Anyway, I hate to join the latest health scare panic as I usually find that the stories don't hold up to their initial promise, but this latest disturbing health study seems part of a pattern to me...
Caution: Some soft drinks may seriously harm your health
Expert links additive to cell damage
By Martin Hickman, Consumer Affairs Correspondent
Published: 27 May 2007
A new health scare erupted over soft drinks last night amid evidence they may cause serious cell damage. Research from a British university suggests a common preservative found in drinks such as Fanta and Pepsi Max has the ability to switch off vital parts of DNA.
The problem - more usually associated with ageing and alcohol abuse - can eventually lead to cirrhosis of the liver and degenerative diseases such as Parkinson's.
Sodium benzoate has already been the subject of concern about cancer because when mixed with the additive vitamin C in soft drinks, it causes benzene, a carcinogenic substance. A Food Standards Agency survey of benzene in drinks last year found high levels in four brands which were removed from sale.
Now, an expert in ageing at Sheffield University, who has been working on sodium benzoate since publishing a research paper in 1999, has decided to speak out about another danger. Professor Peter Piper, a professor of molecular biology and biotechnology, tested the impact of sodium benzoate on living yeast cells in his laboratory. What he found alarmed him: the benzoate was damaging an important area of DNA in the "power station" of cells known as the mitochondria.
The FDA has become a joke and whether it's Chinese food unfit for animal or human consumption or killer pharmaceuticals released without proper testing (at the same time they tell you that you can't get them from Canada because it might not be safe or that if you smoke pot you are a dangerous criminal who will end up stupid and forgetful).
Maybe it's time to write your Congressman or one of your two Senators:
After all, if you're not testing for it, it's easy to say there's no problem since it hasn't been caught. I'm sick of poisonous products being pumped out for corporate profit without regard to the many lives affected. Our current system has failed to protect the public and it's because we've handed the keys to our country over to people who only care about their own bottom line and have managed to gut the FDA's power to properly inspect our food and drug supply:
The FDA normally inspects about 1 percent of all food and food ingredients at U.S. borders. It does tests on about half of 1 percent.
And official vigilance has been going down — for two reasons.
First, food imports have increased dramatically, from $45 billion in 2003 to $64 billion three years later.
Second, the "food" part of the FDA has been getting smaller.
Earlier this year, lead-contaminated multivitamins showed up on the shelves of U.S. retailers. And this spring, vitamin A from China contaminated with dangerous bacteria nearly ended up in European baby food.
It's bound to happen more often. Hubbard says the agency is overwhelmed by the rising tide of imports.
"When I came to the FDA in the 1970s, the food program was almost half of the FDA's budget. Today, it's only a quarter," Hubbard says.
Experts say the FDA has about 650 food inspectors to cover 60,000 domestic food producers and 418 ports of entry.
The agency plans to close nearly half of its 13 food-testing labs.
Yes, it seems as if they want to make the companies themselves responsible for their own testing. The reason we have an FDA is because we know what happens when companies are in charge of overseeing the safety of their own products without government "interference" and "over regulation." Anyone remember the Ford Pinto's exploding gas tank?
In the 1970s Ralph Nader warned of and tried to do something about the fact that airlines needed to strengthen their cockpit doors as a means to help defend against plane hijackings, a warning which went unheeded due to the airlines' insistence that such a regulation would be burdensome to the industry. Anyone care to "connect the dots" there? If our government would have insisted on public safety maybe the public wouldn't have had to write a $15 billion check after 9/11? Also, we likely wouldn't have started a bogus invasion of a foreign country, leading to a bloody and costly occupation.
We now a see a pattern of a political philosophy that sees government as the problem when in fact, in the case of food and drug safety, it's the lack of government that is a problem. Without rigid regulations, stiff inspections and serious penalties for failure to meet a proper standard, we will continue to have to take our lives into our own hands when we sit down at our dinner table or when we pop a pill.