Do Benzene Lawsuits Worry Soft Drink Manufacturers?
April 25, 2006
Class-action lawsuits on behalf of concerned parents have been filed against soft-drink companies Polar Beverages and In Zone Brands, on the grounds that they did not take sufficient steps to prevent benzene from forming in their drinks.
In Zone produces the BellyWashers line of sugary sweet juice drinks that come in reusable bottles featuring cartoon characters marketed for kids, and Polar Beverages is a bottler of sodas, mixers, seltzers and bottled water in the Northeastern United States.
Linked to Leukemia
Benzene is a chemical linked to leukemia. It can form in soft drinks that contain both vitamin C (ascorbic acid), and either sodium benzoate or potassium benzoate. Independent laboratory tests found benzene in the two companies' drinks at levels above the federal limit set for drinking water.
The FDA has begun testing soft drinks for benzene, but is not yet releasing the data to the public, claiming that doing so would be "confusing."