Angry Toxicologist

The poster sessions were largely a bust yesterday but I did come across a couple of interesting ones:

1) Definitive evidence that it was the melamine + cyuranic acid that caused toxicity in animals (by creating crystals inside the kidney). As I’ve noted before, neither is very toxic on it’s own. Not a surprise but good to get some confirmation.

2) Ms Vitalone is a woman after my own heart. Her presentation: Natural is not always safe: A lesson from the literature on the use of herbal products. Now, doesn’t that sound familiar? It was basically a compilation of what we know about adverse events due to certain herbal supplements. I picked up the reference list, and I just have to share one article title with you:

Fatal intracerebral mass bleeding associated with Ginkgo biloba and ibuprofen.


3) A few posters on acrylamide in food (how much Finns get, how it is absorbed and excreted). I’m even more convinced that this isn’t a big problem, and as such will eat something fried today.


  1. #1 marie
    March 18, 2008

    hysterical…i spent several minutes agitating my advisor with an unscheduled rant about the many dangers of ‘natural’ products and the ridiculous misconception that natural products are not simply benign but always beneficial. he finally just glared at me until i stopped.

    and then he reluctantly agreed.

  2. #2 John Hasenkam
    April 4, 2008

    Natural! Just the other day I learned that organic farming likes to use rotenone as a pesticide because it is a natural product. It is also a mitochondrial toxin and has both cellular and epidemiological studies strongly suggesting it is a causative agent in Parkinsons disease. Organic farming also likes to use copper as a fungicide. High copper load, or any heavy metal load for that matter, is also a risk factor for cerebral damage … .

    AS to Ginkgo causing bleeding the data is controversial. The biochemistry (strong inhibitor of platelet activating factor) suggests that should be the case but this has not been substantiated in various studies. Nonetheless I caution people against using GB too consistently.

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