Pepsi Contains Carcinogen Along with Nine Other PepsiCo Products, Study Reveals

More than a year after PepsiCo said it would remove some ingredients that were known cancer-causing chemicals, a new study showed that the company has yet to do so.

A study released in March 2012 found both Pepsi and Coca Cola contained a carcinogenic caramel coloring, 4-methylimidazole, or 4-MeI. Both companies promised they would work with manufactures to remedy the problem.

However, a recent study by the Center for Environmental Health showed that while the Coca Cola Company had altered ingredients that removed most of the 4-MeI from nine out of 10 of its products Pepsi had not. Researchers found high levels of 4-MeI in all 10 Pepsi beverages tested outside of California during their most recent survey of the products.

"This shows how California's Proposition 65 law can make products safer for all Californians, and in some cases for all Americans," Michael Green, Executive Director of CEH, in a statement. "We applaud Coke for taking this health protective action for consumers nationwide."

"Pepsi's delay is inexplicable," he added.. "We urge the company to take swift action to provide all Americans with the same safer product they're selling in California."

The National Toxicology Program found that 4-MeI is carcinogenic and many states including California have passed legislation barring the use of the chemical in all products.

PepsiCo responded to the CEH's announcement, saying that changes nationally are underway.

"Our caramel coloring suppliers have been working on modifying the manufacturing process to reduce the amount of 4-MeI," PepsiCo senior director Aurora Gonzalez, said in a statement. "As you know, 4-MeI levels in our products in California are below Prop 65 levels. The rest of the U.S. will be completed by February 2014. In fact, we'll be starting the process and shipping concentrate end of this year."

The Pepsi products tested in various locations nationwide were Pepsi, Diet Pepsi, Pepsi Throwback Made with Real Sugar, Pepsi Max Zero Calories, Pepsi One-Zero Calories, and Miniature Pepsi.

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