RSS

The Bulletin

Pepsi dumps cancer-causing chemical

Posting in Cancer

While Coca-Cola made news recently for a bottle made of ice, Pepsi is making news for a troubling chemical inside its bottles.

The chemical in question is called 4-methylimidazole (4-MeI) and it's used for the soda's carmel coloring. The problem? It's a known carcinogen. It causes cancer.

Last year, after California law was changed to require products label any known carcinogens and pressure from the Center for Environmental Health to remove 4-MeI, both Coca-Cola and Pepsi said they would. But while both companies have since removed the chemical in California products, only Pepsi still uses the chemical outside California according to tests done by the environmental group.

But after being called out for the practice, Pepsi is vowing to make a change. In response to the CEH report, Pepsi said:

Our caramel coloring suppliers have been working on modifying the manufacturing process to reduce the amount of 4-MEI.  As you know, 4-MEI levels in our products in California are below Prop 65 levels. The rest of the U.S. will be completed by February 2014. In fact, we’ll be starting the process and shipping concentrate end of this year.

Smart move. With soda sales on the decline for eight-straight years, as more people become aware of the link between soda and obesity, having a product that's linked to obesity and cancer would be a near death sentence for a product.

Read more: CEH

Photo: Flickr/Håkan Dahlström

— By on July 8, 2013, 12:56 AM PST

Tyler Falk

Contributing Editor

Tyler Falk is a freelance journalist based in Washington, D.C. Previously, he was with Smart Growth America and Grist. He holds a degree from Goshen College. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure