General Question

GeorgeGee's avatar

Boxed cereals (like Froot Loops) have pesticides laced into the plastic bags to keep bugs out. What chemicals are used?

Asked by GeorgeGee (4920points) September 28th, 2010

They don’t have to list the chemicals because you don’t eat the bag, but still I’d like to know and I wonder if we’re being indirectly poisoned by them.

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82 Answers

AstroChuck's avatar

Interesting. I’d never heard this before. Do you have a link to a source that I could check out?
Very disturbing if true.

crisw's avatar

Are you talking about methylnaphthalene which was in Froot Loops boxes and sickened people? If so, it isn’t a pesticide; it’s a petroleum product; part of the wax that coats the bags. It still shouldn’t be there, in my opinion, but it isn’t added to kill bugs.

GeorgeGee's avatar

Again, it’s hard to find the details, but the bags are required to be made of High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) plastic (not waxed paper) which doesn’t give off chemicals, but excessive chemicals were indeed in the boxes of Froot Loops and other cereals, initiating a recall:
http://www.grist.org/article/food-kelloggs-froot-loops-recall
A quick review of the chemistry of HDPE says that they’re lying about the source of the chemicals. There are many articles in the packaging industry about spraying plastic for bags with pesticides:
http://www.fao.org/inpho/content/documents/vlibrary/new_fao/x5417e/x5417e0e.htm
and it’s “generally known” that the major manufacturers use pesticide coated bags, which is why you haven’t found a bug in your cereal in the past 30+ years. But since they’re not required to list packaging ingredients, they’re absolutely silent about it,a nd if it weren’t for the recalls, you might not ever know… That plus the tumors your kids start growing 30 years after eating Froot Loops….

Cruiser's avatar

Don’t get me started. Plastic is flexible because of some really unhealthy chemical additives not to mention the plastics themselves. Sure they say these plastic food containers are food safe but determined by who?? The chemical industry? No getting around it or away from it.

Just look at this Toxicological review of 2-Methylnaphthalene and you can see even the reviewers are completely sure of everything that this chemical does to humans but they do know it will harm you!

AstroChuck's avatar

Guess I’ll stick to Corn Pops®. At least they come in foil bags.

GeorgeGee's avatar

I found some more information in a document from the EPA, here’s the link:
http://www.epa.gov/ncea/iris/toxreviews/1006tr.pdf
“Pure 2-methylnaphthalene is a component used in the manufacture of. . . the insecticide carbaryl (1-naphthyl-N-methylcarbamate) (HSDB, 2002).”
It’s also known as “Sevin”
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbaryl
The line regarding safety on this is short: “Carbaryl is a cholinesterase inhibitor and is toxic to humans. It is classified as a likely human carcinogen by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).”

crisw's avatar

@GeorgeGee

Just to point out- just because something is used in a manufacturing process, it doesn’t make that ingredient the same as a finished product. Your quote implies that methylnaphthalene and Sevin are the same thing. They aren’t. Methylnaphthalene is also used to make Vitamin K. That doesn’t make it healthy!

Also, your linked article doesn’t talk about cereal bags at all. And it isn’t about the United States; it’s taken from a paper called “Facilitating regional trade of agricultural commodities in Eastern, Central and Southern Africa”

I don’t want toxins in my food, but I also want to make sure that people have accurate information.

GeorgeGee's avatar

If you read all I’ve written, it should be clear that I’m trying to find out, rather than saying I have the answers. The difficulty of finding out the facts is exactly the problem; they don’t want you to know, and the laws don’t require them to disclose that information. Nonetheless, if they ARE spraying Sevin on cereal bags, and accidentally over-doused some of them, that is consistent with all available information I’ve encountered so far.

crisw's avatar

There is no credible information in anything that you have provided or in any other source I have found to indicate that anyone is spraying Sevin on cereal bags. There is a difference between concerns based on fact and concerns based on speculation.

GeorgeGee's avatar

Sure there is. Just because you’re a cereal industry apologist doesn’t negate any of the above points. We’re familiar with your tactics, Captain Crunch.
1) The cereals have an odor that shouldn’t be there. Said odor doesn’t come from polyethylene, nor from cereal.
2) 2-Methylnapthalene was present but did not come the plastic, nor did it come from the cereal. Hmmm, does Captain Crunch think it was a vast right-wing conspiracy?
3) Said chemical is known to be used in the manufacture of Sevin pesticide.
4) Use of pesticide in cereal packaging is legal and standard practice, and does not have to be disclosed to the consumer. Here is a supplier of pre-treated insecticide bags for cereal for your convenience:
http://www.cheaponsale.com/d-c112654738027222500-shantou_oriental_packaging_industry_co_ltd/

Sure, we could take a Froot Loops bag and put it in a plasma emission spectroscopy system, but that will cost. How about YOU pay for it, and we’ll reimburse you if there is NO pesticide found in the plastic?

crisw's avatar

@GeorgeGee

“Just because you’re a cereal industry apologist”

Uh-huh. I don’t even eat cereal. Hate the stuff. So how about we knock of the ad hominem attacks and actually back up the claims with fact?

1) According to whom?
2) Nope, the link I gave above explains where it came from and how it got there.
3) Dihydrogen monoxide, anyone?
4) Once again, your link has nothing to do with the American cereal industry. This is an ad to sell Chinese bags for containing pesticide, not pesticide-impregnated bags!

