The Michigan Daily - Monday, September 30, 2002 - 7A
Scientists study carcinogen levels in everyday food
WASHINGTON (AP) - Scientists have
found a clue to the chemical reaction that
may cause potato chips, french fries and
other fried or baked starchy foods to build
up high levels of a possible cancer-causing
The suspect is asparagine, a naturally
occurring amino acid that, when heated with
certain sugars such as glucose, leads to the
formation of the worrisome substance acry-
The Food and Drug Administration has
made studying acrylamide's risk and deter-
mining how to lower its levels in food one
of its highest research priorities, according
to a plan that agency officials were to dis-
cuss today with consumer groups and food
Canada's government made the discovery
about the suspect chemical reaction and has
ordered food manufacturers to look for
ways to alter it and thus lower levels of
acrylamide in food. Cincinnati-based manu-
facturer Procter & Gamble Co. says its sci-
entists, too, have found the asparagine
It is the first, clue to emerge in the mys-
tery of acrylamide since Swedish scientists
made the surprise announcement in the
spring that high levels of the possible car-
cinogen are in numerous everyday foods:
french fries, potato chips, some types of
breakfast cereals and breads - plenty of
high-carbohydrate foods that are fried or
baked at high temperatures. The chemical
was not found in boiled foods, which are
cooked at lower temperatures.
Sweden's findings were confirmed in
June by governments in Norway, Britain and
Switzerland, and preliminary testing of sev-
eral hundred foods by the FDA suggests
U.S. foods contain similaracrylamide levels,
said Richard Canady, who is directing the
agency's assessment of acrylamide's risk..
Acrylamide is used to produce plastics
and dyes and to purify drinking water.
Although traces have been found in water,
no one expected high levels to be in basic
It causes cancer in test animals, but it has
not been proved to do so in people. Still,
Swedish scientists have said the levels are
high enough that foodborne acrylamide
might be responsible for several hundred
cases of cancer in that country each year.
In the United States, the FDA has been
careful to caution that acrylamide so far is
only a suspected carcinogen. The FDA has
not yet advised consumers to alter their
diets to avoid it.
Still uncertain is whether the FDA, once
it finishes testing different foods next year,
will publicly identify which brands contain
the most acrylamide - information wanted
by consumer advocates.
For now, Canady said, "We want to rein-
force ... eating a balanced diet with plenty
of fruits and vegetables. That's the best way
to ensure that you're getting adequate nutri-
The FDA has an impressive research plan
but "should give the public better advice,"
said Michael Jacobsen of the consumer
group Center for Science in the Public
"People should be consuming less french
fries and potato chips for other reasons -
the salt, the calories, the fat - and the gov-
ernment should have been urging that any-
way. Here's yet another reason," he said.
The food industry stresses that while
fried potato products are getting most of
the bad publicity - most testing so far
shows the highest levels in them - acry-
lamide is in a wide variety of foods. Procter
& Gamble said Friday that its testing found
acrylamide in such previously unimplicated
foods as roasted asparagus and banana
"The other aspect people need to look at
is while a french fry or a potato chip may be
high ... in concentration, it still comes down
to what is the total contribution of that food
to the diet," said Henry Chin of the National
Food Processors Association.
leaving pilot dead
Raise the roof7
VIRGIL, N.Y. (AP) - A pilot
who died after his twin-engine
Cessna aircraft crashed near the
Cortland County airport was
remembered as an adventurous man
who loved to scuba dive and watch
the Dallas Cowboys.
Kevin Hundshamer, 54, was
killed Friday night after returning
from a business trip to Michigan,
according to his family.
"He wanted to live life to the
fullest," said his daughter Jillian
The eight-passenger Cessna 310L
had left from the airport in Gladwin,
Mich., and was on approach to Cort-
land County Airport when it crashed
in a wooded area, according to the
Federal Aviation Administration.
Federal inspectors on Saturday
found wreckage strewn across a
path of 210 feet, said Air Safety
Investigator David Muzio of the
National Transportation Safety
Witnesses reported hearing a low-
flying plane and then an explosion.
