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60 MILLIONS DE CONSOMMATEURS, LE MONDE, LE PROGRES (France)

PARIS – Ever wondered what's the secret ingredient that makes sodas taste so delicious? Sugar, sweeteners, additives, caffeine…. alcohol?

Yes, you read it: alcohol. French magazine 60 Millions de Consommateurs, the French equivalent of Consumer Reports, compiled a list of ingredients found in 19 of our favorite sodas. Though they weren't able to obtain Coca-Cola or Pepsi Co's secret recipe, they analyzed the composition of the drinks in a laboratory.

The results were quite revealing. They discovered plants and spices, such as cinnamon and nutmeg, as well as citrus fruits. Some of the organic compounds used to create aromas, such as terpenes, are highly allergenic – something that isn't disclosed on the sodas. And, yes, small traces of alcohol.

60 Millions also reveals the presence of other "controversial" ingredients such as phosphoric acid or ammonia-sulfite caramel E150D food coloring, which California had listed as carcinogenic. Following California's announcement, Coca-Cola and Pepsi changed their recipe in the United States but aren't planning to do so in Europe.

Le Progrès reports that 10 out of 19 sodas tested by the magazine contained alcohol, including Coke and Pepsi. According to French law, a beverage is considered to be alcoholic with more than 1,2 percent alcohol. Sodas have around 0,001 percent.

But worse than alcohol, says Le Monde, is the amount of sugar found in sodas: 18 sugar cubes per liter for Coca-Cola, 17 for Pepsi. This translates to about six sugar cubes per can. And if you prefer the "light" versions, be wary of the sweeteners used, some of which are suspected to be highly toxic.

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Society

How India’s Women Are Fighting Air Pollution — And The Patriarchy

India is one of the world's worst countries for air pollution, with women more likely to be affected by the problem than men. Now, experts and activists are fighting to reframe pollution as a gendered health crisis.

A woman walking through dense fog in New Delhi

*Saumya Kalia

MUMBAI In New Delhi, a city that has topped urban air-pollution charts in recent years, Shakuntala describes a discomfort that has become too familiar. Surrounded by bricks and austere buildings, she tells an interviewer: "The eyes burn and it becomes difficult to breathe". She is referring to the noxious fumes she routinely breathes as a construction worker.

Like Shakuntala, women’s experiences of polluted air fill every corner of their lives – inside homes, in parks and markets, on the way to work. Ambient air in most districts in India has never been worse than it is today. As many as 1.67 million people in the country die prematurely due to polluted air. It is India’s second largest health risk after malnutrition.

This risk of exposure to air pollution is compounded for women. Their experiences of toxic air are more frequent and often more hazardous. Yet “policies around air quality have not yet adequately taken into account gender or other factors that might influence people’s health,” Pallavi Pant, a senior scientist at the Health Effects Institute, a nonprofit in the U.S., told The Wire Science.

“It’s unacceptable that the biggest burden [rests on] those who can least bear it,” Sherebanu Frosh, an activist, added. People like her are building a unique resistance within India.

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