Once upon a time, traveling salesmen went from town to town selling tonics bubbling with opiates, cocaine and knockout quantities of grain alcohol. The Pure Food and Drug Act shut them down in 1906.
The hucksters are back. The vitamin, mineral and herbal supplement industry — now a $23-billion-a-year business — is hawking wares with dubious claims and unproven safety records to an unsuspecting public. Whether you shop at Wal-Mart or high-priced organic-food stores, you will find shelves of supplements that claim to be as basic to personal health as whole grains and toothpaste.
Photo: Mark Elias/Bloomberg/Getty Images