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Friday, January 25, 2013

Way to go, Sarah Kavanagh

Ya gotta love this kid. She has made a difference in this world already.

Comments (24)

Oh yes, and salt contains sodium and potassium, two very poisonous elements. So let’s outlaw salt. Give me a break, some ten year old kid gets unwarranted publicity and Pepsi changes its formula, not because of fact, but because all the tin foil cap wearing customers who perpetuate myths Pepsi would stand to loose.

Now, now John -- young Sarah has a bright future in government. Maybe she grows up to be first lady one day........

I read somewhere that brominated vegetable oil affects one's abilities to spell and formulate coherent sentences.

The ingredient is not banned by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and that the decision to remove the ingredient wasn’t the result of any health or safety concerns

So customers who are concerned about what has been put into our food/drinks are wearing tin foil caps?
Only in the USA right?
Guess there are others in the world who don't need to be accused of wearing "tin foil caps" because they don't have to deal with questionable products.
Same with GMO
Same with fluoride
Same with. . . . (fill in the blanks)

A few excerpts below from article. I think people have reason to be proactive about this without being labeled as tin foil folks!!

Use of the substance in the United States has been debated for more than three decades, so Ms. Kavanagh’s campaign most likely is quixotic. But the European Union has long banned the substance from foods, requiring use of other ingredients. Japan recently moved to do the same.

The second exemption created what Tom Neltner, director of the Pew Charitable Trusts’ food additives project, a three-year investigation into how food additives are regulated, calls “the loophole that swallowed the law.” A company can create a new additive, publish safety data about it on its Web site and pay a law firm or consulting firm to vet it to establish it as “generally recognized as safe” — without ever notifying the F.D.A., Mr. Neltner said.

About 10,000 chemicals are allowed to be added to foods, about 3,000 of which have never been reviewed for safety by the F.D.A., according to Pew’s research. Of those, about 1,000 never come before the F.D.A. unless someone has a problem with them; they are declared safe by a company and its handpicked advisers.

You have to let verbal assaults like John's tired "tin foil" remark just roll off your back. This is some terrible crap to be putting into your body. Once I read about it, I stopped drinking the orange Gatorade. Pepsi got caught taking the cheap and dirty way out, and now they're doing what they have to do to save their butts, because there's a well deserved consumer backlash.

This story is American freedom of speech and the free market at its finest. But to some people, the free market is only good when corporations prevail over people. A strange perspective, to say the least.

Pepsi announced last week that it would stop selling Gatorade with brominated vegetable oil.

In the past, I would have laid the blame for this junk science-fueled shame at the feet of anti-chemical environmental jihadists, their pseudo-scientist henchmen at universities and government regulatory agencies and Pepsi’s knuckleheaded executives, who seem to be more interested in appeasing eco-pressure groups than reassuring consumers the products the retailer has sold for decades are safe.

But the banning of soft drinks made with brominated vegetable oil is so mind-bogglingly baseless that I just have to lay the blame where it truly belongs — with the lame-o chemical industry, which utterly failed to defend its product against activist claims and a regulatory process so specious it would cause voodoo practitioners to shudder.

First, there is no evidence anyone has ever been harmed by brominated vegetable oil in a consumer product, despite widespread use in soft drinks; moreover, there’s no reason to expect anyone ever would be harmed, as exposures to brominated vegetable oil from consumer products are 100 times lower than the "safe" level determined by government regulators.

If you think about it, products made with brominated vegetable oil are, in fact, safer than, say, Wal-Mart’s peanut-containing products that can cause fatal allergic reactions in children. Yet peanut products remain on the shelves.

So just how did brominated vegetable oil wind up becoming chemical non grata?

Early activist efforts against industrial chemicals in the environment (circa 1960-1990) largely were based on allegations that they were cancer-causing. But by the early-1990s it became clear that this was not so, particularly at exposure levels typically found in the environment.

The activists then switched to claims that small exposures to certain chemicals — so-called "environmental estrogens" or "endocrine disrupters" — interfered with normal hormonal processes to cause a variety of adverse health effects ranging from attention deficit disorder to miscarriages to sterility.

