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Smokers should certainly not take beta-carotene supplements, but the small amounts used as food additives are safe. Natural high-potency sweetener Brazzein has not yet been approved as a food additive, but some food manufacturers see it as a better-tasting alternative to stevia-derived rebiana. Brazzein is a small 54 amino acids protein molecule that occurs naturally in the berries of a climbing vine found in West Africa, where it has been consumed by people and animals. It is about 1, times sweeter than sugar, but, as far as we can determine, it has not been tested for safety. Because it is a protein, it might cause food allergies.

One company is planning to market the sweetener under the name Cweet. BVO keeps flavor oils in suspension, giving a cloudy appearance to citrus-flavored soft drinks such as Mountain Dew and Fanta Orange. Decades later, BVO is still poorly tested and remains on the interim list. Health concerns start with the finding that eating BVO leaves residues in body fat and the fat in brain, liver, and other organs. Indeed, doctors have identified bromine toxicity in two people who drank extremely large amounts of such sodas. Sensitive, modern studies are urgently needed to better understand the risk, especially at the lower levels typically consumed by large numbers of children.

Meanwhile, BVO should not be used it is not permitted in Europe. Antioxidant: Cereals, chewing gum, potato chips, vegetable oil. BHA retards rancidity in fats, oils, and oil-containing foods. While some studies indicate it is safe, other studies demonstrate that it causes cancer in rats, mice, and hamsters. Those cancers are controversial because they occur in the forestomach, an organ that humans do not have. However, a chemical that causes cancer in at least one organ in three different species indicates that it might be carcinogenic in humans.

That is why the U. This synthetic chemical can be replaced by safer chemicals e. Antioxidant: Cereals, chewing gum, potato chips, oils, etc. BHT retards rancidity in oils. It either increased or decreased the risk of cancer in various animal studies.

Residues of BHT occur in human fat. Avoid it when possible. Stimulant: Naturally occurring in coffee, tea, cocoa, coffee-flavored yogurt and frozen desserts. Additive in soft drinks, energy drinks, chewing gum, and waters. Caffeine is one of only two drugs that are present naturally or added to widely consumed foods quinine is the other drug used in foods. It is mildly addictive, one possible reason that makers of soft drinks add it to their products. Many coffee drinkers experience withdrawal symptoms, such as headaches, irritability, sleepiness, and lethargy, when they stop drinking coffee.

Because caffeine appears to increase the risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes, including miscarriages, preterm delivery, stillbirth, and childhood leukemia and possibly birth defects and inhibits fetal growth, women who are pregnant or may become pregnant should avoid caffeine.

Caffeine also may make it harder to get pregnant. The less those women consume, the lower the risk. Caffeine also keeps many people from sleeping, causes jitteriness, and affects calcium metabolism. However, on the positive side, drinking a couple of mugs cups per day of regular but not decaf coffee appears to reduce the risk of Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, gallstones, and even suicide. It also can relieve headache pain, increase endurance, such as on a treadmill, and improve alertness. The caffeine in a standard cup or two of coffee is harmless to most people. But be aware that a middle-size 16 oz.

That is equivalent to three old-fashioned 5-ounce-cups' worth of caffeine. A oz. Click here for a list of the caffeine content of beverages and foods. If you drink more than a couple of cups of coffee or several cans of caffeine-containing soda per day and experience insomnia or jitters, are at risk of osteoporosis, or are pregnant, you should rethink your habit. Preservative: Bread, rolls, pies, cakes. Calcium propionate prevents mold growth on bread and rolls.

The calcium is a beneficial mineral; the propionate is safe. Sodium propionate is used in pies and cakes, because calcium alters the action of chemical leavening agents. Dough conditioner, whipping agent: Bread dough, cake fillings, artificial whipped cream, processed egg whites. These additives strengthen bread dough so it can be used in commercial bread-making machinery and help produce a more uniform grain and greater volume. They act as whipping agents in dried, liquid, or frozen egg whites and artificial whipped cream.

Coloring: Colas, baked goods, pre-cooked meats, soy and Worcestershire sauces, chocolate-flavored products, beer. Caramel coloring is made by heating a sugar compound usually high-dextrose corn syrup , often together with ammonium compounds, acids, or alkalis. It is the most widely used by weight coloring added to foods and beverages, with hues ranging from tannish-yellow to black, depending on the concentration and the food.

Caramel coloring may be used to simulate the appearance of cocoa in baked goods, make meats and gravies look more attractive, and darken soft drinks and beer. Caramel coloring, when produced with ammonia, contains contaminants, 2-methylimidazole and 4-methylimidazole. In , studies by the U. National Toxicology Program found that those two contaminants cause cancer in male and female mice and possibly in female rats. In , the International Agency for Research on Cancer, a division of the World Health Organization, concluded that 2- and 4-methylimidazole are "possibly carcinogenic to humans. The state lists chemicals when they pose a lifetime risk of at least 1 cancer per , people.

California warned that as of January 7, , widely consumed products, such as soft drinks, that contained more than 29 micrograms of 4-methylimidazole per serving would have to bear a warning notice. In March , when CSPI published the results of a study that found levels up to micrograms per can of Coca-Cola and Pepsi-Cola purchased in Washington, DC, the soft-drink giants announced that they had reduced the contaminant to below California's threshold for action in products distributed in California.

They said they would market the less-contaminated products throughout the country, which Coca-Cola did in and PepsiCo did by The FDA has a limit that is 10 times as strict as California's for regulating chemicals that are contaminated with cancer-causing chemicals. Even that much lower level might exceed the FDA's threshold for action of 1 cancer per million consumers. It would be worth avoiding or drinking less colas and other ammonia-caramel-colored beverages not only because of risk from the 4-methylimidazole, but, of course, because the products contain about 10 teaspoons of sugar per 12 ounces and promote obesity and tooth decay.

Soy sauces, baked goods, and other foods that contain ammoniated caramel coloring are much less of a problem, because the amounts consumed are small. Improve texture, stabilize foam beer , prevent fruit from settling, prevent sugar from crystallizing cake icings , bind water: Ice cream, beer, pie fillings and jellies, cake icings, diet foods.

It is also called cellulose gum. CMC has long been considered safe, but a study funded by the National Institutes of Health raised some doubts. In mice that were predisposed to colitis, the emulsifiers promoted the disease. It is possible that polysorbates, CMC, and other emulsifiers act like detergents to disrupt the mucous layer that lines the gut, and that the results of the study may apply to other emulsifiers as well.

Research is needed to determine long-term effects of these and other emulsifiers at levels that people consume. Carbon dioxide, a harmless gas, is responsible for the bubbles in beer, soda pop, mineral water, and the like. Artificial coloring. Cochineal extract is a coloring obtained from the cochineal insect, which lives on cactus plants in Peru, the Canary Islands, and elsewhere. Carmine is a more purified coloring made from cochineal, but in both cases, carminic acid actually provides the color. These colorings, which are extremely stable, are used in some red, pink or purple candy, yogurt, ice cream, beverages, and other foods, as well as in drugs and cosmetics.

They appear to be safe, except that a small percentage of consumers suffer allergic reactions ranging from hives to life-threatening anaphylactic shock. Carmine and cochineal have long been listed on labels simply as "artificial coloring" or "color added. Food and Drug Administration gave the food industry until January 1, , to clearly identify the colorings as carmine or cochineal extract on food labels to help consumers identity the cause of their allergic reaction and avoid the colorings in the future.

Unfortunately, sensitive individuals must endure any number of allergic reactions before identifying the cause. The FDA rejected CSPI's request for labels to disclose that carmine is extracted from insects so vegetarians and others who want to avoid animal products could do so. Thickening, gelling, and stabilizing agent: Dairy and non-dairy products, including ice cream, sorbet, frozen desserts, chocolate milk, soy milk, almond milk, yogurt, cottage cheese, whipping cream; jelly, infant formula, salad dressings, deli meat, frozen dinners.

Carrageenan is a family of indigestible large molecules obtained from certain seaweeds. It is used as a thickening or texturing agent in a wide variety of foods and beverages. Large amounts of carrageenan have harmed test animals' colons. The amounts in food are too small to be a concern for most people, but an independent committee of the World Health Organization WHO concluded that it is unclear whether people with episodes of gastrointestinal disease might absorb some carrageenan, which presumably could cause gastrointestinal or immune system problems.

Some people have reported that eliminating carrageenan from their diet diminished or eliminated their gastrointestinal discomfort. Carrageenan—at least in its natural, undegraded form—does not cause cancer in animals. In animal studies, high doses of carrageenan increase the potency of chemicals that cause cancer, and there has been controversy over whether it could do so at the low levels that people consume.

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The FDA and the WHO committee have concluded that food-grade carrageenan does not pose either a direct or an indirect cancer risk. Some experts have been concerned about the safety of carrageenan for infants, given that the GI tract of the infant is still developing. In , however, the WHO committee reviewed new animal studies and concluded that infant formula made with carrageenan is safe.

Thickening and whitening agent: Ice cream, ice milk, sherbet, coffee creamers. Casein, the principal protein in milk, is a nutritious protein containing adequate amounts of all the essential amino acids. Natural flavoring: vanilla-flavored and other foods This substance is occasionally used as a natural flavoring. Only about 1, pounds of the product are used annually, so it really isn't a significant part of the food supply, nor should it pose any risk.

The FDA considers it to be "generally recognized as safe. Beavers mix castoreum with urine to mark their territories and make their fur and tail more water-resistant. The food industry finds it strong, tar-like, musky odor to be useful in flavorings. Of course, you'll never see "castoreum from anal sacs of beavers" on food labels; instead, it is just included in the broad term "natural flavorings.

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Prevents caking and clumping, binds water used in diet foods , improves texture, thickens, emulsifies, used as a filler: Grated cheese, breads, diet foods, frozen dinners, sauces, salad dressings. Cellulose is a safe and inexpensive carbohydrate that comprises the woody parts and cell walls of plants. It is a type of dietary fiber found naturally in fruits, vegetables, and cereals. Acid, flavoring, chelating agent: Ice cream, sherbet, fruit drink, candy, carbonated beverages, instant potatoes. Citric acid is versatile, widely used, cheap, and safe. It is an important metabolite in virtually all living organisms and is especially abundant naturally in citrus fruits and berries.

It is used as a strong acid, a tart flavoring, and an antioxidant. Sodium citrate, also safe, is a buffer that controls the acidity of gelatin desserts, jam, ice cream, candy, and other foods. Sweetener, thickener: Candy, marshmallows, syrups, snack foods, imitation dairy foods. Corn syrup, which consists mostly of dextrose, is a sweet, thick liquid made by treating cornstarch with acids or enzymes. It may be dried and used as corn syrup solids in coffee whiteners and other dry products.

