Common soda ingredient linked to cancer risk

Soda

We all know soda isn’t the healthiest choice of beverage, but can it actually cause cancer? New research out of Johns Hopkins University suggests just that. A chemical known as 4-MEI, which gives some sodas its color, has been found to cause lung tumors in animals. The chemical is also present in a variety of beverages that contain caramel color.

“There is variation in the levels, and some beverages had higher levels than others,” says senior author Keeve Nachman, PhD, director of the Food Production and Public Health Program at the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future.

Nachman reports that on a typical day, 44 to 58 percent of people over the age of 6 have at least one can of soda per day – maybe more. This could potentially be exposing them to 4-MEI.

“This exposure may increase the risk of cancer in soda drinkers,” he says. “Risks related to 4-MEI were highest for routine consumption of a beverage called Goya Malta, and lowest for the Coke products.”

The chemical’s health hazards for humans remain unclear at this point. Nachman says that studies conducted by the U.S. National Toxicology Program found 4-MEI to cause lung tumors in mice; however the substance has never been studied in humans. At this point, the NTP refers to it as a possible human carcinogen.

For the study, the CLF teamed up with Consumer Reports to examine 4-MEI in 110 soft drink samples. The samples came from stores in California and New York. They then took these results and combined them with data related to population beverage consumption. One notable finding was that, in some cases, two samples of the same beverage rendered different levels of the chemical, depending on the state from which it came. This leads researchers to believe that some of California’s regulations, specifically Proposition 65, might be responsible for the lower levels.

Related Cancer News

October 23, 2015
Young, healthy guy

Risk of testicular cancer relapse identified with new test

October 23, 2015
October 21, 2015
Melanoma

Melanoma risk might be predicted by number of moles on right arm

October 21, 2015
October 13, 2015
Elephant

Can elephants give us insights into cancer prevention?

October 13, 2015
October 2, 2015
Dried plums

Eating dried plums may cut colon cancer risk

October 2, 2015
September 11, 2015
Chemotherapy

FDA approves anti-nausea drug for chemo patients

September 11, 2015
August 14, 2015
Spirituality

Cancer and religion: what’s the link?

August 14, 2015
July 17, 2015
Woman sitting

Long periods of sitting associated with elevated cancer risk

July 17, 2015
July 3, 2015
Dog

Dogs could pave way for cancer research

July 3, 2015
April 27, 2015
Coffee

Coffee protects against breast cancer recurrence, study suggests

April 27, 2015
April 6, 2015
Melanoma

Melanoma vaccine does well in study

April 6, 2015
March 31, 2015
Fitness

Getting in shape may help middle-aged men stave off cancer

March 31, 2015
March 9, 2015
Service dogs

Trained dogs sniff out thyroid cancer with remarkable accuracy

March 9, 2015
December 8, 2014
Red wine might prevent cancer

Red wine may stave off cancer

December 8, 2014
December 4, 2014
Vaccine

New breast cancer vaccine does well in clinical trial

December 4, 2014
November 11, 2014
Mindfullness meditation

Meditation shown to benefit breast cancer survivors

November 11, 2014
November 6, 2014
Milk, dairy

Risk of some cancers lower among lactose intolerant people

November 6, 2014
October 28, 2014
Sexual activity

Men who sleep with more women may be less likely to get prostate cancer

October 28, 2014
August 22, 2014
Needle with medication prepared for injection

Cancerous tumors shrink after bacterial injection

August 22, 2014