Thursday, October 25, 2007


Forget the caffe latte, screw the raspberry iced tea
A Malibu and Coke for you, a G&T for me
Alcohol, Your songs resolve like
my life never will
When someone else is picking up the bill
I love you more than I did the week before
I discovered alcohol
O Alcohol, would you please forgive me?
For while I cannot love myself
I’ll use something else
–”Alcohol,” Barenaked Ladies

If you take a molecule of the simplest hydrocarbon, methane, remove one of its four hydrogen atoms and replace it with a hydroxyl group (-OH), you get methanol, the simplest alcohol. The hydrogen at the end of the hydroxyl is more “labile” than the others, so it’s relatively easy for methanol to lose it. That leaves the oxygen with a very friendly bond dangling, and it likes to hook up with its nearby carbon buddy, to form what is called the carbonyl bond. Since carbon is pretty firmly quadrigamous, it has to give up something, and since the carbon already has three hydrogens, one of them just has to go. Essentially, the methanol gives up two hydrogens, enough for a hydrogen molecule. In smog photochemistry, the hydrogens go one at a time, as part of a process involving “hydrogen centered radicals.”

This result of dehydrogenating methanol yields formaldehyde, the simplest aldehyde. “Aldehyde” is, in fact, a contraction of “alcohol de-hydrogenated.” Rounding out the “simplest of its kind” bestiary, is formic acid, the simplest carboxylic acid. It has an alcohol group (-OH), and a carbonyl group (C=O), and a single, lonely hydrogen remaining with the carbon, though it has another hydrogen in the hydroxyl group, which it easily loses in solution, giving formic acid its acidic character.

Formic acid is pretty nasty stuff; ants make it and it’s what they use to sting you with. In fact, formic acid was first isolated by distilling dead ants. Formic acid is specifically toxic to the optic nerve, so the ingestion of formic acid, or a formic acid precursor, can cause blindness.

Methanol is a formic acid precursor, biologically, so formic acid is responsible for most of methanol’s bad effects when ingested. The enzymes that turn methanol into formic acid are cross-potentiated by ethanol, so ethanol is an antidote to methanol poisoning. The metabolization of ethanol substitutes for the metabolization of methanol, giving time for the methanol to be excreted via lungs or urine.

Ethanol is our old friend grain alcohol, the active ingredient in the demon rum. Bootleg ethanol during Prohibition and at other times was sometimes cut with methanol, to give it “more kick” or simply because denatured alcohol is cheap. “Denatured alcohol” is usually made unsafe for consumption by the addition of methanol. There’s an urban legend that says you can make denatured alcohol fit for drinking by filtering it through pumpernickel. It’s not an urban legend that people have tried this, of course; clearly people have tried it. The question is whether or not it does any good.

Ethanol has two carbons to methanol’s one; a way of looking at the setup is that if you replace one of methanol’s hyrdrogens with a methyl group (-CH3), you get ethanol. The same thing happens for formaldehyde/acetaldehyde and formic/acetic acid. However, acetaldehyde and acetic acid (vinegar) are much more biologically benign. Acetaldehyde forms a trimer in the presence of acid catalysts such as sulphuric or phosphoric acid, to make paraldehyde, a pharmacological sedative.

But it is ethanol, not paraldehyde that most people are familiar with. Simply stated, ethanol ingestion gets you drunk. It gets you blotto, looped, lit, loaded, hammered, wasted, pickled, pissed, polluted and plastered. It intoxicates, inebriates, befuddles, besots, bewilders, and stews. It makes you three sheets to the wind, and either more or less interesting than you are when sober. Whatever it does, a lot of people want it done to them, at least from time to time, so ethanol technology has an ancient history.

Many of the most basic tricks of the chemical laboratory were first used to do something interesting to ethanol, especially to concentrate it into hard liquor. Distillation is the best known, and can be used to concentrate alcohol to 96% purity, the rest being water. Ethanol and water at the 96/4 proportions form an azeotrope, which is a mixture of stuff that boils in the same proportions as it is in liquid form. You have to work hard to break up the ethanol and water azeotrope, and if you do, you’ve probably wasted your time, because exposure to air will allow the ethanol to absorb enough water to form the azeotrope again. Besides, for most people, 192 proof is quite enough.

When I lived in upstate New York we’d drive out into the country (which was a short drive) every fall and buy fresh apple cider in big plastic jugs. Sometimes we couldn’t finish a jug before it went hard; sometimes we’d just let it sit on the back porch until it went hard. Then we’d make applejack, a traditional New England drink.

The principle of applejack is pretty simple: water freezes at a higher temperature than alcohol, and when you cool a water alcohol mixture, water freezes out. Here’s a list of the volume of ethanol in a water/alcohol mix, and the freezing point of the water in that mixture (in degrees F and C):

[0:32,0], [10:25,-4], [20:15,-9], [30:5,-15], [40:-10,-23], [50:-25,-32], [60:-35,-37], [70:-55,-48], [80:-75,-59], [90:-110,-73], [100:-175,-114],

Put it another way, if you have some dilute ethanol mixture, and you cool it to the requisite temperature, the water will freeze out until you get the water/ethanol mixture above. So if you start with a 14% mix of ethanol and water (the highest alcohol you can get from fermentation alone), the water will begin freezing at somewhere near 20 degrees F. Most freezers are around 0 degrees F, so you can boost your ethanol concentration to around 35%. In applejack there is additional freezing point depression caused by the sugar, so your actually wind up with more like a 30% concentration of ethanol, but that’s 60 proof, and that ain’t bad. If you happen to have a real cold snap (the coldest it got while I was at RPI was -28 F), you can get upwards of 80 proof.

