Benzene in Soft Drinks? Author/Pharmacist Says: “Just Say No to Sodas”

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Author/pharmacist says reports of benzene in some soft drinks must not be swept under the rug by downplaying the potential seriousness of the problem.

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According to media reports, the federal government and soft drink industry have known for the past 15 years that benzene has been found in some soft drinks. Until recently, little has been done to inform the public or remedy the problem. Benzene is a toxic solvent found in gasoline and used in the manufacture of plastic. It is a recognized carcinogen. “Even small amounts of benzene in soft drinks are not to be taken lightly,” warns pharmacist Barbara Morris.

In the presence of heat, benzene can be created as a result of an interaction between two preservatives used to control bacterial growth in sodas: Sodium Benzoate and Ascorbic Acid.

Morris warns, “In the summer, supermarkets stack cases of sodas outside on the sidewalk, sometimes for days, in the blazing sun. It’s a great environment for benzene to be created.”

Considering the number of soft drinks consumed by so many individuals on a daily basis, Morris worries that the amount of ingested benzene, if present, could add up and perhaps be cumulative, resulting in health problems with no apparent cause, such as cancer.

“Soft drink consumption is on a par with what tobacco use once was. For some people it’s almost like an addiction -- they prefer soft drinks to water. How can the presence of benzene, however small, not be a concern? Is benzene less of a health hazard than tar or nicotine?”

“I am particularly concerned about children. As soon as they can sip through a straw they drink soft drinks. If they ingest benzene-tainted soft drinks on a daily basis, who knows how growth and development may be adversely affected”?

Barbara Morris is author of “Put Old on Hold” and specializes in anti-aging nutrition and youth preservation strategies. “People need to be encouraged to find safer alternatives to sodas – like pure water. We need to re-educate our taste preferences to protect our health, and prevent premature aging.”

Contact Information:        

Barbara Morris, R.Ph.


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