A Breath of Hydroxphopylated Air

There must have been a time when one could remove an item from the medicine cabinet and recognize most of the ingredients on the back of the package. Surely, I thought, as I turned over the unopened tin of peppermint breath strips, the list would be short and sweet so I could read, mark, and inwardly digest them before actually consuming the product.

Instead a sesquipedalian parade marched before my eyes: Hydroxpropyl methycellulose, flavor, maltodextrin, corn starch modified, hydroxpropyl cellulose, triacetin, polysorbate 80, ethyl alcohol, sucralose, titanium dioxide, potassium acesulfame.

The manufacturer could have done us a flavor favor by identifying what gave the mint its tang and explaining how the plot grew thicker with modifications to the corn starch. A bullet point on the package promotes the “sugar free” attribute. It would be nice if the company could lose the sucralose.

Most of the other compounds appear to have descended from alembics and cloudy bottles in Dr. Jekyll’s laboratory. Substances used for humectants, sunscreens, excipients, and solvents belong in places other than alimentary canals.

A safety warning on the package states that “the tin may present a choking hazard.” My addendum to that caution: “Ditto for the contents of the tin.”

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