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Thursday, September 24, 2009

10 Weird and Gross Ingredients in Processed Food

(OrganicJar) Everyone now knows that processed and fast foods are not the bastions of nutrition, but that shouldn’t make these ingredients found inside them any less revolting. This list sends a clear message: when a packaged food contains more than five ingredients and includes some that are difficult to pronounce, stay away. Make a b-line straight to the organics aisle.

  1. Fertilizers – in your bread

      fertilizers

    While chemical fertilizers inevitably make it into our produce in trace amounts, you would not expect it to be a common food additive. However, ammonium sulfate can be found inside many brands of bread, including Subway’s. The chemical provides nitrogen for the yeast, creating a more consistent product.

  2. Beaver Anal Glands – in your candy

    beaver_analThe anal glands of a beaver, conveniently euphemized as castoreum, are a common ingredient in perfumes and colognes but are also sometimes used to — believe it or not — enhance the flavor of raspberry candies and sweets.

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  4. Beef Fat – in your snacks

    beef_fatWhile this may not bother the most ardent omnivore, others are shocked to discover that their favorite childhood treats contain straight-up beef fat. The ingredient comes included a list of other oils that may or may not be used, so it is always a gamble!

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  6. Crushed Bugs – as red food coloring

    crushed_bugsAfter killing thousands at a time, the dried insects are boiled to produce a liquid solution that can be turned to a dye using a variety of treatments. Some people worry that the coloring — often called carmine or carminic acid — could be listed as a “natural color,” disguising the fact that there are bugs in the product.

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  8. Beetle Juice – the hard candy coating

    beetle_juiceYou know that shiny coating on candies like Skittles? Or the sprinkles on cupcakes and ice cream sundaes? Well, they get that glaze from the secretions of the female lac beetle. The substance is also known as shellac and commonly used as a wood varnish.

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  10. Sheep Secretions – in your bubble gum

    sheep_secretionsThe oils inside sheep’s wool are collected to create the goopy substance called lanolin. From there, it ends up in chewing gum (sometimes under the guise of “gum base”), but also is used to create vitamin D3 supplements.

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  12. Human Hair and Duck Feathers – in your bread

    human_hairWhat’s in your morning bagel? If you get it from Noah’s Bagels, it contains either human hair or duck feathers, and it’s your guess as to which. The substance, called L-cysteine or cystine, is used as a dough conditioner to produce a specific consistency. While artificial cysteine is available, it is cost prohibitive and mostly used to create kosher and halal products.

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  14. Coal Tar – in red colored candy

    col_tarCoal tar is listed as number 199 on the United Nations list of “dangerous goods,” but that doesn’t stop people from using it in food. The coloring Allura Red AC is derived from coal tar and is commonly found in red-colored candies, sodas and other sweets.

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  16. Calf Stomach – in your cheese

    calf_stomachIn the UK, all cheeses are labeled as either suitable or not suitable for vegetarians because in Britain — and everywhere else — many cheeses are made using rennet, which is the fourth stomach of a young cow. In the United States and most other countries, people are left to guess about the stomach-content of their cheese.

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  18. Sand – in your chili

    sandSand is hidden in Wendy’s chili as a name you might remember from high school chemistry class: silicon dioxide. Apparently they use sand as an “anti-caking agent,” perhaps to make sure the chili can last for days and days over a heater.

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Let Us Know If You Were Shocked By This, We Were!

Source: wikipedia.org webecoist.com

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Are Candles Making You Sick?

Are Candles Making You Sick?
Researchers warn of toxic buildup from paraffin, suggest beeswax instead

(HealthDay News) -- Paraffin wax candles, used mainly for romantic ambiance, fragrance and light, may also contribute to air pollution inside your home.

The candles, which are made from petroleum, are a source of known human carcinogens and indoor pollution, researchers said in a study to be presented Wednesday at the American Chemical Society's national meeting in Washington, D.C.

In the study, R. Massoudi and Amid Hamidi found that candles made from beeswax or soy, although more expensive, apparently are safer because they do not release potentially harmful pollutants.

"An occasional paraffin candle and its emissions will not likely affect you," Hamidi said in a news release. "But lighting many paraffin candles every day for years or lighting them frequently in an unventilated bathroom around a tub, for example, may cause problems."

Ventilation can help reduce the level of pollutants in closed rooms, the researchers said.

Besides the more serious risks, Hamidi also said that some people who believe they have an indoor allergy or respiratory irritation may actually be reacting to pollutants from burning candles.

More information

The U.S. National Institutes of Health has more information on indoor air pollution.

-- Dennis Thompson

SOURCE: American Chemical Society, news release, Aug. 19, 2009

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

More on MSG (revised)

The negative effects of glutamate were first observed in 1954 by T. Hayashi, a Japanese scientist who noted that direct application of glutamate to the CNS caused seizure activity, though this report went unnoticed for several years. The toxicity of glutamate was then observed by D. R. Lucas and J. P. Newhouse in 1957 when the feeding of monosodium glutamate to newborn mice destroyed the neurons in the inner layers of the retina.[7] Later, in 1969, John Olney discovered the phenomenon wasn't restricted to the retina but occurred throughout the brain and coined the term excitotoxicity. He also assessed that cell death was restricted to postsynaptic neurons, that glutamate agonists were as neurotoxic as their efficiency to activate glutamate receptors, and that glutamate antagonists could stop the neurotoxicity.[8]

For further information go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Excitotoxin

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Rapid Swine Flu Test Misses Many Infections

Rapid Swine Flu Test Misses Many Infections
Doctors should diagnose based on symptoms and strains in circulation, experts say

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter


THURSDAY, Aug. 6 (HealthDay News) -- Doctors can't rely on rapid tests to diagnose the pandemic H1N1 swine flu, say U.S health officials who evaluated three kits and found that they miss many infections.

The tests do a better job detecting seasonal flu than H1N1 flu, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported. Sensitivity for the H1N1 swine flu was just 40 to 69 percent.

"These are rapid tests that the physician would do in the office while the patient is waiting," said Michael Shaw, associate director for laboratory science in CDC's influenza division and the report's co-author. "These tests can sometimes provide misleading results."

A quick flu test is just one diagnostic tool, Shaw said. "You shouldn't rely on it alone," he said. "There is no substitute for the judgment of the clinician."

Because people might test negative but actually have the flu, Shaw said, "we want to emphasis that the clinician should also go by the patient's symptoms and what they know is circulating in the community."

Positive test results are accurate, however. "But a positive result only tells you it's flu, not what kind," Shaw said. "It could be seasonal, it could be the pandemic strain." In either case, he said, doctors could start antiviral treatment with a drug such as Tamiflu.

For people at high risk for flu complications, doctors should start treatment with antiviral medication and also get a test to confirm the results, which can take 24 hours, Shaw said.

For the report, which is published in the Aug. 7 issue of the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, CDC researchers tested three commercially available rapid influenza diagnostic tests that can identify influenza A or B antigens in about 15 minutes. Respiratory samples were used from 65 people known to have swine flu or seasonal flu.

The tests were able to detect the H1N1 swine flu only when a high percentage of the virus was in the respiratory sample, which means that many infections would be missed, according to the CDC.

Shaw said that people will shed the most virus shortly after symptoms start so, for the most accurate results, it's important to give the test early.

Fast flu tests have been in use for a couple of decades. "It's not news that these tests are not as sensitive as we would like them to be," Shaw said. The question for the CDC was whether they would work with the new pandemic strain, he said.

Dr. Marc Siegel, an associate professor of medicine at New York University Langone Medical Center in New York City, said that anyone currently suffering from the flu has H1N1 swine flu.

Right now, the test is not clinically important, Siegel said. "If you got flu now, this is what you got," he said.

Siegel agrees with the CDC that a flu diagnosis is best made on the basis of a person's symptoms and the flu strains in circulation.

