The Center for Environmental Health conducted a study in June
of Pepsi products and found that ten out of ten of them contained high levels of a chemical called 4-MEI. This chemical has been identified as a carcinogen by the state of California.
On a CA state website, an explanation of the chemical’s health effects reads: ‘Studies published in 2007 by the federal government’s National Toxicology Program showed that long-term exposure to 4-MEI resulted in increases in lung cancer in male and female mice. These findings were the basis for the addition of 4-MEI to California’s Proposition 65 list of carcinogens. Exposure to high concentrations of 4-MEI (such as concentrations that might occur in industrial settings) is reported to irritate the lungs or burn the eyes and skin.’
It isn’t only colas that contain 4-MEI though. Beers, breads, soy sauces coffee, cleaning products, dyes, rubber products, ammoniated livestock feed and other items may contain it as well.
Apparently, Coca Cola products tested outside California no longer contain 4-MEI but some Pepsi products do.
In USA Today, it was reported that the beverage industry defended the use of 4-MEI in colas by saying, ‘California added the coloring to its list of carcinogens with no studies showing that it causes cancer in humans. It noted that the listing was based on a single study in lab mice and rats.’
But were they implying that live humans should be subjected to doses of 4-MEI, knowing it could cause cancer?
Some people have big problems with animal testing because of the cruelty but the point is to gather scientific data so that cancer and other diseases can be prevented in humans.
One of the more peculiar aspects of the cola market in the United States, which is dominated by Pepsi and Coke, is that they are not necessary nutritionally. Meaning that they contain no nutrients, so they do not nourish any people who drink them. In other words, they are a waste of money. Further it can be reasonably stated that they damage the health of many people, by contributing to the obesity epidemic.
Even so, Coca Cola generates many billions in annual revenues.