Back in January, the state of California added to its list of cancer-causing chemicals an ingredient commonly used in flavored soda beverages, which has sent major shockwaves throughout the processed food industry. And according to numerous reports, Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, and even Whole Foods are having to alter their soda beverage recipes in order to avoid being required by the state of California to label their products as causing cancer.
The cancer-causing chemical in question is 4-methylimidazole, or 4-MI, a byproduct formed during the production of caramel color, an additive commonly used in processed cola beverages. According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), caramel color produced using ammonia or ammonia-sulfites creates both 4-MI and 2-MI (2-methylimidazole), which have been shown to be carcinogenic.
A 2008 study published in the journal Archives of Toxicology found that 4-MI is toxic, and that it is linked to causing clonic seizures, hyperactivity, impaired gait, chronic inflammation, focal fatty change in the liver, carcinoma, leukemia, and adenoma, among other conditions. The study essentially confirmed that 4-MI is carcinogenic (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17619857).