Listen, there are enough problems with cereal to rant about. You take a nice healthy food- whole grain- remove the vitamins, lace it with artificial colors and flavors, drench it in sugar, and sell it at a horribly inflated price. You really don’t need wild conspiracy theories about pesticide-laden bags.

GeorgeGee's avatar

USDA site article “Efficacy of Methoprene….”... “on different packaging materials”
http://www.ars.usda.gov/sp2userfiles/place/54300530/pdf/1090_EcEn_102.1992.pdf
“Although incorporation of methoprene into the food source of stored-product insect pests will often prevent adult emergence, this approachmaynot be an option for use inside a facility with Þnished food products. An alternative strategy would be to apply methoprene onto the surface of packaging materials.”

Food Additives Handbook, By Richard J. Lewis, Richard J. Lewis (Sr.)
via Google Books
http://books.google.com/books?id=nC7OGhzZn5YC&pg=PA119&lpg=PA119&dq=use+of+sevin+on+food+packaging&source=bl&ots=i-mPijzBP7&sig=T5mWe_k_vdmoWXPVgBp8Q8A_vjI&hl=en&ei=GJWiTPXBBIOdlgeXuIDdBA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=7&ved=0CCYQ6AEwBjgK#v=snippet&q=cereal%20packaging&f=false
Page 348: “Butacide:... Use in food: Insecticide. Where used: ...Milled fractions derived from cereal grains, Packaging”
Page 377: “Pyrethrin: ... Use in food: Insecticide. Where used: ...Milled fractions derived from cereal grains, Packaging”

crisw's avatar

@GeorgeGee

What you need to produce- but you haven’t- is anything specifically stating that insecticides are added to cereal bags.

As for source 1-
– Methoprene is an insect growth regulator, not an organophosphate pesticide. IGRs are specifically noted for their low mammalian toxicity. As the EPA states, ” No health hazards have been reported that could be related to the ingestion of Methoprene residues. Residues of Methoprene are at negligible levels particularly with respect to the NOEL levels in the developmental and reproductive toxicity studies. Due to the high toxicological endpoints and low levels of residues, risk from consumption of treated commodities is considered negligible for the general population and infants and children.”

Your article also specifically states that the use of methoprene on food packaging is specifically not allowed under current regulations.

Your second link doesn’t work. However, you seem to be misunderstanding the purpose of the book, which is clear if you read the preface. “Additives” are defined there as any substance that can be expected to turn up in food, whether it’s deliberately added or not. Therefore, most pesticides are listed because they can turn up in food not as direct additives, but indirect ones. And “packaging” doesn’t necessarily mean packaging that comes in contact with food.

You seem to be grasping at straws here. Why can’t you just admit that insecticide is not added to cereal bags and be done with it?

GeorgeGee's avatar

Maybe you’re hard of hearing, Crunchy. I don’t work for the cereal industry, and they don’t want me to know that information, that makes it hard to determine absolutely without plasma emission spectroscopy. Maybe YOU should find the information; I asked the question, that is the purpose of asking questions on Fluther. There is an established history of using insect repellent in packaging (citations given) there was a smell-detectable chemical found in cereal boxes that didn’t come from cereal nor from HDPE, it prompted a recall, chemicals were determined to be what one would expect if a pesticide were in use, and furthermore, even the US Congress doesn’t know the full danger of this chemical, which is why Senator Waxman commissioned a study on it. Grasping at straws? Hardly, I’m trying to find out the facts while you grasp at straws trying to say “what problem? Cereal companies are just as reliable as… big petroleum and chemical companies.”

crisw's avatar

I can’t believe how many logical fallacies you have crammed into one paragraph. Ad hominem attacks, shifting the burden of proof, straw man, fallacy of false cause, and so on. And, in addition, many of your statements are just plain false. For example, as has been stated quite clearly, methylnaphthalene is not an insecticide.

You are not “trying to find out the facts.” You have made up your mind, and you are desperately trying to bend the real facts to fit your conclusion. Sorry, but that isn’t how logic or science works.

Rarebear's avatar

@crisw I read the post above yours and I busted up laughing. You’re wasting your time. Fruit loops suck anyway.

crisw's avatar

@Rarebear

I think you are right on both counts!

MarthaStewart's avatar

@crisw, you’re clearly talking in circles. Though George pointed out above that “Pure 2-methylnaphthalene is a component used in the manufacture of. . . the insecticide carbaryl (1-naphthyl-N-methylcarbamate) (HSDB, 2002).” and cited his reference (something you clearly are unable to do), you attack him by saying “methylnapthalene is not an insecticide,” something he didn’t even say. If pesticide is used in the packaging, and its component chemicals are detected, it might well mean that the pesticide itself was breaking down because of heat or other factors. You have nothing to conbtribute to this thread, you should just click “stop following.”

Rarebear's avatar

@MarthaStewart She’s not “attacking” him. She’s quoting from his source.

crisw's avatar

@MarthaStewart

As I pointed out, methylnapthalene is used in the manufacture of many things- including the bags the cereal comes in. Presence of the chemical is not indicative of the presence of an insecticide, and methylnaphalene would not be released in the breakdown of a pesticide (it is consumed in the process.)

