Pepsi and Pepsi products have a high level of cancer-causing carcinogens, a new report from a an environmental group has found.
The group, the Center for Environmental Health, announced their findings Wednesday, reports the AP. The new findings demonstrated that the vast majority of Pepsi products sold in the US contain a chemical known as 4-methylimidazole, 4-MEI for short.
The state of California found 4-MEI to be a chemical carcinogen. Following new laws mandated by Proposition 65, all products sold containing excessive levels of the chemical would require a cancer warning label.
What is 4-methylimidazole anyway? Reports from NPR say the chemical is used in a variety of soft drinks to create a distinct brown coloring. And, according to California, can cause cancer.
Last year, major soft drink corporations, including Pepsi and Coca Cola, agreed to transitioning out the use of the California-identified carcinogen in their products.
To see how this progress has gone, the Center for Environmental Health watchdog group sampled both company’s products across the United States to see whether 4-MEI was still common.
What they found was that ten out of ten samples of Pepsi Cola products collected outside of California contained high levels of the coloring agent. In fact, their findings show that, on average, Pepsi has between four and eight times the safety limit of 4-MEI in most of their products.
Coca Cola products, on the other hand, earned praise from the environmental group’s director, Michael Green, for having reduced 4-MEI to one in ten of their products outside of California.
In a public statement on the new findings, Green criticized Pepsi for not yet phasing out the carcinogenic chemical.
Pepsi Co. responded to these claims by pointing out that the FDA, among other major food regulatory agencies around the world, have yet to declare the brown coloring agent unsafe for consumption.
Some groups, including the FDA and the American Beverage Association, have said there are no real links between 4-MEI and human health problems.
It is unclear whether Pepsi intends to remove the carcinogenic chemical from their products outside of California, as they are not under any legal obligation to do so.
[Image via ShutterStock]