In the last Daily Dose, I wrote to you about a large-scale benzene scare in soft drinks in the UK. Britain's equivalent to the FDA here in the states has pulled 26 varieties of soda pop from store shelves - some of which contained more than 30 times as much cancer-causing benzene (a flammable, oil-based solvent) as the levels allowed in drinking water.
According to the AP story I used as a source, the scrutiny for benzene in sodas in the UK was sparked by the discovery of the same chemical in a certain brand of diet soda here in the U.S. That's all the story said about it. But now, more has come to light about this discovery.
The AP reports on April 5th that the good old FDA admits that carcinogenic benzene has also been found in soft drinks here in the good old USA. And yes, in levels much higher than those considered "safe" for domestic drinking water.
Of course, a spokesperson for the FDA claims that there is no cause for a safety or public health concern at this time, the AP piece maintains. Mmm-hmm.
Also according to the article, this statement flatly contradicts statements the agency issued last week, which claimed no significant levels of benzene were found in tested soda-pop.
All this hubbub is apparently the result of an FDA study on dietary contaminants that found an average of 4 times the "safe" limit of benzene in 78% of the 24 samples of diet soda tested. The FDA has conducted a second study, specifically on benzene in sodas, but isn't ready to release the results just yet, the AP article reveals. Wow. Quite the cloak-and-dagger treatment.
What's really scary about all this is that what the FDA considers perfectly safe levels of benzene in our drinking water (5 parts per billion) is actually 5 TIMES HIGHER than what's allowed by law in the UK - which means the benzene levels found in diet soda by the recent testing here are roughly the same as what sent Britain's Food Standards Agency into a shelf-clearing panic.
And the FDA says there's no cause for alarm, and no health hazard.
According to the FDA, benzene levels can increase in bottled sodas after exposure to heat, light, or long periods on the shelf. Apparently, It's a natural reaction of sodium or potassium benzoate, a preservative found in many sodas, especially diet varieties.
Remember that, next time you're at the grocery store.
It's been a while since I reported anything about terrorism, but a recent item I saw in the news brought the issue back to front and center for me.
According to a March Associated Press article, America's FBI recently uncovered a large-scale al-Qaeda plot to poison beer and burgers at sporting events and in street vending machines in Britain. One of the terrorists that was to carry out the plot, captured and accused along with 6 others, claimed to have already tested the plan.
The suspected terrorist, 34 year old Waheed Mahmood, masterminded the plan to infiltrate the beer vendors in UK soccer stadiums, or burger vendors on street corners outside them. The AP piece links the man with a militant Islamist group operating in Britain. The group apparently also had plans to bomb Britain's electricity grid.
Sounds like a serious attack was in the works, doesn't it?
Well, they sure picked the right targets if they wanted to do mass harm. Any attack that scares people away from drinking beer and eating (bun-less) burgers - some of the few truly healthy foods out there - would be doing major harm to people's health.
Not by directly poisoning them, but by driving them to poisons like benzene-laced diet soda and carb-loaded refined foods.
Thank the powers that be (and the FBI) that they didn't bring the attack off.
Reporting what's "laced" with truth and irony,
William Campbell Douglass II, MD
|Dry Red Beans||Apples||Cocoa||Butter|
|Onions, Roasted||Bilberry||Jamaican Rum||Some Other Cheese|
Benzene Information: Organic Consumers Association 3/2/2006 - Soft Drinks Found To Have High Levels
Benzene Information: Dr. Mercola 4/20/2006 - Soft Drinks Poisoned
Benzene Information: Dr. Mercola 4/25/2006 - Law Suits
Benzene Information: Dr. Mercola 6/6/2006 - Disease In A Can
Benzene Information: Dr. Mercola 1/26/2008 - Cancer-Causing Benzene Still In Drinks