My Coca-Cola Essay published by McGraw-HillPosted: May 3, 2010
Mutha Phukkin G
“MORE THAN JUST CAFFEINE…”
Soft drinks are some of the most popular drinks chosen by consumers year after year yet the average consumer is not even told what these beverages contain. Everyone knows about the copious amounts of caffeine and sugar present, but very few know about the neurotoxins and carcinogens found in recent analysis of the carbonated drinks. Trace amounts of benzene found in Indian Coca-Cola has sparked lawsuits against Coke, and it is spreading across the globe. People in the USA and Canada are both suing Coca-Cola over the same issues. Some of the studies show appalling results.
A recent Indian study has found many ingredients that need explanation and attention. The study has shown us what the Coca-Cola Company doesn’t want us to know. In August 2006, a study by the Centre for Science and Environment, a research group in New Delhi, brings up the issue of pesticide contamination. The study shows that 11 Coca-Cola brand soft drinks sold in India contained trace amounts of a variety of neurotoxins and human carcinogens. Lindane, Chlorpyrifos, and Heptachlor were some of the common pesticides found, and all the values surpass safe limits of allowable pesticides in soft drinks (Sharma, A694). The amounts of each pesticide found in the sodas vary: an average of 5.37 ppb for Lindane, 4.71 ppb for Chlorpyrifos, and a whopping 71% of the samples contained an average of 0.41 ppb of heptachlor (Sharma, A694). The ‘safe’ limit for soft drinks, proposed by the Bureau of Indian Standards in 2005, one 0.1 ppb for individual pesticides and 0.5 ppb of total pesticides in any given soft drink (Sharma, A694). The numbers are horrifying.
These hidden ingredients can cause serious health problems over time. The toxicity of the ingredients can cause adverse effects on a person’s overall health, and could lead to the development of cancers and brain damage. Rolf U. Halden, cofounder of the Johns Hopkins Center for Water and Health, notes, “Although the levels of pesticide residues reported [in the CSE] study are unlikely to cause immediate harm to consumers, chronic effects following long-term exposure may occur” (Sharma, A694). With an average of 22.1 times the standard allowed for pesticide contamination (Huilgol, 89), the Coca-Cola Company claims they are under attack by lawyers who just want to line their pockets (Quaid). This belief of a current controversy about colas stems from the fact that the pesticide contents are higher than certain recommended standards, but the pesticides themselves aren’t yet scientifically linked to cancer or brain damage directly. For now, the Coca-Cola Company is safe behind a curtain of ignorance; this is about to change.
A recent Lymphoma Foundation study has demonstrated a correlation between pesticides and Lymphoma in children. Both maternal and paternal exposure also increased the chances of cancer in the offspring. It is also believed that an unprecedented increase in breast cancer of 60% in New Zealand and the USA can be partially explained by the increased permeation of pesticides in the environment (Huilgol, 89). Now that we can see the toxic properties of Coca-Cola, as well as the effects of continual consumption, what can be done? Is anybody doing anything about this? The answer is yes.
Around the world many are taking action against the soda-pop giant demanding explanation, regulation and a complete list of all the ingredients, toxic or non-toxic, on all beverage containers. As of now, it seems that soft drinks are the only beverage not required to have labels with full ingredients (Huilgol, 89). The consumer is blind to the plethora of hidden poisons not included on the labels. Many are fed up.
With the knowledge of what’s inside Coca-Cola, along with accurate and specific labels, we can further regulate the carcinogenic, and neurotoxic ingredients throughout the globe. More and more, as time passes, the Coca-Cola Company’s specious argument about greedy lawyers lining their pockets is being dismissed. Countries such as India, and Canada, and states such as Kansas, Massachusetts, and New Jersey have federal cases, as well as state court lawsuits in Florida and California. In the end, I believe it is the individual government’s fault for not investigating a product that is so widely sold and consumed. In my own personal experiences, I have noticed if you don’t know what’s in something, you probably shouldn’t drink it.
Chou, K.-H., and Bell, L.N. “Caffeine Content of Pre-packaged National-Brand and Private-Label Carbonated Beverages”. Journal of Food Science: 72: (2007). C337-C342. MEDLINE. EBSCO. Web. 17 February, 2010.
Huilgol, Nagraj G. “Cola, controversies and carcinogenisis.” Journal of Cancer Research and Therapeutics. 2.3 (2006): 89. MEDLINE. EBSCO. Web. 17 February, 2010.
Quaid, Libby. “Coca-Cola sued over benzene fear.” Winnipeg Free Press (MB). 26 August, 2006: B11. Canadian Reference Centre. EBSCO. Web. 17 February, 2010.
Seow, W.K., and Thong, K.M. “Erosive effects of common beverages on extracted premolar teeth”. Australian Dental Journal. 50: (3): 173-178. 2005. MEDLINE. EBSCO. Web. 17 February, 2010.
Sharma, Dinesh C. “Pop Toxicology?” Environmental Health Perspectives 114.12 (2006): A694. Health Source – Consumer Edition. EBSCO. Web. 17th February, 2010.