Four soft drinks have been removed with immediate effect from the shops in UK as a chemical that can cause cancer was found in them. The FSA based its recommendations for the removal on drinks on the WHO levels.
The Food Standards Agency traced benzene during a survey of 150 drinks on sale in Britain. Its tests were carried out after a BBC investigation revealed industry data showed benzene levels at up to eight times recommended UK levels. Two companies have already withdrawn their drinks from shops and the FSA says the other two would do so immediately. The FSA found levels of benzene at nearly times the WHO's guidelines.
Announcing the reports on the study, Dr Andrew Wadge of the FSA urged the public for calm, saying that people shouldn't be alarmed if they have drunk these products. He further stated that The levels of benzene reported will only make a negligible impact on people's overall exposure to it and any additional risk to health is therefore likely to be minimal. The FSA says people would have to drink more than 20 litres of drink containing benzene to equal the amount of benzene they would breathe from city air in a day.
Benzene, can cause certain cancers, is thought to be formed when two common soft-drink ingredients the preservative sodium benzoate and ascorbic acid interact.
It is found that people who have inhaled very high levels of benzene in the work place increase their risk of cancer.
Dr Wadge said that to get a clear picture of whether benzene was present in any soft drinks on sale in the UK and at what levels. He said that majority of the drinks tested low and were not of concern. They were concerned of only four drinks. He concluded saying that the results show that it is possible to produce soft drinks without detectable traces of benzene. This he said is what we want all manufacturers to do.