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Biotech Science

Some Soft Drinks May Damage Your DNA 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."
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Some Soft Drinks May Damage Your DNA

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  • While the FDA in the United States is doing what? Standing by turning their cheek?
    They're probably too busy drinking Mountain Dew [] and Bawls [] and their midichlorian count has been reduced by all the sodium benzoate in those drinks.
  • by DrRevotron ( 994894 ) on Sunday May 27, 2007 @03:43AM (#19289919)
    Does that mean that they're going to stop airing those annoying Fanta commercials?

    "No thanks, I like my genetic identity the way it is."
  • by selex ( 551564 ) on Sunday May 27, 2007 @03:46AM (#19289929)
    ...What about Mountain Dew? Are we safe? Selex
  • Frogurt (Score:5, Funny)

    by lamasquerade ( 172547 ) on Sunday May 27, 2007 @03:52AM (#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.
  • by iminplaya ( 723125 ) on Sunday May 27, 2007 @04:03AM (#19290029) Journal
    Beer is still safe.
  • Peter Piper (Score:5, Funny)

    by Oxen ( 879661 ) on Sunday May 27, 2007 @05:10AM (#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."
    "It is also added to pickles and sauces."

    We've always known about Peter Piper's obsession with pickled peppers. [] 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...
  • by bl8n8r ( 649187 ) on Sunday May 27, 2007 @05:50AM (#19290483)
    > While the FDA in the United States is doing what? Standing by turning their cheek?

    Since the FDA is a government body, they are bound by contract to
    do nothing until:

    a) A patent has been infringed
    b) Someone has violated the DMCA
    c) The RIAA finds out someone copied Sodium Benzoate to CD
  • by msimm ( 580077 ) on Sunday May 27, 2007 @05:57AM (#19290513) Homepage
    Basically the article says:

    While the lab tests that prompted the scare required an amount of Alar equal to over 5000 gallons (20,000 L) of apple juice per day, Consumers Union ran its own studies and estimated the human lifetime cancer risk to be between 5 - 50 per million (1 case per million is the threshold at which the government considers a carcinogen a significant public health concern).
    and then:

    Whelan's campaign was so effective that today, Alar scare is shorthand among news media and food industry professionals for an irrational, emotional public scare based on propaganda rather than facts.
    So if I'm reading it right, Alar scare is term based on the a little sensationalism (bad CBS!) and a lot of spin-doctoring by the ACSH. Alar causes cancer, at least in enough people to be considered an unnecessary risk (personally, I don't see the benefit outweighing the risk even if I wasn't one of the 5-50 unlucky people, at least not for a silly additive).
  • Pffft (Score:4, Funny)

    by Mystery00 ( 1100379 ) on Sunday May 27, 2007 @06:04AM (#19290551)
    Pffffft, been drinking this stuff for years, completely harmless, I'm just fi- *urk*
  • by Cheezymadman ( 1083175 ) on Sunday May 27, 2007 @06:50AM (#19290773)
    Or you can man up and drink black coffee like anyone with half a sack. Maxwell House or Sanka.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 27, 2007 @06:53AM (#19290783)
    That's why I only drink water, fruit juice, and whiskey.

    Mostly whiskey.
  • by nanosquid ( 1074949 ) on Sunday May 27, 2007 @08:24AM (#19291189)
    The toxic chemical in soda is well known, and it kills millions: it's called sugar.
  • by KDR_11k ( 778916 ) on Sunday May 27, 2007 @09:07AM (#19291425)
    "Tea" just means the water is served too hot for drinking.
  • by nietsch ( 112711 ) on Sunday May 27, 2007 @09:37AM (#19291573) Homepage Journal
    How funny that you first declare 'study after study confirms it', but instead of supplying a link to one of those studies, you supply some personal anecdotes. At least you are not helping with that research, are you?
    The best evidence is obtained with scientific methods like proper double blind test setups, not a bunch of personal anecdotes.
    You know what causes headaches too? DiHydrogenMonoOxide (DHMO). It is added to countless foodstuffs but it leaves the body unchanged. What kind of freaky chemical is that? People have died from an overdose of DHMO, you know?
  • by Gryle ( 933382 ) on Sunday May 27, 2007 @10:12AM (#19291733)
    Don't forget all that dihydrogen monoxide in our water supply.
  • by M8e ( 1008767 ) on Sunday May 27, 2007 @10:48AM (#19291945)
    You should switch to something healthier... like vodka (less fusel alcohols)
  • by Afecks ( 899057 ) on Sunday May 27, 2007 @10:56AM (#19291985)
    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.

    Enjoy your water. I'll enjoy my soda. We'll both die someday, I'll just have a bigger smile when I do.
  • by ne0n ( 884282 ) on Sunday May 27, 2007 @01:23PM (#19293019) Homepage
    The problem is that so many people have substituted soda for water.
    Of course. It's got what plants crave..
  • by evilviper ( 135110 ) on Sunday May 27, 2007 @02:42PM (#19293571) Journal

    Soda rots your teeth and probably contributes to diabetes II.

    Orange Juice rots your teeth and probably contributes to diabetes II.

    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.

    Your refreshment preferences have no bearing. You have no scientific basis for claiming they are more or less healthy than anything else.

    And for god's sake leave out anything sweetened with high fructose corn syrup - poison.

    People have been eating corn for a very long time. Ditto for drinking milk, and the like.

    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,

    Our ancestors didn't drink water with chlorine and fluoride in it. They didn't drink distilled or reverse-osmosis filtered water with all the crucial minerals removed from it.

Things equal to nothing else are equal to each other.