Benzene concentrations in beverages

Jan 07, 2008
Benzene concentrations in beverages
A new study reveals that cancer-causing benzene is still elevated in certain drinks. Credit: Courtesy of the American Chemical Society

Only nine percent of 199 beverage samples had benzene levels above the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) limit of 5 parts per billion (ppb) for benzene in drinking water, according to a study by EPA and U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) scientists. It is scheduled for the current issue of ACS’ Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

Products containing benzene above the EPA level were reformulated by the manufacturers to minimize or eliminate benzene and one product was discontinued, researchers said. Benzene levels in the reformulated products were 1.1 ppb or less.

About 71 percent of beverage samples in the study contained less than 1 ppb. Based on results from the survey and actions taken by the beverage industry, FDA concluded that the levels of benzene found did not pose a safety concern for consumers.

In the study, FDA’s Patricia Nyman and colleagues point out that benzene can form at ppb levels in some beverages that contain a food preservative, benzoate salt, and ascorbic acid (vitamin C). In the early 1990s, the U.S. beverage industry discovered benzene in some beverages and reformulated those products. In 2005, the substance again was found in some beverages, likely because new manufacturers were unaware of the problem, the study says. Some manufacturers also have added vitamin C to drinks in response to consumers’ desire for healthier products.

The study found that product formulation, shelf-life, and storage conditions were important factors affecting benzene formation. The report also describes the in-house validation of FDA’s analytical method for determining benzene in beverages.

Source: ACS

Explore further: Jumping hurdles in the RNA world

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Bright ideas chase investor dollars at forum

Dec 24, 2013

A company that can generate electricity using low-temperature waste heat was the big winner at the recent 26th annual Industry Growth Forum in downtown Denver, a gathering of people who have no qualms about ...

Recommended for you

Jumping hurdles in the RNA world

Nov 21, 2014

Astrobiologists have shown that the formation of RNA from prebiotic reactions may not be as problematic as scientists once thought.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.