Rife With (Safe) Carcinogens!
November 24, 2008
by Barbara Kram, Editor
Source of Article: http://www.dotmed.com/news/story/7495
New York, NY
- The widespread belief that organic and so-called "natural foods"
are safer than conventional ones is simply not true. Scientists with the
American Council on Science and Health (ACSH) point out that the foods that
make up a traditional holiday dinner are loaded with "carcinogens":
chemicals that in large doses cause cancer in laboratory animals. None of
these chemicals are man-made or added to the foods. These
"carcinogens" occur naturally in foods.
But ACSH scientists have good news: these natural carcinogens, like their
synthetic counterparts, pose no hazard to human health -- because we are
exposed to such low levels, and because we are not the same as lab animals.
ACSH President, Dr. Elizabeth Whelan notes, "Americans are still
constantly bombarded with dire warnings that synthetic chemicals have
dangerous, if not downright deadly effects on our health." She
continues, "We're also told that so-called natural or organic foods are
better for us than those containing any synthetic ingredients or produced by
ACSH's Holiday Dinner Menu highlights the chemicals
-- and the carcinogens -- that Mother Nature herself has put in our food. These
natural carcinogens, like synthetic chemicals, have been shown to cause
cancer only in very high doses, given over a lifetime to lab animals. They
are present in such small amounts in our foods that they do not endanger
This fact hasn't dampened the ardor of self-styled consumer activists, who
"warn" consumers about the supposed dangers of acrylamide,
for example, which is produced when foods high in carbohydrates are cooked at
high temperatures. "Acrylamide, like the majority of the other rodent
carcinogens listed in the menu, has never been shown to be a human
carcinogen," observes ACSH nutrition director Dr. Ruth Kava.
No component of the traditional holiday meal is devoid of animal carcinogens
(defined here as substances that at high doses cause cancer in laboratory
- hydrazines (mushroom soup)
- aniline, caffeic acid, benzaldehyde,
hydrogen peroxide, quercetin glycosides, and psoralens (vegetable salad)
- heterocyclic amines, acrylamide, benzo(a)pyrene, ethyl carbamate, dihydrazines,
d-limonene, safrole, and quercetin
glycosides (roast turkey with stuffing)
- benzene and heterocyclic amines (prime rib of beef with parsley sauce)
- furfural, ethyl alcohol, allyl isothiocyanate (broccoli, potatoes, sweet potatoes)
- coumarin, methyl eugenol,
acetaldehyde, estragole, and safrole
(apple and pumpkin pies)
- ethyl alcohol with ethyl carbamate (red and white
Then sit back and relax with some benzofuran, caffeic acid, catechol,
1,2,5,6,-dibenz(a)anthracene with 4-methylcatechol
And those -- all produced courtesy of Mother Nature -- are only the
carcinogens. Your 100% natural holiday meal is also replete with toxins.
These include the solanine, arsenic, and chaconine in potatoes, the hydrogen cyanide in lima
beans, and the hallucinogenic compound myristicin
found in nutmeg, black pepper, and carrots.
Rest easy, though, because virtually none of the compounds on ACSH's list are established human carcinogens, and, as
the Holiday Dinner Menu demonstrates, we would have to eat enormous amounts
of these foods over long periods of time before we could ever expect them to
The same is true of the majority of the food additives that are now
considered to be "carcinogenic" based exclusively on animal
experiments, notes ACSH.
The American Council on Science and Health, a non-profit organization
dedicated to putting health risks in perspective, with over 300 science and
medical advisors, urges consumers to pay attention to realistic concerns about
our foods. The greatest health threats from our foods are (1) eating too much
of them -- enough to cause obesity with its accompanying illnesses -- and (2)
microbiological contamination. So enjoy your holiday foods in moderation,
with appropriate sanitary precautions -- without worrying about the
supposedly deadly chemicals they contain.