A chemical found in many sodas has been considered a potential health risk according to consumer reports. The golden brown color that is in many of our soft drinks comes with a dose of a chemical called 4-mel. However, on US product labels it appears simply as “caramel coloring.”
What is 4-mel?
4-methylimidazole or 4-mel is used as a chemical component in manufacturing the following:
- Photographic/ photothermographic chemicals
- Dyes and pigments
- Agricultural chemicals
Nowhere in the data collected regarding this chemical does it say that it is safe to consume. The World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer reported this chemical may possibly cause cancer and is not natural product. However, contrary to the findings, the FDA noted there is no reason at all for any health concerns.
Dr. Urvashi Rangan, a Consumer Reports toxicologist, states, “There is no reason why consumers need to be exposed to this avoidable and unnecessary risk that can stem from coloring food and beverages brown.”
Exposure Data Reported
According to the same report done by the World Health Organization, 4-mel was tested for carcinogenicity by oral administration in the diets of mice and rats.
This chemical increased the incidence of alveolar/bronchiolar adenoma in female mice and alveolar/bronchiolar carcinoma in male mice, which are terms describing certain variants of lung cancer.
There is sufficient evidence that proves 4-mel is carcinogenic in animals, and although there is no data available in regard to humans, an overall evaluation suggests that 4-mel may possibly be carcinogenic to us as well. .
What’s Being Done?
The FDA says there is no reason to believe 4-mel poses a health risk to consumers at the levels found in food and beverages. However tests are being done on a variety of food and beverages with this chemical and the FDA is reviewing safety data.
Click Here for more information.