George is the one who claimed that insecticide is “laced” into cereal bags. Therefore, it’s up to him to prove this claim. All he has to do to prove his claim is provide a direct example of insecticide-laden cereal bags. He hasn’t. Every example he has given has turned out to be extremely faulty (studies done in Africa, Chinese pesticide-bag manufacturers, incorrectly-cited books, etc.) . I’ve used his own sources to show this, and cited my own. I am not the one talking in circles here.

Rarebear's avatar

@MarthaStewart And on top of that George was the one to call Cris a bunch of names, not the other way around.

MarthaStewart's avatar

Again @crisw you provide no citations yet make claims like “presence of the chemical is not indicative of the presence of an insecticide.” That’s unsubstantiated nonsense. And so is the claim that it comes from the plastic since polyethylene is one of the best understood plastics in the world and has been studied from every angle; its extreme stability is exactly why it is the most widely approved plastic for food contact.

Rarebear's avatar

@MarthaStewart Of course it’s not unsubstantiated nonsense. Water is a chemical and that’s not an insecticide.

If someon wants to prove that something is an insecticide and causes harm to people, you prove that it’s an insecticide and causes harm to people.

GeorgeGee's avatar

Crunchy’s mind is made up. Without any science nor citations, Crunchy decided 2-Methylnapthalene is equivalent to water (it’s not), and that polyethylene liners will give off serious fumes (they won’t). And despite my listing references documenting the use of pesticides impregnated in packaging, Crunchy sees only sand, because his head is buried in the sand. How sad. For an encore, Crunchy will get a job with BP, arguing that people shouldn’t mind oil spills because they’re really just water anyway.

Rarebear's avatar

@GeorgeGee <clap, clap clap!> Well done for showing everybody what an ad hominem attack is, and how to completely misrepresent a position!

Cirbryn's avatar

@GeorgeGee
> Crunchy decided 2-Methylnapthalene is equivalent to water (it’s not)

I just did a search on “water”. You mention it and so does Rarebear. Cris never did.

> and that polyethylene liners will give off serious fumes (they won’t)

You are the only person in this thread to mention “fumes” (besides me just now).

> And despite my listing references documenting the use of pesticides impregnated in packaging

Cris’ point is that your references don’t document that. You weren’t able to show otherwise. You apparently weren’t even able to understand what the problem was.

> How sad.

Yep.

crisw's avatar

hey, everyone, this just struck me- is GeorgeGee a reincarnation of ShellAnswerMan?

Cirbryn's avatar

Ha! Well that would make me feel a lot better about humanity if there were only one of him.

GeorgeGee's avatar

@Cirbryn says “I just did a search on “water”. You mention it and so does Rarebear. Cris never did.”
But actually Crunchy said “3) Dihydrogen monoxide, anyone?”
Maybe @Cirbryn should look up Dihydrogen monoxide… it’s another name for water.

@Cirbryn says “You are the only person in this thread to mention “fumes”
But actually the fumes are exactly what initiated the recall by Kellogg’s, and what Crunchy said of the fumes was: “Are you talking about methylnaphthalene which was in Froot Loops boxes and sickened people? If so, it isn’t a pesticide; it’s a petroleum product; part of the wax that coats the bags.” But this is ignorance, because Kellogg’s stopped using waxed bags over 20 years ago in favor of High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) bags.

crazyivan's avatar

This is the greatest, most interesting thread ever! @crisw got called a Cereal Company Apologist! That’s the weakest and funniest insult I’ve ever heard. But let’s keep this going.

I’ll admit that I don’t know the first thing about cereal packaging but I can tell you for sure and certain that @GeorgeGee is making some outlandish speculations and has done nothing to prove them but throw out big words and irrelevant (or misleading) links.

You start the thread off as though you’re just concerned about a possibility and seeking information but then you proceed to launch into this outlandish and comically passionate defense of the indisputable fact that there are pesticides being sprayed on cereal bags but “they” don’t want us to know about it. So which is it? Are you looking for information or are you pushing an agenda?

I guess there is also the possibility that you’re just plain coo-coo for cocoa puffs.

AstroChuck's avatar

Silly rabbits.

Rarebear's avatar

Trix are for kids

That does it! I’m eating not one, but two helpings of breakfast cereal tomorrow morning. I don’t have froot (sic) loops, but I do have Life cereal which is ironic because I’m going to die a horrible choking death of insecticide poisoning after I eat it. Good thing I work in an intensive care unit.

MarthaStewart's avatar

Apologist: a person who argues to defend or justify some policy or institution; “an apologist for capital punishment”
If @crisw were an apologist for the cereal industry, he/she would dismiss any effort to find out why there are strong chemical fumes coming from cereal boxes, and say something like “Are you talking about methylnaphthalene which was in Froot Loops boxes and sickened people? If so, it isn’t a pesticide; it’s a petroleum product; part of the wax that coats the bags” despite the fact that Kellogg’s does NOT use wax coated bags, thus both denying and obfuscating the real problem. Oh wait, that’s exactly what @crisw said.
I certainly take food safety seriously, and want to know which things are safe to use in my home and which are not. People who try to blame polyethylene (which has among the best records of any plastics) and try to discourage people from finding out what’s really in food packaging are doing a disservice to the truth and are misusing Fluther.

crazyivan's avatar

Again, I have no expertise in the area. I do notice that all of the links that @GeorgeGee put up are either unrelated to what he is claiming or misleading (or misread). @MarthaStewart hasn’t put up anything at all to back up any claims. Just made claims.

