×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Some Soft Drinks May Damage Your DNA

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the argh-my-mitochondria dept.

Biotech 643

Parallax Blue writes "The Independent is reporting new findings that indicate a common additive called sodium benzoate, found in soft drinks such as Fanta and Pepsi Max among others, has the ability to switch off vital parts of DNA in a cell's mitochondria. From the article: 'The mitochondria consumes the oxygen to give you energy and if you damage it — as happens in a number of diseased states — then the cell starts to malfunction very seriously. And there is a whole array of diseases that are now being tied to damage to this DNA — Parkinson's and quite a lot of neuro-degenerative diseases, but above all the whole process of aging.' European Union MPs are now calling for an urgent investigation in the wake of these alarming new findings."

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

643 comments

rots your brain as well (-1)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 6 years ago | (#19289825)

always knew this shit was up to no good.

Re:rots your brain as well (3, Insightful)

Rod76 (705840) | more than 6 years ago | (#19289917)

I stayed away from Diet drinks due to Aspartame and its siblings and now my high fructose corm syrup addiction lays on the chopping block because of some second rate preservative, is there no decency in the world? Why can't we go back to making things that are only bad for your teeth and waistline, is that to much to ask?

A no win situation (5, Insightful)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 6 years ago | (#19289969)

Soda rots your teeth and probably contributes to diabetes II.

Diet Soda, it has been found in a European study (German?) to fuck with your blood sugar level - the body thinks it's getting sugar, pumps you with insulin, and it turns out you aren't getting any.

And all the sugar-substitue additives have been questions for years.

Drink Water or at worst carbonated water. Maybe a little tea or iced tea made from decent leaves (not the garbage leaves in lipton surrounded by bleached paper to dunk in water), or even a little expresso.

Leave out the soda pop, leave out most of the milk (thought to contribute to kidney stones), leave out the juice, etcetera. And for god's sake leave out anything sweetened with high fructose corn syrup - poison. Our ancestors were able to make due with water as a drink and so our bodies should be acclimated to it.

The funny thing is, we have access to the cleanest water in history, without it being muddy or full of minerals, and we found a "need" to have all this oversweetened garbage instead.

It's not hard, start drinking for a week - you'll be over the sweet addiction. I like ice water the best. If you have to, treat yourself to a juice drink or milk once a day.

Re:A no win situation (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19290093)

Yeah that's great, but the water where I am is from a river where the male fish spontaneously start making eggs even though they are still male (they didn't change genders due to population pressure, they just started making eggs). Oh yeah, and there's lead in the water... so much that they govt sent out water filter kits.

And pure water will kill you, because the minerals in your intestine's cells osmose out and they die.

Leaving out the juice is crazy if you want to live healthy... you need to leave out the sugar-added juice.

Re:A no win situation (2, Interesting)

TheLink (130905) | more than 6 years ago | (#19290257)

If you're that afraid of pure water, just take it with a pinch of salt ;).

I'd take my chances with pure water over most of the other stuff people are drinking.

The other drinks proven to be ok/good for health are: green tea (without milk!), and black coffee (without milk as well!). Just reduce the sugar by a lot.

As for fruit juices, most usually have too much sugar, so they should be reserved as a treat.

Re:A no win situation (1)

Cyberax (705495) | more than 6 years ago | (#19290145)

Juices are also OK if drunk in moderation.

Actually, pure unmineralized water is not very good in combating thirst - your body loses salts with sweat so unmineralized water causes electrolyte imbalance.

Re:A no win situation (3, Informative)

meekers (1105157) | more than 6 years ago | (#19290345)

While at one point it may have been thought that drinking milk contributed kidney stones, it is now thought that low-calcium diets can actually increase the risk of developing kidney stones. If you are going to avoid milk, do not avoid it for fear of developing kidney stones.

In addition, I would be interested to know what causes you to believe that high fructose corn syrup, in particular HFCS 45 or HFCS 55, is "poison". While I have seen claims that it is harmful before, I have not been convinced that it is any worse than table sugar.

Re:A no win situation (1, Informative)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 6 years ago | (#19290385)

Drink Water or at worst carbonated water. Maybe a little tea or iced tea made from decent leaves (not the garbage leaves in lipton surrounded by bleached paper to dunk in water), or even a little expresso.

Leave out the soda pop, leave out most of the milk (thought to contribute to kidney stones), leave out the juice, etcetera. And for god's sake leave out anything sweetened with high fructose corn syrup - poison. Our ancestors were able to make due with water as a drink and so our bodies should be acclimated to it.


Oh, a little tea from decent leaves, not paper, paper's bad. Oh, I see, I see. You know, how bad for your life is when you die in a car crash, or a truck runs over you, or someone in a club beats you up and shoots you outside, or you fall from a bridge or whatever.

Never go outside, man! NEVER! It's dangerous. Maybe, you know, open your window a little, so air comes inside, but not too much, since air in the city is bad.

Or how about, instead of going all the way to the other extreme, just do things sensibly. I can guarantee you Pepsi MAX won't have profound effect on your health if you wouldn't drink ten gallons of it each day. I, for example, enjoy soft drinks in small quantities during weekends sometimes, or on a vacation, on the beach, or on a birthday party.

Here's the truth: even water will "fuck up with your [whatever] levels" if used in excess. Did you know you could die from water poisoning? Should we eventually stop drinking water and maybe just absorb moisture from the air, like some small mammals do?

USE EVERYTHING IN MODERATION.

This sodium benzonate has been known to be bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19289993)



This (sodium benzonate) has been known to be bad, bad to the bone, for several years.

If you haven't seen it before, it's news to you!!

Re:rots your brain as well (2, Informative)

Simpsoid (1087767) | more than 6 years ago | (#19290351)

Unfortunately I became relitavely addicted to Pepsi Max over the Christmas break just gone.

Our local supermarket chain had them on sale for AU$7.95 for a 24 can carton.
I bought like 8 cartons because it was so cheap.

Since that ran out I relied on the competing chain of grocery stores to price match. Every few weeks one of the stores will have a sale on Pepsi (and its varieties). I now go week to week buying about 4 cartons and when I run out I wait till the next sale is on.

I am a type 1 diabetic and have been for over 10 years, so I only get Pepsi Max. This seems to be some alarming news. I drink 2 or 3 cans every day and have since Christmas.
I was always aware that carbonated drinks were not good for you. They tend to leech calcium from your bones as well as other unhealthy side effects.

As someone previously posted though the no-sugar drinks don't mess with your blood glucose level. My body doesn't think that its about to have a sugary drink and release some more insulin (apart from the fact that it actually can't) it doesn't adversly affect me.

It's horrible stuff and I'm going to ween myself off it after reading this.

maybe we could use this as a weapon (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19289827)

in the war against niggers?

And what about the U.S.? (5, Insightful)

pcmanjon (735165) | more than 6 years ago | (#19289829)

"uropean Union MPs are now calling for an urgent investigation in the wake of these alarming new findings"

While the FDA in the United States is doing what? Standing by turning their cheek?

Re:And what about the U.S.? (2, Funny)

nacturation (646836) | more than 6 years ago | (#19289845)

While the FDA in the United States is doing what? Standing by turning their cheek?
They're probably too busy drinking Mountain Dew [wikipedia.org] and Bawls [wikipedia.org] and their midichlorian count has been reduced by all the sodium benzoate in those drinks.
 

Re:And what about the U.S.? (4, Interesting)

pcmanjon (735165) | more than 6 years ago | (#19289883)

It's very similar to aspartame and the FDA's total refusal to do anything about it.

Brain tumors and seizures in aspartame-fed animals indicate a possible risk to humans. The dictionary definition of safe means "not presenting or involving any danger or risk" (Webster's 877). Does this mean aspartame is not safe?

Although aspartame was not tested on humans before its approval, it now has been tested on the public by default. All kinds of Americans eat aspartame products every day. We have been the guinea pigs in the testing of aspartame without even knowing it. A look at aspartame's ingredients and its devastating effects on human beings provide the evidence for avoiding all aspartame products.

Too bad the FDA doesn't ban it, isn't it? I avoid any product with this ingredient like a plague.

Re:And what about the U.S.? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19289963)

The dictionary definition of safe means "not presenting or involving any danger or risk" (Webster's 877).

Better not get up in the morning if you don't want any risk. Hell, you could break a leg turning over in bed. Better to kill yourself now and end the pain.

Re:And what about the U.S.? (2, Insightful)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 6 years ago | (#19290095)

This is what happens when a sound concept like the inability to totally avoid risk and the need to strike a balance in addressing it gets used by someone with two or maybe three brain cells, all of which are giving each other the silent treatment.

If I had your level of understanding in the world, I'd shut myself in my own basement to avoid perpetually embarrassing myself.

Re:And what about the U.S.? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19290427)

OHHHH, is that why you're still in your parents' basement?

(just kidding)

Re:And what about the U.S.? (1)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 6 years ago | (#19290221)

Hell, you could break a leg turning over in bed.

When I was a PFY I dislocated my hip in this very way.
I rolled over in my sleep when my leg was wrapped in duvet.

Its a very strange feeling to see the back of your own leg.

Re:And what about the U.S.? (5, Interesting)

hazem (472289) | more than 6 years ago | (#19290005)

When I was in the army, I was in a unit where we didn't run as much as I was used to and I was gaining weight. So I started drinking diet sodas instead of regular sodas. About that time, I started getting horrendous headaches.

One day in the chow hall, the TV showed an article from Duke University (nearby, I was in North Carolina) that covered Aspertame triggering migraines. So, I conducted my own little experiment. Some days I would drink normal fattening soda. No headaches. Then I would drink diet soda - and terrible headaches.

I started noticing other things - if I got bad headeaches, I would track back to see what I ate/drank. Sometimes, it was something like a gum (so many have aspartame to be safe for the teeth).

So for many years, I did what I could to avoid Aspartame. In the last 6 months, I took it a step further and have eliminated MSG and High Fructose Corn Syrup. I occasionally crave a soda but that's rare now. The cool part is that I FEEL so much better. Not just headaches, but now that fuzziness and "hot flash" feeling I'd get in the afternoons is gone.

And I've eliminated all fast food except the local Burgerville. I can't stand to touch McDonalds, Taco Bell, or Wendy's now. When I've succumbed to a craving, I felt like crap.