Corn syrup contains no nutritional value other than calories, promotes tooth decay, and is used mainly in foods with little intrinsic nutritional value. Artificial sweetener: Banned in the United States. Allowed as a packaged tabletop sweetener in Canada, and also in diet soft drinks and foods in some other countries. This controversial high-potency sweetener was used in the United States in diet foods until , at which time it was banned because animal studies suggested that it caused cancer.

It is still permitted in Canada, Europe, and some other countries. Now, based on animal studies, cyclamate or a byproduct is believed not to cause cancer directly, but to increase the potency of other carcinogens and to harm the testes. Antioxidant: flour. Cysteine, an amino acid, is a natural constituent of protein-containing foods. It is added to foods to prevent oxygen from destroying vitamin C. Bakers use cysteine to reduce the mixing time for dough. Emulsifier: Bread, biscuits. This safe emulsifier is used to build a strong gluten network to improve bread volume and keep dough from getting sticky or collapsing.

Emulsifier: Prevents sugar from crystallizing, encapsulates flavor oils, thickening agent: Candy, powdered mixes. Dextrin is the mixture of fragments that results from treating starch with acid, alkali, or enzymes. It is as safe as starch. Sweetener: Bread, caramel, soda pop, cookies, many other foods. Dextrose is an important chemical in every living organism. A sugar, it is a source of sweetness in fruits and honey. Added to foods as a sweetener, it represents empty calories and contributes to tooth decay.

Dextrose turns brown when heated and contributes to the color of bread crust and toast. Butter flavoring. Diacetyl is one of the many chemicals that give butter its characteristic flavor. Low levels are present in butter including unsalted butter, to which extra diacetyl is added to prolong its shelf life. Much higher levels have been used in butter-flavored popcorn, margarine, and butter-flavored cooking oils and sprays.

The low levels are safe, but workers in factories that produce microwave popcorn learned the hard way that long-term exposure to diacetyl causes obstructive lung disease, which is potentially fatal. Widespread publicity around to and several lawsuits persuaded most major American food manufacturers to protect their workers and restaurant cooks by switching to supposedly safer ingredients. But more recent studies indicate that one substitute, 2,3-pentanedione, chemically similar to diacetyl also called 2,3-butanedione , may be just as damaging to the respiratory tract.

Cooking oil. This is the diglyceride part of the long-used emulsifier, mono- and diglycerides. The manufacturer claims that it can help people lose weight and reduce triglyceride levels. Don't count on this little-used ingredient providing any real benefit. Chelating agent: Salad dressing, margarine, sandwich spreads, mayonnaise, processed fruits and vegetables, canned shellfish, soft drinks.

Modern food-manufacturing technology, which involves rollers, blenders, and containers made of metal, results in trace amounts of metal contamination in food. EDTA ethylenediamine tetraacetic acid traps metal impurities, which would otherwise promote rancidity and the breakdown of artificial colors. It is safe. Antioxidant, color stabilizer: Cured meats. Low calorie sugar-free sweetener: Drinks, hard candy, chocolate milk, frozen desserts, baked goods, packaged sweeteners sometimes mixed with stevia leaf extract, monk fruit extract, or other sweeteners.

This sugar alcohol, which was first used commercially in the United States in about , is about 60 to 70 percent as sweet as sugar, but provides at most only one-twentieth as many calories. Small amounts occur naturally in such fruits as pears, melons, and grapes, but virtually all of the erythritol used as a food additive is produced by fermenting glucose with various yeasts.

Companies also value erythritol because it provides the bulk that sugar has and which high-potency sweeteners lack, plus it adds to the "mouthfeel" of low-sugar beverages. Because it is not digested by bacteria, it does not promote tooth decay. Other than occasional allergic reactions, the only safety concern about erythritol is that eating too much of it could cause nausea. Individual sensitivities vary greatly, but most adults can safely consume up to about 50 grams of erythritol per day. For comparison, there are 12 grams in Blue Sky Zero Cola, 4 grams of erythritol in a ounce can of Zevia soda.

That's safer than most other sugar alcohols, such as sorbitol, mannitol, and lactitol. Erythritol's relative safety is due to its being mostly absorbed into the bloodstream and excreted unchanged in urine. Other sugar alcohols stir up trouble in the colon where they attract water leading to laxation or diarrhea or are digested by bacteria causing gas. Coloring, nutrient: Black olives.

Used by the olive industry to generate a uniform jet-black color and in pills as a source of iron. Sweetener: " Health" drinks and other products. Fructose also called levulose is a sugar that is a little sweeter than table sugar. Modest amounts of fructose occur naturally in fruits and vegetables, which also contain other sugars.

When table sugar is digested, it breaks down into equal amounts of fructose and glucose dextrose. Another major source of fructose in the typical diet is high-fructose corn syrup HFCS , which typically contains about half fructose and half glucose. Fructose itself is used as a sweetener in a small number of foods whose labels often imply, deceptively, that such foods are healthier than competing products that are sweetened with sugar or HFCS. The fructose that occurs in fruits and vegetables is certainly safe.

