Friday, May 14, 2010


Consumers world over are being bombarded day in and day out with hundreds of reports, often contradicting each other, carrying information about the relation between processed foods and the killer disease Cancer. It is difficult for any layman to come to any meaningful conclusion regarding the validity or veracity of such claims. Some emanate from scientists craving for publicity while others are floated by vested interests with their own agenda, though a few are genuine. But when a serious report is put out by a scientific body of a technologically advanced country like the US, it is time one listens to its arguments and judgment.

"Traditionally, we reduce cancer risks through regular doctor visits, self-examinations and screenings such as mammograms. The President's Cancer Panel suggests other eye-opening steps as well, such as giving preference to organic food, checking radon levels in the home and microwaving food in glass containers rather than plastic. In particular, the report warns about exposures to chemicals during pregnancy, when risk of damage seems to be greatest. Noting that 300 contaminants have been detected in umbilical cord blood of newborn babies, the study warns that: "to a disturbing extent, babies are born 'pre-polluted.' " It's striking that this report emerges not from the fringe but from the mission control of mainstream scientific and medical thinking, the President's Cancer Panel. Established in 1971, this is a group of three distinguished experts who review America's cancer program and report directly to the president".

Though the report is scary, consumers, industry and policy makers cannot shy away from facing the reality as enunciated by the panel. The recommendation to use glass in stead of plastics in microwave thawing, heating and cooking is logical because of the uncertainties in terms of safety, posed by many chemicals that go in the making of different plastics. Over whelming role plastic containers play in to day's life cannot be easily reversed but glass technologists will have to come up with light, strong, crack-proof and thermally stable glass containers for use in place of plastics in the coming years. .


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