I either eat organic/natural, at local places that prepare such food, and my addiction of choice now is tea with a bit of organic sugar for sweetener.

I might not live any longer for it, but I FEEL much better for the time I am alive.

Re:And what about the U.S.? (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 6 years ago | (#19290317)

I suspect your body breaks down aspartame to stuff that gives you hangovers (and possibly other problems).

Might be OK for some people, but I don't feel an urge to drink that sort of stuff myself - if I'm going to drink something sweet (which is not often), I prefer it sweetened with real sugar. Not too fussed about white vs brown sugar, the spike in the blood sugar is probably less healthy than the trace chemicals from processing esp since I don't consume it that often.

Re:And what about the U.S.? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19290249)

Ugh, stop quoting that SINGLE study that links cancer (tumors) to aspartame... It was a single study that discovered the link, and there were a few major flaws. First of all they were giving the rats OVER 100 times the current daily recommended dosage. Thats about 2500 cans of pop containing aspartame. Secondly, the substance they were using to create aspartame is highly controversal to begin with (My sister is a Dietitian, she was explaining this to me the other day, but I can't remember the substance's name, I'll post a reply when I get a hold of her). The substance itself is linked to causing cancer and not used in the method that creates aspartame for diet soda.

Explain how mixing the two makes for a meaningful finding? Now a days you can't trust a single study. If 5 different studies, using different methods, by different interest groups all found links, then you have a serious problem you need to address. Am I saying aspartame is hamrless? HARDLY, infact I still limit my intake of it. But a single study that has yet to be verified by other methods is hardly something to kick up a fuss about. The fact that it has yet to be backed by any reputable labs should be enough to indicate that. The mass anxiety over this study is similar to the "the dye in mountain dew causes impotence." Its not verified, and only sheep pass it on without looking into it.

Re:And what about the U.S.? (1)

clashdot (1034936) | more than 6 years ago | (#19289863)

In the light of recent stories, it seems that the EU is looking after its citizens, rather that its corporations. Enjoy it while it lasts!

Re:And what about the U.S.? (1)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 6 years ago | (#19290053)

Absolutely not. They will sic the WTO on those commie so-an-so's, and have this document declared as propaganda used to restrict trade. It will go down similar to what happened over GM foods.

Re:And what about the U.S.? (1)

forgotten_my_nick (802929) | more than 6 years ago | (#19290233)

A quick google it would appear that the FDA, ABA and Drinks companies have known about this issue at least since very early last year.

Details ? (1)

messner_007 (1042060) | more than 6 years ago | (#19289847)

TFA is very simplicistic ... can someone post a link to more scientific paper ?

Re:Technical details (5, Informative)

Nymz (905908) | more than 6 years ago | (#19289937)

Benzene Production from Decarboxylation of Benzoic Acid in the Presence of Ascorbic Acid and a Transition-Metal Catalyst [commercialalert.org] (pdf warning) from Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, May 1993, Volume 41, Number 5

Re:Technical details (1)

messner_007 (1042060) | more than 6 years ago | (#19289971)

Why is this effect limited only to mitochondrial DNA ?

Re:Technical details (1)

Nymz (905908) | more than 6 years ago | (#19290027)

Why is this effect limited only to mitochondrial DNA ?

I believe that the common understanding has been that the amount used in food items was too small to cause much damage. But this new information might lead to evidence of a long term health risk from even small amounts.

Re:Technical details (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19290357)

This is purely guessing, but perhaps because chromosomal DNA is in the cell nucleus and is thus better protected.

Re:Technical details (1, Informative)

arivanov (12034) | more than 6 years ago | (#19290037)

That is different, but even scarier.

If you combine peroxides which always exist in trace quantities in mitohondria, ascorbic acid and benzoate in the presense of free (very few are free in a living tissue, most are helated by something) popular metal ions you get benzene which fucks with nearly anything in your body. Mutagen, changes in properties of proteins, etc. One good thing, is that this reaction is outside normal pH range as it is optimal at 2 and decreases to nearly 0 at 5.

Still, the article quotes a number of others that discuss what happens in the 5+ pH range and the list of substances there is similarly obnoxious - phenol, diphenil stuff, etc.

Gawd, do not care about eurocritters, but that by itself is enough to ban the stuff in my house. Funnily enough I loved fanta when I was a kid. It gives you this strange buzz which no other soda can do. Now I see why...

Peter Piper (5, Funny)

Oxen (879661) | more than 6 years ago | (#19290319)

From the article "Professor Peter Piper, a professor of molecular biology and biotechnology, tested the impact of sodium benzoate on living yeast cells in his laboratory."
and
"It is also added to pickles and sauces."

We've always known about Peter Piper's obsession with pickled peppers. [wikipedia.org] Perhaps he is just starting a smear campaign so we will no longer have to worry about how pecks of pickled peppers Peter Piper actually picked.

On a side note, it says that sodium benzoate is used to prevent fungal growth, and yet Dr. Piper is declaring that it news newsworthy to note that benzoate inhibits the growth of yeast (a fungus). In related news, it appears that antibiotics may also kill off bacteria living in your gut. Dear God...

Preserves Freshness (1)

HanoverFist (1090151) | more than 6 years ago | (#19289849)

SODIUM BENZOATE (PRESERVES FRESHNESS)

How ironic that it basically destroys the bodies ability to refresh itself.

