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4-methylimidazole (4-MI)

A byproduct of the chemical process soda companies use to create the artificial dye that gives sodas their caramel like coloring. The chemical 4-MI has been known to cause cancer in lab rats and mice, prompting the state of California to list it as a carcinogen in the spring of 2009.

A study published by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) in March 2012 linked Coca-Cola, Diet Coke, Pepsi and Diet Pepsi to the chemical which raised alarm bells about the risks soda products pose to public health. However, officials from the FDA and the American Beverage Association (ABA) were quick to criticize the idea that the chemical posed any risk to consumers.

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