Additives, and Cancer.

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FungusBrew

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HBT!

I've just finished doing 6 months of ABVD chemotherapy treatment to slay my Hodgekin's Lymphoma. Obviously now, I look at what's in my vittles and swig a bit differently. A few chemicals I brewed with in the past are making me scratch my head. Not necessarily in a bad way, more or less a questioning one. I'd like to try and "return to the land" in some sense. Eliminate the synthetic from my diet in a nonjudgmental, hippy way :p

Like Campden tablets..I know they're toxic in concentrated samples, but does the potassium metabisulfate break down enough not to affect us? Or is the composition broken down with aging? Or the Potassium Sorbate that follows?

Or even a cleaning agent like Star-san. Has phosphoric acid been shown to be nasty stuff at all?

Guess I'm trying to ask, could you list what "questionable" additives that we use in our beer, and why it seems a little sketchy to you? What I mean by questionable is basically, unnatural.

Oh and FWIW, I'm a firm believer that homebrew contributed to my overall getting better. We're talking homeobrewpathic, and metabrewphysical statures of life. It provided me with something to do around the house when I was down, and was a beautiful escape and tonic when needed most.

And I'm well aware that homebrew is almost completely additive free, it just seems that a few chemicals fall through the cracks in certain situations.

HBT-WHAT'S BAD IN OUR BEER?
 

lyacovett

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Fermcap ... I use it, but I question it at times.
Polyclar as well ... I mean its plastic. I know it is supposed to settle out, but who knows if it really does 100% settle out.
 

japhroaig

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Frankly, the alcohol is likely the worst of the bunch. If you want to enjoy homebrew though, and have the least contact with things that may-or-may-not-be-bad, then simply do the following:

* Use water you trust (I have an 80ft well that runs through a softener, it's awesome)
* Brew through stainless steel
* Ferment in glass
* If you don't eat sushi, don't use fining agents. I eat lots of sushi and use lots of fining agents, but both may contain mercury.
* Use heat to kill bad bacteria, and if you can't trust that, don't brew it.
* Brew low alcohol beverages, and enjoy them in moderation (that's probably the most important!!)

I sincerely hope I never have to go through chemo, and I admire anyone that does. Stay happy and have a homebrew :D
 

japhroaig

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Oh, and I totally forgot--if you are completely paranoid, kiln your own malt! :D

I saw some pages talking about it many years ago, but don't have any recent. At the very least it could be fun :)
 

mitch171

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As for Potassium Metabisulfate, that should fully dissipate into the air as it breaks down. The effect before this has happened I am not sure, but I do know it dissipates rather fully.
 
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FungusBrew

FungusBrew

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You know, for the record, my oncologist gave me the thumbs up for a beer a day. I couldn't handle it directly after chemo, but the next week I savored that brewskie an evening (or two!).

He did mention that there's an associated risk with females and breast cancer though (and obviously liver). I'm not too keen on the statistics, but I know it's awfully low.
 

japhroaig

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Well, resveratrol (found in red wine) may or may not be good for us--since the studies are still contradictory--so beer or wine made with red grapes and grape skins could potentially be beneficial. I've never actually made a beer with a grape addition, anyone willing to try it out? Even if it doesn't actually have a net positive health gain, it might taste good :)
 

pnj

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I suggest changing your diet, if you haven't already. Raw food seems to be tops for optimum health.
 
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FungusBrew

FungusBrew

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I suggest changing your diet, if you haven't already. Raw food seems to be tops for optimum health.
I'm sure you mean "organic" raw food right? Better yet, maybe I should just forage it myself?
 

Beernik

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I almost poisoned myself with StarSan tonight.

I put my sampling syringe for my refract in the concentrated bottle of StarSan. Stupid, I know. Then I pulled 5 or 6 samples and put them in a cup. I checked the gravity. Then I attempted to drink the sample.

I think boiling water on my tongue would have hurt less. Thankfully I didn't swallow. It's been about 3 hours now and the irritation is finally going away.
 
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FungusBrew

FungusBrew

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whoa! That's crazy, good to hear you're alright man. I've gotten that really acidic taste from starsan before when eating right after messing with it.
 

pnj

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I'm sure you mean "organic" raw food right? Better yet, maybe I should just forage it myself?
If your want to get really healthy, you can become a Level 5 vegan. I hear they don't eat anything that casts a shadow....:mug:
 

japhroaig

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So Fungus, when it comes to things like 'raw food', that's really about basic health not specifically about cancer. Raw is higher in fiber and hasn't had a chance to degrade naturally found vitamins and nutrients. Plus, it tends to just plain avoid ingredients that can be troublesome for some people, such as high fructose corn syrup. Does it have anything specifically to do with your situation? No. Are minimally processed foods better for overall health? In general, yes.