The muddy and hilly terrain made it
difficult for rescuers to reach the
Hundshamer starting flying as a
hobby about 14 years ago but began
using his plane for business after
being laid off from the Miller
Brewing plant in Volney, said Jillian
Hundshamer, of Jamesville,
founded Hy-Tech Services in 1994
and was flying on business as a
high-tech trainer the night of the
accident. The week before, Hund-
shamer and a mechanic conducted
an annual inspection of the plane.
"He taught us so much about God
and morals and values and how to
be good parents," Jillian Hund-
EEONCE WAS A Mic"IGAN WRITER
WHOSE STORIES COULDN'T BE ANY TIGWTER,
Ar THE DAILY SHE WORKED,
IN T HE DIAG SHE LURKED,
AtD H ER LIFE WAS MADE ALL THE BRIGHTER
Gullhaghah lays down pieces of timber as he builds a roof near
Kabul for a family recently returned from a Pakistani refugee camp.
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Continued from Page 1A
show of hands, only two encouraged
him to support the president's draft res-
olution sent to Congress. That number
jumped to about 10 if European coun-
tries were supportive of the U.S. posi-
tion and stayed about steady at 20 if
the United Nations and Middle Eastern
countries were to support an invasion.
Dingell said he is unsure of the
extent and timing of the threat posed to
the United States by Iraqi President
Saddam Hussein and for that reason
does not know whether he would be
justified in supporting a war resolution
with or without international, regional
or U.N. support.
But before he supports a use of force
resolution, the congressman said the
Bush administration must explain what
it will do after the Iraqi leader is
"If we knock out Saddam Hussein, we
have no choice but to make sure the rest
of the Middle East is stable and the peo-
ple of Iraq" can form a democratic soci-
ety, before Congress supports a
"shoot-em-up," Dingell said.
Many of those gathered at the League
expressed concern that the United States
would be violating international law if it
took preemptive action against Iraq
without the support of the United
Nations, and thereby violating American
law since the United States ratified the
Some even questioned Bush's
motives, fearing a "war over oil" and a
gimmick to distract Americans from
economic woes as the mid-term elec-
Dingell said he had no reason to ques-
tion the president's reasoning in request-
ing the congressional authorization, and
rather wanted to focus on the question of
whether the country should or should
not enter into war.
"The United States must be very sure
we have the ability to prevail and the
solid plan for the conduct of any military
action we perform,"he said.
One speaker at the forum said that any
preemptive strike against Iraq would
open up a Pandora's box.
The invoking of the president's ration-
ale for going to war, he said, "will enable
any country at any time for any reason to
attack any other country."
As to whether Hussein is connected to
the Sept. 11 attacks, Dingell said,
Continued from Page IA
Jennifer Granholm, state Sen. Loren
Bennett (R-Canton Twp.), U.S. Rep.
John Conyers (D-Detroit), U.S.
Sens. Carl Levin (D-Detroit) and
Debbie Stabenow (D-Lansing) and
state House Minority Leader Buzz
LSA junior Megan Wilbur gave
her response to the rally, stating,
"As young people, we often don't
think of problems in urban areas
and it's important for us to get
involved with groups such as
MOSES. They are addressing issues
that will be important to us in the
First-year Urban Planning mas-
ters student Zeb Acuff stated, "I
tend to be skeptical of politicians.
None of them were going to say'
'no' to anything ... it will be inter-
esting to see if they follow through
Rev. Joseph Barlow, president of
MOSES and Mt. Zion MBC Ecorce,
urged political leaders to "do every-
thing in your power to bring justice
to the people of this country, so
help you God," by changing immi-
gration laws so that children who
graduate from Michigan high
schools will be considered residents
regardless of their parent's status as
immigrants. This would allow chil-
dren of immigrants to pay in-state
tuition at colleges and universities,
rather than out of state tuition that
they currently face.
Thomas agreed to endorse the
measure, stating, "Nothing is more
important than the education of our
Organizers moved on to discus-
sion of the "Fix It First" campaign.
"Many of our urban and suburban
communities are in crisis ... if we
cannot afford to maintain current
infrastructure, why do we continue
to develop land that used to be
orchards and farm land?" said Greg
Pitoniak, Taylor Mayor and Michi-
gan Suburbs Alliance leader.
