Cancer-Causing Benzene Still in Drinks

Nearly one out of ten of 200 beverage samples analyzed in a recent study by the EPA and FDA still had benzene levels above the U.S. EPA drinking water limit of 5 parts per billion (ppb).Many manufacturers have reformulated their products to minimize or eliminate benzene. In these reformulated products, benzene levels were 1.1 ppb or less. About 71 percent of beverage samples contained less than 1 ppb.

Benzene can form in beverages that contain the preservative benzoate salt and ascorbic acid (vitamin C). Beverages were reformulated in the early 1990’s to avoid benzene formation, but it has recurred in recent years because new manufacturers were unaware of the problem and added vitamin C to drinks.

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