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Public Radio's Environmental News Magazine (follow us on Google News)

Listener Letters

Air Date: Week of

A number of listeners wondered how disinterested the research on the benefits of chocolate was, and a listener also questioned whether poverty played as significant a role as lead in juvenile delinquency.


CURWOOD: Time now for your comments. Many of you were glad to hear our report on preliminary research that chocolate may be good for your heart. But some listeners were suspicious of scientists wearing lab coats embroidered with M&Ms. They thought the brand-name candy makers conducting the research made the story sound like an infomercial. Others warned against jumping to conclusions about the benefits of chocolate, when our modern-day sweets aren't pure cocoa beans picked off a tree.

LADIN: This is not the chocolate that was used by the ancients, the Aztecs and others. That was raw, that was sugarless, that was bitter.

CURWOOD: That's Michael Ladin. He hears us on WNYC in New York City. He says candy bars are full of additives, and chocolate is a known allergen. And William Malloy, who listens to KUHF out of Houston, says the caffeine in chocolate could be addictive. He writes, "I recall a passage from a conquistador's journal, saying that Montezuma was known to have consumed approximately 50 cups of cocoa each day. One wonders if the history of the Western Hemisphere would be different had he not consumed so much cocoa, had he spent his time thinking rationally about strategic matters."
Fred Breeden, who listens to us on WFCR in Amherst, Massachusetts, heard our interview with Dr. Herbert Needleman, whose research examines the link between childhood lead poisoning and increased rates of delinquency. Mr. Breeden called to say he wished we had said more about people who get lead poisoning.

BREEDEN: Why didn't you discuss who gets exposed to lead, who has the resources to fight lead poisoning? What I'm speaking of is poverty, which seems to me a bigger issue.



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