'Organic' though kinda cheeses me off. The label basically instills fear into people that 'conventional' food is bad for them, so they should pay a 300% premium--even though no tests can prove it's better. Add that to the fact that due to lower yields and food spoilage/infestations, it actually means it could be shrinking the worlds food supply. And to add even more, since there are relatively few farms that produce actual organic food, they have to be trucked around the country more, depleting even more fossil fuels.

So in reality, skip organic, and either grow yourself or get to know some farmers (usually very nice people :D).

When it comes to beer and cancer though, I still stand by alcohol probably being the worst thing in it. If your doc has given you the all clear for that, then I just wouldn't worry about it too much.
 

z987k

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H3PO4 is not a carcinogen. There have been a few studies here and there that link it to lower bone density, but there have been studies that disprove that as well, and we're talking high volumes of soda here not the low quantity that we use. Other than it being an acid, it doesn't have any health problems associated with it.

Most finnings are made from fish or pig(gelatin). PVPPP is plastic as said above and I've always wondered about it. It's crazy effective though.
 

JefeTheVol

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I wish there was a definitive answer on the tranquility of brewing ingredients but the best that we have is the FDA. If there was enough evidence that these brewing products were dangerous then their would be sanctions against them. Because no sanctions exist, that means one of two things: they are either harmless or not enough evidence exists to prove their danger. Either way we are taking a risk.

In other words, "all natural" does not mean "all good"...sometimes people get caught up in thinking that organic food is the healthiest thing you can do for yourself and in some ways they are right, but a good argument to refute organics is the fact that hemlock is organic and it will definitely kill you if you ingest enough of it.

The real question you need to be asking yourself, is do you feel that you are doing more good than harm with your brewing ingredients. If you feel more harm is done, and you are using an FDA approved ingredient, then there is nothing anyone can do to prove to you that it is safe. If you are using an ingredient that you trust, and the FDA has no sanctions then your own fears are quelled.

Bottom line, if evidence existed of danger then you have to trust that the FDA would know about. But also, it is the government, and if you have been to a VA Hospital then you know how well the Gov't is run...like a bad cub scout troop.

Closing point...poison is easy to point out because it kills you quick...carcinogens are exponentially tougher because they dont.
-Jefe-
 

pnj

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Plenty of things that are 'all natural' will kill you.

Ebola virus is one of my favorites. :D
heck, it's probably even organic.
 

japhroaig

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Sunlight is all natural, and it can give you one of the worst cancers you can get. Botulism can be organic, and radon has never been adulterated with any man made chemicals :)

Mostly though, I'd say: Relax, have a homebrew ;)
 

mattd2

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Phos acid is a food additive (for as a acidity regualtor I think), from memory it is found in coke as a replacement for the more expensice citric acid. And I also remember that most citric acid is produced from phosphoric acid (Don't trust me on any of this cause I can't remember where I heard all this!)
Oh...... and now I'm off to get some diesel parts, how did he know that I wanted car parts when I was looking at a homebrew forum, weird!
 
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FungusBrew

FungusBrew

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Ahh HBT, you never cease to put a smile on my face. I didn't ask what causes cancer in the world, that's what CNN's for. Heck, I didn't even ask what causes cancer in beer. The only thing I'm interested in here is what questionable ingredients you guys find yourselves using when you homebrew.

As for the Raw food thing, I was just being sarcastic. There's no way I would substitute my diet for an all raw one. I'm a firm believer that our ability to cook food, is a key attribute in why we're human. Cooked food led to a higher evolved degree of brain development over millenia, as it introduced different protein chains and vitamins unobtainable before.

