|IS SODA WORTH CANCER?|
According to a recent study almost 10% of the beverage samples examined by the EPA and FDA still had benzene levels above the U.S. EPA drinking water limit of 5 parts per billion (ppb).
Benzene is a toxic hydrocarbon, extracted from coal tar, is used as a chemical solvent, dye, and in the manufacture of plastics, drugs, lubricants, detergents, pesticides, and other chemicals. It is widely used in the United States and ranks in the top 20 chemicals produced.
Research has shown benzene to be a carcinogen-it causes cancer. With exposures from less than 5 years to more than 30 years, individuals have developed, and died from various forms of leukemia. Long-term benzene exposure may affect bone marrow and blood production. Short-term exposure to high levels of benzene can cause drowsiness, dizziness, unconsciousness, and death.
More than a quarter of a million people may be occupationally exposed to benzene in the United States. Industries that have the highest levels of benzene exposure include benzene production (petrochemicals, petroleum refining and coke and coal chemical manufacturing), rubber tire manufacturing and storage or transport of benzene and petroleum products containing benzene. Workers who may be exposed to benzene because of their occupations include: gasoline truck drivers, refinery workers, laboratory technicians, steel workers, chemical plant workers, printers, rubber workers, mechanics, shoe makers, paper and wood pulp workers, firefighters, pipe fitters, and gas station employees.
Benzene can form in beverages that contain the preservative benzoate salt and ascorbic acid (vitamin C). Beverages have been reformulated in recent years as soft drink manufacturers added Vitamin C to soda in a transparent effort to market it as 'healthy'. This was done even though there was a 'voluntary' ban in place imposed by the FDA.
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