Those old New Englanders knew their stuff.

The theater group at RPI had a traditional beverage they called “Players’ Punch,” or alternately, “blog” (no relation to weblogs, of course; it was probably a backformation of “grog” and possibly “blotto”). It consisted of various fruit juices and sodas, plus laboratory ethanol (the commercial equivalent is Everclear), or, failing that, whatever liquor was available, usually vodka or rum. To this was added dry ice, which chilled it mightily, and froze out some of the water. Potent stuff, and pretty dangerous, because the perception of alcohol content involves smelling the alcohol vapors, and if you get the drink cold enough, it deceives. Also, the dry ice added some carbonation, and carbonation enhances alcohol absorption by the digestive tract.

A high school friend of mine who went to Vanderbilt University, told me of a concoction called the “Funderburg,” no doubt named for its creator. It was a blender drink; I think it used frozen concentrated grape juice. I decided to make blender daiquiris by a similar method. That was the year I ran a lab course for undergraduates, which meant that I had access to the fabled laboratory ethanol.

The drink was simplicity itself: one 6 oz. can of frozen limeade concentrate, then the same can filled with 95% ethanol. To that was added a tray of ice. Then hit the max button on the blender. The final result looked a bit like a slushy, and was very cold. The liquid itself was somewhere around 80 proof, by my estimate, but because of the cold, it tasted about as alcoholic as wine. Very dangerous stuff.

Whenever I think about this particular concoction, I’m bound to remember one particular night in 1972 involving the blender daiquiris plus the Quicksilver Messenger Service’s extended version of “Who Do You Love?” by Bo Diddley. Modesty and discretion compel me to refrain from giving specifics. I will note, however, that the effects of ethanol are such that, while one may still remember that actions have consequences, the relative values placed on the actions vs. consequences may change substantially. Suffice it to say that it all Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time.


Rich Murray said...

The 11 % methanol component of aspartame converts in humans into formaldehyde and then formic acid at the same amounts from diet soda as from dark wines and liquors -- the major cause of "morning after" hangovers.

"Of course, everyone chooses, as a natural priority,
to actively find, quickly share, and positively act
upon the facts about healthy and safe food, drink,
and environment."

Rich Murray, MA Room For All
505-501-2298 1943 Otowi Road, Santa Fe, New Mexico 87505 new primary archive
group with 111 members, 1,482 posts in a public,
searchable archive
bias, omissions, incuriosity = opportunity, aspartame safety evaluation, Magnuson BA, Burdock GA, Williams GM, 7 more, 2007 Sept, Ajinomoto funded 98 pages html [$ 32 781888262_content.pdf]: Murray 2007.09.15

13 mainstream research studies in 24 months showing aspartame toxicity, also 3 relevant studies on methanol and formaldehyde: Murray 2007.10.27

Aspartame toxicity was shown in thirteen detailed mainstream research
studies in 24 months in work by expert teams in South Africa, England,
Italy, Greece, Hungary, and Mexico.

Very little has been publicized in mass print and broadcast media.

Also highly relevant are a study in South Korea that finds levels of
methanol similar to those from aspartame drinks cause the hangovers
from alcohol drinks, a study in China on Alzheimer's type damage in
nerve cells from low dose formaldehyde, and an IARC review by 25
experts that determines formaldehyde to be a human carcinogen.
//////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// October 12, 2007
13,620 seniors using more than 1 can/week artificially sweetened
[aspartame] soft drinks had 8 % higher death risk, 1981-2004, Paganini-
Hill A, Kawas CH, Corrada MM, U. Southern Cal., Prev. Med. 2007 April
44(4) 305-10: Murray 2007.10.12
19,000 people, the 4 % of users of aspartame who drink average 5 cans
daily, have more problems in NIH AARP study of 474,000 people: Murray
2007.09.21 September 21, 2007

This is the first good data about the percentage of aspartame users
who use over 3 cans daily, averaging 5 cans daily at 200 mg per 12 oz
can diet soda.

About 4 % of 473,984 is 19,000 people, with a peak intake of 17 cans
daily, and average 5 cans daily.

It would be worthwhile to investigate a wide variety of symptoms for
the 0.1 % of highest level users, about 500 people.

For about 200 million USA aspartame users, this would be 200,000

Table 1 reveals consistent increase in problems from

--------------------- zero to (400-600) to (over 600) mg/d
aspartame intake:

% of cohort ---------- 46 -------- 5 -------- 4 %

mean aspartame mg/d --- 0 -------441 ------ 986

16+ education -------- 37 ------- 40 ------- 34 %

diabetes history ------ 3 ------- 22 ------- 26 %

alcohol g/d ---------- 14 ------- 11 ------- 13

never smoke ---------- 36 ------- 31 ------- 29 %

Body Mass Index ------ 26 ------- 29 ------- 29

18.5 - 25 ------------ 42 ------- 21 ------- 19 %

30 - 35 -------------- 13 ------- 23 ------- 26 %

over 35 -------------- 4 ------- 10 ------- 13 %

Physical activity %:

under 3-4/mo --------- 32 ------- 32 ------- 37 %

under 1-2/wk --------- 22 ------- 21 ------- 19 %

over 3-4/wk ---------- 45 ------- 45 ------- 43 %

Calories kcal ----- 1,919 ---- 1,855 ---- 2,044 %

Caffeine mg/d ------ 393 ------ 364 ------ 424

There do seem to be many increases of problems
from the second to third row, as mean aspartame use doubles.

Granted, this is cherry picking the data, selecting interesting

Correlations alone do not prove any direction of causation.

Nevertheless, it may be of value to study the correlations for
increasing aspartame intake among the 4 % using over 600 mg, the
equivalent of 3 cans 12-oz cans diet soda daily. The average use for
this group is 5 cans daily.