Local, Organic produce and meat is the way to go. I wouldn't buy organic eggs from California living in New York, it defeats the big picture in my eyes. Now, there's nothing wrong with pesticide, hormone, antibiotic free foods. If one so chooses to go that route, so be it. They'll always be plenty of people to call it a joke, and keep on eating their big macs. The system wont fail because of the hippies. Relax, have a home brew. Oh, and there's plenty of information available to show organic is "healthier". For example, US Lamb is injected with a growth hormone that is directly linked to breast cancer. NZ and Aussie lamb is hormone free, organic. Would you honestly rather have an antibiotic, hormone injected piece of meat as opposed to the latter? There's a reason that Europe has a total trade embargo with the US on meat products. They completly ban the use of the nasty stuff, and totally refuse to take ours. I'm with the Germans :) It seems pretty obvious to me that something organic, is healthier. Simply because our bodies evolved without all that garbage, and now that it's being introduced to our diets, we don't know how the hell to metabolize it. It sits in us as a foreign invader, and eventually renders itself harmful. Children (more prominent in girls), are hitting puberty at ridiculously early rates as compared to 75 years ago. It's an obvious, and direct link to growth hormones from meat in their diet. Yet, everyone wants to deny it because they grew up eating it and are fine. Are we? I'll let you be the judge. At least that's how I see it, if you do differently, I've got no problem at all. Another beauty of being human is how we get to choose what we want with our lives. The fossil fuel thing related to organic farms being further in the country is a funny one. Check out where that orange juice in your frige came from, probably china. Makes me wonder how much shipping goes into having every vegetable under the sun available to me at wall mart in the heart of a mid-west winter. If everyone bought local organic, we would save BILLIONS on fossil fuels. Heck, it's one of pro arguments for it. Seems like there are stronger arguments to address then fossil fuels when opposing. Like you said, unreliable yields, high labor input, etc.


In my opinion the FDA is exceptionally questionable. One example of many; They consider high fructose corn syrup "natural". HFCS is a molecularly compromised sugar that is found no wear in nature. It's synthetically made from a corn base, and can't be metabolized as easily as sucrose. Our bodies just don't know what the hell to do with it. But alas, it's natural. From a homebrew standpoint pertaining to the FDA, I highly doubt they regulate any of our ingredients JefetheVol. There's a ton of things they have don't have anything to do with, and unless you prove me wrong (I'm not 100% sure just assuming), I'm going to go on believing that our hobby is void of FDA regulation.


This is all strictly just my opinion, of course they'll be plenty of people who disagree. I eat non organic meat all the time, and drink in excess even more. Once again, I was only interested in what you saw as sketchy with homebrew ingredients. I know the sun is bad, and botulism sucks. Ha, maybe if we didn't have antibodies in our meat, we could build up a better resistance to it? Ohh man..


Prost!
 

mattd2

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As you said it Fungus, I would guess that any sanitiser/cleaner was not really meant for ingestion but we can handle it in small amounts, i.e. its bad for you but as long as you don't drink it concentrated you should be ok type of thing. I wonder about organic micros and how they clean/sterilise/keep a food grade enviroment.
 

mitch171

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Local is the way to go! I try to buy as much food/other product produces locally as I can. As for organic sure that is what I prefer, but local farmers may not be able to pay for certification. Knowing where your food comes from and what choices the farmer makes can be as powerful, but of the local produce I eat may not be certified and may not pass certification. But it is close to organic and at least I know what has gone into it. My biggest concern is the hormones and antibiotics so I look for farms that do not use them.

As for brewing, I wonder with non organic hops if they are sprayed with chemicals to keep nasties away, are they washed?
 

Zamial

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Brief self description: I am very much into self sustainability. I am "environmentally friendly and green" only as long as what I am doing coincides with the definition and do not actively seek to be these, it is a side effect of self sustainability. Having the equipment and knowledge for brewing beer and soda has become very important to me. I am also a hunter/fisherman and eat what I can get "free range" and buy organic foods when my freezer is empty. I am also getting into natural dehydration.


My opinion, for what it is worth,

-I am super afraid of plastic (yes even PET). I 100% agree with the previous poster that said get rid of it all and use SS and glass only. (I also do not "mix" metals either this has some bad things that can happen, especially if aluminum is involved. This will be how my brewery is when it is done. I also do not use any Teflon in my brewing/cooking...

-Water,Water,Water. I also have plans to build my own water distillery (using a sanke keg and glass carboys/demijohns.) and building my own brew water (we control everything else, why not the water as well?). I also plan on having my water distillery for drinking/cooking water as well as showering/cleaning.

-Steam it cooks and cleans. I would Ideally like to use steam to sterilize/sanitize my equipment and/or boiling water (since my water will be chemical free). I also cook my veggies by steaming them most of the time. I know that we really only use Camden tablets atm.

