The golden-brown color of many soft drinks comes with a dose of the chemical 4-methylimidazole, or 4-MeI.
4-Methylimidazole (4-MEI) is a compound used to make certain pharmaceuticals, photographic chemicals, dyes and pigments, cleaning and agricultural chemicals, and rubber products.
On U.S. product labels it appears simply as "caramel coloring." Products that potentially contain 4‑MEI include certain colas, beers, soy sauces, breads, coffee, and other products.
The World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer and the state of California, now limits manufacturers to 29 micrograms of exposure for the average consumer per day. Foods exceeding that limit have to carry a warning label that reads: "WARNING: This product contains a chemical known to the State of California to cause cancer."
Studies published in 2007 by the federal government’s National Toxicology Program showed that long-term exposure to 4-MEI resulted in increases in lung cancer in male and female mice.
But when Consumer Reports purchased sodas in California and had them analyzed by a lab, it found that one 12-ounce serving of Pepsi One exceeded the levels permitted without a warning label. Interestingly, Pepsi One purchased by the group in December in New York contains four times as much 4-MeI as the same product bought that same month in California.
The Food and Drug Administration does not set federal limits on 4-MeI in food.
NOW, DO YOU WANT YOUR CHILD TO REALLY DRINK THE NEXT COKE OR PEPSI CAN, KNOWING THAT?