Many popular soft drinks are sold in bottles made of polyethylene terephthalate, or PET, a type of plastic commonly used in the food packaging industry. Though considered safe, a new study reveals that the PET bottles used by several major brands may contain potentially harmful toxins.
Researchers in India recently tested a number of PET bottles containing colas and other favorite soft drink flavors from a handful of popular brands. When they did, they were surprised to find the presence of five toxic metals: lead, cadmium, chromium, antimony, and the compound Di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP). Additionally, they determined that the toxicity levels rose when the bottles were exposed to higher temperatures.
Findings from the study, which was commissioned by the country’s Ministry of Health & Family Welfare and the Drug Technical Advisory Board (DTAB), are concerning because of the potential health risks toxic metals carry for humans. Two of the metals found in the study—lead and cadmium—are included in the World Health Organization’s list of “Ten chemicals of major public health concern.”