Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Benzene in Soda

Here are some links about the recent controversy over benzene in sodas.

The Food and Drug Adminstration (FDA) acknowledged last week that cancer-causing benzene has been found in sodas at levels that exceed the standards for benzene in drinking water (AP, via Washington Post yesterday). This admission corrects the record, after FDA had earlier claimed only insignificant amounts of benzene had been found. The FDA and the beverage industry point out that benzene exposure in other circumstances, such as cigarette smoking, is higher than the exposure in sodas.

Lawsuits over benzene exposure were announced yesterday. "Parents have a legal right to know if benzene is in their children's drinks," one of the attorneys argued (Food Navigator today).

Here is an advocacy group's history of the controversy.

Ross Getman of implies that knowledge of the benzene scandal might have been connected to Lester Crawford's resignation as FDA commissioner in 2005, although he doesn't provide much detail to prove this. Crawford was also at the time being asked questions about investments that created the appearance of a conflict of interest.

In weblogs, here is AMERICAblog and Effect Measure.