Re:Preserves Freshness (2, Informative)

Walt Dismal (534799) | more than 6 years ago | (#19289887)

That's not all. It has been demonstrated that in drinks which also contain Vitamin C, the sodium benzoate combines with the vitamin and releases BENZENE. You really don't want to drink a lot of the carcinogen benzene. Google "sodium benzoate and Vitamin C" and see. Unfortunately, certain drink companies tout the Vitamin C in their beverages as being good for kids. Instead, it's poisoning them. Or you. Other drinks contain potassium benzoate and Vitamin C, but I'm not sure if this also produces benzene.

Re:Preserves Freshness (1)

Phase Shifter (70817) | more than 6 years ago | (#19290035)

Other drinks contain potassium benzoate and Vitamin C, but I'm not sure if this also produces benzene.
I don't want to say it's a given, but I would expect it.

Any alkali metal benzoate will dissolve in water, and dissociate into metal ions and benzoate ions, so it probably doesn't matter what the metal is, as long as the salt is water-soluble.

Re:Preserves Freshness (1)

arivanov (12034) | more than 6 years ago | (#19290047)

Either provided that pH is under 5 (quite common) and contain traces of transition metals (Copper and the like). Fanta and other "upmarket" drinks are not likely to be a canditate for this one as it is made with deionised water and the metal content in them is nearly nil. Now "Tesco Value Soda" may be an entirely different matter

Re:Preserves Freshness (1)

jovius (974690) | more than 6 years ago | (#19290275)

I just checked and there was sodium benzoate in my toothpaste... It would be interesting to know how much of the stuff you actually get from various sources.. It's of course beneficial to have it limited, but you would still go over the limit via the other ways.. Maybe we should just stop brushing our teeth and eating apples.

Shit.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19289851)

Guess that means that I will age faster...*checks his energy drink for sodium bezonate* shit...back to water again til I can find a safer source of caffeine.

Well (0, Troll)

Jayemji (1054886) | more than 6 years ago | (#19289861)

Just another potential reason for me to not drink pop. Not least of which is that I find the taste and carbonic acid unpalatable. From what I read, this isn't 100% sure though. But then, not much in this world is.

soda damages? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19289873)

I don't want any soda damaging my midichlorines.

Another Problem With Sodium Benzoate (1)

timbudtwo (782174) | more than 6 years ago | (#19289877)

Remember the whole scare when Sodium Benzoate reacted with Ascorbic Acid in sodas to cause trace amounts of benzene? Could Be FUD, too early to know for sure. Be sure to expect lawsuits really soon.

nothing new (4, Insightful)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 6 years ago | (#19289897)

this is nothing new, sodium benzoate is used as a preservative in acidic foods and drinks and in the presence of citric acid it can evolve very small amounts of benzene. benzene is dangerous because it is what we call an intercalary mutagen- what that means is it can insert its self between the DNA helix grooves and that is what can mess up DNA copying and transcription [translation from DNA to RNA to proteins etc.] in the USA benzene is allowed at 10ppb but in soem states it can be lower [california is 5ppb] to give an idea of how much that is an olympic swimming pool is 25,000 gallons, 95,000 liters and so 10ppb would be about a gram of benzene taken by weight. soft drinks in other countries have been reported to have up to 85 ppb although this can be fixed by reducing the amount of sodium benzoate and or citric acid in combination. citric acid can be replaced by malic acid which imparts that sour flavor in drinks.

swimming pools and bullshit (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19289933)

why is it that when terrorists have some inifnitesimal amount of poison, it is enough to wipe out the entire planet,
but when big companies put the same infinitesimal amount in your body, its nothing to be worried about?

colin powell at the UN with a tiny vial of risin, then there are various snake venoms that can kill even in ppb, then of course
the evil of joe blow street kid having a few ounces of marijuana in his jacket.

oh, but theres poison in soda pop, and making a profit for "big corn" (soda is just a way to add value to corn),
lead in drinking water, etc etc etc, then its ok.

hypocrisy does science no credit.

Re:swimming pools and bullshit (1)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 6 years ago | (#19289983)

why is it that when terrorists have some inifnitesimal amount of poison, it is enough to wipe out the entire planet, but when big companies put the same infinitesimal amount in your body, its nothing to be worried about?

that is because terrorism is a lot more fun for the media and the current administration to fear-monger than something very rich companies put in our soda pop.

Re:swimming pools and bullshit (1)

hughk (248126) | more than 6 years ago | (#19290333)

Wrong!!! Terrorists don't pay for advertising, the food companies do.

Re:nothing new (1)

messner_007 (1042060) | more than 6 years ago | (#19289953)

That means, that it doesn't interfere only with mitochondrial DNA. Is this effect limited to mitochondrial DNA ?

Re:nothing new (1)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 6 years ago | (#19290007)

benzene damages DNA no matter where it is. mitochrondrial DNA is however very very important. you get nearly 90% of your energy from the reactions performed in mitochrondria which use enzymes encoded by mitochrondrial DNA. so as you can see, if you damage that DNA it can be very bad for a cell.

