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The "Benzene Scare" -- Coming to a Courtroom Near You?

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John Luik has a nice piece on the excellent Tech Central Station site about the new "benzene scare."

As he reports, Coca-Cola and Cadbury-Schweppes have been added to a Florida suit already involving Pepsi, Kraft Foods, Ocean Spray Cranberries, Polar Beverages and In zone Brands. The suit alleges that the benzene in their drink products exceeds the one part per billion standard established in Florida -- a standard that is one fifth the federal standard set for drinking water. Luik points out that the FDA is "investigating" the issue, but find that there is no "health risk." He also points out that benzene also forms from natural processes such as forest fires, and is routinely found in the air. For example, ambient air levels of benzene have been found at 182 ppb (parts per billion) in Los Angeles and at 179 ppb in London. Benzene is also found in many foods such as meats, eggs and bananas, which however are immune to product liability lawsuits....

When asked if drinking a soda containing 79 ppb of benzene poses a risk to consumers, Dr. Laura Tarantino, director of the FDA�s Office of Food Additive Safety, replied, �No� this is likely an occasional exposure, not a chronic exposure. Obviously, no benzene is something that anyone wants to have, but the amount of benzene that they�re getting in the soda is very, very small compared to the benzene you�re exposed to every day from environmental sources of benzene.� See the full interview with Dr. Tarantino here.

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Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy
rmangual@manhattan-institute.org

Katherine Lazarski
Manhattan Institute
klazarski@manhattan-institute.org

 

Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.