Thursday, February 5, 2009

Remember when...?

If you are 30 or older you will think this is hilarious!!!!

When I was a kid, adults used to bore me to tears with their tedious diatribes about how hard things were. When they were growing up; what with walking twenty-five miles to school every morning. Uphill... barefoot..
BOTH ways yadda, yadda, yadda.

I remember promising myself that when I grew up, there was no way in hell I was going to lay
a bunch of crap like that on kids about how hard I had it and how easy they've got it!

But now that... I'm over the ripe old age of thirty, I can't help but look around and notice the youth of today.
You've got it so easy! I mean, compared to my childhood, you live in a damn Utopia!
And I hate to say it but you kids today you don't know how good you've got it!

I mean, when I was a kid we didn't have The Internet. If we wanted to know something, we had to go to the damn library and look it up ourselves, in the card catalogue!!
There was no email!! We had to actually write somebody a letter, with a pen! Then you had to walk all the way across the street and put it in the mailbox or go to the post office and it would take like a week to get there!

There were no MP3' s or Napsters! You wanted to steal music, you had to hitchhike to the damn record store and shoplift it yourself! Or you had to wait around all day to tape it off the radio and the DJ would usually talk over the beginning and @#*% it all up!

We didn't have fancy crap like Call Waiting! If you were on the phone and somebody else called they got a busy signal, that's it! And we didn't have fancy Caller ID either! When the phone rang, you had no idea who it was! It could be your school, your mom, your boss, your bookie, your drug dealer, a collections agent, you just didn't know!!! You had to pick it up and take your chances, mister!

We didn't have any fancy Sony Play station video games with high-resolution 3-D graphics! We had the Atari 2600! With games like 'Space Invaders' and 'asteroids'. Your guy was a little square! You actually had to use your imagination!! And there were no multiple levels or screens, it was just one screen...Forever!
And you could never win. The game just kept getting harder and harder and faster and faster until you died! Just like LIFE!

You had to use a Little book called a TV Guide to find out what was on! You were screwed when it came to channel surfing! You had to get off your ass and walk over to the TV to change the channel and there was no Cartoon Network either! You could only get cartoons on Saturday Morning. Do you Hear what I'm saying!?! We had to wait ALL WEEK for cartoons, you spoiled little rat-bastards!

And we didn't have microwaves, if we wanted to heat something up we had to use the stove ... Imagine that!
That's exactly what I'm talking about! You kids today have got it too easy.
You're spoiled. You guys wouldn't have lasted five minutes back in 1980!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Mercury in Everyday Foods- How messed up is this?

Mercury in High-Fructose Corn Syrup?

Researchers Say 17 Products Tested Had Some Mercury; Industry Group Says Syrup Is Safe
By Miranda Hitti
WebMD Health News

Reviewed By Louise Chang, MD
Jan. 27, 2009 -- Some foods and drinks rich in high-fructose corn syrup may contain detectable levels of mercury, a new report shows.
The report, published on the web site of the Minneapolis-based nonprofit Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP), shows detectable levels of mercury in 17 out of 55 tested products rich in high-fructose corn syrup.
But the researchers aren't telling people to avoid those products or other items containing high-fructose corn syrup, and they aren't sure what form of mercury those products contained.
The Corn Refiners Association stands by high-fructose corn syrup, calling it "safe."

Mercury and High-Fructose Corn Syrup

The new report comes from researchers including David Wallinga, MD, director of the IATP's food and health program. They bought 55 products that list high-fructose corn syrup first or second on their list of ingredients, which means high-fructose corn syrup was a leading ingredient in those products.
Wallinga's team sent samples of those products to a commercial lab, which checked the levels of total mercury in each sample.
"Overall, we found detectable mercury in 17 of 55 samples, or around 31%," write Wallinga and colleagues.
Here is the list of those products:
  • Quaker Oatmeal to Go bars
  • Jack Daniel's Barbecue Sauce
  • Hershey's Chocolate Syrup
  • Kraft Original Barbecue Sauce
  • Nutri-Grain Strawberry Cereal Bars
  • Manwich Gold Sloppy Joe
  • Market Pantry Grape Jelly
  • Smucker's Strawberry Jelly
  • Pop-Tarts Frosted Blueberry
  • Hunt's Tomato Ketchup
  • Wish-Bone Western Sweet & Smooth Dressing
  • Coca-Cola Classic: no mercury found on a second test
  • Yoplait Strawberry Yogurt
  • Minute Maid Berry Punch
  • Yoo-hoo Chocolate Drink
  • Nesquik Chocolate Milk
  • Kemps Fat Free Chocolate Milk
Wallinga and colleagues caution that their list was "just a snapshot in time; we only tested one sample of each product. That clearly is not sufficient grounds to give definitive advice to consumers."
Mercury exposure at high levels can harm the brain, heart, kidneys, lungs, and immune system. A form of mercury called methylmercury is particularly risky to a baby's developing brain and nervous system, according to background information from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Wallinga points out that the lab only tested for total mercury levels, not methylmercury or other types of mercury. He also notes that the EPA has a "reference dose," or upper limit, for methylmercury intake but not for other forms of mercury.

