Diet Soda May Contain Yet Another Carcinogen

Dcoke
For years, we've been hearing that diet soda gives you cancer. Aspartame, the calorie-free artificial sweetener used in most diet drinks, was long thought to be a carcinogen, a theory that was used by many health advocates to scare us all out of our Diet Coke habits. It didn't work, of course — and, anyway, just last month, European health officials published findings suggesting that aspartame is perfectly safe for human consumption. Millions of diet-soda fiends rejoiced and all was well in the low-cal kingdom.
Advertisement
Well, with another day comes another scary warning about diet soda. Recent testing by Consumer Reports suggests that the artificial caramel coloring used in many diet sodas could contain unsafe levels of a chemical by-product that many experts believe to be carcinogenic. It's called 4-methylimidazole, or 4-Mel, and was found in high levels in a number of diet-soda samples bought in California.
Now, the FDA doesn't currently have federal regulations or guidelines for the use of caramel coloring. But, other organizations, including the WHO and the state of California, believe that the evidence against 4-Mel is damning enough to limit the use of the coloring to very low levels. In California, soda manufacturers must keep 4-Mel below 29 micrograms per person per day, which experts say limits cancer risk to one in 100,000 lifetimes of daily exposure. But, since there are no federal standards on the compound, sodas sold elsewhere may contain much more 4-Mel than is safe. In New York, for example, diet sodas typically contain at least four times as much of the compound as those sold in California.
However, 4-Mel's days may be numbered. The FDA was sufficiently alarmed by the Consumer Reports study to announce today that it will conduct a series of new research initiatives to get to the bottom of the caramel-coloring question. Whatever they decide, though, the news can't be good for soda manufacturers' bottom lines. With sales already on a steep decline, maybe a new scandal will be the last straw. (CNN/Time)
Advertisement

More from Trends

You probably already know that Donald Trump has a record of making sexist comments. But a new ad from Hillary Clinton's campaign powerfully highlights ...
When photographer Roger Kisby shot the Adult Video News Awards for the first time last year, he wasn't sure what to expect. Once there, he was drawn to the...
This article was originally published on April 8, 2016. Photographer Marcos Alberti's photo project, 3 Glasses Later, could be considered a probing ...
In Status: Stressed, Refinery29 is teaming up with Secret, the expert in stress sweat, to have an honest, passionate conversation about the role of stress...
It was the breakup heard 'round the world: On Tuesday, we learned that Brangelina was officially no more. Then, as we were all recovering from the news, ...
Many of us can probably remember being told at some point during grade school that the pesky little boy who won't stop pulling on our pigtails or throwing ...
It's hard enough to remember to smile every once in a while, let alone stay positive when someone tells you to "go fuck yourself." But that's exactly ...
(Paid Content) In this age of label-aversion, hookup apps, and social-media flirtation (nothing says romance like a DM, right?), few would disagree that ...
Last Sunday, new mother Anna Young posted a photo of herself, taken during a half-marathon, to the breast-feeding advocacy Facebook group, Occupy ...
By now you've probably read those viral texts exchanged between a mother and her daughter while in pursuit of tampons. (And if you haven't, you won't ...
When Delaney Robinson first entered the University of North Carolina as a freshman a little over a year ago, she was looking forward to making new ...
Everyone has a unique story from when they first learned about Their Changing Bodies, but girls of the future might be able to say this: I learned about ...
One California woman's emotional birth video is going viral after being posted online earlier this month. Audra Lynn gave birth to her second child — and ...
After the news that transgender actress and activist Alexis Arquette died Sunday morning at age 47, her family has come together to release a touching ...