on July 15, 2003. The transcript, 46 pages in tiny, 8-point font, can be purchased from TextNet (888-839-8638) or found at http://www.ddslaw.com. (Click on “State Boards,” then “State of Wisconsin v. Eleazer M. Kadile, M.D.” and then transcript for “July 15, 2003.”)
In 3 days of cross examination to defend his credentials, Baratz’s resume was found to be full of fabrications, and the following facts were shown to be true: • Baratz is not now or ever was a consultant for the FDA. • He is not a spokesperson for the American Dental Association. • He has not published 150 medical papers. • Baratz twice ran into the back of cars while jogging and filed lawsuits against the drivers, one of whom was the former dean of the Boston College Law School. (Baratz lost that case and had to pay the dean’s legal expenses.) • He filed a $3 million lawsuit against a 71-year-old woman, Dr. Florence Wilson, who allegedly pulled on his arm during an argument, and he has claimed to be disabled since then (December 1998). • He filed ”breach of contract” suits against Harvard Community Health and Tufts University. • Harvard Community Health accused Baratz in a memo of behavior that was “verbally aggressive and abusive” and included obscenities directed at Baratz’s supervisee. The memo noted he was “suspended without pay and warned that he could be terminated.” • He lied in saying he was recruited by Harvard Community Health to develop, open, and manage its urgent care facility. • In his termination agreement with Harvard Community Health (page 37), Baratz agreed not to sue anyone at Harvard Community Health related to anything that happened during his employment there. Yet he sued Dr. Wilson, Ms. Vito, and Mr. Tumi. • When asked if he was board certified, Baratz admitted he was “not currently.” • The attorney said, “You have taken and failed [the board test] several times?” Baratz answered, “I have not passed the ABIM exam on a couple of occasions.” Question: “Is that the same as failed?” Baratz, “If you say so.”
Robert Baratz, D.D.S, etc., was called to testify about the “safety” of mercury in dental amalgams in Florida in January 2001.
Following Baratz’s testimony, Dr. Ralph Dougherty of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Florida State University, wrote:
“I have qualified as an expert witness in chemistry and toxicology in both federal and state courts. I have conducted extensive research in analytical toxicology. I have more than 100 papers published in refereed journals. To allege that there is no mercury in mercury amalgam [??? oh really!?] as Dr. Baratz has done in his sworn testimony before the Florida Dental Board is either a reflection of ignorance, or intent to deceive.”
Dr. Boyd E. Haley, Chair, Department of Chemistry, University of Kentucky, wrote,
“With my personal knowledge of numerous outstanding and productive academic research scientists available to the FDA for consultation I am somewhat perplexed that they would select someone with such weak credentials—unless they were searching for someone who would adamantly support their preconceived position of amalgams being totally safe. Dr. Baratz is evidently well known for taking that position. Finally, his statements concerning amalgams and chemistry in general are so pathetic that they almost defy sensible analysis.” [Emphasis added] Toxic Exposure Study Trust Foundation, http://www.testfoundation.org/baratztestimony.htm
The “Experts”—Barrett and Baratz—Exposed
In California Superior Court on December 17, 2001, Judge Haley J. Fromholz dismissed Stephen Barrett’s case against King Bio Pharmaceuticals, noting that witnesses Barrett and Wallace I. Sampson, M.D., (another quackman) were not neutral or dispassionate witnesses.
Judge Fromholz wrote:
“Both witnesses’ fees, as Dr. Barrett testified, are paid from a fund established by Plaintiff NCAHF [National Council Against Health Fraud] from the proceeds of suits such as the case at bar” and that “both men have a direct, personal financial interest in the outcome of this litigation…[I]t can fairly be said that Drs. Barrett and Sampson are themselves the client, and therefore their testimony should be accorded little, if any, credibility on that basis alone.” Judge Fromholz also scorned Barrett’s credibility as a so-called expert witness on the FDA, saying:
“While Dr. Barrett appears to have had several past conversations with FDA representatives, these appear to have been sporadic, mainly at his own instigation, and principally for the purpose of gathering information for his various articles and Internet web-sites. He has never testified before any government panel or agency on issues relating to FDA regulation of drugs. Presumably his professional continuing education experiences are outdated given that he has not had a current medical license in over seven years. For these reasons, there is no sound basis on which to consider Dr. Barrett qualified as an expert on the issues he was offered to address.”
Judge Fromholz ruled that “NCAHF failed to prove a false or misleading statement.
