Celebrity bad science: Dried placenta pills and oxygen shots

Michael Phelps

Phelps's claim that it's fine to pee in the pool because "chlorine kills it" is put straight by biochemist Stuart Jones, who reminds him that "urine is essentially sterile so there isn't actually anything to kill in the first place".

And for Cowell, Kay Mitchell a scientist at the Centre for Altitude Space and Extreme Environment Medicine warns that very high levels of oxygen can in fact be toxic - particularly in the lungs, where oxygen levels are highest.

"Celebrity comments travel far and fast, so it's important that they talk sense," said Sense About Science's managing director Tracey Brown. "The implausible and frankly dangerous claims about how to avoid cancer, improve skin or lose weight are becoming ever more ridiculous. And unfortunately they have a much higher profile than the research and evidence."

To encourage more vigilance among celebrity pseudo-scientists in the future, SAS provided a checklist of "misleading science claims" it suggests should be avoided:

* "Immune boosting" - you can't and you don't need to

* "Detox" - your liver does this

* "Superfood" - there is no such thing, just foods that are high in some nutrients

* "Oxygenating" - your lungs do this

* "Cleansing" - you shouldn't be trying to cleanse anything other than your skin or hair.

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