Soft Drinks Contain Cancer Causing Agent: Benzene

The widespread consumption of “soft” drinks is, by far, one of the most dysfunctional and self-destructive customs to have taken hold in Western culture. Carbonated beverages do absolutely nothing for you, period.

Anyone who has even remotely looked into this subject should know that there are no health benefits whatsoever and a myriad of risks. As the beverages sit in the trucks during warm days, the preservative Sodium Benzoate converts to Benzene, a cancerous agent.

When we consume soft drinks, the rich corn-syrup causes the blood to become quite acidic, forcing the body to utilize emergency measures to bring the PH back to the safe range. It therefore has to release calcium from the teeth and bones, weakening robbing the skeletal system of vital minerals.

Cancer-Causing Benzene Found in Drinks

By ANDREW BRIDGES, Associated Press Writer Fri May 19, 8:18 PM ET

WASHINGTON – A government analysis of more than 100 soft drinks and other beverages turned up five with levels of cancer-causing benzene that exceed federal drinking-water standards, the
Food and Drug Administration said Friday.

The companies that make the drinks have been alerted and either have reformulated their products or plan to do so, the FDA said. Government health officials maintain there is no safety concern, an opinion not shared by at least one environmental group.

The five drinks listed by the government were Safeway Select Diet Orange, Crush Pineapple, AquaCal Strawberry Flavored Water Beverage, Crystal Light Sunrise Classic Orange and Giant Light Cranberry Juice Cocktail. The high levels of benzene were found in specific production lots of the drinks, the FDA said.

Benzene, a chemical linked to leukemia, can form in soft drinks containing two ingredients: Vitamin C, also called ascorbic acid, and either of the two preservatives: sodium benzoate and potassium benzoate.

The presence of those ingredients doesn’t mean benzene is present. Scientists say factors such as heat or light exposure can trigger a reaction that forms benzene in the beverages.

Federal rules limit benzene levels in drinking water to 5 parts per billion. A limited FDA analysis of store-bought drinks found benzene levels as high as 79 parts per billion in one lot of Safeway Select Diet Orange.

A Safeway Inc. spokeswoman did not immediately return a message left seeking comment.

Dr. Laura Tarantino, director of the FDA’s Office of Food Additive Safety, said drinking sodas high in benzene does not pose a health risk.

“This is likely an occasional exposure, it’s not a chronic exposure. Obviously, no benzene is something someone wants to have, but the amount of benzene you are getting in a soda is very, very small compared to what you’re being exposed to every day from environmental sources,” Tarantino said.

However, a spokesman for Environmental Working Group — which has accused the FDA of suppressing information about benzene in soft drinks — saw the results as a problem.

“FDA’s test results confirm that there is a serious problem with benzene in soda and juices,” said Richard Wiles, senior vice president at Environmental Working Group.

The Cancer-Fighting Power of Veggies Work With Your Genes (source)

Need another reason to eat vegetables? A new study at Rutgers shows that certain vegetables – broccoli and cauliflower, in particular – have natural ingredients that may reduce the risk of developing hereditary cancers.

A research team led by Rutgers’ Ah-Ng Tony Kong has revealed that these widely consumed cruciferous vegetables – so called because their four-petal flowers resemble crosses – are abundant in sulforaphane (SFN). This compound had previously been shown to inhibit some cancers in rodents induced by carcinogens – substances or agents external to the body. Kong’s investigations, however, focused on whether SFN might inhibit the occurrence of hereditary cancers – those arising from one’s genetic makeup.

The American Cancer Society estimates that more than two-thirds of cancer may be prevented through lifestyle modification, and nearly one-third of these cancer occurrences can be attributed to diet alone.

“Our research has substantiated the connection between diet and cancer prevention, and it is now clear that the expression of cancer-related genes can be influenced by chemopreventive compounds in the things we eat,” said Kong, a professor of pharmaceutics in the Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.

Chemopreventive properties are those that prevent, stop or reverse the development of cancer. In a study published online in the journal Carcinogenesis, Kong and his colleagues used a mouse model for human colon cancer to demonstrate the chemopreventive power of SFN and explain how it works to thwart cancer at the biomolecular level.

The researchers employed a specially bred strain of mice (labeled Apc/Min/+) that carry a mutation that switches off a gene (Apc) that suppresses tumors. This is the same gene known to be directly implicated in the development of most colon cancers in humans. When the gene is inactivated in the mice, polyps, which lead to tumors, appear spontaneously in the small intestine. Experiments using these mice can help in designing human clinical trials that can lead to new treatments for colon cancer in humans.

Two groups of mice were fed diets supplemented with SFN for three weeks, one group receiving 300 parts per million (ppm) of SFN and the other getting 600 ppm. “Our results clearly demonstrated that those mice fed with an SFN-supplemented diet developed significantly fewer and smaller tumors,” Kong said.

After the three weeks, the average number of polyps in the small intestine in each mouse decreased more than 25 percent in those on the 300 ppm diet and 47 percent in the 600 ppm treatment group, as compared to control animals who had received no SFN.

“Our results showed that SFN produced its cancer preventive effects in the mice by inducing apoptosis (programmed cell death) and inhibiting proliferation of the tumors; however, it was not clear what mechanism SFN employs to accomplish this,” Kong said.

Using biomarkers (indicator molecules) associated with apoptosis and proliferation, Kong’s team found that SFN suppressed certain enzymes or kinases that are highly expressed both in the mice and in patients with colon cancer. The researchers concluded that this enzymatic suppression activity is the likely basis for the chemopreventive effects of SFN.

“Our study corroborates the notion that SFN has chemopreventive activity. Based on these findings, we feel SFN should be evaluated clinically for its chemopreventive potential in human patients with Apc related colon cancers,” Kong said.

From Rutgers

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