However, the large amounts that come from added fructose, sucrose ordinary table sugar , and high-fructose corn syrup increase triglyceride fat and small, dense LDL "bad" cholesterol levels in blood and may thereby increase the risk of heart disease. Also, recent studies show that consuming 25 percent of one's calories from fructose or high-fructose corn syrup which is about half fructose leads to more visceral deep belly fat or liver fat. Those changes may increase the risk of diabetes and heart disease. Finally, large amounts consumed on a regular basis also may affect levels of such hormones as leptin and ghrelin, which help regulate appetite, thereby contributing to weight gain and obesity.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans America's basic nutrition policy , American Heart Association, and other health authorities recommend that people consume no more than about 3 to 8 percent of calories in the form of refined sugars. That's far less than the current average of 14 percent of calories. The bottom line: the less added sugars—fructose, dextrose, sucrose, or HFCS—one consumes the better though, again, small amounts are safe. Tartness agent: Powdered drinks, pudding, pie fillings, gelatin desserts. A solid at room temperature, inexpensive, and highly acidic, fumaric acid is the ideal source of tartness and acidity in dry food products.

Thickening and gelling agent: Powdered dessert mixes, marshmallows, yogurt, ice cream, cheese spreads, beverages. Gelatin is a protein obtained from animal hides and bones. It has little nutritional value, because it contains little or none of several essential amino acids. Pretend benefits: Beverages. Companies add small amounts of Ginkgo biloba to beverages because it supposedly boosts memory and thinking, but most studies in healthy people show little or no benefit at levels greater than what's added to foods and beverages. Since Ginkgo appears to interfere with blood clotting, it should not be consumed before or after surgery, during labor and delivery, or by those with bleeding problems such as hemophilia.

Importantly, in , the U. Government's National Toxicology Program published the first study that could evaluate Ginkgo 's ability to cause cancer. The study found "clear evidence" that Ginkgo biloba caused liver cancer in male and female mice and "some evidence" that Ginkgo caused thyroid cancer in rats.

Pretend benefits: Energy drinks. Companies add small amounts to foods because of ginseng's reputation for boosting energy, sexual stamina, and mental effort, but there's little evidence for those claims even at much higher levels than what is found in foods. The amount in foods and beverages is not likely to pose a safety risk. Sequestrant, acidifier, leavening agent, curing agent: Nonalcoholic beverages, processed fruit and fruit juices, baked goods, dairy products, cured meats. Gluconic acid is a metabolite of glucose. Glucono delta-lactone is the most widely used of this family of compounds and is used to adjust the acidity or as a leavening agent in baked goods, processed fruits, and dairy products.

It is also used in some cured meats to speed the formation of the pink color. Maintains water content: Candy, fudge, baked goods. In nature, glycerin forms the backbone of fat and oil molecules. The body uses it as a source of energy or as a starting material in making more-complex molecules. Flavor enhancer: Soups, sauces, seasonings. GMP and inosine monophosphate IMP are used together to enhance the meaty umami flavor of soups and other foods. They are usually used together with monosodium glutamate MSG , because they enhance its potency.

Stimulant: Energy drinks, teas. Guarana is a plant that has seeds high in caffeine. Companies add guarana to beverages as a "natural" source of caffeine, but its effect is the same as the caffeine in coffee or tea. Include guarana when you're keeping track of the caffeine in your diet. Too much caffeine from any source can cause insomnia, anxiety, and other problems see discussion of caffeine. Thickening agents, stabilizers: Beverages, ice cream, frozen pudding, salad dressing, dough, cottage cheese, candy, drink mixes.

Gums are derived from natural sources bushes, trees, seaweed, bacteria and are poorly tested, though probably safe. They are not absorbed by the body. They are used to thicken foods, prevent sugar crystals from forming in candy, stabilize beer foam arabic , form a gel in pudding furcelleran , encapsulate flavor oils in powdered drink mixes, or keep oil and water mixed together in salad dressings. Gums are often used to replace fat in low-fat ice cream, baked goods, and salad dressings. Tragacanth has caused occasional severe allergic reactions. The FDA warns against giving a product called SimplyThick, which contains xanthan gum, to infants, since it may cause a life-threatening condition called necrotizing enterocolitis.

It is not clear whether the gum itself, bacterial contamination of the gum, or some other cause is to blame. Inert, safe gas: Balloons or pressurized containers. Helium is an inert, safe gas that is used to float balloons or sometimes to force foods out of pressurized containers. Our consumption of high-fructose corn syrup HFCS has soared since around HFCS and sugar are equally harmful.

HFCS starts out as cornstarch. Companies use enzymes or acids to break down most of the starch into its glucose subunits. Then other enzymes convert different proportions of the glucose to fructose. In , about 59 pounds of corn sweeteners, mostly HFCS, and 68 pounds of cane and beet sugar were produced per capita in the United States.

A total of pounds of all caloric sweeteners, down 15 percent from the high of pounds, was produced per person. Much of that decline resulted from declining soft drink consumption thanks to increased health consciousness and to the popularity of bottled water , while the rest reflects food manufacturers switching back to ordinary sugar. Actual consumption as opposed to production of caloric sweeteners, according to the U. Department of Agriculture, was 76 pounds per person in Some people think that HFCS is mostly fructose, which does probably play a significant role in obesity.

However, HFCS, on average, is about half fructose and half glucose—the same as ordinary table sugar sucrose when it is metabolized by the body. When sugar is used in soft drinks, much of it is broken down to glucose and fructose right in the bottle. Modest amounts of HFCS are safe. However, large amounts promote tooth decay, as well as increase triglyceride fat levels in blood, thereby increasing the risk of heart disease. Also, recent studies show that consuming 25 percent of calories from HFCS or fructose leads to more visceral deep belly fat or liver fat.