On the other hand, @crisw has backed up the “cereal apology” with well referenced fact. If @crisw was an apologist for the cereal industry he/she would probably recommend cereal. If @GeorgeGee was an alarmist conspiracy theorist, he/she would put up misleading information and make outlandish, unreferenced claims.

GeorgeGee's avatar

Ha, not quite right @crazyivan. There’s nothing “unrelated” or “misleading” about:
1) posting the news article about the recall http://www.grist.org/article/food-kelloggs-froot-loops-recall
2) the second link established that it is in fact standard practice to spray insecticides on shelving, bags, and transport. http://www.fao.org/inpho/content/documents/vlibrary/new_fao/x5417e/x5417e0e.htm
3) The 3rd link is an EPA report on the chemical that was found in the cereal, 2-methylnaphthalene, and the report clearly states that it is a component of insecticides.
4) the 4th link indicates the best known and most widely used insecticide made from that chemical.
5) The 5th link establishes that scientists and packaging engineers have been applying pesticides to packaging and studying their efficacy for years, documenting that it has been a standard practice in the industry.
On and on; your claim of “unrelated” and “misleading” is clearly faulty.

crazyivan's avatar

I stand by my assessment that nothing you’ve posted backs up the general claim that Kelloggs sprays it’s cereal bags with insecticides. I’m not saying that is not the case (as I’ve stated, what do I know?), but you have not made the case that they do.

Link #1: Makes no reference to the use of pesticides and instead blames methylnaphthalene for the recall.
Link #2: Is a link to a UN food safety site that refers to storage of corn and corn stuffs in Africa and could be used as support for how carefully food manufacturers and distributors are about the use of pesticides.
Link #3: I may be reading it wrong (a lot of jargon here) but as I read it, methylnaphthalene is used in the production of insecticides rather than as an ingredient of. One way or the other saying that it “clearly states” that it is a component of insecticides is untrue.
Link#4: Isn’t even about the same chemical. It’s about 1-naphthyl methylcarbamate, not methylnaphthalene and thus has nothing to do with the topic that I can discern.
Link #5: Is for a company that does not import to the US and does not make cereal bags.

I say again, your links are irrelevant and misleading. If there are pesticides being sprayed on my cereal bags, I’d love to know about it, but nothing that you’ve provided backs up the claim in any way.

God knows, there is plenty of unhealthy things about cereal that we could talk about, but I this strikes me as unsubstantiated alarmism.

I would love to see any link that clearly defends your position.

GeorgeGee's avatar

Maybe you’re a little dense, maybe you’ve sniffed too many cereal boxes, but in this posting there was no pretense that the article describing the recall would have details on pesticide. The reason for the question in the first place was to find out what was not in the article. What the heck is wrong with you? If the article had stated that there was XYZ pesticide in the cereal box that caused the odor, obviously there wouldn’t have been any need for this question in the first place.

“Again, it’s hard to find the details, but the bags are required to be made of High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) plastic (not waxed paper) which doesn’t give off chemicals, but excessive chemicals were indeed in the boxes of Froot Loops and other cereals, initiating a recall: http://www.grist.org/article/food-kelloggs-froot-loops-recall"

crazyivan's avatar

I love that your primary defense mechanism on this thread is “Man, you must be stupid if you don’t just take the random and unsubstantiated opinion of some anonymous Flutherite as the unquestionable word of God.”

Yeah, by that standard I’m pretty dense. So I notice that you didn’t refute anything I said in the previous post. Does that mean you’ve given up on the argument or are personal attacks the only ammunition you came with?

Again, I would love to see any link that clearly defends your position.

(Oh and by the way, your explanation of the purpose of that first link is actually evidence that it is unrelated and/or misleading)

GeorgeGee's avatar

No, it’s actually fully indicative that I start by presenting what is known and readily publicly available. That’s what reasonable and intelligent people do when they’re trying to dig deeper into an issue. You ought to try it sometime.

crazyivan's avatar

Once again, personal attacks… no substance…

Once again, I would love to see any link that clearly defends your position.

crazyivan's avatar

Found a good link for you on what actually keeps the bugs out of your froot loops and given the nature of the site I figured it was just your speed:

MarthaStewart's avatar

Want some citations, @crazyivan? here’s one:
“Any of our packaging that’s in direct contact with the food, such as the cereal bag, is made of a plastic called High Density Polyethylene (HDPE).”
Source: Kellogg’s own website, http://www.kelloggs.co.uk/whatson/environment/other-priorities/packaging/
This of course shows that @crisw‘s comment “it’s a petroleum product; part of the wax that coats the bags” is completely wrong. but go ahead @crazyivan keep asserting that your sock puppet’s claims are somehow right anyway. And as to your comment that “If @crisw was an apologist for the cereal industry he/she would probably recommend cereal” ... well, you clearly don’t understand what an apologist is, despite the definition I provided above. You’re thinking of “promoter” or “marketer” not apologist.

crazyivan's avatar

Are you actually reading the thread or just dropping into to practice your smarminess.

This post is about whether or not cereal packaging contains pesticides. Not sure what the heck you’re talking about. Again, the link is 100% unrelated to the thread.

As a general rule, the person in the argument who relies on personal attacks is the one who is losing. By that definition, I think I’ve already won.

