Toxic soda story heats up

Food safety researchers have conducted more tests on soda pop involving heat and UV exposure, and they found clear evidence that even short exposure of soda to heat increases the levels of benzene, a human carcinogen. This is caused by the presence of two common preservatives in the soda: sodium benzoate and ascorbic acid.

“Heat is a major factor” in the formation of benzene in drinks, according to Mike Redman, a scientist with the American Beverage Association and who also represented the industry in meetings with the FDA over benzene in 1990.

Redman told that soft drinks firms reformulated drinks in 1990, mainly by adjusting the levels of sodium benzoate and ascorbic acid, to reduce and control the potential for benzene traces to form.

Still, the continuing presence of soft drinks containing benzene above drinking water standards has led to calls for sodium benzoate to be taken out of drinks formulas.

“What are we to tell consumers? ‘Product contains cancer-causing substance, drink immediately, do not store in a warm environment or near sunlight?’ Preferably benzoate should not be used in combination with vitamin C (ascorbic acid) or added juice,” said the scientist involved in industry testing for benzene 15 years ago.
Heat tests key for benzene in soft drinks, By Chris Mercer,, 4/11/2006

I found out about this a month ago, and I went cold turkey on my beloved Mountain Dew. These days, when I don’t drink beer or wine, I tend to stick to water, juice and Ice Tea. Instant Ice Tea is not any worse than soda, and it contains much less weird chemicals. And if you really need a caffeine kick, you can just make it more concentrated.
(Hat tip to Revere)

Comments are closed.