Potassium Benzoate? (1)

revlayle (964221) | more than 6 years ago | (#19289913)

Similar beyond they both preserve freshness?

Re:Potassium Benzoate? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19289941)

Well, seems like Sodium Benzoate doesn't do much "preserving" as far as the consumer goes.

Re:Potassium Benzoate? (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 6 years ago | (#19290329)

Well drink enough of it at an early age and you might leave a youthful corpse that takes a long time to decay.

How's that for consumer preservation?

A Sign From God (2, Funny)

DrRevotron (994894) | more than 6 years ago | (#19289919)

Does that mean that they're going to stop airing those annoying Fanta commercials?

"WANNA FANTA, DO YOU WANNA, WANNA FANTA?"
"No thanks, I like my genetic identity the way it is."

Re:A Sign From God (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19289931)

Heh. Funny man. Love it. Heheh :)

The important question... (3, Funny)

selex (551564) | more than 6 years ago | (#19289929)

...What about Mountain Dew? Are we safe? Selex

Re:The important question... (1)

edwardpickman (965122) | more than 6 years ago | (#19290011)

Mountain Dew hell, what about Red Bull! Would six or eight a day be considered safe or do I need to cut back?

I just checked... (1)

Cyno01 (573917) | more than 6 years ago | (#19290259)

the 17 empty mt dew cans in the waste basket next to me, all of them have sodium benzoate!

Frogurt (5, Funny)

lamasquerade (172547) | more than 6 years ago | (#19289957)

Shopkeeper: Take this object, but beware it carries a terrible curse!
Homer: Ooh, that's bad.
Shopkeeper: But it comes with a free frogurt!
Homer: That's good.
Shopkeeper: The frogurt is also cursed.
Homer: That's bad.
Shopkeeper: But you get your choice of toppings.
Homer: That's good!
Shopkeeper: The toppings contain potassium benzoate.
[Homer looks puzzled]
Shopkeeper: ...That's bad.
Homer: Can I go now? ....and just to add some actual comment: with the constant uncovering of bad effects of things thought previously to be entirely safe I find myself beginning to side with the anti-GM people... I mean I don't think it's definitely harmful, but the positive effects are mainly economic (and so reletively uninteresting unless money turns you on)- why can't be just deal with the good old food we're used to and know isn't going to do anything bizarre to our bodies. Not just with GM but with over-processing of any kind. When you've got beverages being made in ways to minimise only cost and maximise only the positive reaction with our taste buds then you're going to get stuff like this.

Re:Frogurt (4, Insightful)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 6 years ago | (#19290057)

but the positive effects are mainly economic

we have been genetically modifying foods in one way or another for hundreds of years- only now are we using genes from OTHER species. crops engineered to be resistant to a certain pest can reduce the amount of pesticide or [ergot fungus] that gets into the food supply. there are genes that over time have broken or exist in similar but uncrossable species that are very useful. in the case of yellow rice for example, a gene for beta carotene was introduced resulting in a rice that can help prevent blindness in third world countries where rice is a major food crop. the gene that produces vitamin C in mammals is broken in primates and other species that if corrected could prevent scurvy in malnourished nations. it is good to test and try to understand the effects of genetic engineering but to blindly fear it because of things like this is irresponsible

Re:Frogurt (1)

chartreuse (16508) | more than 6 years ago | (#19290175)

in the case of yellow rice for example, a gene for beta carotene was introduced resulting in a rice that can help prevent blindness in third world countries
That "golden rice" is patented and requires a license if a farmer or subsequent user of its genetics makes more than USD$10,000 per year. I think that's an economic effect.

Re:Frogurt (1)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 6 years ago | (#19290243)

yes and do you remember what happened to that rice? it never did got used widescale- people wouldnt eat it because of the color. african nations were offered GM corn which they refused during FAMINE times. I understand if there was some apprehension but the idea of refusing to use the corn which otherwise would have actually saved lives is too far. the mere idea of there needing to be some sort of license on such things is to me appalling in every respect. this kind of thing is going to kill a lot of people unfortunately

Re:Frogurt (1)

chartreuse (16508) | more than 6 years ago | (#19290325)

the idea of refusing to use the corn which otherwise would have actually saved lives is too far
In the meantime promotion of the use of corn for ethanol in this country is causing political unrest in Mexico because it's driving up prices for their staple food.

You know, it's almost as though we're all part of the same planet... I remember Ted Nelson's meme from quite a while back, "everything is deeply intertwingled."

Re:Frogurt (1)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 6 years ago | (#19290375)

In the meantime promotion of the use of corn for ethanol in this country is causing political unrest in Mexico because it's driving up prices for their staple food.

I know. the idea that food should be used for anything other than feeding people is a really bad idea. corn uses minerals, nitrogen and phosphorus from the soil which is hard to replace except for the nitrogen. they really should have made the ethanol from renewable non-plant sources. solar power if that ever takes off- fusion energy same thing...

You know, it's almost as though we're all part of the same planet...

if only the powers that be knew that. they are too concerned about what osama bin laden had for munchies than anything truly important like I dont know maybe trying to lessen famine or disease or something equally ignored

Re:Frogurt (1)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 6 years ago | (#19290205)

There's a difference between "Genetic Modification" and "breeding". Perhaps an example will help you understand this: My gardener created a hybrid plant by pollinating one flower with the pollen of another. He does not have a PhD in genetics. Actually I don't even think he passed high school. Which is why he's my gardener, and not a rocket scientist.

