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Fri May 23 07:41:35 2003 Pacific Time
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      Beware of Irradiated Dietary Supplements, Warns Samuel S. Epstein, M.D., Chairman, Cancer Prevention Coalition

       CHICAGO, May 23 (AScribe Newswire) -- In an April 16 notice in the Federal Register, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that Steris Corporation had filed a petition requesting "the safe use of ionizing radiation" for sterilizing dietary supplements, and ingredients used in their manufacture. In support of the petition, FDA reassured "that this action ... does not ... have a significant effect on the human environment."

       However, in spite of industry and FDA assurances, irradiated dietary supplements are nutritionally inferior. Worse still, they are even dangerous.

       The irradiation dosage proposed by Steris ranges to as high as one billion times greater than that of a single chest X-ray, and about six times greater than that allowed by FDA for the sterilization of fresh meat. Such high doses of ionizing radiation produce profound changes in the chemical composition of the fats in nutritional ingredients. These include the production of high levels of benzene, and also a group of unique chemicals, some of which are highly stable. These chemicals, and irradiated food, have been incriminated as causing cancer. They have also been shown to cause genetic damage in test tube experiments, rodents, monkeys, and young children.

       Of still further concern, irradiation results in major losses of vitamins, particularly A, C, E, and the B complex.

       The Steris petition for sterilizing nutritional supplements with high dose radiation raises serious concerns regarding the likelihood of bacterial contamination of mainstream industry products. Accordingly, the public should be so informed by explicit labeling.

       For further details, see the Cancer Prevention Coalition February 2003 "Stop Cancer Before It Starts Campaign" report at www.preventcancer.com; the report has been endorsed by over 100 scientific experts in cancer prevention, and representatives of environmental, consumer, and other activist groups.

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      Media Contact: Samuel S. Epstein, M.D., Chairman, Cancer Prevention Coalition, and Professor emeritus Environmental and Occupational Medicine, University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health, 312-996-2297; epstein@uic.edu.

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