Where Did the Mercury Come From?

Wallinga's report doesn't prove that the mercury in the tested products came from high-fructose corn syrup, but "I'm hard pressed to say where else it would come from," Wallinga tells WebMD.
Wallinga explains that mercury can be used to make caustic soda, which is one of the products used to make high-fructose corn syrup. That's outdated technology; mercury isn't needed to make caustic soda, notes Audrae Erickson, president of the Corn Refiners Association, in a statement emailed to WebMD.
Erickson didn't comment specifically on Wallinga's study. Instead, her statement focuses on a new study published online in Environmental Health, which shows mercury in some samples of commercial high-fructose corn syrup tested in 2005.
"This study appears to be based on outdated information of dubious significance," Erickson states. "Our industry has used mercury-free versions of the two re-agents mentioned in the study, hydrochloric acid and caustic soda, for several years."
Wallinga agrees about the technological shift away from mercury. "If you just look within the confines of the U.S., yes, about 90% of production now is not using mercury," says Wallinga. "The problem is that we don't actually know where our companies are buying their high-fructose corn syrup from ... it's a global industry."
"For me, the take-home message is really that this is a totally avoidable, unnecessary exposure to mercury," says Wallinga. "We've got a safer, more efficient technology for making these chemicals that are part of the ingredients used to manufacture high-fructose corn syrup."

Mercury's Form Unknown

Like Wallinga's report, the study published in Environmental Health doesn't specify the form of mercury present in the high-fructose corn syrup.
"I would imagine that a good majority of the mercury that is detected would have been in the form of elemental mercury," not methylmercury, toxicologist Carl Winter, PhD, tells WebMD. Winter, who directs the FoodSafe Program at the University of California, Davis, says that methylmercury is "by far the most toxic form of mercury" because methylmercury is better absorbed by the body than other forms of mercury.
"We have a principle in toxicology, which is the dose makes the poison," says Winter. "It's the amount of a chemical, not its presence or absence, that determines the potential for harm, and frankly, I don't see based on their findings that they've made much of a case that this is something that consumers need to worry about."

Besides his academic work, Winter is a volunteer spokesman for the Institute of Food Technologists, a nonprofit scientific society that includes food science and technology professionals in industry, academia, and government. Winter says his work has never been funded by food or chemical industries.

Companies Respond

WebMD contacted the makers of all 17 products that tested positive for mercury in Wallinga's report.
ConAgra Foods, which makes Manwich Bold Sloppy Joe and Hunt's Tomato Ketchup, is "absolutely confident in the safety of our products," ConAgra Foods spokeswoman Stephanie Childs tells WebMD.
Childs notes that "the levels of mercury reported in our ketchup are well below the EPA's safe exposure level. In fact, we estimate that you'd have to eat more than 100 pounds of ketchup per day to even come anywhere near the EPA's safe exposure level in terms of mercury.
A spokeswoman for Kraft Foods, Adrienne Dimopoulos, tells WebMD that Kraft has not had time to review the study's findings. However, "Kraft Foods' highest priority is the safety and quality of our products and the safety of our consumers. All of the ingredients we use are approved and deemed safe for food use by regulatory agencies, including the US FDA."
Amy Reilly, a spokeswoman for Target, which makes Market Pantry Grape Jelly, tells WebMD that Target is carefully evaluating the information and that "Target looks to the Food and Drug Administration to provide guidance on the safety of food additives and ingredients."
An FDA spokesperson wasn't immediately available to comment on Wallinga's report or the study published in Environmental Health.
SOURCES: Dufault, R. Environmental Health, Jan. 26, 2009; online edition. Wallinga, D. "Not So Sweet: Missing Mercury and High Fructose Corn Syrup." David Wallinga, MD, director, Food and Health Program, Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy. Statement from Audrae Erickson, president, Corn Refiners Association. Carl Winter, PhD, director, FoodSafe Program and Extension Food Toxicologist, department of food science and technology, University of California, Davis. Adrienne Dimopoulos, spokeswoman, Kraft Foods. Amy Reilly, spokeswoman, Target.