Given that you are unable to draw a distinction between genetic modification and selective breeding, I can safely conclude that you too, are not a rocket scientist.

Re:Frogurt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19290267)

There's a difference between "Genetic Modification" and "breeding".
Not as much as you might think. I remember reading an article about how some companies were using breeding techniques to get around GM patents. Basically, they knew the end result that they were looking for and strategically bred the plants until they were able to get that result.

Re:Frogurt (1)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 6 years ago | (#19290279)

genetic modification by definition is introducing a gene or several into a population to cause a desired effect. your gardener lack of PHD not withstanding, is still modifying the genepool of those plants. the nitpicking over GM has more to do with the method by which genes are introduced which it is claimed that genes can activate adjacent ones with negative consequences. there are ways around this however, at the local college plants are genetically modified and crossed with plants, bred over generations to weed out any oddities in their gene expression.

Re:Frogurt (3, Insightful)

RzUpAnmsCwrds (262647) | more than 6 years ago | (#19290127)

why can't be just deal with the good old food we're used to and know isn't going to do anything bizarre to our bodies


You mean like alcohol, saturated fats, or tobacco?

Or, maybe you'd rather be hurt by mold or bacteria than by the preservatives that prevent them?

When you've got beverages being made in ways to minimise only cost and maximise only the positive reaction with our taste buds then you're going to get stuff like this.


You mean like stuff that one scientist claims is dangerous and is rightfully being investigated?

The fact is, we're living longer and healthier with all of this "processed crap" than we ever did with "good old food". We should take health issues seriously, and Sodium Benzoate needs to be further tested.

So, yeah, go eat your organic non-GMO veggies and "free range" chicken. But not all of us can afford to pay 5x as much for our food. This is what gets me about GMO opponents - they fail to understand that there is a significant proportion of the world that would kill for ANY semblence of nutrition. It's GMO crops and "factory farms" that are feeding most the world.

We live in a world of risks. Sometimes our chemistry screws up and we end up killing some people. But we rarely kill very many. We live in a world of chemicals, some of which are safe, some of which we know are harmful, and some of which we think are safe but are actually (somewhat) harmful. The vast majority are in either of the first two categories. Some are in the third. We will find more as time goes on. That's a good thing.

So, don't look at this discovery as, "OMG we need to throw out 50 years of food science". Look at it as, "well, we screwed up, but at least we know now".

If you want to go after anything, attack our high-fat high-calorie low-excersize lifestyle.

Re:Frogurt (1)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 6 years ago | (#19290343)


So, yeah, go eat your organic non-GMO veggies and "free range" chicken. But not all of us can afford to pay 5x as much for our food. This is what gets me about GMO opponents - they fail to understand that there is a significant proportion of the world that would kill for ANY semblence of nutrition. It's GMO crops and "factory farms" that are feeding most the world.


But... dude... Check it out:

And there is a whole array of diseases that are now being tied to damage to this DNA -- Parkinson's and quite a lot of neuro-degenerative diseases, but above all the whole process of aging.


See? If I never had Pepsi MAX, I'd never age dude! I think we gotta sue 'em or something. That's all I could think of, I'll see later. I'll go buy some Pepsi MAX now.

Re:Frogurt (3, Informative)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 6 years ago | (#19290395)

"The fact is, we're living longer and healthier with all of this 'processed crap' than we ever did with 'good old food'."

This statement bears repeating. While we may not be acting in what is the most ideally healthy way, our life expectancy has gone up, and continues to do so. In the last 100 years in the US, life expectancy at birth has gone from about 50 years (it varies with race and sex) to about 75 years. Talk about a significant improvement! You think that 25 used to literally be "mid life". Half your life was likely over by 25. These days we still think of 25 year olds as kids to a large extent.

Now that's not to say that processed food is the reason for that, it's not, but clearly it isn't screwing us over as some would believe. People are living longer lives than ever before by a huge margin. It only gets bigger if you go back further.

Also I get really annoyed with this attitude that natural = good. Some people seem to think that nature is somehow incapable of producing anything that can hurt us. Actually, when you get down to it, some of the most deadly things in history are purely natural. Great example would be the bubonic plague. Purely natural in origin, lethal to a great deal of humans.

Just because something is natural (also that term is often used rather fast and loose) doesn't make it safe.

Destroys Mitochondrial DNA? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19289981)

Could this be used to destroy Mitochondria Eve [wikipedia.org] ??
Either that, or bullets work just fine too...

Bad News For Yeast Cells! (3, Insightful)

Stickerboy (61554) | more than 6 years ago | (#19289999)

News at 11.

This should be trivially easy to prove/disprove by an epidemiologic study. There are plenty of people who drink soda with the benzoates in them; there are plenty of people (myself included) who drink a rather large amount of soda with potassium/sodium benzoate added.

Obviously, if the benzoates are really bad for you, there should be more things wrong with us, and the effect should be dose-dependent on how much benzoate you take in.

Honestly, the smell test (do I detect a whiff of paranoid, protect-the-children bullshit?) makes me think this is the Alar Scare [wikipedia.org] of 2007.