King Bio’s expert testified the products were safe and effective. The products were included in the Homeopathic Pharmacopeia and complied with FDA guidelines. NCAHF presented no evidence that King Bio’s products were not safe and effective, relying instead on a general attack on homeopathy, made by witnesses who had no knowledge of, or experience with, King Bio’s products, and who were found to be biased and unworthy of credibility.” 9
In an appeal of the King Bio lawsuit (which was upheld by Justice Margaret Grignon, filed 4/22/2003), Justice Grignon awarded King Bio a protective order against NCAHF and $900 in sanctions for exceeding the 35-question limitation on requests for admission and interrogatories by almost 1,000 questions. She ordered that NCAHF “bear King Bio Pharmaceuticals, Inc.’s and Frank J. King’s costs on appeal.” 10
The attorney chosen for Barrett’s appeal of the King Bio case, Morse Mehrban, has made an unsavory reputation for himself in California by filing meritless lawsuits.
One such suit against the Miramar Sheraton Hotel in Santa Monica was dismissed on a demurrer by Judge Brett C. Klein.
Judge Klein wrote:
“This case is brought in the private interest, not in the public interest. There are many nouns that one might attempt to use, metaphorically, to describe what this case is about,” Judge Klein said. “The most appropriate metaphorical term would be ‘racketeering.’” 11
The Los Angeles Times published the following in an article on Quackwatch attorney Mehrban:
“Earlier this year, Mehrban filed 400 separate claims against makers of candles, charging that the common table ornaments emit toxic fumes. He’s currently in court with more than a dozen manufacturers and retailers of artificial fireplace logs, which he claims emit toxic fumes when lit. He once sued dozens of hotel chains for allegedly failing to post warnings about the hazards of cigarette smoke in lobby and pool areas.
A Los Angeles judge who dismissed one of the cases — against the Miramar Sheraton — likened the lawsuit to ‘racketeering.’ Such criticism does not faze Mehrban. Though he bills his time at as much as $400 an hour and drives a Mercedes roadster, he says he’s not in it for the money.” (Los Angeles Times, November 3, 2002, article by Monte Morin.)
Quackwatcher Stephen Barrett’s bias has been clearly documented in court, as well as in his numerous conversations concerning healthcare issues. Young Living Distributor Dean Berenz wrote Barrett and posed some questions, and the following are his answers:
Dean Berenz: “Where can I find statistics on deaths caused by hospital error and diseases contracted from hospital admission and unrelated to the condition at the time of admission?”
Stephen Barrett: “I don’t know of any reliable statistics on this subject.”
Documentation and statistics do exist on “iatrogenic” causes of death. Iatrogenic means “induced in a patient by a physician’s activity, manner, or therapy.” It is used especially as a complication of treatment.
Dr. Joseph Mercola has these statistics from the Journal of the American Medical Association and The Institute of Medicine (part of the National Academy of Sciences, a private organization chartered by Congress to advise the government on scientific matters) on his website: http://www.mercola.com, see “Death by Medicine” and “Doctors Are the Third Leading Cause of Death in the US.” This information has also been widely disseminated by news agencies.
Dean Berenz: “I also need to have statistics on pharmaceutically-induced deaths from mis-prescribed drugs and/or their side effects.”
Stephen Barrett: “I don’t know of any reliable statistics on this subject.” 12
As was stated in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) study quoted above, every year 106,000 people die from non-error, negative effects of drugs (adverse reactions). (Kohn L, ed, Corrigan J, ed. Donaldson M, ed. “To Err Is Human: Building a Safer Health System.” Washington, DC: National Academy Press; 1999.)
The report of the Institute of Medicine said the total cost of medical mistakes, lost income and production, cost of disability and health care, totals $17 to $29 billion a year.
Stephen Barrett claims to be unaware of these statistics, even though he is the medical editor for Prometheus Books, a publishing house known for biblical criticism, alternative lifestyle books, and 12-step programs such as How to Stay Sober: Recovery Without Religion and SOS Sobriety by James Christopher, founder of the “Save Ourselves Movement.”
Furthermore, in his book, The Vitamin Pushers, he wrote:
“It is falsely alleged that Americans are so addicted to ‘junk’ foods that an adequate diet is exceptional rather than usual.“
Scientific research has shown that most Americans do not have adequate or nutritious diets. The explosion of obesity and diabetes are proof.
On June 2, 2004, Reuters News reported that a study from the June issue of the Journal of Food Chemistry and Analysis showed that junk food makes up almost one-third of the U.S. diet.
