Unhealthy Soda Claim Doesn’t Hold Water


I’ve started a new workout routine and I was told something in the initial session that really surprised me: soda is so dangerous, commercial vehicles must display Hazardous material signs that indicate that it is highly corrosive when transporting it.

The claim was made in a valiant attempt to encourage everyone to stop drinking it altogether.

We’ve all heard the household tips that the acid in Coca Cola can dissolve corrosion off of a car’s battery terminals. We’ve also heard that certain sodas can help remove stains.

One of those pesky spam emails that circulate from time to time even claim that a tooth will dissolve completely in a cup of Coke in as little as 24 hours.

But there seems to be a great deal of confusion about the definition of soda and the hazmat requirement.

First, though sodas often contain acids, including carbonic, citric and phosphoric, the individual acids are either so weak or so diluted that they pose no real health risk.

The claim about the tooth dissolving in a cup of some soft drinks isn’t entirely true, either. reports that you’d still have most of the tooth, even if it was left in a cup of soda for 48 hours. The bigger point, of course, is that even a chronic soda drinker doesn’t walk around swishing a mouthful of soda between his teeth for 48 hours at a time.

While soda can cause stains and can affect teeth after years of regular exposure, it just doesn’t happen that fast. And if you take good care of your teeth with regular dental visits, flouride treatments and not rely on soda as your sole fluid intake, the tooth claim begins to look ridiculous in a hurry.

But most importantly, soda pop does not require hazardous material signage when being transported. Hazmat warnings are required for a different kind of soda: the caustic kind that’s much more powerful than what’s in that little yellow Arm & Hammer box in your freezer.

Uses of caustic soda include the manufacture of pulp and paper, soap, detergent and petroleum products.

Last summer, a caustic soda spill shut down parts of Interstate 10 while hazmat teams dealt with an overturned 18-wheeler that had been carrying the chemical.  What was spilled onto the roadway was a white solid material, not vats of soda pop.

While I agree with the notion that it’s better to avoid soda, I only drink diet soda, so the sugar-laden variety that so often sabotages diets isn’t an issue for me.  Even so, I’m not likely to stop drinking that altogether, especially when one of the leading arguments for doing so is based on false information.

1 Comment

  1. I can't believe the emails people send with ridiculous statements; I can't believe people BELIEVE that stuff. My husband warmed up to the Internet relatively recently, perhaps 18 months ago. He'd read one of those emails and say, "Did you know…." and hit me with one of those outlandish claims. I explained to him that you can't believe most of that stuff, and that I had checked them all out on Snopes years ago.

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Patrick is a Christian with more than 30 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.