- We have planted hops and I think some 2-row barley is not far off in the distance either, as well as other adjuncts that we use. ie. Irish moss, heather flowers. We do not use any chemicals or unnatural items to produce these things.

- Lastly sugar, we substitute honey and agave nectar as often as possible (I have not used agave nectar much yet) even in brewing. Instead of priming sugar/corn sugar we use 100% natural, spun from the honey comb and bottled, honey.

In conclusion, none of the above guarantees anything. It is done so that I know I have done my best to be safe and self sustainable. I am glad to hear that you are doing better and I wish you the best. :mug:
 

GilaMinumBeer

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Bottom line is, too much of anything is bad for your health. Alcohol, Esters, Saccharides........

The body can only process so much before it tanks.

Glad to hear you've beat the cancer and I definitely understand why that would give you pause to reflect.
 

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GilaMinumBeer

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:off:



I wish I did too but I do not think a tide pool has diddly to do with Irish moss.

per: http://www.ehow.com/how_16333_grow-irish-scotch.html

and: http://www.plant-biology.com/Arenaria-Irish-moss.php
Sagina Sebulata is NOT American Red seaweed brother. While I won't speculate on what, if anything, Scotch moss would bring to a beer I seriously doubt it will do anything to clarify it.

The "Irish Moss" used in brewing is actually a seaweed. Hence the reference to tidepools.
 

Zamial

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srry for the confusion...lol and thanks for the info....as for the know-it-all comment, I will say that I NEVER have or will claim to know it all. I am learning and will be until I am dead but I do thank you for trolling my reply, maybe your mommy made you a cookie.
 

smizak

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Fungus, I find your views on food very encouraging. I'm lucky enough to live near some organic farms, I actually belong to a CSA group with one of them, ultra-fresh, local organic fruit and vegetables all summer long.

I'm also encouraged by your recovery, congratulations. This past summer a very good friend of my family succumbed to an extremely aggressive lymphoma. He was a young man that just started a family, it was(still is) a horrible tragedy.

Keep it up man, your attitude and self-education have obviously served you well. Homebrew has got to be a better option, you know exactly what you're putting in there, so hurray for knowing how to make beer!
 

lurker18

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Fungus, good on you to get past that. I am just over a year past my cancer removal surgury, and was lucky enough to not need the chemo (so far). I know that it is a very trying time, both to you and your family, for me it was the wife that was more affected by the news.

Keep up the brewing, eat the way you want, and enjoy.
 

Obelisk

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I'm on the cancer management treadmill, and may be for the rest of my life. Like most people in this circumstance, I have read about any and all diets and food types that will help manage cancer and there really are just a few to intensely avoid - I'm not talking about what causes cancer, but how to not fuel the cancer. The two most troublesome things to avoid are growth hormones (found in most commercial red meats) and highly refined sugar. Both are vigorously consumed by cancer cells. So, I've stopped eating red meat - except for the occasional bite of steak - and cut out candy and ice cream. I also limit myself to 1 home brew per day, and every sip is heaven. You should be careful about the amount of alcohol you consume because your liver needs all the TLC it can get.
 

Boerderij_Kabouter

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Didn't read anything. My biggest advice is to brew in stainless equipment and fermenting kegs. This way you can steam sanitize everything and literally put nothing in your beer but water hops, barley, and yeast.

Just make a heat stick and pop it in a keg with some water. Steam heats and kills everything. Put any other stuff (hosing etc.) in the keg to to sanitize that stuff.
 

weirdboy

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srry for the confusion...lol and thanks for the info....as for the know-it-all comment, I will say that I NEVER have or will claim to know it all. I am learning and will be until I am dead but I do thank you for trolling my reply, maybe your mommy made you a cookie.
I make my own cookies, thank you very much.

If your post didn't come off sounding like a know-it-all, I wouldn't have made a comment to that regard.
 

AiredAle

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Hey, Fungus,

Way to go, beating the cancer. I am busy working on my own case now. I have been educating myself about complimentary treatments, nutrition, exercise, stress reduction and avoidance of known carcinogens. etc. I strongly recommend a book called "Anticancer, A new way of life" by David Servan-Schrieber. He is a physician (psychiatrist) who developed and beat brain cancer twice, and got interested in non-conventional ways to augment his conventional treatments after it returned the second time.

I won't go into it more here, but get a copy and see what you think. Lot of good insight backed up by original research paper citations from refereed medical journals.
 