For instance, are a minority of these heavy users displaying the great
majority of the problems that are reflected in the mean for each level
of use, with most users only having little or no increase in problems?

This is a group of about 20,000 people.
Nurses Health Study can quickly reveal the extent of aspartame
(methanol, formaldehyde, formic acid) toxicity: Murray 2004.11.21

The Nurses Health Study is a bonanza of information about the health
of probably hundreds of nurses who use 6 or more cans daily of diet soft
drinks -- they have also stored blood and tissue samples from their
immense pool of subjects, over 100,000 for decades.

Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2006 Sep; 15(9): 1654-9.
Comment in:
Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2007 Jul; 16(7): 1527-8;
author reply 1528-9.
Consumption of aspartame-containing beverages and incidence of
hematopoietic and brain malignancies.
Lim U, Subar AF, Mouw T, Hartge P, Morton LM, Stolzenberg-Solomon R,
Campbell D, Hollenbeck AR, Schatzkin A.
Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences,
National Cancer Institute, 6130 Executive Boulevard, EPN 4005,
Rockville, MD 20852-7344, USA. PMID: 16985027

Unhee Lim 1,
Amy F. Subar 2,,
Traci Mouw 1,
Patricia Hartge 1,
Lindsay M. Morton 1,
Rachael Stolzenberg-Solomon 1,
David Campbell 3,
Albert R. Hollenbeck 4
and Arthur Schatzkin 1

1 Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics,

2 Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences, National Cancer
Institute, NIH, Department of Health and Human Services;

3 Information Management Services, Inc., Rockville, Maryland; and

4 AARP, Washington, District of Columbia

Requests for reprints: Amy Subar,
Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences,
National Cancer Institute,
6130 Executive Boulevard, EPN 4005, Rockville, MD 20852-7344.
Phone: 301-594-0831; Fax: 301-435-3710. E-mail: free full

In a few animal experiments, aspartame has been linked to
hematopoietic and brain cancers.

Most animal studies have found no increase in the risk of these or
other cancers.

Data on humans are sparse for either cancer.

Concern lingers regarding this widely used artificial sweetener.

We investigated prospectively whether aspartame consumption is
associated with the risk of hematopoietic cancers or gliomas
(malignant brain cancer).

We examined 285,079 men and 188,905 women ages 50 to 71 years in the
NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study cohort

Daily aspartame intake was derived from responses to a baseline self-
administered food frequency questionnaire that queried consumption of
four aspartame-containing beverages (soda, fruit drinks, sweetened
iced tea, and aspartame added to hot coffee and tea) during the past

Histologically confirmed incident cancers were identified from eight
state cancer registries.

Multivariable-adjusted relative risks (RR) and 95% confidence
intervals (CI) were estimated using Cox proportional hazards
regression that adjusted for age, sex, ethnicity, body mass index, and
history of diabetes.

During over 5 years of follow-up (1995-2000), 1,888 hematopoietic
cancers and 315 malignant gliomas were ascertained.

Higher levels of aspartame intake were not associated with the risk of
overall hematopoietic cancer
(RR for over 600 mg/d, 0.98; 95 % CI, 0.76-1.27),
glioma (RR for over 400 mg/d, 0.73; 95 % CI, 0.46-1.15;
P for inverse linear trend = 0.05),
or their subtypes in men and women.

Our findings do not support the hypothesis that aspartame increases
hematopoietic or brain cancer risk. PMID: 16985027

"We cannot exclude the possibility that higher aspartame consumption
than that observed in this study may be associated with an elevated
risk of hematopoietic or brain cancers.

In the laboratory study with positive findings, animals were fed doses
starting from 4 mg up to 5,000 mg per kg body weight.

Significantly elevated lymphomas and leukemias were observed in female
rats fed 20 mg of aspartame and higher (e.g., 1,200 mg for humans
weighing 60 kg or 132 lb; refs. 13, 14).

The reported aspartame intake in our data ranged from 0 to 3,400 mg/d
with sparse numbers in the upper intake categories (under 1 %
consuming over 1,200 mg/d).

However, we did not detect any increase in risk estimates in the
highest categories (over 1,200 or 2,000 mg/d, which is equivalent to
about 7 to 11 cans of soft drinks daily) compared with the lowest
and the associations were similarly null in both men and women."

Table 1. NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study aspartame intake levels from
beverages, 1995-2000 (N = 473,984) [ adapted from article ]

0 - under 100 - 100-200 - 200-400 - 400-600 - 600-1200 - over 1200 mg/d

cohort %
46 ------- 25 ------ 13 ------ 7 -------- 5 -- about 3 --- under 1
bias, omissions, incuriosity, opportunity, aspartame safety
evaluation, Magnuson BA, Burdock GA, Williams GM, 7 more, 2007 Sept,
Ajinomoto funded 98 pages html [$ 32 781888262_content.pdf]: Murray

Eur J Clin Nutr. 2007 Aug 8; [Epub ahead of print]
Direct and indirect cellular effects of aspartame on the brain.
Humphries P,
Pretorius E,,
Naudé H.
[1] Department of Anatomy, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, Gauteng,
South Africa
[2] Department of Anatomy, University of the Limpopo, South Africa.

