Of all the drinks people reach for on sweltering summer days—or year-round, for that matter—the worst could be a glass of sugary cola, says a new study published in Environment International.
That is because regular cola drinks have a fairly high level of chemical additives called organophosphate esters (OPEs), which have been in use for decades and are found in many popular drinks.
Researchers from Barcelona’s Institute of Environmental Assessment and Water Research looked for sixteen OPEs in seventy-five different samples (e.g., cola drinks, juice, tap water, packaged water, wine, and hot drinks).
They found that more than 90% of the samples had at least one OPE, with regular cola drinks showing the highest mean concentrations (2876 ng/L).
Sugary drinks and juice had higher OPE levels than sugar-free drinks, tea, and coffee. Moreover, tap water (40.9 ng/L)
had statistically higher OPE levels than packaged water (mean levels 4.82 ng/L), likely due to tap water’s exposure to added chemicals from PVC water pipes, wrote the authors, who are studying ways in which packaging impacts human health.
Although normal beverage intake (and thus OPE exposure) was at or below safety limits, the authors stressed that this is still a significant route of human exposure to these chemicals. Source: