site stats WhizGidget Wonders...
Wednesday, August 31, 2005
I'm Poisoning My Family...

...Bill Lockyer says so. Well, not exactly, but he's responsible for me realizing this, and I need a scapegoat.

Now I've heard some strange things in my lifetime, but this has to be the most stupid and ambitious thing I've heard in a long time. No, I'm not hearing things. I'm reading them, actually.

In case you hadn't heard California Attorney General Bill Lockyer has filed a new lawsuit. No surprise there - he files them on the behalf of the State of California every day I think. But this one is special.

This one centers on a study that was done in 2002 that showed that small amounts of acrylamide are present in starchy foods that are cooked at high temperatures. Acrylamide, in case you missed the study or aren't familiar with this chemical, causes cancer. It's a natural chemical reaction that occurs, and it's higher in starchy foods than others, but it's present virtually anywhere. By the way, acrylamide is also used in the treatment of drinking water and waste water where it's used to remove particulates from the water. Comforting, isn't it? That your drinking water may have a carcinogen in it?

Anyway, Lockyer wants some of the biggest names in the potato snack food industry to stop selling their product until they can put warnings on them, just like the warnings we have on cigarettes. Funny - we have all those warnings on all those boxes, and people just keep on smoking. We're immune to them now, just like the warnings to not operate heavy machinery while on cold drugs or alcohol. We know it's there, we use the item anyway, and take whatever risks we think we're prepared to handle. He's suing because the companies are apparently in violation of California's Prop 65, which requires businesses to warn consumers of exposure to toxins.

In listening to talk radio the other night, where I learned about this lawsuit, the host said much the same thing I instantly thought - people aren't going to stop eating this stuff. They'd probably pause more at a warning label on their french fries that says they're about to eat 800 calories and 80 grams of fat. Hey, I know what's in those fries in terms of fat and it hasn't stopped me. And I knew about the acrylamide - I heard that study when it first came out - and while I've tapered back, I've still not stopped.

I've not stopped drinking water either, and I don't plan on it.

Before you start in and say, hey - it's only in these fast food places you need to stop right there. It's also present in home cooked foods. This brings me to the subject at hand. I'm poisoning my family. And it's not because of the french fries, because we don't eat them all that often.

It's the lasagne.

Pasta, a starchy food, is cooked at rather high temperatures in my house when it's in a lasagne. And it's cooked for quite some time at that high temperature. It takes a little bit of time to cook through a 14 pound lasagne that's about 1/2 inch taller than the 9 x 13 x 3 pan that it's in. Oh, and did I mention that I throw bread crumbs liberally on the top of the cheese on the top of the lasagne? I didn't think that I had. So, carbs and starch, cooked at high temps. I've been poisoning my family with carcinogens.

It's not like I do it nightly - maybe once every 3 or 4 months. But that lasagne can last for about a week. Ok, maybe 3 days, considering we devour the darn thing. It's my kids' favorite meal, and my DH loves it too. You've heard me wax rhapsodic on lasagne before - it's the ultimate in comfort food for me and I *could* eat it every day if it's good. Just call me Garfield.

But how do I live with the guilt that I am feeding my children something that could cause cancer? How do I sleep at night with something like this hanging over my heard? Pretty well, actually. It's just one more thing in the growing list of what causes cancer. Breathing the air around here could cause cancer - but if you stop breathing you die anyway. Same goes for the drinking water. And food. I'm sure we could start compiling the lists of things that have been found to cause cancer and fight cancer and we'll find some of those things on the same lists.

You know, I could just blame my mother. She fed me lasagne growing up. In fact, I could *sue* her if I get cancer, under Prop 65 (which was voted in in 1986, and I was still living at home back then). That would probably kill her from all the guilt. But I'd bet it would backfire because she'd zero in on me and how I'm poisoning my babies. Oh well, it was a thought.

I'm just waiting for Lockyer to get off the backs of the fast food folks that he's asking this injunction against, and start in on all the Italian restaurants around the state - and there's a lot of them. The proprietors of the best ones will laugh at this and say that people have been eating lasagne for years, and they're more likely to die happy of a heart attack from it than to die from cancer. *That* is the sort of restaurant that I'll go happily to to have my dose of carcino-agne.

In the meantime, Friday night, I'm going to poison my family a little more and make a lasagne for dinner. And maybe some good steamed broccoli on the side. Broccoli has been found to be a good thing to eat to fight cancer causing agents. And that's good because my family loves broccoli, and I'd better make a lot of it, so that there's plenty to eat along with the lasagne...

...between that and the tomato sauce, they might cancel the lasagne out.

For more information:
Here's a fact sheet on acrylamide.
Here's the press release on Lockyer's lawsuit.