Ultrastruct Pathol. 2007 Mar-Apr; 31(2): 77-83.
Ultrastructural changes to rabbit fibrin and platelets due to
Pretorius E,
Humphries P.
Department of Anatomy, Faculty of Medicine,
University of Pretoria, South Africa.
[ Humphries P also at
Department of Anatomy, University of Limpopo.
Medunsa Campus, Garankuwa. South Africa ]
*Correspondence to E. Pretorius,
BMW Building, PO Box 2034,
Faculty of Health Sciences,
University of Pretoria, Pretoria 0001, South Africa

[ not about aspartame, but highly suggestive... ]
Food additives and hyperactive behaviour in kids, McCann D, Grimshaw
K, Sonuga-Barke, Warner JO, Stevenson J, et al, The Lancet 2007.09.06
pdf 454 KB: Murray 2007.09.06\3431&in_page_id=1799
By UK Daily Mail Newspaper
The proof food additives ARE as bad as we feared
By SEAN POULTER Last updated at 09:53am on 18th May 2007

[ This team will publish their confirming study later in 2007. ]
Archives of Disease in Childhood 2004; 89(6): 506-511
Erratum in: Arch Dis Child. 2005 Aug; 90(8): 875.
© 2004 BMJ Publishing Group & Royal College of Paediatrics and Child
The effects of a double blind, placebo controlled, artificial food
colourings and benzoate preservative challenge on hyperactivity in a
general population sample of preschool children
B Bateman 1,
J O Warner 1,,
E Hutchinson 3,
T Dean 5,,
P Rowlandson 4, Dr. Piers Rolandson, Paediatric Tutor
C Gant 5,
J Grundy 5,
C Fitzgerald 3
and J Stevenson 2,
1 Infection, Inflammation and Repair Division, University of
Southampton, Southampton, UK
2 Department of Psychology, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK
3 Department of Clinical Psychology, St Mary's Hospital, Isle of
Wight, UK
4 Department of Paediatrics, St Mary's Hospital, Isle of Wight, UK
5 David Hide Asthma and Allergy Research Centre, St Mary's Hospital,
Isle of Wight, UK free full text 24 pages
National Institutes of Health
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Lifespan Exposure to Low Doses of Aspartame Beginning During Prenatal
Life Increases Cancer Effects in Rats
doi:10.1289/ehp.10271 (available at
Online 13 June 2007
Morando Soffritti 1,
Fiorella Belpoggi 1,
Eva Tibaldi 1,
Davide Degli Esposti 1,
Michela Lauriola 1
1 Cesare Maltoni Cancer Research Center, European Ramazzini Foundation
of Oncology and Environmental Sciences, Bologna Italy
Address of the institution: Cesare Maltoni Cancer Research Center,
European Ramazzini Foundation of Oncology and Environmental Sciences
Castello di Bentivoglio, Via Saliceto, 3, 40010 Bentivoglio, Bologna,
Italy +39 051 6640460 fax +39 051 6640223,
Address correspondence to: M. Soffritti
This research was supported entirely by the European Ramazzini
Foundation Environmental Sciences.
The authors declare that they have no competing financial interests.
Results of Long-Term Carcinogenicity Bioassay on Sprague-Dawley Rats
Exposed to Aspartame Administered in Feed
Ann. N.Y. Acad. Sci. 2006 Sep; 1076: 559-577.
Fiorella Belpoggi,
Morando Soffritti,
Michela Padovani,
Davide Degli Esposti,
Michelina Lauriola, and
Franco Minardi.
The end judges everything -- HERODOTUS (480-425 B.C.) The History
Cesare Maltoni Cancer Research Center,
European Foundation of Oncology and Environmental Sciences
'B. Ramazzini', 40010 Bentivoglio, Bologna, Italy
[ and, previously ]
First experimental demonstration of the multipotential
carcinogenic effects of aspartame administered in the feed to Sprague-
Dawley rats.
Environ. Health Perspect. 2006 Mar; 114: 379-385. PMID: 16507461
Soffritti M, Belpoggi F, Degli Esposti D, Lambertini L, Tibaldi E,
Rigano A.
Environmental Health Perspectives Volume 113, Number 11
November 2005 Current print issue
The full version of this article is available for free in PDF format. 35 pages
First Experimental Demonstration of the
Multipotential Carcinogenic Effects of Aspartame
Administered in the Feed to Sprague-Dawley Rats.
Morando Soffritti, Fiorella Belpoggi, Davide Degli Esposti,
Luca Lambertini, Eva Tibaldi, and Anna Rigano.
doi:10.1289/ehp.8711 (available at
Online 17 November 2005
The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
National Institutes of Health
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Cesare Maltoni Cancer Research Center,
European Ramazzini Foundation of Oncology and
Environmental Sciences
Sofritti, M. et al. 2005.
Aspartame induces lymphomas and leukaemias in rats.
Eur. J. Oncol. 2005; 10: 107-116.

Food Chem Toxicol. 2007 Jun 16;[Epub ahead of print]
The effect of aspartame metabolites on the suckling rat
frontal cortex acetylcholinesterase. An in vitro study.
Simintzi I,
Schulpis KH,,
Angelogianni P,
Liapi C,
Tsakiris S.,
Department of Experimental Physiology, Medical School,
University of Athens,
P.O. Box 65257, GR 15401 Athens, Greece.

Toxicology. 2007 May 18; [Epub ahead of print]
l-Cysteine and glutathione restore the reduction of rat hippocampal
Na(+),K(+)-ATPase activity induced by aspartame metabolites.
Simintzi I,
Schulpis KH,
Angelogianni P,
Liapi C,
Tsakiris S.
Department of Experimental Physiology,
Medical School, Athens University,
P.O. Box 65257, GR-15401 Athens, Greece.

Pharmacol Res. 2007 May 13; [Epub ahead of print]
The effect of aspartame on acetylcholinesterase activity in
hippocampal homogenates of suckling rats.
Simintzi I,
Schulpis KH,
Angelogianni P,
Liapi C,
Tsakiris S.
Department of Experimental Physiology,
Medical School, University of Athens,
P.O. Box 65257, GR-15401 Athens, Greece.