Re:Bad News For Yeast Cells! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19290123)

It might take a while for negative effects to manifest themselves, say decades. Not so easy to prove then.

Re:Bad News For Yeast Cells! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19290261)

I can tell you right now what benzoates do to my room mate. If he drinks a single 12 oz can of mountain dew, sprite, cherry 7up, root beer, mr Pibb, Dr Pepper, etc that have benzoate preservatives in them, he breaks out in hives. They start out small, and if he only has one can, they stay small.

If he drinks it in quantity, say having sodas with benzoate in them constantly throughout the day, he puffs up, gets welts on his back, arms, chest, legs, face... And only in direct correlation to the quantify of benzoate he consumes. The welts and swelling are abrasion based, so if he bumps a wall, or scratches an itch, etc, they swell up, but only after direct exposure to benzoate.

It takes weeks of detox after heavy exposure to make him less suseptable to the abrasion welts. And it comes right back after a single can of any benzoate laden soda.

Hahaha, trivially easy (1)

jenik (1030872) | more than 6 years ago | (#19290379)

I'm not sure if you're serious but if yes, than you have no idea about how this kind of science works. What exactly would you be looking for in the study? Saying that `more things should be wrong' is a little vague. Also, where would you get a large enough control group (age, sex etc. matched) if EVERYONE drinks these drinks. One more point, since nobody has observed any ill effects of benzoic acid the effects, if any, will be very subtle, i.e. you will need a massive sample to see anything... Not so trivial anymore, is it. (Leaving out the issue that facts cannot prove or disprove a proposition, see Popper, Lakatos, etc)

Well thank goodness (5, Funny)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 6 years ago | (#19290029)

Beer is still safe.

Re:Well thank goodness (1)

freedom_india (780002) | more than 6 years ago | (#19290189)

Actually you are right.
I find beer more satisfying, and filling, than a mere coke (pepsi is for those with diabetes).
But then schools can't sell beer. ! Wait they can sell the non-alcoholic variety.

Re:Well thank goodness (1)

diamondc (241058) | more than 6 years ago | (#19290303)

Beer is all-natural too! (water, barley, yeast, & hops). Skip the big name swill like Bud or Coors and check out any local breweries. It's my beverage of choice instead of going for a coke.

The Independent started WiFi Scare (4, Informative)

cruachan (113813) | more than 6 years ago | (#19290043)

Not to say that there might not be an issue, but The Independent was the Newspaper that first ran the WiFi scare in the UK - a couple of weeks ago and well before the BBC - and last Sunday's scare in the paper was over baby alarms. Both pieces were examples of really bad science journalism with widespread scattering of the term 'radiation' throughout and cleverly writen to wrap as much scaremongering as possible up in pseudo-objective and precautionary language.

Today's leader article is a classic 'For The Sake Of The Children' rant (http://comment.independent.co.uk/leading_articles /article2586569.ece)

Re:The Independent started WiFi Scare (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19290075)

The research comes from a University, not a newspaper.

Re:The Independent started WiFi Scare (1)

frogblast (916870) | more than 6 years ago | (#19290153)

I buy the independent - it's one of the better, if not the best national newspaper in the uk, but in recent years the amount of editorialising on the front page has become ridiculous. their science coverage is often very very poor, like the wifi articles recently, and before that various stories about mobile phones - including the one one about them killing bees.


they do just about make up for it with their excellent middle east coverage (Patrick Cockburn and Robert Fisk) and decent columnists, but really the only reason i continue to read it is that the other papers are so shockingly bad.

Re:The Independent started WiFi Scare (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19290235)

+1, the Indy is normally a solid paper and this weak tabloid science is beneath it. Did they change science editor or something?

*sigh* Old news (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 6 years ago | (#19290051)

You get more benzene exposure from car exhaust while driving then you'll ever get from soda. It's everywhere. You get doses of it just breathing every day.

Why do people instantly buy into scaremongering stories like this? Look how there's already several posts crying "Why not the FDA doooooo something!"

Do what? Just don't drink soda if your panties got soiled by this story. Oh, and don't pump gas, either.

Re:*sigh* Old news (2, Insightful)

Death_Aparatus (571087) | more than 6 years ago | (#19290291)

Amusingly, by this time next week I'm sure they're going to be drinking the same old crap again, with all of this forgotten.

Re:*sigh* Old news (1)

zCyl (14362) | more than 6 years ago | (#19290301)

You get more benzene exposure from car exhaust while driving then you'll ever get from soda. It's everywhere. You get doses of it just breathing every day.

Why do people instantly buy into scaremongering stories like this? Look how there's already several posts crying "Why not the FDA doooooo something!"

I have a better question. Why do you call it scaremongering when you clearly haven't even read the article? It's not the benzene byproduct that is the problem, it's the benzoate itself which was found to be damaging DNA (and not for the first time). And a drinker of soda containing benzoate is certainly intaking more benzoate from the soda than from car exhaust.

Re:*sigh* Old news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19290359)

I tell you what, how about this... I avoid the soft drink (which I already do) and people like you poison me with your cars anyway.

Just because you are already poisoning someone, doesn't make it any better that we're finding out that someone else is, too.

