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Pardon me while I panic

©02 The Media Desk

The lead Health News report broke up the dinner hour Wednesday. "Oh No! Now our fries are going to kill us!" Quickly we all dumped a good portion of our dinner down the garbage disposal while the dog stood drooling in the middle of the floor, don't want to give the pooch cancer now do we?....

Wednesday, April 25, 2002
STOCKHOLM (Reuters)-
Basic foods eaten by millions around the world such as bread, biscuits, crisps and French fries contain high quantities of acrylamide, a substance believed to increase cancer risk, Swedish scientists said on Wednesday.
    The research carried out at Stockholm University in cooperation with Sweden's National Food Administration, a government food safety agency, showed that baking or frying carbohydrate-rich foods such as potatoes or cereals formed acrylamide, a much studied substance classified as a probable human carcinogen.
    The research was deemed important enough for the scientists to go public with their findings before the research had been officially published in an academic journal.
    "I have been in this field for 30 years and I have never seen anything like this before," said Leif Busk, head of the food administration's research department.

       Oh geez, not another one.
       Saccharine, Alar, and mysterious gasses released by Tupperware when you microwave your acrylamide laced, saccharine sweetened, Alar sprayed frozen entrée dinner.
       The Philadelphia TV news health reporter has a bad habit of trying to scare your socks off with a cliffhanger report at five o'clock that promises 'complete details at eleven tonight'. Sorry, that's past the Desk's bedtime. So the Desk never found out about how drier sheets can trigger asthma attacks, what's in your cat's food that can make you sick, or how that 'new car smell' may be the odor of a slow painful death. And she's not the only one. This story led that segment of the news on everything from CNN's national report to the West Bejesus Farm Report.
       But the Desk missed it. So, not getting the proverbial 'rest of the story' from the talking head in Philly, the Desk had to go looking for that small kernel of truth that renders the entire press release from Sweden about the Deadly Biscuits essentially so much garbage.

Friday, April 26, 2002
By Steven Milloy

    The researchers claim that a single potato chip may contain as much as one-millionth of a gram (a microgram) of acrylamide.
    Assuming for the sake of argument that the lab animal tests are relevant to humans, the lowest dose in lab animals at which a slight increase in cancer incidence was reported is 500 micrograms per kilogram of rodent bodyweight per day, according to the EPA.
    For the average 70 kilogram adult (about 154 lbs.), that would be an equivalent dose of acrylamide of 35,000 micrograms. To get an equivalent daily dose of acrylamide as the lab animals, someone of average bodyweight would have to eat 35,000 potato chips (about 62.5 pounds) per day for life.

       Let's figure this out now. Those figures are for a 70 kilo adult. The Desk weighs basically twice that. So... calculator ON....
       The Desk MIGHT consume 125 pounds of potato chips, fries, bread and biscuits in the course of a year. Maybe. That's one heck of a lot of bread.... Two slices of bread a day, fries once a week, a three ounce bag of chips every other day... hhhmmmm. Maybe.
       It's the same thing they did when they 'proved' that hair dryers cause skin cancer. They took some poor little rat and put it, shaved bald, in front of a hair drier for basically as long as it took to cook the rodent to about medium well, then looked for abnormal cells in its skin.
       It is a scientific fact. If a mouse does nothing but eat pesticide laced cabbage leaves for weeks on end, it will die of something or other sooner or later.

       These studies may apply to a certain percentage of the population (people population that is) that live on the stuff from that 'you want carcinogenic fries with that?' place. And then wash it down with diet cola. The Desk knows people that eat that 'food' three or four times a week if not more. They claim they like it. And if they can afford it... we do NOT need a Federal Law to prohibit them from getting their fix every other day.
       But Most People are not like that. They Might stop by there maybe once a week or so.
       They Might have a bag of chips with their sandwich at work a few times a week. The Desk does this. But it isn't the same kind of chips every day. No, not every day.
       So if you are reasonable about all this. What is the acceptable level of risk from this newly discovered killer?
       Do you have a better chance of hitting the Powerball? Or being struck by lightning?
       Are you taking a bigger chance walking into the kitchen barefoot when the floor might be wet? A Russian satellite might fall on your house while you're asleep tonight too.

       Yes we as a species have more cancer, diabetes, dementia, and toenail fungus than we did at the time of the Revolution. We are also living longer, there are more of us, and we are more diverse than ever.
       Would everybody running out and turning Amish solve this latest health crisis?
       Because exposure to lye soap and horse manure might aggravate asthma or cause leprosy.


WEBMASTER NOTE: The Desk is NOT a Medical Doctor, nor does it play one on TV. The Above is solely its opinion and what it believes is common sense on the matter. You may take it or leave it. Thank you.

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