Eur J Clin Nutr. 2005 Dec 14; [Epub ahead of print]
The effect of L-cysteine and glutathione on inhibition of
Na(+), K(+)-ATPase activity by aspartame metabolites
in human erythrocyte [red blood cell] membrane.
Schulpis KH, Kleopatra H. Schulpis, MD, PhD.
Institute of Child Health, Aghia Sophia Children's Hospital,
GR-11527 Athens (Greece) +30 1 7708291, Fax +30 1 7700111
Papassotiriou I,,
Tsakiris T,
Tsakiris S. Stylianos Tsakiris.,
1 Institute of Child Health, Research Center,
'Aghia Sophia' Children's Hospital, Athens, Greece.

Pharmacol Res. 2005 Aug 26; [Epub ahead of print]
The effect of aspartame metabolites on human [red blood cell]
erythrocyte membrane acetylcholinesterase activity.
Tsakiris S,
Giannoulia-Karantana A,
Simintzi I,
Schulpis KH.
Department of Experimental Physiology, Medical School,
University of Athens, P.O. Box 65257, GR-154 01 Athens, Greece.
Stylianos Tsakiris.,
Giannoulia-Karantana A. First Department of Pediatrics,
Aghia Sophia Children's Hospital, University of Athens, Greece.
Kleopatra H. Schulpis, MD, PhD. Institute of Child Health,
Aghia Sophia Children's Hospital, GR-11527 Athens (Greece)
Tel. +30 1 7708291, Fax +30 1 7700111
[ Papoutsakis T.,
Papadopoulos G. Department of Biochemistry and Biotechnology,
University of Thessaly, Ploutonos 26, 41221 Larisa, Greece, ]

In Vivo. 2007 Jan-Feb; 21(1): 89-92.
The effect of aspartame administration on oncogene and suppressor gene
Gombos K,,
Varjas T,
Orsos Z,
Polyak E,
Peredi J,
Varga Z,
Nowrasteh G,
Tettinger A,
Mucsi G,
Ember I.
Faculty of Medicine, Institute of Public Health University of Pecs,
Pecs, Hungary.

Hum Exp Toxicol. 2006 Aug; 25(8): 453-9.
The effect of aspartame on rat brain xenobiotic-metabolizing enzymes.
Vences-Mejia A 1,
Labra-Ruiz N 1,
Hernandez-Martinez N 1,
Dorado-Gonzalez V 1,
Gomez-Garduno J 1,
Perez-Lopez I 1,
Nosti-Palacios R 1,
Camacho Carranza R 2,
Espinosa-Aguirre JJ 2.
Laboratorio de Toxicologia Genetica,
1: Instituto Nacional de Pediatria, Insurgentes Sur, 3700-C,
04530 Mexico, DF Mexico.
2: Instituto de Investigaciones Biomédicas, UNAM, Apartado postal
Ciudad Universitaria 04510 México, D.F., México
*Correspondence: JJ Espinosa-Aguirre, Instituto de Investigaciones
Biome´dicas, UNAM, Apartado postal 70228, Ciudad
Universitaria 04510 Me´xico, D.F., Me´xico
Human & Experimental Toxicology (2006) 25(8): 453 - 459.
c 2006 SAGE Publications 10.1191/0960327106het646oa
[ Dra. Araceli Vences M
Jefa de Laboratorio de Toxicologia Genetica
6° P de Hospital Laboratorios
10 84 09 00 Ext.1410 -1448, ]

Toxicol Sci. 2006 Mar;90(1):178-87.
Synergistic interactions between commonly used food additives in a
developmental neurotoxicity test.
Lau K, McLean WG, Williams DP, Howard CV.
Developmental Toxicopathology Unit,
Department of Human Anatomy & Cell Biology,
University of Liverpool, Sherrington Buildings, Liverpool L69 3GE, UK;
Department of Pharmacology & Therapeutics,
University of Liverpool, Sherrington Buildings, Liverpool L69 3GE, UK.
W. Graham McLean,
C. V. Howard,
D. P. Williams, 0151 794 5791
Miss. Karen Lau, 0151 795 4223
free full text 28 pages
This Provisional PDF corresponds to the article as it appeared upon
Copyedited and fully formatted PDF and full text (HTML) versions will
be made available soon.
Amyloid-like aggregates of neuronal tau induced by formaldehyde
apoptosis of neuronal cells
BMC Neuroscience 2007 Jan 23, 8(1): 9 doi: 10.1186/1471-2202-8-9
Chunlai Nie,
Xing sheng Wang,
Ying Liu,
Sarah Perrett,
Rongqiao He,
ISSN 1471-2202
Article type Research article
Submission date 15 August 2006
Acceptance date 23 January 2007
Publication date 23 January 2007
Article URL
Chun Lai Nie 1,3,
Xing Sheng Wang 1,3,
Ying Liu 1,
Sarah Perrett 2 and
Rong Qiao He 1,3*
1 State Key Laboratory of Brain and Cognitive Science,
Institute of Biophysics, 15 Datun Rd, Chaoyang District, Beijing
100101, China
2 National Laboratory of Biomacromolecules,
Institute of Biophysics, 15 Datun Rd, Chaoyang District, Beijing
100101, China
3 Graduate School, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 19 Yuquan Rd,
District, Beijing 100049, China
*Corresponding author

Addict Biol. 2005 Dec;10(4): 351-5.
Concentration changes of methanol in blood samples during
an experimentally induced alcohol hangover state.
Woo YS, Yoon SJ, Lee HK, Lee CU, Chae JH, Lee CT, Kim DJ.
Chuncheon National Hospital, Department of Psychiatry,
The Catholic University of Korea, Seoul, Korea.
Songsin Campus: 02-740-9714 Songsim Campus: 02-2164-4116
Songeui Campus: 02-2164-4114 eight hospitals

" Absorbed formaldehyde can be oxidized to formate and carbon dioxide
or can be incorporated into biologic macromolecules. "

[ References include: Soffritti M, Belpoggi F, Lambertini L, Lauriola
Padovani M, Maltoni C. 2002. Results of long-term experimental studies
on the carcinogenicity of formaldehyde and acetaldehyde in rats. Ann
NY Acad Sci 982: 87-105.