Barrett also wrote:
“Poor people can ill afford to waste money on unnecessary vitamin pills.” 13
In answer to that, Reuters News reported on March 23, 2004, “Dietary shortages of crucial vitamins and minerals like zinc and iron may be keeping as many as a third of the world’s people from reaching their full potential, researchers told a U.N. panel on Tuesday. Simple remedies that have worked well in the industrialized world such as fortifying flour or milk with key vitamins or minerals or distributing supplements to children or pregnant women are so inexpensive and widely available that they should be applied worldwide, said UNICEF chief Carol Bellamy.“ [Emphasis added.]
Barrett’s bias against any natural approach to medicine is further evidenced by his attacks on the New England Journal of Medicine, the Journal of the American Medical Association, and even the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM). On page 34 of The Vitamin Pushers, Barrett lists:
“Thirty Ways to Spot Quacks and Pushers.” Number 29 reads: “They Sue to Intimidate Their Critics.”
It is interesting to note that Barrett himself has been involved in numerous lawsuits, and he solicits people to join his legal harassment on his Quackwatch website: “Plaintiffs Wanted for Consumer Protection Suits! (posted 9/19/99).”
Clearly, Barrett and his Quackwatch associate will use any means to push their anti- alternative medicine agenda, including false and misleading information and withholding of truthful evidence that strongly supports their opponent’s position.
With this in mind, it casts a fairly dense shadow of doubt as to the veracity of anything the Quackwatch group has written.
How does one separate fact from fiction? It is important to look at the facts that are on record concerning Stephen Barrett:
He does not hold a current medical license He was never board certified in his chosen profession He operates Quackwatch out of his Allentown, Pennsylvania basement He makes his living “testifying” in frivolous lawsuits
By responding to the allegations made against Young Living Essential Oils, its founder and products, individuals and groups will clearly see that opponents are motivated by money more than integrity. Natural medicine is meeting a tremendous need in our current healthcare crisis, and Young Living Essential Oils will continue to benefit people’s lives.
My note: if one chooses to believe Stephen Barret and Quackwatch, that is their choice. I personally do not believe a single thing spoken or written on the Quackwatch site. If one prefers to not use or believe the science of the usefulness of alternative treatments in conjunction with allopathic – that is their loss. I would like to think people are open-minded and don’t have a a negative feeling towards Gary Young and/or Young Living based on the misinformation from Stephen Barret and Quackwatch. Thank you for doing additional homework to discover that Gary Young, Young Living, and a host of other legitamate alternative leaders are not evil people and horrible companies.
Evelyn Vincent, Young Living Independent Distributor. Healing plant enthusiast helping others empower themselves for happier, healthier lives. Contact Evelyn at: http://TheVeryEssence.com to learn more or to order Young Living oils and products.
Notes 1. Essential Edge, published by Young Living Essential Oils, 2002 Convention Issue.
2. State of Utah Labor Commission, Utah Occupational Safety and Health Division, Inspection No. 303609242, page 4.
3. Eisenberg DM, et al., “Unconventional medicine in the United States. Prevalence, costs, and patterns of use,” N Engl J Med. 1993 Jan 28;328(4):246-52.
4. Eisenberg DM, Davis RB, et al., “Trends in alternative medicine use in the United States, 1990-1997: results of a follow-up national study,” JAMA. 1998 Nov 11;280(18):1569-75.
5. Website of the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, http://nccam.nih.gov/about/aboutnccam/index.htm
6. Press Release, September 21, 2002, “Nutritional Supplements Shown to Provide Valuable Health Benefits,” American Medical Association (website: http://www.ama-assn.org) from the 21st Annual Science Reporters Conference in Wash., D.C.
8. Tim Bolen, “Quackpot Barrett Crushed in Federal Court—Again,” June 25, 2003, found at http://www.quackpotwatch.org/opinionpieces/quackpot_barrett_crushed_in_fede.htm
9. National Council Against Health Fraud Plaintiff v. King Bio Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; Frank J. King Jr.; and Does 1-50; Case No. 245271, assigned for all purposes to Judge Haley J. Fromholz, in the Superior Court of California, in and for the County of Los Angeles.
10. In the Court of Appeal of the State of California, Second Appellate District, Division Five, National Council Against Health Fraud, Inc.; plaintiff and appellant, v. King Bio Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; et al.; defendants and respondents, B156585, (Los Angeles County Super. Ct. No. BC 245271.
11. Denise Levin, The Los Angeles Daily Journal, August 3, 1999.
12. E-mail to Marcella Vonn Harting and Jean-Marie Hepworth Friedmann, May 6, 2003, from Dean Berenz.
13. Stephen Barrett, M.D., Victor Herbert, M.D., J.D., The Vitamin Pushers, Prometheus Books, 1994, page 17.