Newsflash: Weird chems mess you up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19290085)

Big surprise there. Man how long is it gonna take for us to stop using this crap?

Seriously, it's not a necessity, it all comes down to keeping prices lower.

Time for a ban for pop in schools (0, Offtopic)

Antony-Kyre (807195) | more than 6 years ago | (#19290099)

For these united States of America at least, maybe it is time to ban soda pop being sold in schools. (This can be by vending machine or served in the lunch line. Students would be free to bring it from home.)

By banning it, I mean for each INDIVIDUAL STATE to take it upon themselves to make it illegal for K-12 PUBLIC SCHOOLS to sell or serve soft drinks. Let the schools get the money they need another way. Health is more important.

If it turns out that this is a false alarm, the ban can be lifted. Why not simply ban things containing sodium benzoate? Well, there may always be scares involving the chemicals in soft drinks, and more importantly, there may be contract issues if some pops of a given brand are not sold.

Re:Time for a ban for pop in schools (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19290131)

Let the children (and their parents) make their own choices you god damned fascist faggot shitbag. You fucking reactionary "think of the children!" douches are everywhere now-a-days, from the right, from the left, from the center, and you are fucking up a once great society.

Re:Time for a ban for pop in schools (1)

ross.w (87751) | more than 6 years ago | (#19290193)

There are numerous other reasons not to have soft drinks in school canteens, including the sugar content. In NSW most school canteens have a policy of offering healthy food choices, and I don't hear the kids conplaining.

Re:Time for a ban for pop in schools (1)

Antony-Kyre (807195) | more than 6 years ago | (#19290285)

Over the years, there have been conspiracy theories and scares regarding to the chemicals in soft drinks. I feel it is safe to say that each state should take it upon themselves to prohibit k-12 public schools from selling or serving soft drinks solely because of this.

To ban soda drinks (students still free to bring their own from home) based on sugar content alone isn't sufficient. Although I feel it would be a good idea, as a small portion of the population has trouble saying, "No." when it comes to the availability of such products, it would be infringing on those who have no problem. Afterall, a caffeinated beverage before class can be useful, can it not?

Nonetheless, if the chemical scare wasn't the issue, I would be saying require schools to sell soft drinks for a higher price than now. Perhaps $1.50 or more per 12 ounce can would be justified.

Re:Time for a ban for pop in schools (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19290365)

Over the years, there have been conspiracy theories and scares regarding to the chemicals in soft drinks. I feel it is safe to say that each state should take it upon themselves to prohibit k-12 public schools from selling or serving soft drinks solely because of this.
Yes, by all means. Let's have states passing legislation based on conspiracy theories.

Turing Word: reject

Re:Time for a ban for pop in schools (1)

Antony-Kyre (807195) | more than 6 years ago | (#19290403)

Maybe you misunderstand what I'm trying to say.

Conspiracy theories alone aren't sufficient to ban pop sales in k-12 public schools, but perhaps given the recent news article of sodium benzoate being harmful (assuming it is true), maybe some of those theories were justified. Maybe we should play it safe and prohibit k-12 public schools from selling pop.

This does not prevent students from bringing their own pop to school. This does not prohibit stores from selling pop to children. This does not add a tax to pop. This simply prohibits k-12 public schools from selling or serving pop, especially when they have a vested interest in the profits from soda sales. The issue should be trying to get the government to provide more funding to schools so they don't have to worry about trying to get it through other means.

Sell... (1)

sporkme (983186) | more than 6 years ago | (#19290133)

Hello, E-trade? Yeah... how invested am I am in the stock "PBG" and how much have I lost? Oh, I just read that the sky is falling is all.

I used to be totally addicted... (4, Interesting)

Greg_D (138979) | more than 6 years ago | (#19290213)

... to Coca Cola. That was after growing up for 21 years in which cola was a treat that almost never found its way into my family's household.

Sugar? Check.
Caffeine? Check.
Citrus flavor? Check.

But the main thing that I loved above all else was the bite from the fizz. After I realized this, I made a quick switch to seltzer water with a lemon or lime wedge and sometimes some crushed mint. I get the same bite, but without all that extra stuff.

Dropped 30lbs in 3 months after that switch.

Another day another warning. (1)

sunforged (1106275) | more than 6 years ago | (#19290219)

There are so many arguments about what is and what isn't good for you but for me the bottom line is this: a can of soda once a month shouldn't do too much harm. A can of soda four times a day is going to rot my teeth, let alone damage my DNA.

No kidding. (4, Insightful)

zCyl (14362) | more than 6 years ago | (#19290271)

Not to mention sodium benzoate causes headaches in a good percentage of humans, and over the long term has been found to trigger obesity and diabetes in lab rats. (It might do this in humans too over the long term, but it's hard to get humans to sign up for such studies.)

It would be funny if it weren't so sad that people drink diet sodas that are loaded with this, and they think they are doing their body a favor.

evil (3, Insightful)

nanosquid (1074949) | more than 6 years ago | (#19290389)

Drinks manufacturers point out that sodium benzoate has been approved for use by regulators

Regulatory approval should not permit manufacturers to escape their responsibility: "it was approved" should never be a way of escaping liability over dangerous substances. Regulatory approval can, at best, be an extra safety check, not something manufacturers can rely on.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...