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The FDA knew of the problem as early as 1990, but never made the findings public. Instead, the FDA came to an agreement with the US soft drinks association that the soft drink industry would reformulate the drinks. In recent months, private tests have been done, and support claims by a former chemist for Cadbury Schweppes, who, as Beverage Daily reports, is now keen to blow the whistle on the benzene levels in soft drinks and the health risks involved. This has prompted the FDA to re-open the case they closed in 1990
Benzene, or Benzol (see also Benzine), is an organic chemical compound and a known carcinogen with the molecular formula C6H6. It is sometimes abbreviated Ph–H. Benzene is a colorless and highly flammable liquid with a sweet smell and a relatively high melting point. Because of this, its use as an additive in gasoline is now limited, but it is an important industrial solvent and precursor in the production of drugs, plastics, synthetic rubber, and dyes. Benzene is a natural constituent of crude oil, but it is usually synthesized from other compounds present in petroleum. Benzene is an aromatic hydrocarbon and the second [n]-annulene (-annulene), a cyclic hydrocarbon with a continuous pi bond.
Leakage from underground storage tanks or from hazardous waste sites containing benzene can result in benzene contamination of well water.