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Soda Drinks Contain Benzene - A Carcinogen, Reports FDA

Tests conducted on 100 soft drinks and beverages by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration), US indicated that five of these showed the presence of benzene//, a carcinogen in much higher amount than the recommended 5 parts per billion for drinking water.

FDA had alerted these companies, and they had either decided to reformulate the soft drinks or had already done so. Though environmental companies had expressed concern regarding this, it was not an issue, as informed by FDA.

These are the five soft drink/beverage that had higher levels of benzene:

Safeway Select Diet Orange - one lot was found to have 79.2 parts per billion of benzene

AquaCal Strawberry Flavored Water Beverage - one lot was found to have 23.4 parts per billion

Crystal Light Sunrise Classic Orange - one lot was found to have 87.9 parts per billion

Giant Light Cranberry Juice Cocktail - one lot was found to have 10.7 parts per billion

Crush Pineapple - one lot was found to have 9.2 parts per billion

The test had its own limitations. Some and not all the lots had more than the recommended level of benzene, reveals FDA. The information too had its own limitations; the increased benzene levels were only in one of the production samples and hence not necessarily in all the products from that lot or in all the lots of a given product.

Low levels of benzene were detected in most of the drinks studied by FDA, says Laura Tarantino, MD, Director of Food Additive Safety, FDA. She further added that most of the products they studied had low or negligible amount of benzene and very few had higher levels.

Since this is a sporadic exposure and not a regular one, no health risk is posed by the intake of such sodas. Though benzene intake is not desired, the amount in soda is insignificant in contrast to what one takes from the daily environmental sources, says Dr Tarantino.


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