Steven B. Harris sbharris at ix.netcom.com
Fri Aug 4 00:45:05 EST 1995

In <DCqw62.JJ1 at cunews.carleton.ca> ataylor at superior.carleton.ca (alex
taylor) writes: 
>In article <DCqo1M.CD5 at news.cua.edu>,  <06BROOKS at CUA.EDU> wrote:
>>jvogel at crl.com (John M. Vogel) wrote:
>>> Betty Martini (betty at noel.pd.org) wrote:
>>> : Methanol is classified as a narcotic.
>>> You're fabricating; Methanol is *not* a narcotic.
>>> John, R.N.
>>> jvogel at crl.com
>>As Re: MEOH.....
>>Methanol is a solvent, not 'narcotic'...where are the chemists' in
>	While Goodman and Gilman don't classify methanol as a narcotic,
>methanol does have some narcotic properties. It's not just a solvent.
>Furthermore its effect on the CNS has been pretty well documented -- I
>wouldn't recommend injesting it. While I know very little about
>NutraSweet, I do know something about neurochemistry. If methanol is
>a component of NutraSweet then it is conceivable that there is enough
>of it in an average bottle of soda to have harmful effects. Kool-Aid,
>example, when made up according to directions is about 12.5% sugar, I
>would therefore not be astonished to learn that soft-drinks are
>about 10% sugar by volume. Thus, a 1% methanol content would not be
>unreasonable. The oxidation of primary alcohols can be carried out in
>laboratory (in this case methanol to formaldehyde) at room temperature
>using PCC as a catalyst in dichloromethane (with a high yield).
>Admittedly this is not the chemistry that one might find in a Coke
>but there are some chemical reactions that might work depending on
>the relationship between the methanol and the di-peptide (is it free
>methanol?, is it a functional group? If so, how is it bonded?).
>Without knowing more about the recipe of the soft-drink in question
>the composition of Nutra-Sweet your question cannot be answered on way
>or another. That does not mean however, that Betty's statements are
>implausible. Don't be so swift to dismiss them without more evidence
>way or another. And if methanol can decompose to formaldehyde in a can
>pop at 1% concentrations I would *definitely* not want to be injesting
>Alex Taylor

Alex, you're assuming that aspartame is only as sweet as sugar.  Since
it is many times sweeter (something like 70 times if memory serves)
there is much less methanol than you're figuring.  Once again, there is
more methanol in tomato juice than there is in diet coke, something
that Aspartame critics have to admit, but counter by saying that nobody
drinks 10 glasses of tomato juice or V8 per day.  No?  So how come we
aren't hearing about airliners downed and pilots seizing after just a
couple of glasses of V8?  Somebody must drink the stuff.  Why is there
no crazy organization devoted to taking V8 off the shelves?  Answer:
because you are looking at hysteria here, not reality.

                                         Steve Harris, M.D.

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