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There is no way for a consumer to find out what ingredients go into a particular synthetic flavoring; an amazing collection of peculiar chemicals make up what we know as ‘artificial flavors’.  Dr. Feingold pointed out that chemicals used as food additives are not required to undergo the extensive testing which is required for drugs, and need not be evaluated to determine if they can trigger behavioral changes.  Flavoring are used in more that just food.

Author Index
  1. Aoshima 1997
  2. Araujo 1996
  3. Avison 2001
  4. Bamforth 1993
  5. Corder 1995
  6. DeLattre 1999
  7. Delgado 1993
  8. el-Saadany 1991
  9. Flood 2001
  10. George 2001
  11. Howrie 1985
  12. Kawane 1994
  13. Kroes 2000
  14. Kroes 2002
  15. Kroes 2005
  16. Kumar 1991
  17. Kumar 1993
  18. Kumar 1996
  19. Munro 1998
  20. Munro 2001
  21. Nogueira 1995
  22. Paumgartten 1998
  23. Salih 2005
  24. Taylor 1998
  25. Taylor 1998
  26. Von Fraunhofer 2005
  27. Wertz 2011
  28. World Health Org 2000
  29. Wuthrich 1993
  30. Yagyu 1997
  31. Yagyu 1998
Wertz 2011: Flavoring additives in cigarettes should be removed.

The Toxic Effects of Cigarette Additives. Philip Morris’ Project Mix Reconsidered: An Analysis of Documents Released through Litigation, Wertz MS, Kyriss T, Paranjape S, Glantz SA.,  PLoS Med. 2011 Dec;8(12):e1001145. Epub 2011 Dec 20.

 … We analyzed previously secret tobacco industry documents … We focused on the key group of studies conducted by Phillip Morris in a coordinated effort known as “Project MIX.” … These papers concluded that there was no evidence of substantial toxicity attributable to the cigarette additives studied. Internal documents revealed post hoc changes in analytical protocols … tobacco industry scientific research on the use of cigarette additives cannot be taken at face value. … toxins in cigarette smoke increase substantially when additives are put in cigarettes … regulatory authorities, including the FDA and similar agencies elsewhere, could use the Project MIX data to eliminate the use of these 333 additives (including menthol) from cigarettes.

MedLine || Full Text

von Fraunhofer 2005: Fruit-flavored sports drinks dissolve tooth enamel

Effects of sports drinks and other beverages on dental enamel, von Fraunhofer JA, Rogers MM. , General Dentistry 2005 Jan-Feb;53(1):28-31.

” A high percentage of people consume soft drinks that contain sugar or artificial sweeteners, flavorings, and various additives. … Enamel dissolution occurred in all of the tested beverages, with far greater attack occurring in flavored and energy (sports) drinks than previously noted for water and cola drinks. No correlation was found between enamel dissolution and beverage pH. Non-cola drinks, commercial lemonades, and energy/sports drinks showed the most aggressive dissolution effect on dental enamel. Reduced residence times of beverages in the mouth by salivary clearance or rinsing would appear to be beneficial. “Note: It’s not what you would expect. If it’s not the cola, or the pH, or the type of sweetener that dissolves the tooth enamel …. so, is it the flavoring?


Salih 2005: Additives cause mutations in sunlight (eat your snack in the dark?)

Risk assessment of combined photogenotoxic effects of sunlight and food additives,  Salih FM, Sci Total Environ. 2005 Jun 24

Flavored colorants (peach and raspberry), flavors (caramel, citric acid and vanilla) and food preservatives (sodium nitrite, sodium nitrate, sodium benzoate, benzoic acid, potassium sorbate and sodium chloride) did not cause cell mutations in E. coli in the dark.  “However, when the relevant additive was present in cell suspension during sunlight exposure the number of induced mutations was increased to varying extents over that seen with sunlight alone. . . . The impact of this investigation reflects the significance of combination of sunlight and chemical food additives as potential risk, which requires special attention and necessitates further investigations to evaluate the risk.”MedLine

Kroes 2005: Chemicals used in small amounts don't have to be tested for safety

The threshold of toxicological concern concept in risk assessment. Kroes R, Kleiner J, Renwick A., Toxicological Sciences. 2005 Aug;86(2):226-30. Epub 2005 Apr 13

… The concept proposes that a low level of exposure with a negligible risk can be identified for many chemicals, including those of unknown toxicity, based on knowledge of their chemical structures. …MedLine || Full Text |

Kroes 2002: A little bit can't hurt, right?

Threshold of toxicological concern (TTC) in food safety assessment,  Kroes R, Kozianowski G. , Toxicology Letters, 2002 Feb 28;127(1-3):43-6

… The concept that exposure thresholds can be identified for individual chemicals in the diet is already widely embodied in practice of many regulatory bodies in setting acceptable daily intakes (ADIs) for chemicals whose toxicological profile is known. However, the TTC concept goes further than this in proposing that a de minimis value can be identified for many chemicals, including those of unknown toxicity, taking the chemical structure into consideration. This concept forms the scientific basis of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ‘1995 Threshold of Regulation’ for indirect food additives. The TTC principle has also been adopted by the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) in its evaluations of flavouring substances. The establishment of a more widely accepted TTC would benefit consumers, industry and regulators. ..Notes:

  • The term “de minimis” means “a little bit can’t hurt.”
  • ILSI, a food industry group that used to be called the Nutrition Foundation, is composed of companies that make food additives, pesticides, snack foods, etc.
  • How this would benefit regulators and industry is obvious. How it would benefit consumers’ health is questionable.MedLine || Full Text || Get Password
Avison 2001: Making tasty plastic

Infusion of volatile flavor compounds into low-density polyethylene, Avison SJ, Gray DA, Davidson GM, Taylor AJ. , Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 2001 Jan;49(1):270-5

 . . . To study the feasibility of infusing flavors into matrixes as a potential flavoring mechanism, a wide range of volatile flavor compounds was infused into a well-defined synthetic polymer (low-density polyethylene)  . . . Forty-five volatiles were infused, from which a model was developed to predict infusion as a function of certain physicochemical properties.Note: Polyethylene is plastic. Hmmmm. Why, again, do we want tasty plastic?


Flood 2001: Flavors from fats via candida (yeast) - yummy

Safety evaluation of lipase produced from Candida rugosa: summary of toxicological data, Flood MT, Kondo M., Regulatory toxicology and pharmacology 2001 Apr;33(2):157-64

The toxicity of lipase AY, an enzyme preparation used in lipid hydrolysis to produce flavors, was evaluated in a series of studies. A 13-week dietary toxicity study in Sprague-Dawley (Crj:CD) rats was conducted in which animals received lipase AY in the feed at concentrations of 0, 625, 1250, or 2500 mg/kg body wt. No adverse treatment-related effects were observed. . . .Finally, the particular strain of Candida rugosa, the yeast strain used to prepare lipase AY, has been shown to be nonpathogenic upon a single injection into the tail vein of rats of viable spores . . . The results of these studies demonstrate that the enzyme preparation may be considered safe to workers and consumers when employed in the production of flavors from fats.MedLine



A manufacturer might ask:

blueberriesQ:  Why should I put artificial blueberry flavoring in the blueberry poptarts I make?

A:  So you don’t have to waste your money on giving the consumer real blueberries. Less than 2% blueberry powder is enough so you can say “real blueberries” on the package.  It’s okay. The lawyers say so.

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