ORATB v. 5: Doctor has Soda ties

Ross writes in with a bit of news on the Doctor I quoted in my last Benzene/Soda post. This was Dr. Ruth Kava, who said of benzene in soda:

” But the director of the British Food Safety Agency has noted that people would need to drink more than twenty quarts of a beverage with ten ppb of benzene to equal the amount one would breathe from city air in one day.”

It seems that our good doctor gets paid, in part, by Coca-Cola and Pepsico.

Nutritionist Ruth Kava, PhD RD, who works for the industry-funded American Council on Science and Health (ACHS), once explained: “If you consume something that’s a big hazard, such as benzene, but have small exposure, say 1 part per billion of benzene in your food every three months, there’s not a very big risk.” (The ACHS Executive Director, an MD, Gilbert Ross, has actively opposed soda bans at school after ACHS took funds from the soda industry.) The ACHS head Elizabeth Whelan dismissed the vomiting and nausea of dozens of schoolchildren at the time as due to hysteria. But isn’t the level set for water a reasonable standard for determining whether there should be a trade recall as the soda industry and large retailers have previously claimed? The British Soft Drink Association agreed that anything over 10 ppb would automatically be recalled with no exceptions.

These people at ACHS defending benzene in soda and soda in schools are paid by Coca-Cola and the soft drink association.

“Page 120 Q. Have you received money from the National Soft Drink Association? A. Yes. Q. Coca-Cola ~ Yes.

Page 121. A. We received $10,000 from the soft drink association, 5,000 from the sugar foundation and then 5,000 from Coca-Cola…”

Q. Are you personally involved in soliciting funding from those companies?

A. Yes, unfortunately I am.

Q. Is that a big part of your job?

A. Unfortunately, it is.”
Martha Sergei v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., Deposition of Elizabeth M. Whelan, M.D [ACHS Director]., pp. 120-121 (Feb 18 1998)

Good catch Ross. Thanks for the heads up.

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