Friday, June 01, 2007

What, me worry?

I am the designated worrier in our family. Systems evolve and partners take up different roles as they discover what they’re best at. It seems that I have a remarkable ability to see the danger lurking in the most inoffensive scenarios. I blame my mother of course.

I don’t always seek out this information on hidden dangers, one reporter with a black light in a motel room can cause long-lasting permanent damage. I have a modicum of control. I don’t run up to people eating a hot dog to tell them how much foreign matter is allowed by law. With close friends I warn them that they can stop me at any time but I have to let them know about the dangers of eating that unwrapped communal candy sitting so close to the restrooms if you get my drift.

The latest anxiety to manifest itself is sodium benzoate:

A University of Sheffield researcher says a preservative commonly used in soft drinks and other food items may cause genetic damage -- contributing to cirrhosis of the liver and degenerative diseases like Parkinson's.

Professor Peter Piper has spent eight years studying the effects of sodium benzoate, known as E211 in the food industry. Sodium benzoate is widely used to inhibit mold growth in a variety of consumer foods. But Piper claims the additive produces cellular damage that closely mimics the effects of chronic alcoholism, causing premature aging and a variety of serious health concerns. He says his research indicates that sodium benzoate attacks a crucial portion of human DNA known as the mitochondria.

"These chemicals have the ability to cause severe damage to DNA in the mitochondria to the point that they totally inactivate it: they knock it out altogether," Piper told the UK newspaper The Independent on Sunday..

Members of Parliament immediately called upon the Food Standards Agency -- the UK equivalent of the United Stated Food and Drug Administration -- to investigate Piper's claims.

Sodium benzoate is widely used in soft drinks, jams, pickles, mouthwash, and animal foods. It occurs naturally in cranberries and a number of common fruits. Sodium benzoate is also used as an additive in some fireworks.

So, each time I drink a diet soda I’ll be thinking of cellular damage or eating bottle rockets. No thanks.


now our son is becoming more and more the daredevil. I know injuries will happen sooner or later. I broke several bones through my childhood and with E’s dexterity and fearlessness it’s almost inevitable. He jumps off everything. If he can climb it he thinks he can jump off it.

He’s also picking up on my love of ninjas. I’m very proud that if you ask him what a ninja says he’ll respond “Hee-yah” complete with karate chop. L went even further and taught him to say “Ninja Warrior” with a kick. There’s going to be a call from daycare any day now, “yes I’m afraid E put a chokehold on another child and rendered him unconscious. Can you pick him up now?”


Longevity Science said...

Thank you for your interesting story!
I thought perhaps you may interested in this related ongoing discussion, for you not to worry:
Longevity Science: Soft Drinks Linked to Aging ?

The Brian said...

Well, I'm still worrying but thanks for the link. / smiley face here