Are We Drinking Benzene Soft Drinks
How can soft drink manufacturers continue to add benzene in soft drinks? Many popular soft drinks and other beverages contain measurable amounts of the known carcinogen benzene. Benzene has been connected in two separate studies to a rare form of kidney cancer.
One study involved tanker truck drivers while the other study involved seamen on tanker vessels. In both studies the individuals being studied were transporting benzene laden chemicals.
The Food and Drug Administration has been aware for almost twenty years that potassium benzoate and sodium benzoate, two common chemicals used in the preservation of soft drinks, can react with the ascorbic acid in the soft drink and create benzene.
Sodium Benzoate Plus Ascorbic Acid Equals Benzene Soft Drinks
The ascorbic acid is added to keep the products fresh, but the result is benzene in soft drinks. The bottlers are not putting benzene in soft drinks on purpose, per se. It’s just that they haven’t been able to remove it completely from our soft drinks.
The US Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has classified benzene as a human carcinogen. It is common knowledge that long term exposure to large levels of benzene in the air causes leukemia. It is also undisputed that acute myeloid leukemia or acute non-lymphocytic leukemia (AML & ANLL) is caused by benzene no doubt about it.
The EPA defines a safe level of benzene as zero. In tap water, levels should not exceed 5 parts per billion, in the air we breathe it is 1 part per billion, these are mandated maximum levels.
We Still Have Benzene In Soft Drinks
The Environmental Working Group, a popular and well respected watchdog group, conducted a study of benzene in soft drinks and found extremely high concentrations, some reaching 138 parts per billion. The levels of benzene varied depending upon the amount of heat and light each sample received.
Levels from 5 to 15 parts per billion were found routinely. The FDA and the major beverage industry leaders discussed the problem over a dozen years ago and the FDA allowed them to find a voluntary means of correction. Needless to say, we still find benzene in soft drinks.
Independent.co.uk reported in 2008 that Coca Cola agreed that by August, 2008, no cans of Diet Coke should contain the preservative sodium benzoate. They said they also want to remove E211 (sodium benzoate) “where possible” from other products as well.
At the time Coca Cola said they could not find a satisfactory alternative for their high acid Fanta or Dr Pepper. Coca-Cola announced that it had removed the sodium benzoate from Diet Coke production in January. The company said: “We are looking to phase out the use of sodium benzoate where technically possible.”
Coca Cola also added that they had not carried out any research into the preservative, sodium benzoate. It’s hard to believe that in the 21st century we are still drinking benzene soft drinks. If you or a loved one is suffering from any of the conditions mentioned in this article and you feel that it was brought about by your exposure to benzene, contact a personal injury attorney at The Law Offices of Nadrich & Cohen, we can help you.