Pepsi Still Using Chemical Ingredient Linked to Cancer

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Outside of California, anyway.

PepsiCo Inc, maker of… well… Pepsi, is still using caramel coloring containing the chemical 4-methylimidazole in its soft drinks. The chemical is linked to cancer in rodents, and both Pepsi and Coke said they would change the ingredients of the drinks in order to avoid having to label them with a cancer warning after California forced them to do so. Coke made the change to their products, but Pepsi is still using the chemical – outside of California, that is.

This past Spring, the Center for Environmental Health tested samples of both companies’ soft drinks it purchased from 11 states, one of which was California. The soda from both companies in California tested negative for 4-methylimidazole, while 90% of the Cokes bought outside California did as well. Pepsi, on the other hand, tested positive for the chemical in all samples outside the state.

So they can make a “safer” product to sell in one state but none of the others? I say bullshit.

Pepsi is now saying that they will change all products in all states by February of 2014. What could be taking so long, are they looking for something even more toxic to replace it with?

“Pepsi’s delay is inexplicable,” Michael Green, CEH’s executive director, said in a statement according to Reuters. “We urge the company to take swift action to provide all Americans with the same safer product they’re selling in California.”

High levels of 4-methylimidazole have been linked to cancer in animals, and the chemical is used in the manufacture of pharmaceuticals, photographic chemicals, dyes and pigments, cleaning and agricultural chemicals, and rubber. Certainly sounds to me like something that should be in our favorite soft drinks, don’t you think? It is used by Pepsi for “caramel coloring” which isn’t caramel at all, sadly.

I don’t know why sodas have to be brown, but I think people would rather they be clear if it would mean omitting a toxic ingredient. Clear or brown, however, Americans sure do love their soda. The average American consumes 45 gallons of sugary drinks a year, taking in 39 pounds of sugar while doing so.

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