The process of caramel coloring in soft drinks particularly the cola produces a carcinogen that is claimed to increase the risk of cancer to above the accepted threshold. According to studies, there is at least one extra cancer case in every 100,000 people that are consuming the beverage.
Consumer Reports conducted various laboratory tests on different types of soft drinks that Americans consume and they found out that drinking one can of cola a day is enough to expose an individual to higher cancer risks. The chemical responsible for this risk is called 4-MEI which is short for methylimidazole.
This chemical is formed during the manufacture of the caramel coloring that is added to cola and many other drinks. This is not necessary but is added for the purpose of aesthetics.
A law has been implemented in California that all beverages must carry warning labels if they contain excessive amount of 4-MEI to warn consumers of the cancer risk. An exposure to at least 29 mcg of the carcinogen every day is enough to pose great danger for anyone.
It’s not just big amounts of sugar that people should be worried about when drinking a can of cola. Consumers are now exposed to unnecessary cancer risk from an ingredient that is mixed with the beverage just for aesthetics. This is a great threat to the public as people may be drinking their favorite cola unaware of the grave danger that it raises to their health.
Over half of the American population, ages range from 6 to 64, consumes enough amount of soda each day to be exposed to cancer. Consumer Reports even believe that the limit is still too high for the average consumer. Their most recent report even concluded that a rise in the cases of cancer in the country (between 76 and 5,000) is expected in the coming years because of this exposure.
If people continue to consume cola and other beverages that contain 4-MEI, it is predictable that they elevate themselves to a greater risk of cancer over the course of their lifetime. The government should take steps to protect the health of the public. California is just one of the few government bodies that has already took action by setting a threshold for prompting warnings on food and drinks that contain the carcinogen.