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| October 11, 2001

“It must have been the salad, dude!” A consortium of manufacturers that produce food and body-care items containing shelled hempseed and hemp oil have initiated a program designed to ease consumer fears about the possibility that use of their products could cause false positives for THC (the active ingredient in marijuana) in drug tests. Manufacturers participating in the program, called TestPledge, are required to keep THC levels in their products below an amount that would make detection via urine sample nearly impossible.

According to the program’s Web site, www.testpledge.com, the THC limit for hemp oil is 5 parts per million and for shelled hempseed 1.5 ppm. That would allow your average hemphead to consume 14 ounces of shelled hempseed, or four ounces of pure hemp oil per day, and still register a mere 600 micrograms of THC, “the dose found not to cause confirmed positive urine tests for marijuana with a wide margin for safety.”

To put the limits into everyday context, TestPledge asked the Galaxy Global Eatery in New York to estimate the amount of hemp oil and hempseed in their most “hemp intensive” meal, which would consist of a salad (organic mesclun green salad with hemp miso vinaigrette), appetizer (hempnut edamame cakes over spicy mango sauce), dinner (hempnut crusted tofu steak with Iroquois jalapeno agave succotash) and dessert (hempnut encrusted key lime pie and hemp ice cream). Calculations reveal that “everyday, one can have this meal for both lunch AND dinner … and still be on the safe side of a confirmed positive drug-test.” Did reading this give anybody else a case of the munchies?

A heavy metal smile: On a more disturbing note for those of you concerned about other elements inadvertently finding their way into your body and corrupting your bloodstream, the state of Maine has passed a new law that requires dentists to inform their patients that “silver” amalgam dental fillings may actually contain a high percentage of the heavy metal, mercury. For those who may recall playing with the slippery quicksilver in science classes in school days of yore, or else have been living under a rock for the past 30 years, mercury is highly toxic and has been associated with a wide array of nasty health effects, including birth defects, developmental and behavioral disorders, autism and Alzheimer’s disease, to name but a few.

Although the American Dental Association (whose seal of approval assures you that your toothpaste is kosher) has been saying for years that silver (i.e. mercury) amalgams are “safe and effective” and pose no health problems for humans, lawmakers in the Lobster State just weren’t biting. In fact, earlier this summer a coalition of public interest groups filed suit against the ADA and the California Dental Association, arguing, in effect, that packing cavity-riddled molars with thermometer juice isn’t exactly the most conducive method for promoting strong mental health in our golden years. Now, Maine legislators may also be taking a look-see at another practice once touted by the ADA for its cavity-fighting properties: the fluoridation of public water supplies. That little hornet’s nest has been buzzing for years, even before the issue came to the public’s attention in Stanley Kubrick’s 1964 film, Dr. Strangelove. What’s next, dental floss causes infertility?

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