Readers of PanaceaChronicles are already familiar with the fact that today’s Coca Cola is the evolved version of a cocaine-based “tonic” that was extremely popular in the late 1800’s, and are probably also aware that even today the Coca Cola company has (very clandestine) US Government permission to import and process thousands of tons of Coca Leaf for use in the manufacture of it’s Cola products.
So far, so good. My only real objections here are that I wish that somebody (preferably not this rapacious ‘soft drink’ company) were still producing a Coca Leaf-based tonic for medicinal purposes, and I think that if it’s legal for the giant Coca Cola company to import Coca Leaf then any US citizen ought to be able to do the same thing – no questions asked.
Well, I’m not going to hold my breath waiting for that to happen. And that isn’t what this post is about anyway.
The genesis of this post is an experience I had in the Third Grade. My science teacher, Mr. Norris, was well-known around the school as what everybody mockingly called a “health nut”. Little did any of us know that he was actually a true Pioneer.
He wouldn’t eat the government cheese and hot dogs in the cafeteria and actually brought his own lunch to school instead – a salad, if you can imagine that! He also didn’t drink coffee or milk – just water. This was 1950 – he’s lucky he didn’t get labeled a Commie and investigated by that raging asshole Joe McCarthy.
The other thing that Mr. Norris was absolutely over the top about was anything fizzy in a bottle – Coca Cola, Dr. Pepper, Pepsi Cola, etc. At some point after one of his tirades on this particular subject Mr. Norris asked that anyone with a younger brother or sister who was losing their baby teeth to bring one of those teeth to school – and he promised he would give them a quarter to slip under the little kid’s pillow.
The next day somebody brought in a tooth and with a great deal of fanfare Mr. Norris opened a bottle of Coke, poured it into a glass, and plunked the tooth into the glass. Then he set it on his desk and told the class to watch carefully because within a couple of days the tooth would be dissolved. (Then he poured the rest of the Coca Cola down the drain of the lab sink commenting that it would do wonders cleaning out the drain.) Sure enough, in a couple of days all that was left at the bottom of the glass was a little pile of grit.
Wow! We were all impressed. But my guess is that all the other kids were just like me – while Mr. Norris’s demo was supposed to make us all swear off Coca Cola immediately and forever, it took me at least another 30 years or so before I realized that old Mr. Norris had some good advice there, and since my mid-40s I have never had another so-called “soft drink”. Well, maybe a Rum & Coke or two, but other than that I have been a complete Cola abstainer.
So imagine my immediate interest as I was browsing through some relatively obscure publications online a few days ago when I came across the following absolutely stunning piece of research. If only Mr. Norris had known about this he could have done an even more impressive demo for us – one that might have had a greater impact than dissolving a baby tooth before our eyes.
It turns out that Coca Cola Classic is better than any of the powerful, toxic industrial solvents used in the mining industry for extracting such things as arsenic, copper, lanthanum, manganese, nickel, yttrium and zinc, and – wait for it – URANIUM from mined ore. Uranium!
So, if Coca Cola is the best solvent in the world for extracting these toxic metals from solid rock, don’t you have to wonder what it does as it flushes through the human gut? And if that’s the case, how come we haven’t heard a peep out of the US Surgeon General, the Centers for Disease Control, or even Ralph Nader for Christ’s sake! All those people up in arms over second-hand smoke really ought to think this one through. Or could it be that the Coca Cola Company has all these guardians of the public health and welfare under its economic and political thumb?
Maybe so, maybe not. But if there’s another good explanation why this research has never, to my knowledge, gone beyond its publication in an obscure Australian mining journal I would love to hear it.
So, here’s an abstract of the research. Unfortunately the publisher wants over $40 for you to be able to read the full research article, but what is here is enough for me. I am so impressed that I will never have even a Rum and Coke again. And please believe me – that is impressed!
Sci Total Environ. 2011 Aug 15;409(18):3512-9. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2011.05.043. Epub 2011 Jun 22.
Cola soft drinks for evaluating the bioaccessibility of uranium in contaminated mine soils.
Lottermoser B.G., Schnug E., Haneklaus S.; School of Earth Sciences, University of Tasmania, Private Bag 79, Hobart, Tasmania 7001, Australia.
There is a rising need for scientifically sound and quantitative as well as simple, rapid, cheap and readily available soil testing procedures. The purpose of this study was to explore selected soft drinks (Coca-Cola Classic®, Diet Coke®, Coke Zero®) as indicators of bioaccessible uranium and other trace elements (As, Ce, Cu, La, Mn, Ni, Pb, Th, Y, Zn) in contaminated soils of the Mary Kathleen uranium mine site, Australia.
Data of single extraction tests using Coca-Cola Classic®, Diet Coke® and Coke Zero® demonstrate that extractable arsenic, copper, lanthanum, manganese, nickel, yttrium and zinc concentrations correlate significantly with DTPA- and CaCl₂-extractable metals. Moreover, the correlation between DTPA-extractable uranium and that extracted using Coca-Cola Classic® is close to unity (+0.98), with reduced correlations for Diet Coke® (+0.66) and Coke Zero® (+0.55).
Also, Coca-Cola Classic® extracts uranium concentrations near identical to DTPA, whereas distinctly higher uranium fractions were extracted using Diet Coke® and Coke Zero®. Results of this study demonstrate that the use of Coca-Cola Classic® in single extraction tests provided an excellent indication of bioaccessible uranium in the analysed soils and of uranium uptake into leaves and stems of the Sodom apple (Calotropis procera).
Moreover, the unconventional reagent is superior in terms of availability, costs, preparation and disposal compared to traditional chemicals. Contaminated site assessments and rehabilitation of uranium mine sites require a solid understanding of the chemical speciation of environmentally significant elements for estimating their translocation in soils and plant uptake.
Therefore, Cola soft drinks have potential applications in single extraction tests of uranium contaminated soils and may be used for environmental impact assessments of uranium mine sites, nuclear fuel processing plants and waste storage and disposal facilities.
Copyright © 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Maybe TEPCO ought to dump a few tons of Coke Classic on Fukushima Dai Ichi #3 and see what happens.