Do Nurofen painkillers contain graphene oxide?

By March 16, 2022 Health

We came across this video being circulated on several Singapore-based Telegram groups:

Below is the video in full:

In the 1.5 minute-long video, we hear a lady claiming that the black text printed on Nurofen Zavance tablets is made up of graphene oxide.

For context, Nurofen is an off-the-counter painkiller that can be easily purchased by individuals from places like pharmacies and supermarkets.

Nurofen Zavance, as seen in the video, is advertised by Nurofen Australia for being “absorbed up to 2X faster than standard Nurofen”. A check on Nurofen’s Singapore website and pharmacy chain Watsons’ website does not list Nurofen Zavance. However, there appears to be a slightly similar variation called Nurofen Express being sold in Singapore, which also promises faster pain relief.

In the video, the lady dissolves “a whole week’s worth” of Nurofen tablets in a glass of water and holds a magnet to the side of the glass, attracting some small black fragments seen floating in the water. She then claims that this is evidence that Nurofen tablets contain graphene oxide, and warns individuals not to buy them.

“We really need to start looking at things [and] not just trusting,” she declares at the end of the video.

The exact origin of the video is unknown, but it was being forwarded from a Telegram channel called “Real World News”.

The content being shared on the channel is of the anti-vaccination slant, delving into conspiracy theories like “transhumanism”, “Pentagon-funded biolabs”, microchips being secretly planted in people, and of course, the “New World Order”.

However, it still remains uncertain as to who the creator of the video is, and if she is a member of this Telegram group. What we did notice is that she seems to have an Australian accent.

Does Nurofen contain graphene oxide?

As for whether or not Nurofen contains graphene oxide, a Reuters factcheck shares that the manufacturer of the drug, Reckitt Benckiser, told them that the tablets do not contain graphene oxide, but black iron oxide instead.

According to a spokesperson of Reckitt Benckiser, black iron oxide is “used widely within the pharmaceutical industry and is safe for human consumption”. Ferric (iron) oxides are inorganic pigments used in the pharmaceutical industry as coating pigments. They are also used in the cosmetics industry.

The ingredient list for Nurofen Zavance (as seen in the video) which was published by Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration also shows “iron oxide black”, but not graphene oxide.

A previous Reuters factcheck looked into videos on social media which showed some black materials in the gel capsule for an antibiotic named flucloxacillin. Similar to the ‘experiment’ done on Nurofen tablets, the black sediments also appear to be attracted to magnets when dissolved in water. It was clarified then that while iron oxide is magnetic, it is also “heavily regulated and there is no evidence to suggest that it is dangerous”.

Then, Reuters also talked to a professor in Pharmaceutics within the Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences, University of Strathclyde, Hannah Batchelor. Professor Batchelor said that “iron oxide is used in medicines as a colour agent”, and after viewing the video, said that “the printing ink is most likely the iron oxide (with shellac) […] as it is insoluble and looks to be present in the quantity expected from the experiment”.

Therefore, it is false that Nurofen tablets contain graphene oxide.

Not the first time that graphene oxide has been brought up

If you have been following our factchecks, you would have come across claims of graphene oxide being present in COVID-19 vaccines. According to a previous claim, microchips made of graphene oxide are present in COVID-19 vaccines, and these microchips generate Bluetooth alphanumerical codes. This of course has been debunked by multiple publications.

An article on Reuters shares that graphene oxide is a single-atomic layered material that when chemically reduced, can create graphene which has been described to be “the strongest, thinnest and most conductive material on earth”. It also pointed out that while the technology to create graphene chips that are much smaller than conventional microchips has been developed, these graphene microchips have not been produced yet.

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