And by the way, your definition of apologist supports my claims more than yours. An apologist is a person who “defends” something (A person who argues in defense or justification of something, such as a doctrine, policy, or institution) and thus crisw’s admission that he/she “hates the stuff” absolves him/her from the accusation. Unless of course, the planet you live on (you know, the one where HDPE is an insecticide?) is one where apologists are actually detractors.

(I’ve met MarthaStewart by the way and you picked a pretty appropriate sn)

GeorgeGee's avatar

(yawn) there you go, talking in circles again, @crazyivan. Clearly your name is well-chosen. And no, someone saying they “hate the stuff” does not undo their defending the industry. That’s like saying “Personally I don’t like violence, but I think we should NUKE IRAN.”

Rarebear's avatar

Hey @GeorgeGee You haven’t done any ad hominem attacks towards me yet, I’m feeling left out!

crazyivan's avatar

@GeorgeGee I’m sorry if you lack the intellectual fortitude to comprehend my clear and concise method of debate. I’m not sure if there’s a simpler way of saying “I’d love to see a link that supports your position”, but I’ll try to dumb it down a little more for you:

“Can you hit the buttons on your computer alphabet to make the little underlined red thingy come up so I can use my clicker-thingy to have it take me to a website where there is a shred of evidence to support your position?”

GeorgeGee's avatar

Cute @crazyivan, but I’ve not only posted relevant links, but also pointed out their relevance in such simple terms that even you should be able to understand them, on the days when you’re sober. When that day comes, maybe you’ll do us a favor and stop your mindless rant. And if you had actually read the site you kindly provided a link to, you would have noticed that they said:
“Penetrators aren’t so sly. These guys- the lesser grain borer, cigarette beetle, warehouse beetle and rice moth, for example- simply chew holes in the packages. They can bore through one or more layers of packaging- cardboard, plastic, you name it.”
Yes, there are bugs that chew through packages. That’s why the cereal companies started adding insecticide to packaging. And no, they did NOT face restrictions as long as the packaging was not a part of the food nor in direct contact with the food.

crazyivan's avatar

So once again you have no link to support the assertion that cereal bags are coated with pesticides? Just curious.

If you’ll go back, you’ll notice that I never said they didn’t, I just asked for evidence that they did. You pointed to your links, I kindly pointed out that not one of them actually said what you were saying they said and you were unable to refute a single point I made.

Instead you called me dense, mindless or implied that I was drunk. That’s how a twelve year old tries to win a debate, by calling the other person a poo-poo pants. Grown ups make points, counter-points, support their claims with valid evidence…

By the way, not sure if I’ve mentioned this before but “I’d love to see a link that supports your position”

Rarebear's avatar

I want to be called a poo-poo pants.

crisw's avatar

@Rarebear
On the website where I volunteer as an editor, one of the other editors was called a “lame monkey turd.” That gas since become a badge of honor :>D

GeorgeGee's avatar

@crazyivan if you take the time to look back at your posts here, you’ll see that you’ve added nothing. You’ve added no insight to the question being asked, you’ve added nothing to the background, nothing to the research, you’ve only added one link to one industry site aimed at children who “don’t know any better.” good for you. I’ve not only asked the question, I’ve dug up and posted most of what is available on the web. The news sites about the problem, the background, the industry practices, the chemical breakdown, the correlations… But yet you go on, spewing nonsense, thinking you’re somehow superior without providing any useful information at all, criticizing without contributing meaningfully to the discourse. It’s sad, @crazyivan, yet it is all that we can expect from you.

crazyivan's avatar

You have yet to post a link that suggests on any level that pesticides are being used on cereal bags. I’ve pointed out in exactly what way the links don’t say what you say they say and (get ready for a whopper here) I’ve even pointed out that I’ve pointed out in exactly what way the links don’t say what you say they say.

And I’ve added plenty. I even used the term poo-poo pants and that may just be a first on Fluther.

Interestingly enough (and I’m only pointing this out to you because I’m sure everyone else has noticed) you have yet to even attempt a counterpoint in this conversation.

So let me give you your current score:

Salient Facts: 0
Insults against people who ask for evidence: 12
Complete misrepresentations of what others have said: 7
Attempts at genuine rebuttal: 0

The very premise of your argument is outright silly. As myself and crisw have pointed out there is nothing but the thinnest thread of conspiracy theory alarmism in your “logic”. You start a question that contains a pretty outlandish accusation by saying that said outlandish accusation is “generally know”. You even put quotes around the words “generally known” as though by doing so it made the statement authoritative.

And your repeated excuse for not providing any evidence? They don’t want you to know. Are Snap, Crackle and Pop now working for the Illuminati? (I never did trust that Frankenberry) You even said that eating cereal would give your children brain tumors!! I’m sorry, but when you say Fruit Loops will put loops in your fruits only a complete maroon would just accept that as fact without any evidence.

And if you’re too tired to respond, I can just insult myself and add something pedantic in your stead.

Oh, and @Rarebear your such a poo-poo pants!

