Don't believe everything you hear. I recall my mother giving me that advice as a child, and I do believe as a mom myself, I have told my kids the same. Choosing a career as a chemist, I think I've been trained to question nearly everything. And as I get older, the skeptic in me seems to come out more and more.
However, there have been times, I must confess, where I have been sucked into believing something, not because of any proof, but because my peers and trusted, influential people around me clearly believed. So, I went along with the crowd. Peer pressure at its best, I suppose. The most recent example? The beauty myth that lead in lipstick is a danger to our health.
Recently I had the opportunity to dig into this beauty myth regarding lead in lipstick and uncover the truth about whether or not lead in pigments are a danger to our health. You've likely heard that "women ingest 4 pounds of lipstick in their lifetime". If you're at all in doubt as to the degree to which we have repeated this "fact", just do a quick google search and you'll see for yourself.
To get to the bottom of this issue, I spent days with a spreadsheet and had to employ some pretty impressive math (impressive for me, at least). My conclusion was summarized nicely by a partner-in-crime on this subject, the best-in-class ecobloggers, Fig+Sage. http://figandsage.blogspot.com/2012/03/soapbox-is-there-more-lead-in-my.html. Her recent blog on the subject of lead in lipstick, water and salad dressing, is a must-read for anyone concerned about lead in lipstick.
We all need to be reminded to think for ourselves, to make up our own minds, and to NOT believe everything we hear.