Jewish World Review Nov. 27, 2002 / 22 Kislev, 5763

Drs. Michael A. Glueck & Robert J. Cihak

The Medicine Men
JWR's Pundits
World Editorial
Cartoon Showcase

Mallard Fillmore

Michael Barone
Mona Charen
Linda Chavez
Ann Coulter
Greg Crosby
Larry Elder
Don Feder
Suzanne Fields
James Glassman
Paul Greenberg
Bob Greene
Betsy Hart
Nat Hentoff
David Horowitz
Marianne Jennings
Michael Kelly
Mort Kondracke
Ch. Krauthammer
Lawrence Kudlow
Dr. Laura
John Leo
Michelle Malkin
Jackie Mason
Chris Matthews
Michael Medved
MUGGER
Kathleen Parker
Wes Pruden
Sam Schulman
Amity Shlaes
Roger Simon
Tony Snow
Thomas Sowell
Cal Thomas
Jonathan S. Tobin
Ben Wattenberg
George Will
Bruce Williams
Walter Williams
Mort Zuckerman

Consumer Reports


Thanksgiving dinner hazard?


http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | In order to let you, our good readers, enjoy your Thanksgiving dinner, we're revealing some facts of life about your holiday meal to help you keep any late-breaking food scares in perspective.

With food, as with almost everything else in life, it's the dose -- always the dose -- that counts. Arsenic in the water, anthrax in the air, or the chemicals in your Thanksgiving dinner -- tiny traces don't kill you -- even though some people, for reasons of their own, would have you believe that they would.

But the scientific experts have it right. A Holiday Dinner Menu published by the American Council on Science and Health (ACSH) lists some of the pesticide chemicals - 99.99% of them natural - found in our wonderful holiday meals. These, like all other chemicals - and food itself - cause disease only if TAKEN TO EXCESS.

Let's look at the ACSH dinner:

Your cream of mushroom soup contains hydrazines.

In your fresh relish tray the carrots contain aniline and caffeic acid. The cherry tomatoes have benzaldehyde, caffeic acid, hydrogen peroxide and quercetin glycosides; and the celery has caffeic acid, furan derivatives, and psoralens.

Your tossed lettuce and arugula green salad with basil-mustard vinaigrette has some allyl isothiocyanate, caffeic acid, estragole, and methyl eugenol.

Happily hover over all those heterocyclic amines in your roast turkey.

In your favorite bread stuffing (with onions, celery, black pepper and mushrooms) savor the acrylamide, ethyl alcohol, benzo(a)pyrene, ethyl carbamate, furan derivatives, furfural, dihydrazines, d-limonene, psoralens, quercetin glycosides, and safrole.

And don't forget the furan derivatives in everyone's favorite, cranberry sauce.

Conclude your sumptuous meal by drinking ethyl alcohol and ethyl carbamate in the red and white wines; a cup of delicious brewed coffee with floating benzo(a)pyrene, benzaldehyde, benzene, benzofuran, caffeic acid, catechol, 1,2,5,6-dibenz(a)anthracene, ethyl benzene, furan, furfural, hydrogen peroxide, hydroquinone, d-limonene and 4-methylcatechol.

For a special touch enjoy Jasmine Tea featuring benzyl acetate.

Who'd ever thought carcinogens could taste so good? Actually, the amounts are so tiny that you can't taste or smell them. And, in these tiny amounts, they won't hurt you the least bit.

So why the endless furor over harmless, trace pesticide chemicals? Especially when, as Bruce Ames, Ph.D., and Lois Swirsky Gold, Ph.D., both UC Berkeley scientists, point out, "No human diet can be free of naturally occurring chemicals that are rodent carcinogens. Of the chemicals that people eat, 99.99% are natural."

So how did we get so spooked about our safe food supply? The phenomenon goes back to the Progressive Era and the early pure food and drug laws. But it really got going in 1958, when Congress tried to keep cancer-causing chemicals out of processed foods and passed the so-called Delaney amendment to the 1938 Food, Drug, and Cosmetics Act. This law, as so often happens when Congress seeks to protect us against the facts of life, sought to ban any processed food that contained any detectable amount of chemical that caused cancer when given to lab rats.

Lab rats that, let it be noted, are specially bred to be susceptible to cancer, and are then fed huge quantities and concentrations of chemicals until they almost drown in them or come down with cancer.

Since 1958, also, scientists have deployed increasingly sensitive tests to identify chemicals in foods. And because these new tests found all sorts of chemicals in all sorts of foods, they provided new ammunition for special interest and politically-motivated scare campaigns. A decade ago, propagandists with sophisticated PR tactics took in even the usually sensible Consumers Union with a scare about alar used on apples. This scared some mothers enough to cause them to pull healthy shiny apples out of their children's lunch bags. Yet, as in almost all recent cases, no significant threat ever existed.