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Those changes may increase the risk of diabetes or heart disease. Finally, large amounts of fructose from HFCS or sugar consumed on a regular basis also may affect levels of such hormones as insulin, leptin, and ghrelin that regulate appetite, thereby contributing to weight gain and obesity. The HFCS 55 that is used in most soft drinks contains about 10 percent more fructose than sucrose. That makes most soft drinks a bit more harmful than if they were made with sugar.

The American Heart Association has a stricter recommendation: six teaspoons of refined sugars per day for women and nine teaspoons for men. The bottom line: the less added sugars—fructose, dextrose, sucrose, or HFCS—one consumes the better. Sweetener, improves shelf life, inhibits bacterial growth, fermentation, other purposes: Candy, baked goods, beer.

Acids or enzymes are used to break down cornstarch into a syrup rich in the sugar maltose 35 percent or more. Maltose is composed of two units of glucose. High-maltose corn syrup, corn syrup solids, and maltodextrin are similar, in that each contain glucose but not fructose, and each is produced in a wide variety of formulations for different applications.

Fortunately, not much is used in foods. Sugar-free sweetener: Candy, chocolates, chewing gum, baked goods. HSH, like sorbitol and other sugar alcohols, is slightly sweet and poorly absorbed by the body. As with most sugar alcohols, eating significant amounts of HSH may cause intestinal gas and diarrhea. Flavor enhancer: Instant soups, frankfurters, sauce mixes, beef stew.

HVP consists of vegetable usually soybean protein that has been chemically broken down to the amino acids of which it is composed. HVP is used to bring out the natural flavor of food and, perhaps, to enable companies to use less real food. It contains MSG and may cause adverse reactions in sensitive individuals. IMP and guanosine monophosphate GMP are used together to enhance the meaty umami flavor of soups and other foods.

They are often used together with monosodium glutamate MSG , because they enhance its potency.

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These safe 5'-ribonucleotides are produced together. One such substitute is inter-esterified oil. The oil is produced by chemically combining a polyunsaturated oil like soybean oil with fully hydrogenated soybean oil. Fully hydrogenated oils do not contain trans fat, but consist largely of saturated fatty acids. That particular type of saturated fat, stearic acid, is relatively innocuous compared to the other common types of saturated fat.

By varying the proportions of normal and fully hydrogenated oil, companies can obtain oils that have the desired consistency. Fiber and fat substitute: Margarine, baked goods, fillings, dairy foods, frozen desserts, salad dressing. It's a naturally occuring soluble fiber. Inulin doesn't raise blood sugar levels, so it may help people with diabetes. It also stimulates the growth of friendly bacteria in the large intestine.

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Sweetener: Candy, soft drinks, many other foods. Invert sugar, a mixture of two sugars, dextrose and fructose, is sweeter and more soluble than sucrose table sugar. Invert sugar forms when sucrose is split in two by an enzyme or acid. It provides "empty calories," contributes to tooth decay, and should be avoided. Isolated soy protein is simply protein purified from soybeans. Textured vegetable protein is soy protein that has been combined with chemical additives and processed into granules, chunks, or strips that resemble meat.

These proteins are used in some imitation meat products, which are generally healthful, but may contain flavor enhancers, thickening agents, emulsifiers, and artificial colorings.

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Sugar-free sweetener: Hard candies, chocolates, chewing gum, baked goods. This slightly sweet ingredient is manufactured from sugar and does not promote tooth decay. It is often mixed with artificial sweeteners, such as sucralose, to provide more sweetening power. Isomalt is poorly absorbed by the body, and thus has only about half the calories of sugar. Chemically, it is a disaccharide sugar-alcohol consisting of glucose and mannitol or sorbitol sub-units.

Like many other sugar alcohols, large amounts can cause diarrhea. Controls acidity: Spanish olives, cheese, frozen desserts, carbonated beverages. This safe acid occurs in almost all living organisms. It inhibits spoilage in Spanish-type olives, balances the acidity in cheese-making, and adds tartness to frozen desserts, carbonated fruit-flavored drinks, and other foods.

Sugar-free sweetener: Candy, chocolates, baked goods, ice cream, other sugar-free foods. Lactitol is a sugar alcohol. It is made from lactose milk sugar. Like most other sugar alcohols, lactitol is not absorbed well by the body which means it has only about half the calories of sugar , and it does not promote tooth decay. However, large amounts above 20 to 30 grams may cause loose stools or diarrhea.

Nutrient, sweetener: Whipped topping mix, fortified breakfast pastry. Lactose, a carbohydrate that is found only in milk, is nature's way of delivering calories to infant mammals. One-sixth as sweet as sugar, it is used as a slightly sweet source of carbohydrate. The intestine secretes an enzyme that splits lactose into its two principal sugars: glucose and galactose.

Children suffering from galactosemia, a rare genetic disease, can suffer serious harm by consuming lactose. Most Asians and people of black African heritage cannot tolerate as much lactose as Caucasians after early childhood. Some people are acutely lactose intolerant, but most people with lactose intolerance can safety eat smaller amounts of dairy products or foods with added lactose. Emulsifier, antioxidant: Baked goods, margarine, chocolate, ice cream. A common constituent of animal and plant tissues, lecithin is a source of the nutrient choline. It keeps oil and water from separating out, retards rancidity, reduces spattering in a frying pan, and leads to fluffier cakes.

Major natural sources are egg yolk and soybeans. Magnesium is a mineral that is a crucial component of many enzymes in the human body and plays a unique role in muscle contraction. We get about half our magnesium from nuts, beans, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, but it's also in many other foods. About half of the body's magnesium is stored in bone. Acidulant, flavoring: Fruit-flavored drinks, candy, lemon-flavored ice-tea mix, ice cream, preserves. L-Malic acid is an important metabolite present in all living cells and is abundant in apples. It is sometimes called "apple acid. While adults can probably utilize D-malic acid the unnatural form , infants may not, so synthetic DL-malic acid should not be added to baby food.

