Activated charcoal, like activated almonds before it, has taken the health world by storm.

The black powder supposedly boasts ‘detoxifying’ benefits, and has made an appearance in ice creams, burger buns and teeth-whitening toothpastes.

doing a “little damage” this wednesday afternoon ????#charcoalicecream #dtla #littledamage #gothicecream

A post shared by a l y s s a r a e (@alyssaraesmith) on

A post shared by M A T C H A // M Y L K B A R (@matcha_mylkbar) on

A post shared by Charcoal Teeth Whitening (@charcoalwhiteph) on

And while millions of Instagrammers and YouTubers have endorsed the noir products in slick uploads, not everyone is convinced it’s good for you. Heck, some people actually reckon the stuff’s dangerous.

An online petition has cropped up calling for edible products infused with activated charcoal to come with a health warning.

The Food with Activated Charcoal Can Make Birth Control Less Effective: Add a Warning Label petition has cropped up on care2 petitions, and at time of writing, it has gained over 19,800 signatures. 

Activated charcoal is a synthetic form of carbon that has been used for centuries as a poisoning antidote, and is still prescribed in hospitals for some drug overdoses because of its ability to bind substances in the gut and prevent them from entering the body.

The petition creator, known only as Julie, believes activated charcoal shouldn’t be consumed outside of medicinal contexts.

“That black ice cream cone looks totally hardcore and goth and tasty, right? The treat gets its colour from activated charcoal, a new trend that’s cropping up in various food and beverages, like lattes and detoxifying lemonade. But activated charcoal can actually make your birth control and other prescription medicines less effective,” she writes.

“I would totally nom on some of this black ice cream, but in the interest of informed consent, ice cream shops should let their customers know the risk.”

If you’re on daily medication and you’re consuming a fair whack of the stuff, there’s a chance your meds won’t be absorbed by the body.

Speaking to Daily DotBrendan Stamper, associate professor at Pacific University’s School of Pharmacy, explained that the petition has legs.

“A variety of factors such as our genetics, diet, medication use, stress-level, sex, etc., can influence how we respond to a given drug or chemical,” he said. 

“Activated charcoal is no different.”

In fairness, research suggests you’d need a pretty high dose of the stuff, on a regular basis, to have it interfere with medication. While it’s hard to know how much carbon certain products contain, small doses shouldn’t pose much of a threat.

So if you must purchase an elaborate emo cone of ice cream on your next trip to the US, do it – but maybe stick to one cone.

Source: Daily Dot.

Photo: SarahhBridget / Instagram.