I wouldn’t say this is a popular claim, but I’ve seen it in several forums and low-quality blogs and thought I’d address it.
The claim is that LCD screens have cholesterol, and therefore vegans shouldn’t buy them.
If they do in fact have cholesterol, then vegans should indeed buy alternatives like LEDs instead. However, while researching this topic, I couldn’t find a credible source for this claim.
Where Did This Claim Come From?
I saw dozens of “listicle” articles and forum posts saying LCD screens have cholesterol, but none of them had a source.
One person started saying it, and a few others started parroting it without fact checking at all.
The only reference to anything related to cholesterol in LCD screens that I could find is that fact that the screens contain cholesteric liquid crystals.
The word “cholesteric” is related to the structure of the crystals, not the material.
The other possibility is that liquid crystals were first discovered by Friedrich Reinitzer in 1888, while studying derivatives of cholesterol that were extracted from carrots (just because carrots don’t have cholesterol, doesn’t mean they don’t have derivatives of it).
This research wasn’t really used until the 1990’s, where the results were incorporated into making screens with cholesteric liquid crystals.
As far as I could find, there’s no suggestion that modern liquid crystals come from cholesterol at all (although it’s possible from a chemistry standpoint).
Overall, while I can’t fully refute this claim, I also couldn’t find any credible evidence that LCD screens have cholesterol in them.
As a vegan, a worry like this is so far down the list of what you should focus on, just like the off chance that batteries might contain gelatin.