Thursday, February 05, 2015

Consuming Plastic

Plastics touch nearly all aspects of our lives, but there is one area that they are noticeably absent from - food. Very little in the way of synthetic polymers are taken in through the mouth. But that will be change for me in a few hours. Later this afternoon I get to consume about 250 g of polyethylene glycol (PEG) with a molecular weight of 3350 Da. Mix into 2 liters of Gatorade, it will taste pretty good, but I really don't recommend this diet for anyone except when advised so by a doctor. (I have been so advised.)

When we first start visiting the doctor for annual physicals, we are told to stick out our tongue and say "Aaaaah". But after 50 years or so, the doctor gets bored with that and decides to start looking at the other end of your GI tract. He/she gets a better view when the road has been cleared, hence the PEG diet. PEG 3350 is an "osmonic laxative".

The rheology of feces can be quantified by the Bristol Stool Scale which runs from 1 to 7:
250 g of PEG 3350 is normally consumed over 14 days, so consuming it in 2 hours is going to, in the words of Spinal Tap, turn it up to 11. And I'll be feeling plenty....wait for it....wait...wait....crappy! (Feel free to add your own puns in the comments below.)

Previous Years

February 5, 2010 - "BPA Free"?

February 5, 2010 - A new concept in hearing aids

February 5, 2009 - Coloured Plastics


milkshake said...

another lovely polymer that gets ingested is silicone oil. Known as "simethicone", it prevents painful gas

John said...

Good one!

I also forgot about some of the time-release capsules, but that is such a small quantity of material that it hardly matters.