Sugar-free sweetener: Candy, chocolates, jams, and other sugar-free foods. Maltitol, a sugar alcohol, is made by hydrogenating maltose, which is obtained from corn syrup. Unlike hydrogenated oils, no trans fat forms when maltose is hydrogenated. Like other sugar alcohols, maltitol is not absorbed well by the body which means it has only about half as many calories as sugar , and it does not promote tooth decay.

However, large amounts above 20 to 30 grams may have a laxative effect. Texturizer in processed foods. This ingredient is made from starch and consists of short chains of glucose molecules. Normal maltodextrins are easily digested and absorbed by the body. But companies also use "resistant maltodextrin" to simulate dietary fiber.

That form of maltodextrin is made by treating starch with enzymes, heat, or acids and cannot be broken down by digestive enzymes. That makes the additive an "isolated fiber. Maltodextrin is usually made from starch from corn, potato, or rice, but is sometimes made from wheat starch. If maltodextrin is made from wheat, food labels will indicate that fact to protect people who are allergic to wheat. Artificial Sweetener: Diet drinks, snacks. A blend of neotame and maltodextrin that one company calls maltotame. Some food manufacturers illegally state maltotame in the ingredient lists on their products instead of identifying the actual additives.

CSPI rates maltodextrin, an ingredient made from corn starch, as safe. Sugar-free sweetener: "Dust" on chewing gum, other sugar-free foods. Mannitol, like most other sugar alcohols, is not as sweet as sugar, not absorbed well by the body which means it provides only less than half as many calories per gram as table sugar , and does not promote tooth decay. However, large amounts may have a laxative effect and may even cause diarrhea. The FDA requires foods "whose reasonably foreseeable consumption may result in a daily ingestion of 20 grams of mannitol" to bear this warning: "Excess consumption may have a laxative effect.

Natural high-potency sweetener Monatin is not yet used as a food additive, but Cargill, PepsiCo, and other companies see that as a possibility in the future. Like stevia-derived rebiana, monatin was first identified in a plant—in this case the root bark of a shrub that grows in South Africa, where the plant has been consumed by people.

The substance, which can be synthesized more efficiently in a factory, is about 3, times sweeter than sugar and supposedly does not have the unpleasant aftertaste that most current stevia extracts have. Monatin has undergone only rudimentary safety testing. Natural high-potency sweetener: Frozen desserts, soft drinks, packaged sweeteners, other sugar-free foods.

This high potency sweetener is about times sweeter than sugar. Like artificial sweeteners and stevia leaf extracts rebiana , monk fruit extract can be used to replace some or all of the added sugars in a wide range of foods and beverages. This product has not been well tested in animals. It is derived from a fruit that has been consumed in China for at least several hundred years and used as an herbal medicine for the past several decades, so it may well be safe, although any chronic adverse effects might easily have escaped detection.

Monk fruit extract contains several intensely sweet substances called mogrosides. One company's purest product contains more than 50 percent mogroside V. Labels may call the ingredient monk fruit, but don't think you're getting any whole fruit; manufacturers use a multi-step process to extract just the sweet mogrosides. Emulsifier: Baked goods, margarine, candy, peanut butter. Makes bread softer and prevents staling, improves the stability of margarine, makes caramels less sticky, and prevents the oil in peanut butter from separating out.

Mono- and diglycerides are safe, though most foods they are used in are high in refined flour, sugar, or fat. Flavor enhancer: Soup, salad dressing, chips, frozen entrees, restaurant foods. MSG is the sodium salt of an amino acid that brings out the flavor in many foods. While that may sound like a treat for taste buds, the use of MSG allows companies to reduce the amount of real ingredients in their foods, such as chicken in chicken soup.

In the s, it was discovered that large amounts of MSG fed to infant mice destroyed nerve cells in the brain. After that research was publicized, public pressure forced baby-food companies to stop adding MSG to their products it was used to make the foods taste better to parents. Careful studies have shown that some people are sensitive to large amounts of MSG. Reactions include headache, nausea, weakness, and burning sensation in the back of neck and forearms. Some people complain of wheezing, changes in heart rate, and difficulty breathing. Some people claim to be sensitive to very small amounts of MSG, but no good studies have been done to determine just how little MSG can cause a reaction in the most-sensitive people.

To protect the public's health, manufacturers and restaurateurs should use less or no MSG and the amounts of MSG should be listed on labels of foods that contain significant amounts. People who believe they are sensitive to MSG should be aware that other ingredients, such as natural flavoring, Torula yeast, and hydrolyzed vegetable protein, also contain glutamate.

Also, foods such as Parmesan cheese and tomatoes contain glutamate that occurs naturally, but no reactions have been reported to those foods. Meat substitute: Quorn brand foods. Mycoprotein, the novel ingredient in Quorn-brand frozen meat substitutes, is made from processed mold Fusarium venenatum and can cause serious reactions in some people. Rather, the mold is grown in liquid solution in large tanks. Quorn foods have been sold in the United Kingdom since the s and also in continental Europe.

Quorn foods have been marketed in the United States since and in Scandinavia, Australia, and New Zealand more recently. The chunks of imitation meat are nutritious, but the prepared foods in which they are used may be high in fat or salt. Typical adverse reactions are to Quorn products are vomiting, nausea, and diarrhea. Hives, breathing difficulties, and potentially fatal anaphylactic reactions are less common.

Many people have gone to emergency rooms for treatment of Quorn-related reactions.

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  • The British and American governments acknowledge that people are allergic or intolerant to Quorn foods, but so far have rejected CSPI's recommendations to require Quorn foods to bear a label warning of possible severe adverse reactions. In fact, when Quorn-containing "vegetarian" products are served at restaurants, cafeterias, and other foodservice locations, there may not even be a label to inform consumers that they are eating Quorn foods.

    There have been rare cases of allergic reactions to products that contain mycoprotein. It concluded that more people suffered from sometimes severe GI reactions nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps than allergic reactions hives, itchy skin, swelling of the throat or mouth area, breathing difficulties , and that some people experienced both. Antimicrobial: Cheese. This antimicrobial agent is produced by bacteria and used to prevent mold growth in cheese.

    Artificial sweetener: "Diet," "no-sugar added," "sugar-free" and other products, including soft drinks, dairy products, frozen desserts, and baked goods. Neotame brand name Newtame , produced by NutraSweet Co. Neotame is chemically related to aspartame, but the difference confers greater chemical stability, enabling the new sweetener to be used in baked foods, and it is handled differently by the body. It likely will be used mostly in low-calorie foods, but may also be used to adjust the flavor of other foods. To compensate for taste flaws, you will probably find neotame mixed with sugar or with other artificial sweeteners.

    It was approved by the U. FDA in and the European Union in , but is still rarely used. Nutrient: Enriched flour, breakfast cereals, and other fortified foods. Niacin, or vitamin B3, is safe. Niacin deficiency causes pellagra, which is characterized by mental disturbances and potentially death. Preservative: meat and poultry products, cheese, liquid eggs, salad dressings. Nisin is a short polypeptide small protein molecule that is produced by lactic acid bacteria and has anti-bacterial properties. It is unclear how widely this preservative is used. Nitrous oxide is often used as the propellant to drive foods out of pressurized containers.

    It is better known as laughing gas and is safe. Isolated fiber: Cereal, crackers, bread, muffins. When a food ingredient contains the word "fiber," it's code for an isolated fiber. Soluble fiber may lower blood cholesterol and blood sugar but doesn't prevent constipation. Finally, isolated fibers don't contain the micronutrients and phytochemicals that foods with naturally occuring fiber contain. Originally envisioned as a replacement for fat in everything from cheese to ice cream, the ingredient is now only used in a couple of brands of snack chips.

    Olestra can cause diarrhea and loose stools, abdominal cramps, flatulence, and other adverse effects. Those symptoms are sometimes severe. Olestra reduces the body's ability to absorb fat-soluble carotenoids such as alpha and beta-carotene, lycopene, lutein, and canthaxanthin from fruits and vegetables, but an occasional serving wouldn't be a problem. Those nutrients are thought by many experts to reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease. Olestra enables manufacturers to offer greasy-feeling low-fat snacks, but consumers would be better off with baked snacks, which are safe and just as low in calories.

    Products made with olestra should not be called "fat free," because they contain substantial amounts of indigestible fat. Bulking agent, emulsifier, sweetener, prebiotic: Frozen desserts, cookies, energy and granola bars. Oligofructose, synthesized from sucrose or extracted from chicory roots, consists of up to several dozen fructose molecules linked end to end.

    Like inulin and other soluble fibers, oligofructose is digested by bacteria in the large intestine, but not by human enzymes. This slightly sweet ingredient provides less than about half as many calories per gram as fructose or other sugar. Oligofructose promotes the growth of "good" bifidus bacteria. Pantothenic acid is one of the water-soluble B vitamins. Human deficiencies have never been observed.

    Meat tenderizer. Papain is a harmless enzyme obtained from papaya that is used to break down tough muscle protein in meat. Fat, oil, shortening: Stick margarine, crackers, fried restaurant foods, baked goods, icing, microwave popcorn. Vegetable oil, usually a liquid, can be made into a semi-solid shortening by reacting it with hydrogen. Partial hydrogenation reduces the levels of polyunsaturated oils — and also creates trans fats, which promote heart disease. A committee of the U. Food and Drug Administration FDA concluded in that on a gram-for-gram basis, trans fat is even more harmful than saturated fat.

    That finding encouraged a few food manufacturers to begin replacing hydrogenated shortening with less-harmful ingredients. Similarly, the Institute of Medicine advised consumers to consume as little trans fat as possible, ideally less than about 2 grams a day that much might come from naturally occurring trans fat in beef and dairy products. Harvard School of Public Health researchers estimate that trans fat had been causing about 50, premature heart attack deaths annually, making partially hydrogenated oil one of the most harmful ingredients in the food supply see discussion of salt.

    Beginning in , Nutrition Facts labels have had to list the amount of trans fat in a serving. That spurred many more companies, including Frito-Lay, Kraft, ConAgra, and others, to replace most or all of the partially hydrogenated oil in almost all their products. Confusing label reading, though, is that foods labeled "0g trans fat" are permitted to contain 0. Consumers need to read labels carefully for another reason: foods labeled "0g trans" or "no trans" may still have large amounts of saturated fat. Restaurants, which do not provide nutrition information, were slower to change, but the pace of change has picked up.

