Mar 2, 2006
UK paper the Times today picked up on the benzene in soft drinks problem I mentioned in sciencebase on February 22.
The paper reports how the Food Standards Agency has found levels of benzene (“six parts carbon, six parts hydrogen”) at eight times the level permitted in drinking water in samples from some 230 drinks on sale in Britain and France.
What’s more interesting than this finding, eight times a miniscule amount remains a miniscule amount, is that the paper lists several sources of benzene to which we might be exposed. It is, says reporter Rajeev Syal, It is produced during incomplete combustion of carbon-rich substances: “produced from petrochemicals, but occurs naturally in volcanoes, forest fires and in cigarette smoke. Volcanologists, forestry firefighters, and smokers should be listed among those banned from worrying about their being too much benzene in their cola, bottled water, or ‘fruit’ drink.
Regardless of the actual hazards involved, what’s the betting that benzene in soft drinks will displace fears of bird flu, in the UK, for at least a couple of weeks. It might just be long enough to keep the media fed until all those ducks have flown the coop, as it were…
You can read The Times’ article (here).