Relaxation Brownies Are Making Kids Sick

A campaign to ban the melatonin-laced Lazy Cakes came too late for some children

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This week saw the fiercest episode yet of the public health outrage over melatonin-laced brownies. Following a front page New York Times story on the melatonin-laced baked goods, many wondered how dangerous the cakes could be. One doctor told The Times, "It’s a colossally bad idea to put melatonin in food." Today, suspicions were confirmed with news that a 2 year-old boy in Arizona was hospitalized after eating a few bites of a Lazy Cakes relaxation brownie. The mayors of Fall River and New Bedford, Massachusetts now want to ban the sale of Lazy Cake, and given the lack of FDA-approval on the product, they may be successful.

If sick kids weren't involved, we'd be laughing at Lazy Cakes. Sold in wide range of stores, from head shops to Harvard's book store, they contain eight grams of melatonin, a naturally occurring brain hormone that helps control the body's sleep cycle. On the Lazy Cakes website, there is a warning. Sort of:

There's also the opportunity to rack up "Brownie Points" that can be cashed in for "Lazy Loot," like more brownies. The marketing language is quite obviously pandering to stoners and fans of sleeping pills--"Pop another brownie!"--and despite saying explicitly that the product is not for children, the colorful cartoons everywhere suggest otherwise.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.