"I make the diagnosis on clinical grounds. I am comfortable doing that," Siegel said. "The test is just an adjunct. It's helpful if it's positive, but a negative flu test does not rule it out. Go by your clinical judgment."

Getting a more definitive test, Siegel said, would have two benefits: It could identify what viruses are circulating, and it could confirm a diagnosis for high-risk patients susceptible to complications such as pneumonia.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Antifreeze in your store-bought baked goods

I was looking at some baked goods a patient brought in for us and decided to look this "ingredient" up.

PROPYLENE GLYCOL



Propylene glycol is used:
As a moisturizer in medicines, cosmetics, food, toothpaste, mouth wash, and tobacco products
In electronic cigarettes to make the produced vapor better resemble cigarette smoke
As a medical and sexual lubricant (A.K.A. "personal lubricant")
As an emulsification agent in Angostura and orange bitters
As a solvent for food colors and flavorings
As a humectant food additive, labeled as E number E1520
As a carrier in fragrance oils
As a less-toxic antifreeze
As a solvent used in mixing photographic chemicals, such as film developers
In smoke machines to make artificial smoke for use in firefighters' training and theatrical productions
In hand sanitizers, antibacterial lotions, and saline solutions
In cryonics
As a working fluid in hydraulic presses
As a coolant in liquid cooling systems
To regulate humidity in a cigar humidor
As the killing and preserving agent in pitfall traps, usually used to capture ground beetles
To treat livestock ketosis
As the main ingredient in deodorant sticks.
To deice aircraft.






Fragrance Ingredient; Humectant; Skin-Conditioning Agent - Humectant; Skin-ConditioningAgent - Miscellaneous; Solvent; Viscosity Decreasing Agent; SKIN CONDITIONING; VISCOSITY CONTROLLING


Given the incomplete information made available by companies and the government, EWG provides additional information on personal care product ingredients from the published scientific literature. The chart below indicates that research studies have found that exposure to this ingredient -- not the products containing it -- caused the indicated health effect(s) in the studies reviewed by Skin Deep researchers. Actual health risks, if any, will vary based on the level of exposure to the ingredient and individual susceptibility -- information not available in Skin Deep.
This ingredient:
Cancer
Developmental/reproductive toxicity
Violations, restrictions & warnings
Allergies/immunotoxicity
Contamination concerns
Other strong concerns for this ingredient: Irritation (skin, eyes, or lungs), Enhanced skin absorption
Other moderate concerns for this ingredient: Persistence and bioaccumulation, Organ system toxicity (non-reproductive)
Lesser or emerging concerns for this ingredient: Neurotoxicity, Endocrine disruption, Ecotoxicology, Data gaps, Biochemical or cellular level changes

See products containing PROPYLENE GLYCOL
About PROPYLENE GLYCOL: Propylene glycol is practically non-toxic when taken orally, i.e. added to food. However, it has been found to provoke skin irritation and sensitization in humans as low as 2% concentration, while the industry review panel recommends cosmetics can contain up to 50% of the substance.
PROPYLENE GLYCOL has reported used in the following product types: hair color and bleaching (1442); facial moisturizer/treatment (1089); moisturizer (935); conditioner (680); anti-aging (668); shampoo (597); styling gel/lotion (555); facial cleanser (541); body wash/cleanser (509); foundation (497)
Potential health effects
Eye
Causes mild eye irritation. Contact may cause irritation, tearing, and burning pain.
Skin
Causes moderate skin irritation. Contact with the skin may cause erythema, dryness, and defatting.
Ingestion
May cause gastrointestinal irritation with nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Low hazard for usual industrial handling. May cause hemoglobinuric nephrosis. May cause changes in surface EEG.
Inhalation
Low hazard for usual industrial handling. May cause respiratory tract irritation.
Chronic
May cause reproductive and fetal effects. Laboratory experiments have resulted in mutagenic effects. Exposure to large doses may cause central nervous system depression. Chronic ingestion may cause lactic acidosis and possible seizures.