GeorgeGee's avatar

You still don’t get it. I’m trying to find out what’s in the box. You’re trying to distract people from the question. We know there’s a problem, even Kellogg’s admits there’s a problem. The problem can and has been smelled and verified, and Kellogg’s initiates a recall as a result. Still you won’t admit there’s a problem. Crunchy says the problem is wax, but there is no wax, even Kellogg’s says there is no wax. Industry literature which I’ve cited showed there has been a long standing practice of applying pesticides to transport, shelving and packaging. I’ve documented a link between pesticides and the chemicals found, and I did not say that means that a specific pesticide such as Sevin is used in a specific packaged good like Froot Loops. I know the difference between correlation and causality. While you rant and rave and effectively say STOP ASKING QUESTIONS, I have reason to ask. With any consumer product intended for consumption, particularly by children, intelligent consumers MUST ask questions when there is clearly something wrong. Chemical smells are an indication that there is indeed something wrong. What you call conspiracy theory and alarmism in order to suppress the question is anything but. It’s not a conspiracy theory to think that pesticides are used to control pests, quite to the contrary it’s standard practice.

crazyivan's avatar

It’s so hilarious that in the middle of the rant you are giving about how I should stop asking questions you extoll the virtue of asking questions. Very MPD of you…

Response moderated (Personal Attack)
crazyivan's avatar

Shame it was moderated. Given @GeorgeGee‘s other wisecracks on this thread it was probably pretty darned funny. I mean, I’ll give credit where credit is due, the repeated use of the nickname “Crunchy” for crisw is great and I meant what I said about the “Cereal Industry Apologist” line. I’ve actually used it a few times now. When my wife asked me to turn off the light I glared angrily and muttered “Cereal Industry Apologist” under my breath…

But if you want to continue the conversation I think we can find some common ground here. Had your question proposed the pesticide thing as a suspicion rather than a fact I’d have taken no issue with it. As I’ve said repeatedly, I’m not denying the claim, I’m denying that evidence has been provided for it. There’s some pretty nasty stuff in cereal and I wouldn’t doubt that the bags are treated with some sort of pesticide. Seems unlikely that something like that would fall so far under the radar.

But the fact that you chose to attack the people who questioned your conclusions rather than engage in an honest debate drowned your points out.

GeorgeGee's avatar

Whatever was moderated wasn’t mine, so don’t go getting all excited for nothing. I’m not the only one who recognizes a lame and purposeless rant devoid of content.

crisw's avatar

It was MarthaStewart who got moderated.

Cirbryn's avatar

@GeorgeGee

You wrote : “Without any science nor citations, Crunchy decided 2-Methylnapthalene is equivalent to water (it’s not)”

I responded : ” I just did a search on “water”. You mention it and so does Rarebear. Cris never did.”

You replied : “But actually Crunchy said “3) Dihydrogen monoxide, anyone?” Maybe @Cirbryn should look up Dihydrogen monoxide… it’s another name for water.

Response: Alright, but she never “decided 2-Methylnapthalene is equivalent to water” as you claimed. The point of her link was to show that you need to show more than just a chemical-sounding name to demonstrate health risks. You have not done so.

*********

You also wrote “Without any science nor citations, Crunchy decided … that polyethylene liners will give off serious fumes (they won’t).”

I responded “You are the only person in this thread to mention “fumes” (besides me just now).”

You replied : ” But actually the fumes are exactly what initiated the recall by Kellogg’s, and what Crunchy said of the fumes was: “Are you talking about methylnaphthalene which was in Froot Loops boxes and sickened people? If so, it isn’t a pesticide; it’s a petroleum product; part of the wax that coats the bags.” But this is ignorance, because Kellogg’s stopped using waxed bags over 20 years ago in favor of High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) bags.”

Response:

A) Nothing in your above statement supports your claim that Cris ever said “polyethylene liners will give off serious fumes.” She did not say it.

B) According to the cite Cris provided, the recall was due to “an off taste and smell”, not to fumes.

C) Also according to the linked site, methylnapthalene is “a substance commonly present at very low levels in the waxy resins used to make packaging materials” (emphasis added). In other words it’s “part of the wax that coats the bags.”

GeorgeGee's avatar

Nice try, but no. There aren’t any waxy resins used in those packaging materials. There’s cardboard for the box, and a High Density Polyethylene bag encasing the cereal, as Martha pointed out citing Kellogg’s own site.
And while you seem to think there is some difference between “an off taste and smell” and fumes, you should look up the definition of fumes. No, don’t bother, here it is: “fume – A gas or vapour/vapor that smells strongly or is dangerous to inhale.” From my first citation of the notice of the recall I quote: “The company revealed it had detected an “uncharacteristic off-flavor and smell coming from the liner in the package” of the suspect cereal and warned of “possible temporary symptoms, including nausea and diarrhea” from eating it.” I’d say that meets the criteria of smelling strongly and dangerous to inhale.
Should I go on? or would you prefer to go on whistling nonsense in the wind uninterrupted?

crisw's avatar

The bags were not made of plastic.

”[T]he “off” taste and smell that was triggering nausea and sometimes vomiting in customers was triggered by the paper-backed foil liner in some Froot Loops and other cereal boxes…
The foil liners had a slightly elevated level of waxy resin, a FDA-approved item used to make packaging materials.”

The article I cited has a picture of the bags.

