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Author Topic: Tar in Vitamins?
The Great Sullen Monkey
The Red and the Green Stamps


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After a recent trip to whole foods and learning many things I did not want to know about the foods I ate (aka Kraft Mac and Cheese is 30% wax) we also learned some vitamins include tar, for a reason that has escaped my memory.
Anyway, I'm taking a class on medicine n' stuff for "gifted children" and we decided to try the experiment our guide gave us.
We baked Mrs. G's vitamins for 10 minutes at 250 degrees, then a little bit longer when nothing happened, and the next day when we came back, lo and behold, black... stuff... had bubbled out.
All 15 of us piled into Mrs. G's tiny little office and we called the company, where one of the operators informed us it was iron.
I really don't expect them to tell us if it is tar, because that's the way business is.
But that doesn't mean it wasn't iron. So, tell me, was it iron or tar?

Blue "Hurry, class ends Thurs." Jeans


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Sparverius
The Red and the Green Stamps


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Well, not knowing exactly what type of vitamins you were testing, or if there were any filler additives, etc., I'd be tempted to say that you'd heated the stuff until something in it started to decompose.

For example, if you heat sugar high enough, it turns into a black, icky material (and can really wreck your pots). This doesn't mean that tar is "in" sugar, merely that you've heated it until it started to turn into something else.

Perhaps a better test would be to grind the vitamins up, and dissolve them in water to see if any non-soluble material is left over that resembles tar. My bet is there won't be.


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Doc Savage--So Pure, He Floats!
The Red and the Green Stamps


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Surprisingly, some vitamins DO contain traces of coal tar. Some of the synthetic vitamins are manufactured using it, particularly as a source of synthetic B-group vitamins.

Sometimes on the label it identifies it as, for example, "vitamin B3[synthetic]." More often, you're not told it's a synthetic unless the label clearly states that ALL of the ingredients are natural. Those are way more expensive than the cheaper synthetics.


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Sparverius
The Red and the Green Stamps


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Good point, Doc, but I don't think these traces represent the "stuff" Blue Jeans noted. Unless the manufacturing process is severely messed up, the traces shouldn't be visible to the naked eye.
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Cure the Blues
We Three Blings


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If I really wanted to find out what's in multivitamins, I'd use some super-sensitive method that would tease out the specific components, preferably GC-MS (gas chromatography/mass spectrometry) or HPLC (high-performance liquid chromatography). Simply charring stuff won't tell you what the ingredients are. Lots of things turn black when overheated.

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The Great Sullen Monkey
The Red and the Green Stamps


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You've all been very helpful. It was some sort of women's multivitamin.
If it helps, we also dissolved them in vinegar and some ...stuff...floated to the top. Could tar/iron/ect do that?

Blue "...stuff..." Jeans


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Silas Sparkhammer
I Saw V-Chips Come Sailing In


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Macaroni and Cheese is 30% wax? That's hard for me to believe...

I know about confectioners' wax, which is used to coat jelly beans...

What was the source of this claim?

Remember that even "all natural" foods will have a residue (called "ash") that has no food value. It just passes right through us. I'm sure that the small amounts of tar that would be in a vitamin pill would also just go right on through. I mean, just to be blunt, I'd be willing to swallow a pill-sized wad of tar, and that's at 100% If the vitamin pill has only 5% tar, than I only need to swallow a pill 1/20 the size of a vitamin pill. Hey, kids, my nasal mucosa traps more than that in dust every day, much of which I swallow.

What is the ld50 of tar, anyway? I'd fancy it's up there in tens or even hundreds of grams.

Silas (what is the ld50 of glurge?) Sparkhammer

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Then both vanish earth's dominion, man is native to the skies.


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The Great Sullen Monkey
The Red and the Green Stamps


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Silas, I had a feeling you'd reply to this... anywho, I have a feeling our guide (forgot her name. midsummer short term memory loss, I suppose) was trying to scare us into buying organic foods. About how the blue dye used in gatorade is also used in antifreeze. There's also water in antifreeze(I think). Should I stop drinking water? I should have made a list of the so called facts and posted them here. A lot of them seemed suspicious.

Blue "my deoderant is gonna give me breast cancer some day" Jeans


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Cure the Blues
We Three Blings


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I can't find an LD50 for coal tar in the Merck Index, very probably because there are a slew of organic compounds in tar (like benzene, anthracene, phenanthrene, phenol, etc.). Most of these are carcinogenic and they have varying toxicities. Benzene has an LD50 of 3.8 mL/kg in rats and phenol is about 530 mg/kg in rats (oral dose). According to Merck the average fatal dose of phenol in humans is about 15 g, but death has resulted from as little as 1 g. Pure phenol can also cause horrific chemical burns; whenever I work with the stuff, I'm very paranoid about not getting any of it on me.
quote:
There's also water in antifreeze(I think)
If you're putting it in your car, there had better be at least some water in there. The only dangerous chemical that I know is in antifreeze is ethylene glycol (it's a CNS depressant and it also does a number on the kidneys). The blue dye is probably harmless. If the antifreeze uses propylene glycol instead, it's nontoxic (that extra carbon atom makes a huge difference). I've even seen propylene glycol occasionally used as a food additive and I have yet to die from eating it.

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The Great Sullen Monkey
The Red and the Green Stamps


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quote:
Originally posted by Cure the Blues:
I've even seen propylene glycol occasionally used as a food additive and I have yet to die from eating it.

If I learned anything at Whole Foods, it's that you will soon.

blue "rest assured" jeans


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The Evil Nephroid of Freeth!!!
The Red and the Green Stamps


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Always remember the foremost food UL; if you stopped eating everything said to be harmful, you'd starve to death!
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