Cindy Reese from the Greater
Southern MBC outlined MOSES'
vision for the solution of urban
sprawl and lack of revitalization of
existing infrastructure. "The second
part of the solution is to unite the
city and the suburbs," she said.
"You are the third part."
She added that getting govern-
ment leadership to support "Fix It
Continued from Page 1A
Discrimination Committee to raise
money for hepatitis vaccinations and
then proceeded to the Diag to show
support for SAFE, Kiblawi said.
"Basically SAFE this past week has
been the victim of an intimidation and
smear campaign with the intent of sti-
fling discussion on the Arab-Israeli
conflict," he added.
The first of the e-mails sent Wednes-
day from the address Kiblawi moder-
ates for SAFE contained anti-Israel
sentiments and went out to more than'
1,000 faculty and staff members.
The second e-mail was nearly identi-
cal and went out to student leaders,
encouraging them to speak out against
Israel at the conference.
"We're here on the Diag to make a
statement that nothing will affect our
resolve to fight for freedom and
equality and to open the circle of
debate," Kiblawi said.
LSA sophomore Aesha Ahmad said
Continued from Page 1A
"We sort of go to sleep when it
comes to issues of developing coun-
tries because it rarely affects us here
... it's hard to talk about, but by the
look of the journalist, you can see
that he is affected," said John Collier,
former photographer for the Detroit
"It was a fascinating speech," Wal-
lace, a University alum, said. "It
gives us a better understanding of the
devastation in these countries ... and
the problems of governments and
religious' leaders not being able to do
First" initiatives was the final part.
Reese called on Bennett, standing
in for Republican gubernatorial
candidate Posthumus, and
Granholm to endorse the initiative
and agree to attend a "Fix It First"
rally in Saginaw on May 4.
Both agreed to endorse the initia-
Bennett pointed out that Detroit's
infrastructure was meant to support
2 million people but instead cur-
rently supports only half that.
Granholm stated that she would
"commit to coming to your event ...
if you commit to coming to my
The Rev. G. Patrick Thompson of
Church of our Savior Presbyterian
in West Bloomfield kicked off the
discussion of mass transit. "Every
great undertaking begins with a
dream," he said.
Discussions included the need to
start up the Detroit Area Regional
Transit Authority which recently
received State House and Senate
Wayne County Sheriff Robert
Ficano committed to appointing a
representative from the MOSES
coalition to better include the voic-
es of the community in issues of
Discussion of mass transit also
included commitments by business-
es such as DaimlerChrysler Founda-
tion and the Ford Motor Company
as well as the AFL-CIO and multi-
ple charity organizations to support
funding for mass transit.
The discussion ended with Levin
and Stabenow agreeing to work
toward bringing federal mass transit
funding to Michigan.
Markus said he wanted students to
attend the MOSES rally because he
thought it was a valuable experience.
"This was a meeting'where the
politicians were in the audience and
the public was running the show,"
he said. "Most people are used to a
kind of politics where the people
Markus said he hopes this trip
inspires greater voter registration
He said he also hopes the Univer-
sity can put together an organiza-
tion on campus to take part in
This would be the first organiza-
tion of its kind on a major college
campus. "If we do that, it would be
really historic," Markus said.
she attended the event because she
feels there is a need to discuss divest-
ment, and that the e-mail sent by Cole-
man indicates that Coleman "didn't
want to discuss the divestment from
"We're here to show her that we
think that it should be able to be dis-
cussed at least, she just completely
said 'no we cannot discuss this.'
Ahmad added that she feels the past
week's events are related to the second
National Student Conference on the
Palestine Solidarity Movement, which
is due to be held Oct. 12-14.
"People are trying to shut down the
conference we're holding in October
and I think we should be able to have
it," she said.
The Michigan Student Assembly is
currently talking to the University
administration to respond to the e-mail
spoofing that has been taking place
and to consider what action will be
- Daily Staff Reporter Stephanie
Schonholz contributed to this report.
Continued from Page 1A
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