This is absolutely nightmarish. As if all the high fructose corn syrup in soda isn't enough reason to stop drinking the stuff.
Now, it turns out that some soft drinks are contaminated with the toxic chemical benzene at levels that are above the legal limit for drinking water, according to recent tests conducted by scientists at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and elsewhere.
Rightly so, such consumer watchdog groups as Commercial Alert and Center for the Science in the Public Interest are up in arms about this.
"Now, in addition to the calories, parents and educators should be aware that some of the drinks they give children contain poison," explained Dr. David Katz, director of the Yale Prevention Research Center. "Here we've got a genuinely worrisome reason to focus on soda in schools."
Commercial Alert dug up the following and reported so to its mailing list:
"Long-term exposure to benzene is associated with leukemia, aplastic anemia and other blood diseases. According to a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency factsheet, exposure even “for relatively short periods of time” above the EPA limits for benzene in drinking water can “potentially cause” effects such as “temporary nervous system disorders, immune system depression, [and] anemia.”
The group also explained that benzene is actually formed "by a reaction of two soft drink ingredients -- ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and either sodium or potassium benzoate (which are used as preservatives). Here is a list of some soft drinks that contain both ingredients."
Commercial Alert encourages us to get involved -- which I think is a good idea.
So urge your legislators and the governor of your state legislators to halt the sale of these drinks in schools immediately. Take action now.