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The Toxic is in the Dose

July 14, 2014

Headlines scream fear food. Toxic acrylamide in our food causes cancer! We’re bombarded with the latest thing to be afraid about from pesticides to additives, many things due to customer demand.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMore fiber without more calories – yes please. Everyone needs more fiber. Cellulose provides fiber – so processing fiber to an edible product using cellulose means answering consumer demand. A low cost means of providing cellulose – trace amounts of wood shavings. It’s not celery and expensive produce added to keep the price down where people want it – but it works.

Now people are upset for being deceived.

Then there’s that acrylamide. The officials need to DO something to insure what’s added to food is safe! That’s why California has warning labels in coffee houses now. How many officials do you want in your home? We MUST protect the public! Every time you fry potatoes – or anything else! – or make toast YOU are adding acrylamide to your food. Even organic. Many people have lived for decades eating things with acrylamide in it daily. I don’t think it’s something to be wildly concerned about, although I’m sure eating enough of it would be damaging.

Dietary salt is shown to be beneficial in cases of gastric cancers and stroke. But when people hear salt they think “BAD!”

Available evidence indicates that a suitable intake of salt for man might be approximately 3.5 g/day and probably less. Salt consumption in most developed countries ranges between 8 to 40 g/day, and modern methods of food processing and preparation deplete the protective potassium.

Excess salt can dehydrate us and kill. Excess water, too, can kill. Yet few talk of eliminating salt and water from our lives. When we hear talk of agriculture in food production it’s often “drenching” or “soaking” food in pesticides. The reality is no recommended dose includes drenching or soaking food, or plants, or land with pesticides. Not organic, not conventional. Let’s look at an example scaled down to urban level. Remember there *is* a recommended dose, not just keep pouring!

A product label prescribes 2 pounds per acre. How much is needed for a 4800-square-foot area? Remember that one acre equals 43,560 square feet.

4800 ft2 / 43,560 ft2 per acre = 0.1 acre

0.1 acre x 2 lb = 0.2 lb of product

0.2 lb x 16 oz = 3.2 oz

So in the above example, using two pounds per acre, in an area 60 feet by 80 feet you will use 3.2 ounces. Less than the recommended serving of many foods. If you think that’s drenching take 3.2 ounces of flour or diatomaceous earth and scatter in a 60×80 area. Visualize for yourself how much that is. It’s like taking a 10 foot wall that’s 960 feet long and covering it with a can of spray paint. Solid coverage to include “drenching” it is not!

Recent headlines tell of Americans lagging on math and science scores, so perhaps the amount of math to figure application rates per acre is beyond many attention spans. Many also believe that Stephen Spielberg shot a rare animal and should be punished. I suppose the image of creator of Jurassic Park posing with a dinosaur is enough to get folks stirred up, even if for nothing.

Knowing isn’t enough. Understanding makes a huge difference. Consider perspective:

Assume the applicator above that was applying 60.4 GPA has a truck mounted sprayer and is mixing 400 gallons of spray mixture. How many acres would the mixture treat?

           Acres treated  =  400  =  6.6 acres

If the pesticide used is recommended on the label at 3 pints per acre, how much pesticide should be added to the 400 gallons of spray mixture?

    Amount of pesticide =  acres treated x amount per acre

                        = 6.6 x 3 = 19.8 pints

Does this sound excessive? Take 400 gallons of water, spread around six and a half acres to water plants and it’d be considered drought, not soaking.

Yes options do matter, but understanding what we’re against is important too. Unless you don’t mind having the government officials move in to monitor the color of your toast and how dark your potatoes are and oh what’s that on the edge of your egg…no no no. Eating eggs raw is healthier?!

How about moderation and common sense? Less fear factor, more using that thing in front of you for more than games and email and learn what these things are and what they mean.

Perspective does matter. We prefer food without fear factor.


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