Soffritti M, Maltoni C, Maffei F, Biagi R. 1989. Formaldehyde: an
experimental multipotential carcinogen. Toxicol Ind Health 5:699-730.
Morando Soffritti is a member of the Working Group. ] free full text

After a thorough discussion of the epidemiologic, experimental, and
other relevant data, the working group concluded that formaldehyde is
carcinogenic to humans, based on sufficient evidence in humans and in
experimental animals.

In the epidemiologic studies, there was sufficient evidence that
formaldehyde causes nasopharyngeal cancer, "strong but not sufficient"
evidence of leukemia, and limited evidence of sinonasal cancer.

The working group also concluded that 2-butoxyethanol and
1-tert-butoxy-2-propanol are not classifiable as to their
carcinogenicity to humans, each having limited evidence in
experimental animals and inadequate evidence in humans.

These three evaluations and the supporting data will be published as
Volume 88 of the IARC Monographs. PMID: 16140628

Environ Health Perspect. 2005 Sep; 113(9): 1205-8.
Meeting report: summary of IARC monographs on formaldehyde, 2-
butoxyethanol, and 1-tert-butoxy-2-propanol.
Cogliano VJ, Vincent James Cogliano,
Grosse Y, Yann Grosse,
Baan RA, Robert A. Baan,
Straif K, Kurt,
Secretan MB, Marie Béatrice Secretan,
El Ghissassi F, Fatiha El Ghissassi,
Working Group for Volume 88.

IARC, 150 Cours Albert Thomas, 69372 Lyon CEDEX 08, France
Tel: +33 (0)4 72 73 84 85 - Fax: +33 (0)4 72 73 85 75
© IARC 2004 - All Rights Reserved,

Monographs Recently Published

IARC Monographs Vol 88
Formaldehyde, 2-Butoxyethanol and 1-tert-Butoxypropan-2-ol
December 2006
478 pages
ISBN 92 832 1288 6
US$ 40

This volume re-evaluates the available evidence on the carcinogenic
potential of formaldehyde, a substance that is found in the workplace
and in the environment.
Formaldehyde is widely used in resins that bind wood products, pulp
and paper; in glasswool and rockwool insulation; in plastics and
coatings, textile finishing, chemical manufacture; and as a
disinfectant and preservative.
Also evaluated are two glycol ethers, 2-butoxyethanol and 1-tert-
which are widely used as solvents in paints and paint thinners,
coatings, glass and surface cleaners, inks, adhesives, personal-care
products, and as chemical intermediates.
As for formaldehyde, there is sufficient evidence in epidemiological
studies for nasopharyngeal cancer, strong but not sufficient evidence
for leukaemia, and limited evidence for sinonasal cancer.
The extensive scientific database on the mechanisms by which
formaldehyde can induce nasal-tract cancer in humans is considered.
These data provide strong support for the empirical observation of
nasopharyngeal cancer in humans.
In contrast, the lack of information on possible mechanisms by which
formaldehyde might increase the risk for leukaemia in humans tempered
the interpretation of the epidemiological data on that cancer.
Although this volume focuses on a qualitative assessment of the
carcinogenic potential of formaldehyde, subsequent predictions of the
risks for nasopharyngeal cancer should consider pertinent information
on mechanisms of carcinogenesis, including genotoxicity and dose-
dependent cytoxicity.
A theme common to the three evaluations is the consideration of
mechanistic information to develop and evaluate hypotheses on the
sequence of steps that lead to the induction of tumours in
experimental animals.
The hypothesized mechanisms described provide an interesting set of
cases that range from a vast literature on respiratory tract tumours
in rats induced by the inhalation of formaldehyde to some more
tentative hypotheses on the various tumours observed in animals
following exposure to both glycol ethers.
Recurring issues were the criteria that characterize a rare tumour or
how to introduce additional information to resolve difficult
questions; for example, how to consider the results of historical

International Agency for Research on Cancer, Lyon, France.

An international, interdisciplinary working group of expert scientists
met in June 2004 to develop IARC Monographs on the Evaluation of the
Carcinogenic Risk of Chemicals to Humans (IARC Monographs) on
formaldehyde, 2-butoxyethanol, and 1-tert-butoxy-2-propanol.

Each IARC Monograph includes a critical review of the pertinent
scientific literature and an evaluation of an agent's potential to
cause cancer in humans.

