Old Wives' Tales
Radio & TV
Toxin du jour
Claim: Johnson & Johnson rectal thermometers are "personally tested."
Example: [Collected on the Internet, 2002]
Origins: Much as we dislike killing a perfectly good joke by overanalyzing it, the sheer number of people who have written to us about this item to ask "Is this true?" compels us to say something about
Although many manufacturers have tried to appeal to quality-conscious consumers by indicating their products are individually inspected or tested (remember those "Inspected by
Regardless, the point that some people are apparently missing is that rectal thermometers aren't tested by using them the very same way end consumers would. The "testing" they're put through is a process which ensures they accurately measure a designated range of temperatures, achieved by calibrating them with known temperatures in carefully-controlled conditions. Personal individual testing of rectal thermometers is too labor-intensive and time-consuming a process for such an inexpensive product, nor would it satisfactorily ensure accuracy because the body temperatures of the "testers" would be too variable (and the manufacturer would have to employ a whole lot of very sick people to test their thermometers across the high and low extremes of human body temperature). Aside from that, there are probably at least a few health regulations that prohibit the resale of items which have previously been inserted into someone's rectum.
Last updated: 6 April 2007
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