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March 19, 1960


JAMA. 1960;172(12):1319-1320. doi:10.1001/jama.1960.03020120097021

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To the Editor:—  The first issue of The Journal this year ushered in 1960 with a pleasantly amusing statement, on page 62, implying that a bit of thought might be helpful in the enactment of laws having to do with the addition of chemical compounds to foods or with the interpretation and enforcement of these laws. The choice of three examples was excellent: aminotriazole, an efficient weed killer and a good antithvroid compound which was detected in cranberries; charcoal, used to color candy; and diethylstilbestrol, used to make capons without a highly paid cockerel surgeon. I heartily agree that consumption of charcoal is unlikely to induce cancer and that we can all continue to eat our burned toast; I agree, too, that diethylstilbestrol, though used for one-quarter of a century and in millions of people, has given no suggestion of being carcinogenic, but I am no expert in these matters.

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