Environmentally conscious investing

Rick Knight (rknight@platinum.com)
Tue, 27 May 97 12:49:03 CST

Max More writes:

"I am perfectly willing to tailor my investments according to my
values. Environmental health is one of those, but I don't see any
environmental problems caused by Coke (anymore than result from any
form of production in our pre-nano, only partially market-based

>>Could you elaborate on the pre-nano environmental hazards? Are you
referring to semi-conductor manufacturing?

>>And in regards to environmental problems associated with Coca-cola
and other junk food manufacturers,
* Excessive use of plastic packaging
* failure to introduce world-class environmental packaging standards
* wantonly gluttonous promotion of its products (how about the Diet
Coke commercial where the little Italian girl is asking her
grandmother if she will be "pretty" if she drinks Diet Coke. Ack!)

Max continues:

"As for health, which of course is a major value to me -- especially
my own -- I drink Diet Coke sometimes, and don't believe it's harming
me. Drinking a large quantity might be bad because of the phosphoric
acid (informed feedback is welcome here), but I don't drink much. "


Aspartame was discovered in l965 by Searle chemist, Jim
Schlatter. He was developing this drug for another use and after
accidentally licking his finger found that aspartame was sweet. Today
aspartame is consumed by more than 100 million people in the United
States. This chemical (aspartame) has been approved by the Food and
Drug Administration (FDA) who said that an individual can safely
consume 97 packets of aspartame every day. Aspartame is in many
products including some that children use such as diet soda, light
yogurt, Flintstone Vitamins, baked goods, puddings, and Winterfresh
gum. It has been known to cause headaches, nausea, vision problems,
seizures and cancer in its users.

The ingredients in aspartame are aspartic acid, phenylalanine, and
methyl alcohol. Methyl alcohol is a chemical that breaks down in high
temperatures and turns into formaldehyde and DKP (diketopiperazine),
two chemicals known to cause problems in the nervous system.
Aspartame's life is 262 days at 77 degrees Fahrenheit, or 25 degrees
Celsius. The FDA gets more complaints about aspartame than any other
food or drink. The symptoms of aspartame are a lot like the symptoms
of multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer's disease. Ever since aspartame
was approved in l985, there has been an increase in brain tumors.
There is no direct proof that aspartame caused the brain tumors, but
there is enough reason to suspect that, and the television show, "60
Minutes" recently did a report linking the increase in brain cancer to
aspartame use.

The FDA reviewed Searle's studies of this artificial sweetener in
which rats were fed aspartame daily with their meals for one year.
There were 12 brain tumors in the 320 rats that were fed aspartame and
no brain tumors in the 120 rats that were not fed aspartame.

There was also a study done at the University of Wisconsin on rhesus
monkeys. they were fed aspartame daily. After day 200 of a one year
study the monkeys developed epileptic seizures. After the study
ended,the aspartame was discontinued and the monkeys were fully
watched for 60 days. The monkeys had no more seizures.

The aspartame contained in diet soda stored over time can break down
into formaldehyde and DKP, two very dangerous poisons. Taste tests
revealed a noticeable difference among tasters. The higher the heat
of storage, the
worse the taste.

Diet soda stored for ten weeks loses flavor. Aspartame in that soda
breaks down into two products, formaldehyde and DKP. The warmer the
temperature, the greater the loss of aspartame and the greater the
increase in DKP.

Temperature creates two effects. First, the higher the temperature of
storage, the higher the level of DKP in the soda. Second, room
temperature seems to create the highest levels of formaldehyde in
soda. At very high temperatures, the formaldehyde breaks down.
However, even stored in a refrigerator at cold temperature, the
aspartame breaks down into formaldehyde.

After diet soda containing aspartame is purchased it should not be
stored in the heat or under any condition for a long period of time.

Max continues:

"Sugary Coke shouldn't be bad for someone if they drink it
*occasionally*. That choice is up to each individual. I do not see it
as my duty to refrain from investing in Coke because some people
choose to drink five cans of sugary Coke per day."


As I indicated in an earlier post, I probably spent half of my life
mindlessly guzzling and munching on sugar water and partially
hydrogenated empty calorie "food". I'm a lot more in moderation now
that I have a mindful attenuation to my body but I'd no sooner invest
in Coke, McDonalds or Frito Lay than I would in Phillip Morris, whose
products were made available to and shorted the lives of millions of
information-deprived and less educated people both here and abroad.

Yes, humans make their own decisions as I am profoundly aware with the
loss of both my parents this year to lung-related illness due to
smoking. But some humans are less capable of others of making sound
decisions and that factor must be considered before one shrugs off
consequences. It is no different than one attaining more profound
awareness wherein they take on Extropian characteristics. Some may be
instinctively that way, others must be patiently coached.

If someone drinks their way to obesity or diabetes, the subtle
rippling effect of that dis-ease manifests in the community, in the
culture. Might not the extropian aim be not so much altruistic as
quintessentially noble?

More information on Aspertame:


and on the positive spin side (for Coke):



Rick Knight

"Is there truth? Or just varying levels of confidence?"