Medicine: Food Additives: Blessing or Bane?

UNTIL the great cyclamate furor bubbled over this fall, few Americans paid much heed to the minute lettering on their cakes and candy bars, diet drinks and instant dinners. Even a magnifying glass was little help in explaining those obscure polysyllables: propylene glycol, calcium silicate, butylated hydroxyanisole, sorbitan monostearate, methylparaben. Today, the portmanteau word for such substances is "additives"—which translates into myriad chemicals that have made even bread a laboratory product and the cheese spread to put on it a test-tube concoction.

For many reasons, laboratory technicians and manufacturers have had to...

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