GeorgeGee's avatar

Just what exactly do you think a coating of “waxy resin” with methylnapthalene and other chemicals in it IS? I would call that an insecticide/insect repellent layer. It’s chemically closely related to the primary ingredient in mothballs. It’s clear that there is no need for such a layer given that High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) alone is Kellogg’s own international standard, as described in their own website cited by Martha, and Kellogg’s doesn’t use it in Europe, because it’s illegal there.
http://www.fooducate.com/blog/2010/08/08/why-does-europe-deserve-safer-food-than-the-us/

crisw's avatar

@GeorgeGee

The methylnaphthalene is not there as any kind of insecticide. Have you ever been to a paper mill? I have, and there are all kinds of nasty products used in the paper manufacturing process- the link gives just a few examples. That’s one reason that paper mills stink to high heaven. And, of course, Europe is much more proactive about environmental protection than the U.S, so it stands to reason that they don’t use some of these chemicals in their paper manufacturing process. No one is stating that methylnaphthalene is good stuff- it is a toxic chemical. But it isn’t there as an insecticide.

So why is it there? Methylnaphthalene i used in the manufacture of naphthalene sulphonate condensate polymers which are used to control pulp absorbency and pitch content in paper manufacture.

On my way out the door, so I can write more on this later if needed.

GeorgeGee's avatar

Let’s just suppose bugs actually liked to eat cereal. (oh yes, they actually do)
Let’s just suppose Kellogg’s had problems with bugs trying to get into their packages (they do, as do all grain and cereal product manufacturers)
Now let’s suppose there were certain waxy petrochemicals such as 2-methylnaphthalene that repel or kill bugs (there are.)
Let’s suppose Kellogg’s can legally put such chemicals on their packages because there are very few restrictions in the USA (that is certainly the case.)
Would they call it a pesticide layer? (sounds bad for business)
or would they call it a “waxy coating?” (sounds better.)
And apparently the only concern is to keep the concentration low enough that people can’t easily smell it or be sickened by it, but bugs are still repelled or killed. Were it not for a little slip (oops, too much methylnaphthalene) nobody would be the wiser.

crisw's avatar

@GeorgeGee

“there were certain waxy petrochemicals such as 2-methylnaphthalene”

2-methylnaphthalene isn’t a “waxy chemical.” It’‘s a solvent. And, as we have established over and over again, it’s not an insecticide.

GeorgeGee's avatar

Have you felt some? Are you familiar with all forms of 2-methylnaphthalene? Have you read the dictionary of organic compounds? If you had, you’d find out that this chemical in its various forms is indeed a waxy liquid or even a waxy solid, such as 1,2,3,4-Tetrahydro-6-methyl 2-naphthol.
http://books.google.com/books?id=0GNno3CX0PcC&pg=PA5835&lpg=PA5835&dq=methylnaphthalene+waxy&source=bl&ots=6AAhGTxXl5&sig=nw_Pxc9FMlzLoALVHwM25dW44xU&hl=en&ei=-S-pTPHoN8L_lger06WYDg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CBgQ6AEwADgK#v=onepage&q=methylnaphthalene%20waxy&f=false
And while you don’t think it’s an insecticide, maybe you think you could feed it to bugs and they’d like it? They’d thrive in it? And just why would Kellogg’s put something that’s good for bugs in their cereal boxes? Maybe you think moths also like mothballs? I don’t usually cite Wikipedia, but this is something that should be pretty obvious:
“The most familiar use of naphthalene is as a household fumigant, such as in mothballs although 1,4-dichlorobenzene (or p-dichlorobenzene) is now more widely used. In a sealed container containing naphthalene pellets, naphthalene vapors build up to levels toxic to both the adult and larval forms of many moths that attack textiles. Other fumigant uses of naphthalene include use in soil as a fumigant pesticide, in attic spaces to repel animals and insects, and in museum storage-drawers and cupboards to protect the contents from attack by insect pests.”
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naphthalene

crisw's avatar

@GeorgeGee

Saying that methylnaphthalene and naphthalene are the same is like saying that water and hydrogen peroxide are the same thing, only sillier.

In the form it’s used in industry, methylnaphthalene sulfonate formaldehyde condensate. it’s a brown powder designed to be mixed with liquids.

crazyivan's avatar

So anything insects wouldn’t eat and thrive in is now an insecticide? Our bar has gotten much lower as this thread continues.

GeorgeGee's avatar

Do you just make stuf up as you go along? If you had even taken the most basic course in chemistry, you would know that similar chemicals tend to have similar properties. The entire family of chemicals is toxic to insects, and 2-methylnaphthalene is mentioned specifically in the book “Insect repellents: principles, methods, and uses” By Mustapha Debboun, Stephen P. Frances, Daniel Strickman, p.388–389, talking about the efficacy of insecticides: “the most active components were 1-methyl naphthalene and 2-methyl naphthalene.”
The EPA groups naphthalenes and 1— and 2-methyl naphthalenes in describing their dangers: “Exposure to naphthalene or methylnaphthalenes by noninhalation routes appears to produce lung damage in rodents, especially mice.” and cites specific studies as to the approximate equality of their toxicity “Rasmussen et al. (1986) compared the potency of single 1 or 2 mmol/kg intraperitoneal injections of naphthalene, 1-methylnaphthalene, and 2-methylnaphthalene in mice using a cytotoxicity scoring system for bronchiolar epithelial damage. 2-Methylnaphthalene and naphthalene were about equally cytotoxic”
http://www.epa.gov/iris/toxreviews/0436tr.pdf

crisw's avatar

@GeorgeGee

Boy,, are you quote mining. The quote above, from Insect repellents: principles, methods, and uses actually is referring to a solvent. being used as a solvent, that happens to have some repellent- not insecticidal- properties. “The solvent Velsicol A50 used as a carrier for the DDT was sufficient to produce a repellent effect. ” The book then goes on to list the ingredients for the solvent.

