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Fingers on your buzzers players. It’s time to play Putting Your Health in Jeopardy!
In which of the following products are you most likely to find the cancer-causing agent benzene?
C. Laundry detergent
D. Tropicana Twister diet soda
E. All of the above
Cue the Jeopardy theme song… da, da, da, da, da, da… duh?!
The correct answer is E – all of the above!
That’s right folks. Benzene – which is listed by health authorities as a cancer-causing carcinogen – is not only found in explosives and laundry detergent, but it’s also lurking in some of our favorite beverages!
Shocking, but true. The obvious follow-up question: Why would beverage manufacturers slip benzene into their products?
Don’t bother scanning the label of the drinks you have in your fridge or pantry. You won’t find benzene listed anywhere. What you might find is ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and sodium or potassium benzoate. Alone, these additives are considered safe. However, when combined, they react to form the scary substance benzene!
This carcinogenic combo is found in all kinds of sodas (regular and diet), as well as juice drinks like Kool-Aid Jammers, Country Time Lemonade, and several Tropicana varieties.
Check out the ingredients that create this diet soda.
Tropicana Twister Diet Orange Soda
INGREDIENTS: CARBONATED WATER, ORANGE JUICE FROM CONCENTRATE, CITRIC ACID, ASPARTAME, POTASSIUM BENZOATE (PRESERVES FRESHNESS), CITRUS PECTIN, MODIFIED FOOD STARCH, NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL FLAVORS, POTASSIUM SORBATE (PRESERVES FRESHNESS), ASCORBIC ACID (VITAMIN C), ACESULFAME POTASSIUM, YELLOW 6, ESTER GUM, CALCIUM DISODIUM EDTA (TO PROTECT FLAVOR), SODIUM CITRATE.
It clearly shows that both potassium benzoate and ascorbic acid are present. So, what the heck is this drink doing on grocery store shelves?
Well, drinks like Tropicana Twister have been tested for benzene. Most were found to have benzene levels below the legal limit. According to the FDA, this means they’re safe for consumption. Hmmm, can any amount of benzene really be safe?
We’re already exposed to benzene from car exhaust and cleaning products so should we play with fire and consume even more in our beverages?
For over a decade now the FDA has been slapping the beverage industry on the wrist for failing to control benzene levels. And while existing beverage makers have been warned, every year hundreds of new beverages enter the market, and manufacturers still seem clueless about the toxic combination of benzoate and ascorbic acid.
Scores of popular beverages contain the deadly duo.
Folks, we can’t wait around for the FDA to work through all the red tape and recall beverages that contain sodium benzoate and ascorbic acid. Before you buy your favorite beverage, read the label! If it contains these volatile ingredients, leave it on the store shelf and opt for filtered water or additive-free, 100% fruit juice.
Bottom line: There are over 3,000 additives used in our current food supply. Due to a lack of testing, we can’t be sure that there aren’t more additive combos out there imposing risks to our health.
Our Final Jeopardy question: What do the chemical sweetener aspartame and potassium sorbate form when combined?
Answer: Your guess is as good as ours!
Remember, when you’re armed with a little eBrandAid know-how, you’re in control at the grocery store.