    They use partially hydrogenated oil for frying chicken, potatoes, and fish, as well as in biscuits and other baked goods. Denmark virtually banned partially hydrogenated oil as of January 1, Later that year, the Center for Science in the Public Interest petitioned the FDA to require restaurants to disclose when they use partially hydrogenated oil and to begin the process of eliminating partially hydrogenated oil from the entire food supply.

    While the FDA rejected the idea of requiring restaurants to disclose the presence of trans fat, New York City, Philadelphia, Boston, and other jurisdictions have set tight limits on the trans-fat content of restaurant foods. In the FDA finally concluded that partially hydrogenated oil was no longer safe and gave the food industry three years to eliminate it from its products.

    Gelling agent: Jams, jellies. Pectin is a safe carbohydrate that strengthens cell walls in citrus fruits, apples, beets, carrots, and other fruits and vegetables. Pectin forms gels that are the basis of fruit jellies, and may be used to thicken barbeque sauce, cranberry sauce, canned frosting, and yogurt. Acidulant, chelating agent, buffer, emulsifier, nutrient, discoloration inhibitor: Baked goods, cheese, powdered foods, cured meat, soda pop, breakfast cereals, dehydrated potatoes.

    Phosphoric acid acidifies and flavors cola beverages; the acidity erodes tooth enamel. Calcium and iron phosphates act as mineral supplements. Sodium aluminum phosphate is a leavening agent. Sodium acid pyrophosphate reduces levels of the carcinogen acrylamide in French fries, prevents discoloration in potatoes and sugar syrups, and prevents the formation of harmless mineral struvite crystals in canned seafood. Most people consume far more phosphorus than they need, which may have adverse effects on kidney, bone, and cardiovascular health, especially for people suffering from kidney disease.

    Cholesterol-lowering additive: Margarine, fruit juice, bread, dietary supplements. These substances are minor components of membranes in many nuts, seeds, vegetable oils, fruits, vegetables and other foods. They are chemically related to cholesterol. They are more easily incorporated into foods other than fruit juices when they are converted to ester forms. They are not toxic, but they may reduce the body's absorption of nutrients called carotenoids that are thought to reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease. Bulking agent: Reduced-calorie salad dressings, baked goods, candies, puddings, frozen desserts. Polydextrose is made by combining dextrose corn sugar with sorbitol. The result is a slightly sweet, reduced-calorie only one calorie per gram because it is poorly digested bulking agent.

    The FDA requires that if a serving of a food would likely provide more than 15 grams of polydextrose, the label should advise consumers that "Sensitive individuals may experience a laxative effect from excessive consumption of this product. PGPR is one of those mysterious chemicals that manufacturers use in food production. It stabilizes low-fat, high-water margarines and helps the "flow properties" in candy production. Emulsifier: Baked goods, frozen desserts, imitation cream.

    Polysorbate 60 is short for polyoxyethylene- 20 - sorbitan monostearate. It and its close relatives, polysorbate 65 and 80, work the same way as mono- and diglycerides, but smaller amounts are needed. They keep baked goods from going stale, keep dill oil dissolved in bottled dill pickles, help coffee whiteners dissolve in coffee, and prevent oil from separating out of artificial whipped cream. It is possible that polysorbates and other emulsifiers act like detergents to disrupt the mucous layer that lines the gut, and that the results of this study may apply to other emulsifiers as well.

    Research needs to be done to determine long-term effects of these and other emulsifiers at levels that people consume. Flour improver: White flour, bread and rolls. This additive has long been used to increase the volume of bread and to produce bread with a fine crumb the not-crust part of bread structure. Most bromate rapidly breaks down to form innocuous bromide. However, bromate itself causes cancer in animals.

    The tiny amounts of bromate that may remain in bread pose a small risk to consumers. Bromate has been banned virtually worldwide except in Japan and the United States. It is rarely used in California because a cancer warning might be required on the label. Since then, numerous millers and bakers have stopped using bromate. Worldwide: Tobacco use causes more than 5 million deaths per year, and current trends show that tobacco use will cause more than 8 million deaths annually by Deaths from Traffic and Cancer: World traffic deaths are about 1.

    Background radiation comes from outer space cosmic, solar , the earth radon, potassium, uranium, thorium , food, and even other people. US natural background radiation exposure is an average of 3. Manmade average exposure is 2. The 6. These people have exposures several times greater than 6. Example: On October 1, , radiation at a hospital entrance people walking in and out near Fukushima in Japan was measured at 0.

    This radiation exposure has to be typed, converted to dose and adjusted with factors to estimate any health impact. Radioactive iodine concentrates in the thyroid which may cause thyroid cancer years after exposure. Of all the children exposed by drinking milk from to , 16 years, about 4, were diagnosed with thyroid cancer.

    As of September , 15 had died, with more to come in future years.

    An explanation for the pilots may be their sedentary working conditions, the poor airline food, the radio headset and the instrument and radar radiation in the cockpit. Here is a URL which calculates radiation doses for various isotopes, distance from the source, shielding, etc. Much is written about the dangers of nuclear energy. However, it is the safest source of energy for producing electric power, in accordance with studies by the World Health Organization and the european study EXTERNE based on data from past decades.

    Any deaths due to future global warming, partially the result of the CO2 from fossil fuels, was not considered by these studies. Energy Central contributors share their experience and insights for the benefit of other Members like you. Please show them your appreciation by leaving a comment, 'liking' this post, or following this Member. Fuel clean up efforts underway. The Energy Central Power Industry Network is based on one core idea - power industry professionals helping each other and advancing the industry by sharing and learning from each other.

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