07 July 2013

Lead Found on Labels of Some Bottled Soft Drinks (Companies Asked to Remove Lead Out of Product Labels)

A health and environmental watchdog today urged soft drink manufacturers to get lead, a chemical poison, out of the painted labels of their sugary products.

The EcoWaste Coalition issued the appeal after discovering high levels of lead on the labels of some popular soft drinks using an analytical device called X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) spectrometer.

Lead, harmful even in small amounts, is known to cause mental, physical, developmental and behavioral problems, as well as reproductive disorders, birth defects, cardiovascular diseases and cancers, according to health and medical scientists.
“We consider this a public health concern since soft drinks are among the country’s top selling products, consumed even by young children, and distributed widely through sari-sari stores in almost all neighbourhoods,” said Thony Dizon, Project Protect Coordinator, EcoWaste Coaltiion.
“Lead was specifically detected on the paints used for the product labels, and not on the actual beverage,” he explained.

“Lead from the label may not leach into the liquid inside the impermeable glass container.  However, lead may get into the bottle when it is washed for recycling, or ingested by a consumer, particularly a child, when she touches the leaded part and then put her fingers in her mouth,” he emphasized.

“We will write to the soft drink companies and request them to stop using leaded paint on their product labels as an essential precautionary measure,” he said.

“If most soft drink companies can have their product names and emblems made with unleaded paint, we see no reason why other companies cannot do the same,” he added.

Out of  15 soft drink products the group bought from various retailers on July 5 and 6, three were found to contain excessive lead, way above the 90 ppm US limit for lead in paints and surface coatings.

Without naming the brands or their manufacturers, the EcoWaste Coalition reported that the 240 ml and 800 ml of one soda drink had more than 100,000 ppm of lead on the label.  In addition, the label on the 800 ml bottle had 2,436 ppm of antimony, 9,301 ppm of arsenic and 14,700 ppm of cadmium.

A brand of a fruit soda had 82,700 ppm of lead, plus 1,589 ppm of antimony, 7,400 ppm of arsenic and 7,964 ppm of cadmium on its label.   

While negative for lead, another fruit soda had on its label 2,644 of cadmium, a carcinogenic substance.

With its latest findings, the EcoWaste Coalition pushed food and health authorities to ban the use of leaded inks, paints and other materials in all food and beverage packaging to protect workers and consumers alike from being exposed to lead to the maximum extent possible.  It also asked that cadmium and other chemicals of concern be prohibited for all food contact materials.

The EcoWaste Coalition recalled that a major US beverage company in 2006 was fined $1 million in civil penalty by a Los Angeles court for failing to warn consumers about the leaded labels of its imported bottled drinks as required under Proposition 65 and agreed to shift to lead-free labels.

Meanwhile, the EcoWaste Coalition reiterated its support to the Department of Health’s proposal banning soft drinks and junk foods in school canteens in order to promote healthy and nutritious diet and lifestyle among school-going kids.  

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1 comment:

chuffa mocco said...

My god, name names! Who are these companies and why are you protecting their identities? You purposely give them some wiggle room as fallback in exchange for what?

You just lost a supporter.