Behold: The face of a killer.
Iced tea, or sweet tea as its known to those of you living south of Washington, D.C., is consumed in mass quantities by Southerners in the United States. The drink itself is made by adding sugar to boiling water and then steeping black tea in it. (Here I am addressing sweet tea, because that’s what I prefer. Y’all who drink “unsweet tea” just skip the addition of sugar.) You can order it at almost any restaurant south of Maryland. Southern families have been enjoying it on their porches in the summer time since time out of mind.
Hot black tea, whether sweetened or not, is a comfort on cold mornings, a way to relax, a drink to be shared with friends. There’s nothing like the smell of a cup of Earl Grey.
Too bad Earl Grey wants you to get cancer.
And I don’t mean that iced sweet tea will give you diabetes (though with all that sugar, it probably will). I mean that drinking hot tea will give you cancer. It will also prevent cancer. Tea is complicated like that, and it isn’t sorry.
Hot tea consumption has been linked to increased rates of esophageal cancer, at least in a northern Iranian population. Some brands of tea that were tested by researchers at Thapar University also contained PAHs, or polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. They sound lovely, but don’t let the name fool you: PAHs occur in gross things that give you cancer, like tar and oil and a lot of foods. They are mutagens, mucking with your cells’ DNA and laughing behind your back, and like many mutagens, they are also carcinogens.
Tea is also a source of oxalate, which can be found not only in the tea plant, but in star fruit, parsley, poppy seeds, spinach, and chocolate. Another, less delicious, place one can find oxalate is in kidney stones, which are most frequently composed of calcium oxalate. High daily oxalate intake is linked to kidney stones. Drinking a lot of tea (or a lot of coffee, which is its own post in the future) can make you pee rocks.
Oh. Oh, god, no.
There you have it. Tea: trying to give you cancer. And prevent cancer. And cure cancer.
And treat anal/genital warts.
Reader’s Digest, Oprah, and every website that gives health advice ever will agree: Laughter is called the best medicine, raising your spirits, boosting your immune system, and causing your body to release endorphins.
It’s also trying to kill you.
The Greek philosopher Chrysippus died of laughter after he got his donkey drunk on wine and then watched it try to eat figs. Admittedly, a donkey trying to eat figs would be pretty funny to watch- if you’re a Stoic philosopher and you believe that a wise man should be immune from misfortune. Clearly Chrysippus wasn’t immune from hilarity.
Kuru, also known as shiver and “the laughing death”, is “an incurable degenerative neurological disorder”, related to mad cow disease. The disease is best known for the epidemic among the Fore of the highlands of Papua New Guinea during the mid-twentieth century. A Time article from 1957 describes the illness, invariably fatal, and the race to find a cause for it. (The article also includes the brilliant sentence, “Dr. Gajdusek got some bodies at the bargain price of only one ax”, referring to the fact that the Fore’s currency consisted of axes and tobacco.) Kuru first strikes its victims, mostly grown women, with tremors that increase until the victim is unable to walk, stand, or eventually swallow on her own. During this clinical phase, the afflicted laugh hysterically, uncontrollably: guffaws, giggles, chuckles. Those who have been studying kuru believe that it is transmitted by cannibalism, a practice the Fore engaged in quite regularly (until the late fifties and sixties when the Australian government outlawed it), in order to return the life force of a dead relative back to their town. The Fore believed that it was caused by a sorcerer, however, which could be anyone in the hamlet. The unlucky accused was attacked by a mob, beaten to a pulp with rocks, and then had his jugular vein bitten out. (Sorcery was a big deal in mid-20th century Papua New Guinea, and not an accusation taken lightly, to say the least.)
According to Snopes.com, in 1975, a 50-year-old man was “roaring with laughter” at a television skit that involved “a kilted Scotsman’s flailing away with his bagpipe at a vicious black pudding intent upon attacking him.” The man laughed for twenty-five minutes, slumped over on the couch, and died of heart failure. I guess you had to be there.
And who can forget Ernest Scribber, the author of the World’s Funniest Joke?
This man is Ernest Scribbler… manufacturer of jokes.In a few moments, he will have written the funniest joke in the world… and, as a consequence, he will die… laughing.
If you google “chicken sandwich deaths”, three of the top four results are about the KFC Double Down, a culinary monstrosity.
One in four of the chicken sandwiches purchased on at a takeaway restaurant will give you food poisoning, says the Daily Mail. Employees preparing the food aren’t washing their hands after using the bathroom, sharing fecal bacteria with you and your fellow customers.
McDonald’s, the world’s biggest restaurant company, and the other dining chains were sued today in state court in Hartford, Connecticut. The complaint, filed by Washington-based Cancer Project on behalf of two Connecticut residents, seeks class- action, or group, status on behalf of people who bought or ate the grilled chicken from October 2006 to this month.
“We’re not looking to have them stop selling the product,” Daniel Kinburn, a lawyer with the Cancer Project, said in a phone interview. “The product is a legal though dangerous product that should be sold with a warning, like a chainsaw.”
A similar suit against seven restaurant chains in 2006 and another against Yum! Brands Inc.’s KFC unit last month were filed in California. That state listed the chemical, PhIP, which forms during the grilling process, as a known carcinogen in 1994, according to the complaint.
Chicken sandwiches are going to kill you, either through cancer, heart disease, grease burns, or by giving you the terminal shits.