Soda: The New Carcinogen?

“Every absurdity has a champion to defend it.” – Oliver Goldsmith. Here’s another thought: Drinking a soda is just as detrimental to your health as smoking an entire pack of cigarettes. Now, we here at Abnormal Use don’t have any proof for that last statement, but we’re sure you’ll soon see the campaign about the evils of “caramel color.” According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, the caramel coloring in popular colas contains carcinogens.

The culprit it seems, is 4-Methylimidazole, an innocent-sounding substance, don’t you think? Do not be fooled. The Executive Director of CSPI, Michael Jacobson, has taken to the Huffington Post, where all great news stories are faithfully told, to spread the word that cola contains cancer causing agents. California has added 4-Methylimidazole to its Proposition 65 list [PDF]. 4-Meth has caused various types of cancers in lab rats. CSPI has even gone so far to warn us of this danger by concocting a Toxi-Cola graphic, showing all of the terrible things in the product.

Let us first say that we do not trust the public interest. We look after our own interest, and, as rational people all look after their individual interests, order and efficiency are maintained. Second, while we do occasionally wear tin foil hats, we have to believe that, if cola really caused cancer, we as a society would have figured it out before now. Such is the opinion of the author of the appropriately named CSPIscam website. Ben Forer of ABC News filed this report quoting one Dr. Fred Guengerich, a biochemist, who appears to be a very smart dude:

“Is it a carcinogen? The tests have shown in mice it can increase the risk of cancer. On the other hand, there is also evidence in male rats, it prevented several kinds of cancer,” said Guengerich. “Basically my advice would be just to relax . . . I did some simple math. … If you look at the study in terms of what the mice got, in terms of causing any effect, a human being would have to drink more than 1,000 sodas a day.”

We don’t know of any associate that drinks 1,000 sodas a day, but this has all the makings of a nice lawsuit. A Plaintiff sues and claims that caffeine addicted him to cola and that he drank hundreds of colas per day, ingesting tons of carcinogens and high fructose corn syrup. Hey, that’s not his fault, purports his attorney. Someone should have told him that its perilous to drink hundreds of colas per day. How else was he to know, after all?

We think the best option is a class action settlement where the settlement includes a lifetime supply of cola. Perhaps this is an advertising gambit of Pepsi to bring back the long lost product Crystal Pepsi, which we know we have all spent the past 18 years pining for. Nevertheless, be on the lookout for junk science, and take pride in your caramel-colored beverage.

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