Others are still at it, trying to scare you about "pesticides" in your food. We've never heard them mention that Mother Nature puts 10,000 times more pesticides into your food than farmers and other human activities do. That's 1,000,000 percent more than from human activity.

If the 1958 law "were applied to the carcinogens that occur naturally in our foods, we would have to ban much of our holiday dinner - and the rest of the foods we eat all year," notes Dr. Elizabeth Whelan, president of American Council on Science and Health (ACSH).

Should you overeat there is always the other problem of all those chemicals in the antacids you will take. But that's another story for another day!

That said, we hope you enjoy your Thanksgiving dinner as much as we intend to. And remember to keep your wits about you when future scares come your way.

SO...IN THE END IT'S THE DOSE CONSUMED THAT COUNTS.

Enjoy this duo's work? Why not sign-up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.




Michael Arnold Glueck, M.D., is a multiple award winning writer who comments on medical- legal issues. Robert J. Cihak, M.D., is past president of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons. Both JWR contributors are Harvard trained diagnostic radiologists. Comment by clicking here.

Up

11/22/02: Time to think outside the box and inside the nucleus
11/15/02: The military should be protected from abusive environmental laws in times of war
11/11/02: Does Kyoto Treaty pose more harm than global warming?
10/31/02: Deep thoughts on Baseball, the World Series and Life: How about them Anaheim Angels?
10/23/02: "Pediatric rule" guinea pigs
10/23/02: Once the World Series ends, we need to create a Donnie Moore Day of Remembrance: Sports and mental health
10/18/02: Congress to senior patients: Do as we say not as we do for ourselves
10/11/02: Using pollution "scare labeling" to political advantage
10/04/02: The Great Asbestos Heist: Did Litigation and Junk Medical Science Helped Bring Down the World Trade Center?
09/27/02: The imminent rise of civic feminism: A far healthier national alternative in war and peace
09/20/02: A Ray A Day" to replace the daily apple?
09/13/02: Beware of celebrities hawking drugs
09/06/02: Avoid 9/11 overdose: Give blood to begin "September of Service," SOS
08/28/02: From Doubleday to strikeday: Baseball's collective anxiety attack
08/23/02: Should she or shouldn't she?: An alternative view on treating menopause with HRT
08/16/02: Cooking up defenses against germ warfare
08/02/02: Medicine, crime and canines
07/26/02: Lies, pathologic lies and the Palestinians
07/19/02: Medicare Drug Follies as in "now you see it, now you don't"
07/12/02: Anti-Profiling: A New Medically False Belief System
07/08/02: Don't procrastinate, vaccinate!
06/28/02: The scientific advances on the safe and effective deployment of DDT are being ignored, or denied. Why?
06/21/02: Sex and the system: In seeking healthcare men are different from women
06/14/02: The FDA, drug companies and life-saving drugs: Who's the fox and who's the hen now?
06/07/02: Medical Privacy Lost: A hippo on the healthcare back!
05/24/02: To clean up America's game: A (soggy) ground rule
05/10/02: Free speech is good medicine
05/03/02: Medicine's Vietnam
04/26/02: Attack on alternative medicine could lead to alternative lawsuits
04/12/02: Insure the 'crazies'?
04/09/02: No Time for Litmus Tests: In War We Need a Surgeon General and NIH, CDC, and FDA Directors
04/02/02: The scoop on soot: A dirty rotten shame?
03/22/02: Too many beautiful minds to waste: The first annual Caduceus Movie
03/15/02: Terror and transformation: Defense essential for health & state of mind
03/08/02: Diagnosis: Delusional
03/06/02: The great matzah famine
03/01/02: Is new Hippocratic Oath hypocritical?
02/15/02: Why the recent moaning about cloning?
02/08/02: Searching for Dr. Strangelove
01/15/02: Score one for the value of human life
01/04/02: Medical-legal-financial wake-up call
12/28/01: Who's afraid of a 'dirty bomb'?
12/21/01: End of medicine?
12/14/01: More heroes: Docs deserve a little credit after 9/11
11/16/01: Do we need 'Super Smallpox Saturdays'?
11/09/01: Why the post-9-11 health care debate will never be the same
11/01/01: Common sense good for our mental health
10/26/01: Your right to medical privacy --- even in terror time
10/12/01: Failed immigration policy ultimately bad for nation's mental health: Enemy within leads to epidemic of jumpy nerves
09/28/01: Can legal leopards change their spots: A treat instead of a trick
09/21/01: Civil defense again a civic duty
08/30/01: Shut down this government CAFE
08/23/01: School Bells or Jail Cells?
08/15/01: Time to take coaches to the woodshed
08/10/01: Blood, Guts & Glory: The Stem of the Stem Cell controversy

© 2002