In the first worldwide study of pesticides in fruit-based soft drinks, researchers in Spain are reporting relatively high levels of pesticides in drinks in some countries, especially the United Kingdom and Spain. Drinks sampled from the United States, however, had relatively low levels, the researchers note.
Their study is scheduled for the December 15 issue of ACS' Analytical Chemistry, a semi-monthly journal.
In the report, Antonio Molina-Díaz, Amadeo Fernández-Alba and colleagues note that strict regulations limit pesticide levels in fresh fruits, vegetables, and drinking water. However, regulators have paid less attention to the presence of pesticides in soft drinks made from fruits. Scientists are increasingly concerned about the possible impact of pesticide-containing fruit juices on the health of children, who tend to consume large amounts of such soft drinks, they add.
The scientists used a sophisticated lab test to measure levels of a wide range of common pesticides in more than 100 fruit-based soft drink samples from 15 different countries. They tested for pesticides such as carbendazim, thiabendazole, and imazalil, and malathion, which are applied to crops after harvest and can remain on fruits and vegetables during processing. They found relatively large concentrations of pesticides, in the micrograms per liter range, in most of the samples analyzed. Samples from Spain and the U. K. had the highest levels of pesticides, while samples from the U. S. and Russia were among the lowest.
"Steps should be taken toward the removal of pesticides in these beverages by changing the way they are manufactured," the researchers conclude.
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