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jounipesonen Dec 20, 2012 10:34 AM

This has hit the news:


Anyone familiar with any other attention to this substance - which seems could be present in a lot more things than we thought.

  1. g
    GH1618 Dec 20, 2012 10:53 AM

    Here's a link to a fact sheet from the US Dept. of Health and Human Services:


    1 Reply
    1. re: GH1618
      paulj Dec 20, 2012 10:59 AM

      ". The main source of
      exposure of the general population is through consumption of alcoholic beverages and the subsequent metabolism of alcohol to form
      acetaldehyde (HSDB 2009)"

    2. paulj Dec 20, 2012 11:03 AM

      Is that news, or product placement (by a lab that sells chemical analysis)?

      4 Replies
      1. re: paulj
        jounipesonen Dec 20, 2012 11:49 AM

        Absolutely not a product placement as far as I am concerned - it was news item found with googling 'acetaldehyde' - I was concerned as was about to buy 5L of special apple vinegar and started seriously wondering.

        1. re: jounipesonen
          paulj Dec 20, 2012 11:59 AM

          I didn't mean you personally, but your cited source does look like a product ad.

          1. re: paulj
            jounipesonen Dec 20, 2012 12:33 PM

            ok - understand - and you may be right - on the other hand - it might be that it is more of a danger than we might think - just think how long the tobacco folks kept dodging the issue . it just might be that 5L of 'my apple vinegar' may not be a healthy as I might initially have thought!

            1. re: jounipesonen
              maria lorraine Dec 20, 2012 01:12 PM

              Paul is right -- it's a marketing blurb to sell their lab test, but they are using a scare tactic to utilize their service.

              More in my post below.

      2. maria lorraine Dec 20, 2012 11:51 AM

        This is simply a marketing announcement that Biohit has developed a lab test to measure acetaldehyde in food and beverages.

        Biohit has taken an alarmist stance, warning about acetaldehyde and its carcinogenic effect, to sell their lab test.

        Kind of a cheap shot when the only carcinogenic correlation in the medical literature was found in patients with alcohol addiction.

        Even though many foods have acetaldehyde that occurs naturally, drinking alcohol is the biggest source of exposure. That acetaldehyde is usually handled easily by the body -- the alcohol is metabolized into acetaldehyde, which is then converted into acetic acid.

        Some persons, especially East Asians, have a genetic variation that causes them to metabolize alcohol a bit differently: The alcohol converts too quickly to to acetaldehyde (this creates a red flush on the face), and the acetaldehyde converts too slowly into the benign acetic acid.

        Environmentally, acetaldehyde is all around us. Outdoors and indoors, everywhere. It's an air pollutant, in tobacco smoke, in paint, carpets, plastic -- acetaldehyde is ubitquitous in our environment. No carcinogenic correlation, and I'm not even sure this exposure has been quantified.

        1. jgg13 Dec 20, 2012 12:02 PM

          Well budweiser's "beechwood aging" leaves a lot of it in their beer ....

          1. John E. Dec 20, 2012 12:50 PM

            I am more worried about Dihydrogen Monoxide. It is the major component of acid rain. It contributes to the "greenhouse effect", it may cause severe burns, it is fatal if inhaled, it contributes to the erosion of our natural landscape, it accelerates corrosion and rusting of many metals, it may cause electrical failures and decreased effectiveness of automobile brakes, and it has been found in excised tumors of terminal cancer patients.

            Despite the danger, dihydrogen monoxide is often used as an industrial solvent and coolant, in nuclear power plants, in the production of Styrofoam, as a fire retardant, in many forms of cruel animal research, and in the distribution of pesticides. Even after washing, produce remains contaminated by this chemical. It is also used as an additive in certain "junk-foods" and other food products.

            Dihydrogen Monoxide is extremely dangerous when used improperly and it is everywhere.

            2 Replies
            1. re: John E.
              tcamp Dec 20, 2012 01:15 PM

              Nice try! I got my middle schooler with that a while back.

              1. re: John E.
                sunshine842 Dec 20, 2012 01:47 PM

                it was used as a learning exercise in an MSDS course I took a few years back.

                The instructor showed us the MSDS for this product...scary as hell until he removed the Post-It covering the name of the compound in the header of the page.

                ...and gave me a healthy jolt of reality about reading toxicology and health-hazard data.

              2. j
                jounipesonen Dec 20, 2012 01:48 PM

                OK - all accepted - but if it is a 'scare tactic' to develop business: what if they really have come up with a more efficacious technique to find it - and really find it to be more general than what we have thought - it is, after all, a substance that has generated more consideration

                13 Replies
                1. re: jounipesonen
                  sunshine842 Dec 20, 2012 01:56 PM

                  but finding it doesn't make it deadly.

