Cigarettes and cigarette smoke contain a multitude of toxic chemicals, according to anti-smoking zealots. Therefore, the public must be protected from evil smokers who would threaten the health of non-smoking men, women and children in places like restaurants and bars.
But what exactly are those helpless victims eating and drinking in their smoke-free, toxic-free non-smoking section of the restaurant? You might be surprised.
Below is a chart that lists chemicals found in the food and beverages served even in the non-smoking sections of finer restaurants around the world. Holding your breath while you eat might protect you from toxic secondhand smoke, but don’t swallow that food!
Naturally occurring mutagens and carcinogens found in foods and beverages
(Mutagens can induce or increase the frequency of mutation in an organism.)
|CHEMICAL ||WHERE IS IT? ||WHAT IS IT? |
|ACETALDEHYDE||Apples, tomatoes||Mutagen and potent rodent carcinogen|
|AFLATOXIN||Nuts||Mutagen, potent rodent carcinogen, human carcinogen|
|ALLYL ISOTHIOCYANATE||Arugula, broccoli, mustard||Mutagen, rodent carcinogen|
|BENZALDEHYDE||Apples, coffee, tomatoes||Rodent carcinogen|
|BENZO(A)PYRENE||Bread, coffee, pumpkin pie, rolls, tea||Mutagen and rodent carcinogen|
|BENZYL ACETATE||Jasmine tea||Rodent carcinogen|
|CAFFEIC ACID||Apples, carrots, celery, coffee, pears, grapes, lettuce, mangos, potatoes||Rodent carcinogen|
|D-LIMONENE||Black pepper, mango||Rodent carcinogen|
|ESTRAGOLE||Apples, basil||Rodent carcinogen|
|ETHYL ALCOHOL||Bread, red wine, rolls, tomatoes||Rodent and human carcinogen|
|ETHYL BENZENE||Coffee||Rodent carcinogen|
|ETHYL CARBAMATE||Bread, rolls, red wine||Mutagen and rodent carcinogen|
|FURAN AND FURAN DERIVATIVES||Bread, onions, celery, mushrooms, sweet potatoes, rolls, cranberry sauce, coffee||Many are mutagens|
|FURFURAL||Bread, coffee, nuts, rolls, sweet potatoes||Furan derivative and rodent carcinogen|
|HETEROCYCLIC AMINES||Roast beef, turkey||Mutagens and rodent carcinogens|
|HYDRAZINES||Mushrooms||Mutagens and rodent carcinogens|
|HYDROGEN PEROXIDE||Coffee, tomatoes||Mutagen and rodent carcinogen|
|METHYLGLYOXAL||Coffee, red wine||Mutagen and rodent carcinogen|
|PSORALENS||Celery, parsley||Mutagens, rodent and human carcinogens|
|QUERCETIN GLYCOSIDES||Apples, onions, tea, tomatoes||Mutagens and rodent carcinogens|
|SAFROLE||Nutmeg in apple and pumpkin pies, black pepper||Rodent carcinogen|
|SYMPHYTINE||Comfrey tea||Rodent carcinogen|
So what’s on the menu tonight?
Want to start with some appetizers? Don’t serve cream of mushroom soup. That contains hydrazines.
How about a fresh relish tray? Sounds delicious, but be careful of carrots. They contain aniline and caffeic acid. And don’t bother with the cherry tomatoes unless you have an appetite for benzaldehyde, hydrogen peroxide and quercetin glycosides. Celery is out, too. That contains caffeic acid, furan derivatives and psoralens.
A big fan of the nuts? Stay away from mixed roasted nuts. They’re chock full of aflatoxin and furfural.
How about a nice green salad? Say something like a tossed salad and arugula with a basil/mustard vinaigrette? Use lots of dressing to mask the taste of the allyl isothiocyanate, caffeic acid and estragole.
Maybe we should head straight to the entrees
Everybody likes roast turkey, especially when the whole family is around the table. Hope they like heterocyclic amines, too.
And how about some bread stuffing? Nothing goes better with turkey than some bread stuffing with onions, celery, black pepper and mushrooms. Save room for the ethyl alcohol, benzo(a)pyrene, ethyl carbamate, furan derivatives, furfural, dihydrazines, d-limonene, psoralens, quercetin glycosides and safrole.
Nothing says “Happy Holidays” like cranberry sauce, unless it’s the furan derivatives that go with it.
Not a turkey fan? How about some prime rib of beef with parsley sauce? Use lots of ketchup unless you have a taste for heterocyclic amines and psoralens.
You might not care for the flavor, but everyone needs vegetables. How about some broccoli spears? The allyl isothiocyanate ought to kill the taste.
Who doesn’t like a nice baked potato? Can’t have too much ethyl alcohol and caffeic acid, I suppose. Perhaps you prefer a sweet potato instead. You’ll still get your dose of ethyl alcohol, but with a shot of furfural to boot.
No meal is complete without rolls and butter. Or the ethyl alcohol, benzo(a)pyrene, ethyl carbamate, furan derivatives and furfural that come with it.
Save room for dessert
We all love pie, don’t we? Pumpkin pie is good, even with the benzo(a)pyrene, coumarin and safrole inside. Apple pie is my favorite, though I’d rather not think about the acetaldehyde, caffeic acid, coumarin, estragole, ethyl alcohol, quercetin glycoside and safrole that go with it.
If you’re not a pie person, which we find hard to believe, how about something from the fresh fruit tray? Fresh apples, pears, grapes or mangos? They’re always good, even with the acetaldehyde, benzaldehyde, caffeic acid, d-limonene, estragole and quercetin glycosides.
Anybody else need a drink after all that?
If you drink enough red wine, you won’t notice the ethyl alcohol and ethyl carbamate. If you drink so much that it’s time for a cup of coffee, the benzo(a)pyrene, benzaldehyde, benzene, benzofuran, caffeic acid, catechol, 1,2,5,6-dibenz(a)anthracene, d-limonene, ethyl benzene, furan, furfural, hydrogen peroxide and hydroquinone might do you some good. Or not.
If tea is more to your liking, you might need some sugar to mask the taste of the benzo(a)pyrene and quercetin glycosides. And for you health-conscious types who prefer only herbal teas, have some symphytine with your comfrey tea. Or some benzyl acetate with your jasmine tea.
A cigarette might taste good after all that.