From the HBD Archive
From: (Sheridan J. Adams)
Subject: Re: Homebrew Digest #920 (July 09, 1992)
Date: 1992-07-09 15:33:17 GMT

On Jul 9, Russell Owen wrote:

> My note on the possible hazards of genuine rootbeer
> elicited a response from D. Popowich asking for details.
> ...
> Root beer is flavored with a distillate of the young shoots
> or root bark of _Sassofras_variifolium_, ...
> The trouble with sassafras is that it contains _safrole_, a
> carcinogen (see the NTP 85-002, 1985). Safrole ... is
> about 75% of oil of sassafras. It has been used as a topical
> antiseptic and a pediculicide (lice treatment). Its oral toxicity
> in rats is 50% lethality at a dose of 1.95 g per kg.
> So, if you must indulge, do so in moderation!
>-- End of excerpt

<Cynic mode on>

Let's see ... I weigh approximately 240 lbs. That's ~108.86 kg. So at
1.95 g per kg I can ingest 212.277 grams or 7.48 oz. At 75% safrole I would
need 9.97 oz of sassafras. Rootbeer extracts that I have seen come in
2 oz bottles which makes 5 gallons of rootbeer. Assuming (1) that it is
consumed in a short period of time and (2) the extract is pure sassafras
I would need to drink 24.925 gallons of rootbeer to reach the oral toxicity.
While there is a 50-50 chance that I will develop cancer there is a 90% plus
chance that I will create a very large brown flume orally. Which means I am
now below the 50% lethality rate.

<Cynic mode off>

All I am trying to say is when something has been proven dangerous to
labrats, quite often the dosage is something normal humans may never
approach in their life times. Russell, I am not picking on you, it's just
that you provided enough numbers for me to write this little diatribe.
I am sure I will get a few responses correcting my math/spelling/use-of-HBD.
(-: at least 'til article 100 :-)

- --

The leading cause of cancer in laboratory rats is research.
Sheridan J. Adams
(612) 683-3030

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