Friday, March 9, 2012

Beware of drinks that contain 4-methylimidazole - a cancer aiding substance

The hazard symbol for carcinogenic chemicals in the GHS 
Pepsi Cola, Coco Cola are the two most famous brands in Pakistan for years and are the best selling drinks, specially among the youth.

However, recently both Coca Cola and Pepsi have decided to alter their formula for their famous drinks as the previous formula contains an amount of 4-methylimidazole, a chemical which California has added to its list of carcinogens. Wikipedia defines carcinogen as any substance, radionuclide, or radiation that is an agent directly involved in causing cancer. This may be due to the ability to damage the genome or to the disruption of cellular metabolic processes.

In order to abide by the laws of the California state of the USA, therefore, both Coca-Cola and Pepsi are changing the recipes for their drinks to avoid putting a cancer warning label on the bottle and changing over the new formula of caramel colouring which now has less amount of 4-methylimidazole.

The change to the new formula has already been introduced in California. And both companies have claimed that rolling out the new recipe across the US makes the drinks more efficient to manufacture.
4-methylimidazole has been linked to cancer in mice and rats, according to one study, but there is no evidence that it poses a health risk to humans, said the American Beverage Association, which represents the wider industry. The US Food and Drug Administration claims a person would need to drink 1,000 cans of Coke or Pepsi to take in the same dose of the chemical that was given to the animals in the lab test.

While the US consumers have started getting the revised formula drinks, it may take rather long when drinks with the same formula will be available in Pakistan and other countries. So we need to be careful consuming large quantities of these drinks till we get the revised formula introduced in our country as well.  
Reference on Carcinogen:  Wikipedia
GHS insignia: Wikipedia

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