So endocrine disrupter theory advocates went back to the drawing board and came up with a successful strategy: If their claims didn’t measure up to what generally was considered as science, then they would change how science was conducted.

The National Toxicology Program, or NTP — a federal agency whose mission seems to be scaring the public about industrial chemicals and whose staff is closely tied to the anti-chemical movement — did the activists’ dirty work by tossing out the toxicology rulebook in establishing two precedents key to the fate of chemical claimed to be harmful.

First, the NTP determined it no longer was necessary to show that the risk of health effects from a chemical increased with greater exposure. "The dose makes the poison" had been a fundamental principle of toxicology for hundreds of years.

The NTP then also decided it no longer was necessary for scientists to submit reproducible study results; traditionally, before the results of a scientific experiment are accepted as valid, other scientists must be able to confirm the results by replicating them independently.

So why blame the chemical industry for the nefarious doings of a rogue NTP-activist cabal?

The industry had almost seven years to take political and legal action against a clearly corrupted government process. There is no evidence that the industry mounted any sort of vigorous public or behind-the-scenes defense of its product.

Worse, a terrible precedent has been set that will haunt the development and use of chemicals that improve the quality of our lives. While it is quite likely brominated vegetable oil can be replaced by some other chemical and sometimes it does make sense from a public relations perspective for an industry to "switch" rather than to "fight" over a particular chemical, brominated vegetable oil wasn’t the only thing at stake. The use of science in the regulatory process also was on the line. It’s going to take more than Web site lip service to live up to that principle.

Wow! Well said John. You hit it out of the park!

The burden of proof is not on the consumer groups. The burden of proof is on the industry to show that drinking freaking bromine is not harmful. The industry has no such proof. And once consumers were made aware of that fact, the Gatorade name was getting tarnished. And so Pepsi caved.

Nobody's banning anything, John. Consumers are exercising their rights of free speech and market choice.

Pepsi is smart to remove this chemical from its product. Your defending a shoddy practice that even Pepsi won't try to defend is "out of the park," all right. It's out of the park called Common Sense.

Hey -- I like halogenated rancid oils in my faux health drinks!
It goes great with my rBST milk from Monsanto as well!
Yeah, gimme an a cyclamate fizz with a thalidomide chaser while your up!
No, not every chemical boogeyman will harm you but the onus should be on the free-marketeers making a buck to perform their due diligence FIRST.
Y'know, like lithium ion battery packs in airplanes.

I can't locate reports of scientific evidence that I would trust one way or another on this. The truth could be "one way" -- or "the other." I honestly have no idea.

I quit drinking Gatorade years ago because its sweetening component is high-fructose corn syrup; that, I am convinced from years of reading and observation, is a health and metabolic disaster.

"The burden of proof is on the industry to show that drinking freaking bromine is not harmful"

Yes, it has been proven that it is non toxic and does not cause harm. I think John's point was that this method of knee jerk reactions to things sounding scary in products is harmful to the scientific process, and will harm more important things. One thing I can think of is this vaccination scare. Parents were worried about Thiomersal, because it contained mercury ions. No matter that since it isn't in its elemental form, it isn't absorbed into the body and is harmless. There was hysteria because "OMG they are injecting us with mercury." And as a result, thousands of children haven't been vaccinated, and many have died or have placed other vulnerable members of society at risk, based on their parent's uninformed decisions.

I am sure many people would also be in favor of getting rid of dihydrogen monoxide in all human consumed goods. It's in almost everything we eat and drink, and to many I am sure it sounds like a problem.

Not to be picky, JH, but elemental mercury is not nearly as toxic as its organometallic compounds. Very similar to chromium: Safe as a metal on the shiny car parts; but as potassium dichromate, very toxic.

Nice try. This is freaking bromine. There is no reason on earth to drink that crap. Except a few thousand dollars on the Pepsi CEO's bonus.

The removal of that garbage from Gatorade is one of the great days in consumer history. Just as the stigmatization of smoking has been better for everyone. Despite decades of vehement denials of the tobacco industry, smoking kills people. And back when there was no conclusive science either way, the industry was wrong and the consumer advocates were right. I repeat: Way to go, Sarah Kavanagh.

