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publicado em 05/11/2011 às 14h13:00
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Manufacturers of soft drinks will reduce light carcinogen in beverages

Coca, Schincariol and AmBev, which account for 90% of the Brazilian market, will reduce the amount of benzene in drinking water level

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The major brands of diet cola or citrus have less benzene in the coming years, a substance that can cause cancer. Accounted for almost 90% of the Brazilian market, companies Coca-Cola, Schincariol and AmBev agreed to reduce the amount of benzene in their drinks to a maximum of 5 parts per billion (ppb) or 5 micrograms per liter, the same parameter used to the drinking water.

The goal, agreed with the Federal Public Ministry (MPF) in Minas Gerais, to be achieved by 2017 and applies to every country. The deal comes two years after the Consumers Association pointed Protest high concentration of benzene in soft drinks of various brands.

In 2009, the association analyzed 24 samples of various soft drinks and detected the presence of benzene in seven of them. In two samples of citrus drinks - Fanta Orange Light (Coca-Cola) and Sukita Zero (AmBev) - was higher than the level considered tolerable for human consumption. After the survey, the MPF began investigating the case.

In soft drinks, benzene comes from the mixture of benzoic acid with vitamin C. In regular soda, this process does not occur because of sugar, which inhibits the chemical reaction.

Studies of more than three decades ago suggest that exposure to benzene increases the potential for cancer and blood disorders. It is toxic and cause leukemia and other tumors, depending on the amount and duration of exposure, said the president of the Brazilian Association of Hematology and Hemotherapy (ABHH), Carmine de Souza.

Most studies evaluated specific audiences such as employees of the petrochemical and steel sectors that deal directly with the substance. The doctor explained that there is little information about the health effects of benzene in the general population, but warned that the slightest exposure to chemical agent decreases the chances of blood diseases. We have daily contact with benzene. The ideal is zero, the minimum possible.

Benzene is present in cigarette smoke and cars. It is also used in the manufacture of plastics, rubber and detergents.

For the state prosecutor Fernando Martinez, who led the negotiations, the agreement with industry output was faster to ensure protection of consumer health. According to him, if you have to go to court, could drag on for years without resolution. It is an issue that is resolved, he said.

The term of five years, according to Martins, the company serves to adapt the production process, with focus on reduction of benzene. Those who fail to comply with the commitment you have to pay a fine or suffer penalties.

In a statement, AmBev said it has already adopted the limit of drinking water in their products. "Reinforces AmBev working under the strictest standards of quality, in full compliance with Brazilian law and that its products conform to the parameter used by the National Agency for Sanitary Surveillance (ANVISA), including for drinking water.

Schincariol said it will continue to fulfill the requirements of the authorities. Schincariol is committed by the Federal Prosecutor in the signing of Conduct Adjustment (TAC) and, therefore, usually continue serving the assumptions required by the authorities, the company said in a statement.

On the Coca-Cola on the Internet, the company states that the presence of benzene in drinks is not a significant threat to health. According to the manufacturer, international food regulators, like the United States and the European Union, the air show as the main form of human exposure to benzene because of smoke and burning fuel cars in cities. Food and beverages account for less than 5% of total human exposure to benzene, according to information published on Coca-Cola in Brazil.

The companies also argue that traces of the substance in the products are related to the amount of benzene in the pre-existing water.

In Brazil, there is no limit for benzene in soda. The health legislation only provides value for drinking water of 5 ppb (parts per billion), equal to that adopted by the United States. According to the association Protest, the World Health Organization (WHO) sets up to 10 ppb in the amount of benzene to water. In the European Union is 1 ppb.

   Palavras-chave:   Benzene    Soda    Cancer    Coca-Cola    Schincariol    AmBev    The Federal Public Ministry    MPF    Minas Gerais   
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