Key words: 1-tert-butoxy-2-propanol, 2-butoxyethanol, carcinogen,
formaldehyde, glycol ethers, hazard identification, IARC Monographs,
leukemia, nasopharyngeal cancer, sinonasal cancer. Environ Health
Perspect 113: 1205-1208 (2005) .
doi:10.1289/ehp.7542 available via [Online 12 May

Address correspondence to V.J. Cogliano, Carcinogen Identification and
Evaluation, International Agency for Research on Cancer, 150 cours
Albert Thomas, 69372 Lyon cedex 08, France.
33-4-72-73-84-76. fax 33-4-72-73-83-19,

The Working Group for Volume 88 of the IARC Monographs includes:

Ulrich Andrae (Germany) ,, Dr. Ulrich Andrae, GSF-
Institut für Toxikologie,. Postfach 1129, D-85758 Neuherberg, Germany
Fax: 149-089-3187-3449 Sherwood Burge (UK),

Rajendra S Chhabra (USA) ,, General Toxicology Group, TOB, ETP, DIR

John Cocker (UK) , Health and Safety Laboratory, Buxton, UK,

David N Coggon (UK) , MRC Environmental Epidemiology Unit at the
University of Southampton, UK,

Rory Conolly (USA) ,, Senior Research Biologist,
National Center for Computational Toxicology, Office of Research and
Development, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Paul Demers (Canada) ,, Occupational Hygiene
Institute, University of British Columbia

David A Eastmond (USA) ,, Enviromental
Graduate Program, University of California Riverside, CA 92521 (951)
827-4497 (Voice) (951) 827-3087 (Fax)

Elaine Faustman (USA) ,, Professor, Env. and
Occ. Health Sciences, Adjunct Professor, Evans School 206-685-2269

Victor J Feron (the Netherlands) , TNO Nutrition and Food Research
Utrechtseweg 48 3704 HE Zeist The Netherlands (31)-3404 44 144

Michel Gérin (Canada, Chair) ,, Departement de
medecine du travail et d'hygiene du milieu, Universite de Montreal,
Quebec, Canada.

Marcel Goldberg (France) ,,
France -- National Institute of Health and Medical Research INSERM
Unite 88, HNSM 14 Rue de Val d'Osne F-94410 St. Maurice France [33]
1-451-83859 [33] 1-451-83889 Departement Sante Travail, Institut de
Veille Sanitaire, 12, rue du Val d'Osne, 94410 Saint Maurice, France

Bernard D Goldstein (USA) ,, Director of the
Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Institute and Professor
and Chair of the Department of Environmental and Community Medicine at
UMDNJ - Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. Dean's Office, University
of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health, A624 Crabtree Hall,
130 DeSoto St., Pittsburgh, PA 15261, USA.

Roland C Grafström (Sweden) ,, Roland C
Grafström, Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institutet,
Box 210, S−17177 Stockholm, Sweden Telefax: +46-8−329402

Johnni Hansen (Denmark) ,, PhD, Senior researcher,
Danish Cancer Registry , Institute of Cancer Epidemiology, Danish
Cancer Society, Strandboulevarden 49, DK-2100, Copenhagen, Denmark.

Michael Hauptmann (USA) , The National Cancer Institute

Kathy Hughes (Canada) , Head, Existing Substances Section 1, Health

Ted Junghans (USA) ,, Technical Resources
International, Inc., 6500 Rock Spring Drive, Suite 650, Bethesda, MD
20817, USA.

Dan Krewski (Canada) , MHA, MSc, PhD, Professor
Director, R. Samuel McLaughlin Centre for Population Health Risk
Assessment, Institute of Population Healt, 1 Stewart Street, Room 320,
Phone: (613) 562-5381 Fax: (613)562-5380

Steve Olin (USA) ,, ILSI International Life Sciences

Martine Reynier (France) ,, Mme Martine
Institut National de Recherche et de Sécurité (INRS), 30, rue Olivier
Noyer, 75680 Paris Cedex 14 (France) Tel : +33 (0)1 40 44 30 81 Fax :
+33 (0)1 40 44 30 54

Judith Shaham (Israel) ,, Occupational Cancer
Department, National Institute of Occupational and Environmental
Raanana, Israel. MD, Occupational Cancer Unit, Occupational Health &
Rehabilitation Institute, P.O. Box 3, Raanana 43100, ISRAEL

Morando Soffritti (Italy) ,, European Foundation of
Oncology and Environmental Sciences "B. Ramazzini", Cesare Maltoni
Cancer Research Center, Bologna, Italy

Leslie Stayner (USA) ,, Division of Epidemiology and
Biostatistics, University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public
Health (M/C 923), 1603 West Taylor Street, Room 971, Chicago, IL
60612. E-mail:

Patricia Stewart (USA) , National Food Safety and Toxicology Center,
165 Food Safety and Toxicology Building, Michigan State University,
East Lansing, MI 48824; fax (517) 432-2310

Douglas Wolf (USA) ,, DVM, PhD, USEPA, (Toxicology)

We gratefully acknowledge the important contributions of the
administrative staff of the IARC Monographs: S. Egraz, M. Lézère, J.
Mitchell, and E. Perez.
The IARC Monographs are supported, in part, by grants from the U.S.
National Cancer Institute, the European Commission, the U.S. National
Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, and the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency.
The authors declare they have no competing financial interests.
Received 31 August 2004 ; accepted 12 May 2005.
4 cases of aspartame-induced thrombocytopenia [ very low platelets in
blood ], HJ Roberts MD, Letter in Southern Medical Journal 2007 May:
100(5); 543: Murray 2007.08.25
Formaldehyde induced urticarial vasculitis in male medical student,
age 40, Michael Pellizzari, Gillian Marshman, Flinders U.,
Australasian J. Dermatol. 2007 Aug: Murray 2007.08.29
highly toxic formaldehyde, the cause of alcohol hangovers, is made by
the body from 100 mg doses of methanol from dark wines and liquors,
dimethyl dicarbonate, and aspartame: Murray 2007.08.31
new details on how formaldehyde and formic acid from methanol are
neurotoxic: Chun Lai Nie, Rong Giao He, et al, PLoS ONE 2(7): e629
2007.07.18 Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing: Murray 20097.09.01
aspartame bans, tis more an avalanche than a trend...: Rich Murray

[ see also:
ASDA, Wal-Mart's UK supermarket chain, bans artificial colors, trans
fats, MSG and aspartame, Marguerite Kelly, The Washington Post: Murray
2007.08.03 ]

So far, USA print and broadcast media are deaf, blind, and dumb,
regarding recent major bans of aspartame and MSG in the UK and EU.

