First Benzene Soda Lawsuits

The Benzene scandal is starting to escalate, as Massachusetts and Florida consumers press class-action lawsuits against soda companies.

Polar Beverages and In Zone Brands have both been named in the lawsuits. The plaintiffs are demanding that the companies start selling products with a “tendency to contain benzene,” as well as pay the plaintiffs’ court costs and relinquish all profits from the sales.

The companies are claiming their products are safe, but the plaintiff’s tests determined that the products had benzene in them. The testing conditions? Twenty four hours exposure under ultraviolet light in 114 degree heat.

Oh, give me a break. The ingredients in soda tend to produce benzene under prolonged exposure to light and heat. That’s why you refrigerate soda. If 114 degree Fahrenheit is the condition required to produce benzene in these drinks, maybe you should have filed the class action lawsuit in Abu Dhabi, guys. Except that even there you don’t get 24 hours of sunlight. There’s the North Pole in summer, but of course, that’s pretty well refrigerated.

In other words, you couldn’t match their testing conditions at any location on the planet Earth. Just more abject hysteria from anti-soda zealots, pushing forward their busybody cause with bad science in the name of the children.

Soft drink makers sued over possible benzene threat [Mercury News]

Comments

Edit Your Comment

  1. RandomHookup says:

    The plaintiffs are demanding that the companies start selling products with a “tendency to contain benzene,” as well as pay the plaintiffs’ court costs and relinquish all profits from the sales.

    Do you you mean “stop selling” or did I miss the part where benzene is good for you?

  2. Paul D says:

    Oooooooo. I’m gonna have to go ahead and sort of…disagree with you there.

    I don’t care if you have to send the soda can around the sun and back. If it has the potential to produce a carcinogen under any circumstances, that’s not something that should be sold to the public. It’s denialist attitudes like this that are the reason we have cancer today. “Oh relax! It won’t kill ya’!”

    I foresee a future where the 7 top guys at Big Soda will go before a congressional hearing and be forced to go on record stating that they believe that “carbonated beverages are not bad for you”, contrary to what, oh, nearly every living human knows to be true.

  3. lgf says:

    Well, I disagree with: “If it has the potential to producce a carcinogen under any circumstances, that’s not something that should be sold to the public”.

    So out go: cigarretes, all car fuel, food with nitrates like bacon, anything grilled (yes, the “burned” parts have components that may give cancer), sunscreens (you could argue that they give you a false hope of not getting skin cancer, so not selling them would force you to stay indoors), insect repellents and bug spray…

    Everything in moderation, people.

  4. Jay says:

    Gotta agree with lgf here… it’s really astounding the number of products that are out there that might possibly maybe in a few decades have some link to cancer. And considering how you can’t prove a negative, there’s no way to ever know for sure that *anything* is completely safe.

    I think the benzene issue is really important, but it also seems to be of fairly limited scope. For my own peace of mind, I went and checked the labels of all the soda my family usually buys, and all of them were free of the ascorbic acid/sodium benzoate combination. In fact, when I went to the supermarket and checked, the only soda I found that had those two ingredients was regular (non-diet, that is) orange soda; everything else was fine.

    And let’s not overlook the fact that the two companies being sued here are small brands that most people a) have never heard of, and b) don’t even have access to in their local market. That’s not to say that those companies shouldn’t be held responsible, because they absolutely should be. But people should remember that the most popular drinks, your Coca-Colas and so on, don’t seem to be what’s at issue here. Let’s not panic.

  5. Amy Alkon says:

    What gives you an ass the size of Kansas isn’t drinking Coca-Cola, or even eating doughnuts — both of which I do every day. It’s drinking coke and eating doughnuts and not prying your ass out of your chair except when you drop the remote.

  6. TheChaz says:

    I’d like to take issue with your “bad science” complaint. This was actually very good science. See how it perfectly explicated the hole in the crazy soda-hating arguments. If it were bad science, it would have glossed over or not reported the data which makes it so obvious that this complaint is spurious.

  7. Smoking Pope says:

    Hey, out here in Phoenix where it gets to 116 every summer, a merchant leaving a shipment of soda in the sun isn’t unthinkable. Then they pop it in the fridge and everyone’s drinking Benzo-Cola. Frightening.

  8. x23 says:

    “Hey, out here in Phoenix where it gets to 116 every summer, a merchant leaving a shipment of soda in the sun isn’t unthinkable.”

    116 degrees for 24 hours straight as mentioned in the post? i highly highly highly doubt it.

    the linked article doesn’t specifically confirm or deny whether the tested soda was even in a can/bottle or not. i would think that would make a big difference for 2 reasons.

    1) no merchant is going to leave a bowl of soda out in imaginary 24 hour 113+ degree heat. bring it inside. pick the flies out. pour it back into cans. and then sell it. no way. not gonna happen.

    2) i can’t be the only one who has left an unopened can of soda in a car sitting in the sun for a few hours in hot summer heat… you know what happens right? several hours of cleaning. exploding cans make a big mess.

  9. Smoking Pope says:

    Well, true, but surface temps for things left in the sun out here can get ridiculous. Not sure if 8 hours at 140 = 24 hours at 114, but I’d rather not have to worry about it.

    Also, very possible that the soda needs to out of the container (or maybe in a glass or plastic bottle instead of a can), I just don’t know. I just wanted to point out that 114 isn’t as ridiculous a temperature as people seem to think. (Oh, and by the way, we do get very occasional nights where the temp doesn’t dip below 100.)