Detail map of Antwerpen, Vlaanderen, Belgium,Leuven, Vlaanderen, Belgium Overview map of Antwerpen, Vlaanderen, Belgium,Leuven, Vlaanderen, Belgium

A: Antwerpen, Vlaanderen, Belgium, B: Leuven, Vlaanderen, Belgium

Herpes Virus and Cocaine Are Found on Widely Borrowed Copy of "Fifty Shades of Grey"


On November 12, 2013 it was reported that Belgian radio broadcaster Stijn van de Voorde asked asked Jan Tytgat, professor of toxicology and pharmacology at the Catholic University of Leuven, to test the ten most borrowed books at Antwerp public library. Among the findings:

  1. All ten books tested postive for cocaine.
  2. E.L. James's erotic romance novel Fifty Shades of Grey and Pieter Aspe's Tango showed traces of the herpes virus, though in concentrations so low that they did not pose a danger to health. 

Prof. Tytgat commented that "The levels found won't have a pharmacological effect. Your consciousness or behaviour won't change as a result of reading the tomes." However, people tested after reading the book would test positive for cocaine.

Prof Tytgat added that "Today's testing methods are so sensitive that traces of the drug originating from a contaminated book will be found in your hair, blood and urine" (, accessed 11-15-2013).

Timeline Themes