The EU Parliament voted July 12 to ban artificial sweeteners
in newly born and infant foods.

On May 15 four huge UK supermarket chains announced bans
of aspartame and MSG, food dyes, and many additives
to protect kids from ADHD --
Sainsbury, Tesco, Marks & Spencer, and ASDA, a unit of WalMart.

May 31: Coca-Cola and the much larger Cargill Inc.,
after years of secret development, with 24 patents,
will soon sell rebiana (stevia) in drinks and food
in the many nations where it is approved as a sweetener --
for decades a major sweetener in Japan, China, Korea, Taiwan,
Thailand, Malasia, Saint Kitts, Nevis,
Brazil, Peru, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Israel,
and an approved supplement in USA, Australia, and Canada,
according to Wikipedia.
recent research and news re aspartame and stevia: Murray 2007.08.16
Aspartame Controversy, in Wikipedia democratic
encyclopedia, 72 references (including AspartameNM # 864
and 1173 by Murray, brief fair summary of much more research:
Murray 2007.01.01
Souring on fake sugar (aspartame), Jennifer Couzin,
Science 2007.07.06: 4 page letter to FDA from 12 eminent
USA toxicologists re two Ramazzini Foundation
cancer studies 2007.06.25: Murray 2007.07.18
Artificial sweeteners (aspartame, sucralose) and coloring
agents will be banned from use in newly-born and baby foods,
the European Parliament decided: Latvia ban in schools 2006:
Murray 2007.07.12
stevia to be approved and cyclamates limited by
Food Standards Australia New Zealand:
JMC Geuns critiques of two recent stevia studies by Nunes:
Murray 2007.05.29
more from The Independent, UK, Martin Hickman, re ASDA
(unit of Wal-Mart Stores) and Marks & Spencer ban of
aspartame, MSG, artificial chemical additives and dyes
to prevent ADHD in kids: urray 2007.05.16
ASDA (unit of Wal-Mart Stores WMT.N) and Marks & Spencer
will join Tesco and also Sainsbury to ban and limit
aspartame, MSG, artificial flavors dyes preservatives additives,
trans fats, salt "nasties" to protect kids from ADHD:
leading UK media: Murray 2007.05.15
Coca-Cola and Cargill Inc., after years of development,
with 24 patents, will soon sell rebiana (stevia)
in drinks and foods: Murray 2007.05.31 October 17, 2007
the tobacco industry violated the Racketeer Influenced Corrupt
Organizations Act RICO law to "defraud the public." with huge amounts
of false research to mislead people about its addictive toxin, Elisa K
Tong, Stanton A Glantz, Circulation 2007 Oct. 16: Murray 2007.10.17 search PubMed

James Killus said...

I personally don't care for artificial sweeteners, and for that matter prefer sucrose to fructose, not that that does me a lot of good in today's world. And I'm aware of the controversies over aspartame, including the one about methanol as the breakdown product.

But the concentrations of aspartame in artificially sweetened beverages is pretty small, and there are plenty of other sources of methanol, formaldehyde, and formic acid in the environment, including natural fruit fermentation (for methanol) and air (for formaldehyde).

There is a percentage of the population that is hypersensitive to methanol poisoning, such that there was some concern back when methanol was being considered as an automotive fuel that such people would be poisoned by just spilling motor fuel onto their skin. The fact that we don't have reports of hypersensitives going blind from drinking diet coke suggests that the amounts or methanol involved are similar to those found in other environmental sources.

Also, and I can tell you this from substantial personal experience, the main cause of hangovers is simple dehydration, and can be at least partly prevented by drinking sufficient water before going to sleep. Certainly there are other compounds in various alcoholic beverages that can contribute to its toxicity (fusel oil, a mixture of higher alcohols and furfural, being my favorite, because it has such a cool name) but your pointing a finger at a single compound and tying it to a particular food additive suggests both some degree of ignorance and some magnitude of agenda. Of course, given the nearly spam-like numbers of links you provide, I'm not exactly being Sherlock Holmes here.

Or, put another way, I do not believe that you are correct, but I imagine that you have reasons for continuing to believe what you believe, no matter what I say, so there we are. I'd offer you good luck in your crusade (it's no skin of me in any case, since I don't care for the stuff), but basically, I don't care that much.

Anonymous said...


Your all nerds!

Oh well...I found this blog vastly amusing and I would like to point out the highlights...

1. "...the active ingredient in the demon rum."
2. "and it likes to hook up with its nearby carbon buddy,"
3. "pumpernickel"
4. "pharmacological sedative" aka weed
5. "ethanol technology has an ancient history"
6. "sit on the back porch until it went hard"
7. "Also, the dry ice added some carbonation, and carbonation enhances alcohol absorption by the digestive tract."
And last but not least...
8. "Whenever I think about this particular concoction, I’m bound to remember one particular night in 1972 involving the blender daiquiris plus the Quicksilver Messenger Service’s extended version of “Who Do You Love?” by Bo Diddley. Modesty and discretion compel me to refrain from giving specifics. I will note, however, that the effects of ethanol are such that, while one may still remember that actions have consequences, the relative values placed on the actions vs. consequences may change substantially. Suffice it to say that it all Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time."

I believe that you should make a comedy program!

Thanks alot!

James Killus said...

And thanks to you anonymous. I believe that you have sensed the intention of my essay, and possibly peered into the heart of this blog.