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The Los Angeles Times reports that “the Center for Science in the Public Interest says its testing has found "high levels" of an animal carcinogen, 4-methylimidazole, in Coca-Cola and Pepsi cola drinks. The chemical is a result of the process used to give the colas -- including the diet versions -- their caramel coloring.”

However, the Times writes, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says that there is no reason for concern and that “a human would have to drink more than a thousand cans of the drinks in a day to reach the chemical level shown to cause cancer in rodents.”

CSPI says that “it found that regular Coke, purchased in the Washington, D.C., area, had about 145 micrograms of the stuff in a 12-ounce can, while Pepsi had about half that. California regulations require that a product have a warning if the level of the chemical is above 29-micrograms.” The Times notes that CSPI also said that 4-methylimidazole is not the most dangerous ingredient in soda - that honor went to “the high-fructose corn syrup or other sugars used in soft drinks," CSPI says.
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