                  1. re: sunshine842
                    jounipesonen Dec 20, 2012 02:21 PM

                    guess that's the job of the toxologists - but it does seem to be more than suspicious - let's see

                    1. re: jounipesonen
                      sunshine842 Dec 20, 2012 02:59 PM

                      You know that water and table salt can be lethal, right?

                      Please read marialorraine's well-written response above.

                      1. re: sunshine842
                        GH1618 Dec 20, 2012 05:33 PM

                        Water can be lethal, but not in the same way that a toxin can be lethal. It is meaningless to compare water to a poison.

                        1. re: GH1618
                          John E. Dec 20, 2012 07:12 PM

                          Tell that to Jennifer Strange.


                          1. re: GH1618
                            sunshine842 Dec 20, 2012 10:48 PM

                            Not a comparison -- just pointing out that even the most mundane of substances can be lethal, and that the CAS and MSDS data can be frightening if you don't know how to interpret what you're reading.

                            1. re: sunshine842
                              GH1618 Dec 21, 2012 02:35 PM

                              Understood, but often when someone makes the point that one can drink a fatal quantity of water, they are attempting to make the point that since too much of anything can kill you, one need not worry about small quantities of poisons. This is nonsense and a distraction from the substantive questions.

                              1. re: GH1618
                                maria lorraine Dec 21, 2012 03:32 PM

                                That's a good point about worrisome poisons.

                                But we cannot say that acetaldehyde is a worrisome poison.

                                That was the point of the rather remarkable post about dihydrogen monoxide -- we don't need to be alarmist about a common substance about which there is no evidence of toxicity or carcinogenicity unless it (or its precursor, in this case, alcohol) is consumed in excess.

                          2. re: sunshine842
                            Chemicalkinetics Dec 20, 2012 06:39 PM

                            Well, we so know for sure that sugar is toxic.


                            Despite the fact that I don't consider sugar to be a true toxin, I have to admit that more people are killed by sugar every year than by acetaldehyde.

                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                              GH1618 Dec 20, 2012 07:22 PM

                              Dr. Lustig considers fructose (one-half of table sugar or HFCS) to be a true toxin, and he explains why in biochemical terms in his well-known lecture.

                              1. re: GH1618
                                Chemicalkinetics Dec 20, 2012 07:51 PM

                                Yep, I have seen his lecture.

                              2. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                jounipesonen Dec 20, 2012 08:57 PM

                                but the results are additive so paying attention to BOTH would make sense

                        2. re: jounipesonen
                          Chemicalkinetics Dec 20, 2012 08:12 PM

                          Let's take a step back. I know Biohit, and have bought their products, mostly laboratory consumables. Fine company.

                          To me, Biohit simply is announcing that it has an high throughput assay for determining the concentration of acetaldehyde, probably a GC-MS platform. From a science point of view, nothing really more than this. From a marketing/sale angle, there is more to this. To put this in perspective, most analytical labs can do this. Most universities and most companies with an analytical branch can do this. I personally can do this. So you may ask what is this for? This is really for small companies which cannot afford an analytical division of their own. They send samples to service labs for determining various compounds. I have worked in a service lab a long time ago. A service lab can develop an assay from scratch, but it takes time and it takes money simply to develop a method.

                          Biohit made a marketing decision and determined that there is enough of a market for acetaldehyde to setup a high thoughput screening assay. This significantly decreases the time and cost for its customers. This is much like Quest Diagnostic having several blood work panels, including fasting glucose. I don't think this tool is marketed toward average consumers, but rather corporations.

                        3. Chemicalkinetics Dec 20, 2012 06:35 PM

                          I would say my initial and current response is: What is the big deal? You get that from drinking any alcohol (ethanol) anyway.

                          1. ipsedixit Dec 20, 2012 07:19 PM

                            I worry more about the Mayan end of the world on Dec. 21.

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: ipsedixit
                              jounipesonen Dec 20, 2012 09:00 PM

                              glad someone focused on the real problem

                              1. re: ipsedixit
                                KailuaGirl Dec 22, 2012 01:56 AM

                                Good news! We're still here! Now,to get that damned Christmas shopping done since I'll be giving presents after all. :-)

                                1. re: KailuaGirl
                                  ipsedixit Dec 22, 2012 11:51 AM

                                  I guess now I can start worrying about Acetaldehyde ...

                                  1. re: ipsedixit
                                    sunshine842 Dec 22, 2012 12:58 PM

                                    nah, there's gotta be some new end-of-the-world thing....

                              2. MGZ Dec 22, 2012 01:16 PM

                                You can have my acetaldehyde when you drain it from the near empty bottle in my cold, dead fingers. Cheers!

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