Jul 092013

Aside from the threat to health due to high sugar content, bottled soft drinks may endanger children due to lead on the label of the bottles, an ecological group said Sunday.

The EcoWaste Coalition said it found the lead on the labels after subjecting the bottles to a test with an X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) spectrometer.

“Lead was specifically detected on the paints used for the product labels, and not on the actual beverage,” said coordinator Anthony Dizon.

Dizon said soft drinks are among the most widely distributed products and are easily available to children.

He also said that while lead from the label may not leach into the liquid inside the glass bottle, 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.”

The group reiterated lead may be harmful even in small amounts, and may cause mental, physical, developmental and behavioral problems and even reproductive disorders.

Dizon said the group will write to the soft drink companies and ask them to stop using leaded paint on their product labels.

“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 said.

Three products

The group tested 15 soft drink products last July 5 and 6, and found three to contain lead way above the 90 ppm US limit for lead in paints and surface coatings.

EcoWaste said the 240 ml and 800 ml containers of one soda drink had more than 100,000 ppm of lead on the label.

It added 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 fruit soda had 82,700 ppm of lead, 1,589 ppm of antimony, 7,400 ppm of arsenic and 7,964 ppm of cadmium on its label.

Another fruit soda tested negative for lead but had on its label 2,644 of cadmium, a carcinogenic substance.

With its latest findings, EcoWaste urged food and health authorities to ban the use of leaded inks, paints and other materials in food and beverage packaging.

It also asked that cadmium and other chemicals of concern be prohibited for all food contact materials.

The group recalled a major US beverage company in 2006 was fined $1 million by a Los Angeles court in civil penalty for failing to warn consumers about leaded labels of its imported bottled drinks.

EcoWaste also reiterated its support to the Department of Health’s proposal banning soft drinks and junk foods in school canteens to promote healthy diets.  — ELR, GMA News

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