More reports on: Soft drinks

New study points to possible carcinogen in soda

23 February 2015

Though people love sodas, a new study points out that soda consumption could put their life in danger in the long term due to the presence of a possible carcinogen.

Carcinogens are substances that are linked to cancer formation, and on the basis of a new research conducted by a team from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, soda may contain a possible carcinogen.

The component 4-MEI (4-methylimidazole), gives drinks and even some types of food their caramel colour and although the chemical might differ among various brands of soft drinks, it did not change the fact that consuming it already adds to one's cancer risk.

In an announcement on 19 February, Keeve Nachman, the senior author of the new study, shared how soft consumption exposed people to a cancer risk that was supposed to be controllable, avoidable, and unnecessary, especially since the chemical did nothing to the drink but to simply make it look good.

A person's exposure to 4-MEI was related to the amount of soft drinks he consumed. The researchers studied more than 10 brands of soft drinks and discovered that cancer risk increased with higher consumption.

In the US over 40 per cent of men and women drank at least one soda a day.

Scientists analysed 4-MEI concentrations in 11 different soft drinks, in an article first published by Consumer Reports in 2014, and estimated its exposure to 4-MEI from caramel-coloured soft drinks.

They found that the potential cancer burden was related to cola drink consumption in the US, according to

According to Nachman of John Hopkins Centre for a Liveable Future (CLF), the unnecessary exposure posed a threat to public health and raised questions about the continued use of caramel colouring in soda.

According to the study, between 44 per cent and 58 per cent of children above the age of six consume at least one can of soda per day, possibly more, which exposed them to the risk of carcinogens.

In a 2014 study, which looked into 110 samples of soda brands in the US, in which researchers concluded that the sample was not large enough to recommend any specific brands or arrive at conclusions.

According to research 4-MEI levels could be different for various samples, even if the drinks consumed were the same.

The study is published in the journal PLOS One.

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