This young girl should not be drinking this crap. She (and, I suspect, her parents) assume that if it is offered, it is OK for her to consume. Sugared electrolyte replacements should only be used in limited circumstances; I doubt she needs this at her age. It is NOT a casual drink. Water, plain water, is what we all need for hydration. Not Gatorade, or soda, or energy drinks, or 'juice' bags, or other such crap.

I think people ought to have a choice...those that want to be poisoned by their food should be allowed to drink it....and those that would actually not like having something noxious can get the other stuff. Maybe we could sell the old ones to the Republican party and they could hand it out as swag at their pro-industry, anti regulation gala's.

A reader points out:

The reason John Benton's long comment on brominated veg. oil makes so little sense and is so much more literate (relatively speaking) than his previous comment is that he's taken someone's Fox News column on BPA and edited it to sub in BVO:,2933,352478,00.html

Now there's a quality argument!

And funny.

Hey John, I know it's just a blog comment on the Internet and journalistic rules regarding plagiarism get thrown by the wayside, but c'mon. The fact that you didn't even make an effort to change some of the distinctive verbiage is truly "lame-o." But I guess a link to an article on FOX wouldn't have been as good a comeback to Jack's remark about your incoherent rants, would it? Epic fail on both the credibility and integrity fronts. They don't call you guys ditto heads for nothing, do they?

My sister was recently tested for food allergies. Her doctor told her that many of the substances marked as "natural flavors" on ingrediant labels are in fact, chemically-derived flavorings, and that they are not tested by the FDA. There are thousands of these. The doctor suggested she read labels and steer clear of these items; most food products, unfortunately, contain them. When one has had a bout with illness related to the immune system, it's probably even more critical to steer clear of the various chemicals in our food.

John, I am confused, are you referring to activists for real consumer protection who have difficulty getting in the door or those who have been coined "veal pen" type activists?

I will put a FDL link/excerpt, as apparently this was a term coined by firedoglake for those activists silenced/co-opted by political leaders.
And so the groups in the DC veal pen stay silent. They leadership gets gets bought off by cocktail parties at the White House while the interests of their members get sold out. . .

I have attempted to get another certain link, but it won’t get through, so google the term for more information.

(Pardon my ad hominem attack, and delete it if it's deemed to cross the line.)

The old chestnut goes something like, "You can have your own opinion, but not your own facts." Plagiarism aside, if you can't even state your own opinion, please go play somewhere else. I don't play with sock puppets.

Here's my take: if she doesn't want to drink brominated vegetable, she can ... not drink Gatorade.

I get my Mountain Dew on an IV drip practically (I'm even on their test panel for new flavors) and I can categorically say it doens't memory loss beginggng.


It also doesn't make you sterile. I've produced five kids while drinking the stuff. (Not technically at the same time as drinking it, of course, but during the same life phases.)

Taco Dave,
The problem is that it is becoming much more difficult to avoid negative additives and what about accumulations and/or mixtures?
I guess to each his own, and if you don't care, fine, however in the final analysis, we should be able to trust our FDA and those in charge of safety of consumer issues and apparently we can't, and in my view, that aspect is totally unacceptable.

But in this case, I think we CAN trust the FDA. They've approved it.

Apparently, that was a mistake.
My point is that across the board, consumers cannot not be confident
about products being safe.
Did you read from the above link,
in case you missed it:

The second exemption created what Tom Neltner, director of the Pew Charitable Trusts’ food additives project, a three-year investigation into how food additives are regulated, calls “the loophole that swallowed the law.” A company can create a new additive, publish safety data about it on its Web site and pay a law firm or consulting firm to vet it to establish it as “generally recognized as safe” — without ever notifying the F.D.A., Mr. Neltner said.

About 10,000 chemicals are allowed to be added to foods, about 3,000 of which have never been reviewed for safety by the F.D.A., according to Pew’s research. Of those, about 1,000 never come before the F.D.A. unless someone has a problem with them; they are declared safe by a company and its handpicked advisers.


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In Vino Veritas

Lange, Pinot Gris 2015
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