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Soda Companies Settle Benzene Lawsuit

Posted Dec 18 2008 7:35pm

Note from Connie: It's bad enough that soft drinks contain so much sugar, but for over a year, we've been hearing that that some soft drinks contain high levels of the carcinogen benzene. In fact,last year I posted hereabout this sad development andthen again here.

To refresh your memory, the EPA says that acute (short-term) inhalation exposure to benzene could cause "drowsiness, dizziness, headaches, as well as eye, skin, and respiratory tract irritation, and, at high levels, unconsciousness" while chronic (long-term) inhalation exposure" has caused "blood disorders, including reduced numbers of red blood cells and aplastic anemia, in occupational settings." What's more, experts reported reproductive problems "for women exposed by inhalation to high levels" and an "increased incidence of leukemia (cancer of the tissues that form white blood cells) have been observed in humans occupationally exposed to benzene." Today, blog researcher/writer Jennifer Moore brings you the latest development about benzene and soda companies.

PepsiCo and several other beverage companies just settled a lawsuit, which alleged that their drinks contain the carcinogen benzene, Ahmed ElAmin of FoodNavigator.com reports.

The suit claimed that Pepsi's Diet Wild Pepsi soda contained four times the amount of benzene the Environmental Protection Agency deems safe to ingest (which begs the question of why any amount of a possibly cancer-causing substance would be considered safe, but I digress.) The settlement means that the soda makers will reformulate the potentially dangerous drinks, if they haven't done so already.

It's really too bad that it took a class-action lawsuit to get the soda companies to do the right thing. But in my opinion, the bigger problem is that we can't even rely on our so-called public health watchdogs to look out for us, either.

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