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Restricting the sale of baking soda?

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hazardous substanceA St. Louis lawmaker wants to make baking soda harder to get and has suggested that it be moved behind the counter in stores and pharmacies, where the shopkeepers/pharmacists can oversee who buys it and how much they’re buying. The reason for the proposed legislation is not to restrict the number of cookies that can be baked, but because baking soda is (apparently) “a base ingredient in crack cocaine.”

The law is modeled after others that require some normally over-the-counter cold medicines to be kept behind the counter because they contain ingredients used to make methamphetamines. Laws regarding these medicines “requires customers to show a photo I-D and sign a book specifying their name, address and how much they purchased.”

Can you imagine doing so for baking soda? It seems unlikely that such a law would pass. After all, there surely must be more hazardous substances (or equally hazardous – ammonia can be used to make methamphetamines, as well) than baking soda.

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  • ErickaJo
    April 12, 2007

    Aww, crap, I have to say this and take my innocence into question, don’t I?

    I was under the assumption that it is not use to make cocaine, per se, but that it is frequently used to cut, or dilute, pure cocaine. I’m sure they’ll just find something else.

    I have this problem when I try to buy lye. I use it to make soap, but I guess it’s used to make meth. Stupid drug makers.

  • Maggi
    April 12, 2007

    Amusing. Next it will be cornstarch. or Oregano, because we all know that weed dealers use it to cut marijuana… sheesh!

  • LinC
    April 12, 2007

    If the recent news stories saying most meth comes into the US from Mexico are true, then this guy is just grandstanding. It sounds like the restrictions on over-the-counter cold medicines have significantly curtailed local meth production. The lawmaker must be up for re-election to target something like baking soda.

    I recently had a cold and I felt so bad I couldn’t even conceive of having to ask a pharmacist for cold medicine. Luckily Nyquil still works the way it used to (probably because it’s a liquid).

  • Mia
    April 12, 2007

    How much crack had he been smoking is the real question. The stuff that is behind the pharmacist counter is only available when the pharmacist is there. And I shop late in the evening and the pharmacy is closed. It has to be a man is all I can say. I doubt it will pass. You do not want to know what I can do with a match, a few cotton balls, and a potato chip bag…. Should they all be controlled too?

  • India
    April 12, 2007

    I live in Scotland and you have no idea how difficult it was for me to get a hold of powdered Vitamin C for my breadmaking – I believe that it is used to ‘cut’ various drugs. I finally found ot – under the counter! – of a health food store. I’m surprised I wasn’t fingerprinted as I was leaving…

  • cybele
    April 12, 2007

    If they start making it hard to get a hold of retail, I think it’s just going to drive the methmakers to the wholesale arena. You’ll find them breaking into bakeries and other places that use it. Imagine being a baker who has to have someone witness him sign out a cup of baking soda from a vault for the day’s baking.

    (My husband recently had a cold and insisted that he wanted real sudafed and came back from the drug store thoroughly distressed that they photocopied his drivers license just so he could get rid of his runny nose.)

  • Courtney
    April 12, 2007

    AW man! I use baking soda ALL the time, and purchase rediculous quantities of it. I use it to bake (too much), but also to clean, and especially in our laundry. We have hard water but don’t want a water softener, so to avoid making our whites dingy I put in 1/4 or a 1/3 of a cup depending on load size.

    If this passes nation wide I bet I will have the feds tailing me.

  • Nicole
    April 12, 2007

    Kelly – Trade secret. =)
    But I will say that it took me a while to get good at hunting down some of the more unusual stories!

  • shuna fish lydon
    April 13, 2007

    The problems concerning meth are far different than that with crack. For one it’s wuite easy to make crack and much more dangerous to make meth. But it all poses an interesting problem indeed.

  • Surviving
    April 13, 2007

    That is just crazy. I also use is in cleaning and laundry as well as baking. Can you imagine being on a watch list for buying too much baking soda?!?

  • Becca
    April 13, 2007

    Oh brother (eyes rolling). As an RPh I have enough to do already. Never mind keeping track of who buys baking soda.

  • Tartelette
    April 14, 2007

    In most European countries, (I can only speak of France for sure) the only place to buy it is at the pharmacy. I remember my mom having a tin box of it in the fridge that she kept for “special baking times”.

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