Researchers at UC and the University of
Western Australia have discovered that an antidote to dioxin poisoning
may be as close as the grocery store.
In a study published by the American
Physiological Society, and another to appear in the Journal of
Nutritional Biochemistry, the scientists found that an ingredient in
Procter & Gamble's Fat Free Pringles can remove many compounds in a
class of 12 banned toxins, including cancer-causing dioxin, from the
The ingredient is olestra (Olean), a
nonabsorbable fat product that P&G developed in collaboration with
UC and introduced in 1996 in some of its snacks.
According to principal investigator
Ronald Jandacek, PhD, of the Department of Pathology and Laboratory
Medicine, the researchers were able to reduce the amount of toxins in
lab mice if the mice lost weight.
When the researchers added olestra to the
animals' diets, they not only lost weight--they excreted 30 times more
dioxin than animals that didn't get olestra.
A study of an Australian man, poisoned
with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) while working on electrical
transformers, appears equally promising.
A diet including just two servings of
olestra products a day over two years dramatically reduced PCB levels
in the patient's tissue. A regular-size can of Pringles contains six
"It was a remarkable recovery," says Dr. Jandacek
The findings suggest olestra could help
people like the newly elected Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko,
who became ill after being poisoned with dioxin.