Tylenol may be known as a relatively inexpensive over-the-counter treatment for a variety of ailments. But, in a recent TikTok, one shopper warned that the medicine contained an ingredient that may cause harm to its users.
In a now-viral video, Paden Ferguson (@padiano)—whose account is devoted to reviewing food labels—revealed that the popular pain reliever contains Red Dye 40. As of Monday evening, his video had over 837,200 views.
“The box isn’t the only thing that’s red in this Tylenol,” Ferguson said, holding up a red box of Tylenol Extra Strength capsules. He then flipped over the box—which held 100 caplets—and looked at the ingredient list. “As we can see here on the box, it has Red 40.”
@padiano It’s not just food everyone! Check your medicine. #padiano #weirdingredients #artificialdyes #walmartfinds ♬ original sound – Paden Ferguson
While there are reports stating that artificial food dyes may be linked to behavioral problems in some children, those have largely been debunked. Still, according to the Cleveland Clinic, Red Dye 40 “contains benzene, a known cancer-causing substance.” The outlet also cited research which found a correlation between benzene consumption and tumor growth in animals.
For viewers looking for a cost-effective alternative, Ferguson offered a suggestion: Genexa.
“This isn’t gonna cost you a dime more. Check this out,” he said. “This is the Genexa brand. … We can actually see right on the front that it doesn’t have Red 40.”
The content creator then placed the two medicine boxes side-by-side to show viewers that both contain 100 capsules of the same potency. They also cost the same amount at Walmart: roughly $11 each. The main difference? Genexa didn’t contain any dyes.
“If you’re gonna buy this brand, buy it from Walmart,” Ferguson advised. “It is massively more expensive at some of those other places.”
The Daily Dot has contacted Walmart via email for comment.
Meanwhile, Ferguson told The Daily Dot on Monday: “While continuing my previous series about weird ingredients in Great Value products, more of my followers wanted to find alternatives to items that had artificial food coloring. This spawned a new series focused on finding artificial dye-free alternatives to traditional name-brand products.”
“One of the biggest complaints from my followers was that buying artificial dye-free products was more expensive. … Our family uses Genexa anytime we can find a swap, but it is normally higher priced than the traditional name brand,” he added. “So while I was at Walmart last week, I noticed that the Genexa and the Tylenol were exactly the same price! I had to make a video about it and showcase how being artificial dye free doesn’t have to be expensive.”
In the comments section of his TikTok, several users questioned why Tylenol contained Red Dye 40 in the first place.
“Damn! I got to check my meds too?!” one viewer exclaimed.
“Why is there so much coloring in things, even when it doesn’t make a difference like medication?” another questioned.
“Why would they put it in Tylenol?!?!” a third person questioned.
*First Published: May 22, 2023, 7:26 pm CDT
Jack Alban is a freelance journalist for the Daily Dot covering trending human interest/social media stories and the reactions real people have to them. He always seeks to incorporate evidence-based studies, current events, and facts pertinent to these stories to create your not-so-average viral post.