As for the EPA- come on, we have all agreed that this chemical is dangerous, and showing once again that it is dangerous doesn’t do a thing for your argument.

GeorgeGee's avatar

If you have a substance- 2-methylnaphthalene, that kills insects, and you add DDT to it, it will indeed kill even more bugs. And if you add plutonium to it, it will kill still more. That doesn’t change the fact that it does indeed kill and repel insects, just as mothballs do, which are chemically similar. And when a company that knows how to use plain HDPE bags for cereal decides to coat their bags with a waxy chemical mix that includes 2-methylnaphthalene, you can pretend that their actions were just arbitrary, or you might consider the possibility that a cereal company might have a vested interest in repelling and killing insects that otherwise might get into their packages.

crazyivan's avatar

I’m confused… did you not within the last post essentially admit that you have as much evidence that they are putting pesticides in cereal bags as you have evidence that they’re putting DDT and plutonium in them?

Your intellect is quite dizzying.

GeorgeGee's avatar

Yes, your confusion has been evident for quite a while. You clearly have trouble following a thread. Maybe new glasses would help. If a scientific study of Substance “A” mixed with substance “B” determines that this mixture is effective in killing insects, where substance “A” is a known insect killing product such as “DDT” ... and then with respect to substance “B” the article says that “the most active components were 1-methyl naphthalene and 2-methyl naphthalene…” That is describing the fact that substance “B” also contributes to killing the insects. I know you’d love for me to walk you through every scientific study and explain what each line means, but frankly there just isn’t time.

crazyivan's avatar

Oh yes, I’d love to have you walk me through scientific studies. I can only imagine what kind that would be like.

By the way, I just want to point that your post (you know, the one about how I can’t follow a thread) did not even begin to respond to the point I just made. Like most of your posts, you took a sentence or two to insult me (or whoever has the audacity to question your unrivalled brilliance) and then made an unrelated point. If a debate club was scoring this thing they would send you home under the mercy rule…

Cirbryn's avatar

@GeorgeGee
> If a scientific study of Substance “A” mixed with substance “B” determines that this mixture is effective in killing insects, where substance “A” is a known insect killing product such as “DDT” ... and then with respect to substance “B” the article says that “the most active components were 1-methyl naphthalene and 2-methyl naphthalene…” That is describing the fact that substance “B” also contributes to killing the insects.

That’s ridiculous. Suppose all substance B did was to keep substance A from clumping. And the most effective anti-clumping components were 1-methyl naphthalene and 2-methyl naphthalene.

Suppose substance B was water, and all it did was help spread the DDT around.

This entire thread consists of you jumping to conclusions like that one that you can’t support, other people pointing out possibilities you missed, and you insulting them for it and trying to bluff your way back to some semblance of credibility.

GeorgeGee's avatar

An anti-clumping ingredient is not an “active” ingredient. Here are some definitions you might find useful:

Active ingredient – any substance, as determined by EPA, that will prevent, destroy, repel or mitigate any pest, or that functions as a plant regulator, desiccant, or defoliant within the meaning of FIFRA.

Inert ingredient – Any substance (or group of substances with similar chemical structures if designated by the EPA) other than an active ingredient which is intentionally included in any pesticide product.

Source: University of California, Davis, Organic Farming Compliance Handbook
http://www.sarep.ucdavis.edu/Organic/complianceguide/glossary.htm

crazyivan's avatar

I’d like to argue with your definitions. The active ingredient in Tylenol is acetominophen. Does that mean that it will prevent, destroy, repel or mitigate pests?

GeorgeGee's avatar

Don’t you think that a definition specific to the subject at hand is more useful than a more generic one? Apparently not. Why don’t you entertain yourself for the next 8 hours by looking up alternative definitions for “active ingredient?” They’ll all get you to the same place. For instance, here’s one to get you started, from the cosmetics industry:

Active Ingredient: substance that does the work. The other ingredients are usually just filler, fragrance etc.
http://www.beauty-advices.com/beauty-and-skin-care-dictionary-from-a-h-part-i/

crazyivan's avatar

I’m sorry, are you still supporting your own point? Sounds a lot like you’ve switched over and now you, too, are pointing out how unsubstantiated your position is.

GeorgeGee's avatar

I’m sorry too, sorry that your head is so deeply lodged in your,
yeah, well you know.

crazyivan's avatar

For your own sake, I think it’s important to point out that you’re the only one being bull headed here. The rest of us all considered the possibility that there were pesticides in cereal bags, researched it and discovered it to be false. You, on the other hand, claim to know this beyond a doubt despite having no first hand knowledge or direct evidence to support your claim. You also refuse to accept any evidence to the contrary even if when your points are soundly disproven. Seems that if any craniums are in any orafices here, they would both be yours.

And c’mon, man, I’ve come to expect much more creative insults from you. You disappoint me.

Cirbryn's avatar

@GeorgeGee wrote: “Active Ingredient: substance that does the work.”

Yes, but the methylated napthalenes you’re talking about were in a solvent, as Cris already pointed out. (See bottom of page 388 here) What do you think “doing the work” of a solvent would entail?

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