A new study has claimed that traces of Malathion, a pesticide, which can have harmful effects in the human brain, were found in certain samples of soft drinks.
The report by Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) on pesticide content in softdrinks has said considerable traces of Malathion in at least 50 per cent of the samples it collected from the National Capital region for the study.
"Malathion is a widely used pesticide in urban areas for controlling mosquitoes and pests and we have found traces of the pesticide in at least 50 per cent of the samples collected in Delhi and its neighbouring areas," CSE associate director Chandra Bhushan said.
The study, 'Soft Drinks - Hard Truth II', which was released on August 2, also claimed that softdrink samples collected from the NCR contained a "pesticide cocktail" of Lindane, Heptachlor, Chlorpyrosis and Malathion and it was more than 20 times the approved BIS standards.
According to CSE's 2003 study, the average level of pesticide residues in Delhi samples were 34 times above the same BIS standards.
Nine samples of Coca Cola, Fanta, Limca and Thums Up were collected from various parts of the capital during December 2005 and April 2006. They were produced in Gurgaon's Enrich Agro Food Products and Ghaziabad's Hindustan Coca Cola Beverages and were tested as part of CSE's all India study, Bhushan said. Malathion, a chemical inhibitor, is known for hindering transmission of signals to human brain.
The credibility of CSE’s testing labs, which detected high levels of pesticide residue in soft drinks has been challenged by the lab that conducts regular tests for the cola firms. The NGO has however, strongly dismissed such allegations.
While there was no official comment from either PepsiCo or Coca Cola, R K Khandal, the director of Sri Ram Labs, said the CSE laboratory did not have the NABL accreditation, "a must" for any centre conducting tests related to food safety and health standards.