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FungusBrew

FungusBrew

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Thanks so much for the encouraging comments, and sharing of knowledge. Hearing your stories, and how this disease effects families and love ones is a huge contributing factor in making us fight harder, and stay stronger through it all.

CSA programs are awesome! I went to school up in Stevens Point Wisconsin where my roomate and I participated in community agriculture events, and ethnobotany. You would always meet tons of interesting people, and learn so much. Hopefully, It'll be something that catches on in the near future even more then it already has.

On a chemical note, I've heard that commercial breweries use preservatives when canning and bottling for freshness. Anyone know if this is true? Just a wonderin'.
 

JefeTheVol

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Ahh HBT, you never cease to put a smile on my face. I didn't ask what causes cancer in the world, that's what CNN's for. Heck, I didn't even ask what causes cancer in beer. The only thing I'm interested in here is what questionable ingredients you guys find yourselves using when you homebrew.

As for the Raw food thing, I was just being sarcastic. There's no way I would substitute my diet for an all raw one. I'm a firm believer that our ability to cook food, is a key attribute in why we're human. Cooked food led to a higher evolved degree of brain development over millenia, as it introduced different protein chains and vitamins unobtainable before.

Local, Organic produce and meat is the way to go. I wouldn't buy organic eggs from California living in New York, it defeats the big picture in my eyes. Now, there's nothing wrong with pesticide, hormone, antibiotic free foods. If one so chooses to go that route, so be it. They'll always be plenty of people to call it a joke, and keep on eating their big macs. The system wont fail because of the hippies. Relax, have a home brew. Oh, and there's plenty of information available to show organic is "healthier". For example, US Lamb is injected with a growth hormone that is directly linked to breast cancer. NZ and Aussie lamb is hormone free, organic. Would you honestly rather have an antibiotic, hormone injected piece of meat as opposed to the latter? There's a reason that Europe has a total trade embargo with the US on meat products. They completly ban the use of the nasty stuff, and totally refuse to take ours. I'm with the Germans :) It seems pretty obvious to me that something organic, is healthier. Simply because our bodies evolved without all that garbage, and now that it's being introduced to our diets, we don't know how the hell to metabolize it. It sits in us as a foreign invader, and eventually renders itself harmful. Children (more prominent in girls), are hitting puberty at ridiculously early rates as compared to 75 years ago. It's an obvious, and direct link to growth hormones from meat in their diet. Yet, everyone wants to deny it because they grew up eating it and are fine. Are we? I'll let you be the judge. At least that's how I see it, if you do differently, I've got no problem at all. Another beauty of being human is how we get to choose what we want with our lives. The fossil fuel thing related to organic farms being further in the country is a funny one. Check out where that orange juice in your frige came from, probably china. Makes me wonder how much shipping goes into having every vegetable under the sun available to me at wall mart in the heart of a mid-west winter. If everyone bought local organic, we would save BILLIONS on fossil fuels. Heck, it's one of pro arguments for it. Seems like there are stronger arguments to address then fossil fuels when opposing. Like you said, unreliable yields, high labor input, etc.


In my opinion the FDA is exceptionally questionable. One example of many; They consider high fructose corn syrup "natural". HFCS is a molecularly compromised sugar that is found no wear in nature. It's synthetically made from a corn base, and can't be metabolized as easily as sucrose. Our bodies just don't know what the hell to do with it. But alas, it's natural. From a homebrew standpoint pertaining to the FDA, I highly doubt they regulate any of our ingredients JefetheVol. There's a ton of things they have don't have anything to do with, and unless you prove me wrong (I'm not 100% sure just assuming), I'm going to go on believing that our hobby is void of FDA regulation.


This is all strictly just my opinion, of course they'll be plenty of people who disagree. I eat non organic meat all the time, and drink in excess even more. Once again, I was only interested in what you saw as sketchy with homebrew ingredients. I know the sun is bad, and botulism sucks. Ha, maybe if we didn't have antibodies in our meat, we could build up a better resistance to it? Ohh man..


Prost!
I think it would be naive to think the FDA doesnt have a hand in some part of homebrewing. Example: we put corn sugar, into our beers, which is a food and is under the jurisdiction of the Food and Drug Administration. Either way, despite any or no goverment involvement doesnt exclude my earlier statement that if convincing evidence existed we would know about it.

Without evidence to an ingredient's danger, no conclusion can be made, and it is up to the brewer to decide.
-Jefe-
 
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