Los Angeles Times
Pepsi Agrees to Get the Lead Out of Labels
L.A. and the state sued because bottles from Mexican plants contain the
substance and some businesses sell them in Southern California.
By Patrick McGreevy
Times Staff Writer
April 22, 2006
Settling a lawsuit by the city of Los Angeles and the state, PepsiCo
has agreed to eliminate labels containing lead on bottled soft drinks
imported from Mexico and will pay a $1-million civil penalty, officials
The lawsuit alleged that the soft-drink maker violated Proposition 65 by
failing to warn consumers that the labels contained lead.
"This is a landmark result which will protect the health of our children
make our communities safer," City Atty. Rocky Delgadillo said at a City
news conference. "Pepsi is here with us today doing the responsible
Atty. Gen. Bill Lockyer said Pepsi bottled in Mexico is not supposed to
sold in Southern California, but some businesses bring it here because
soda has a different taste that some Latinos prefer.
The labels on some bottles contain up to 45% lead, he said.
He said the lead can be transferred to hands and then be ingested if a
person touches his or her mouth.
Additionally, lead could contaminate the inside of bottles during
"This is a settlement that breaks new ground in protecting Californians
hazardous substances in our environment," Lockyer said.
Under the settlement, filed in court Friday, PepsiCo will begin phasing
labels containing lead and will remove existing soda bottled in Mexico
shelves in California.
In addition to the $1-million civil penalty, the company could face an
additional $4.25 million in penalties if it fails to phase out 95% of
labels with lead within 10 years.
PepsiCo also will pay $500,000 to a fund for monitoring whether Mexican
Pepsi bottles are coming into California and to other programs on lead
abatement in food.
The firm also will pay $750,000 to reimburse investigative and attorney
costs, Delgadillo said.
The rest of this article is available from
Brian Gumm, Writer and Researcher
Alliance for Healthy Homes
227 Massachusetts Ave NE Suite 200
Washington, DC 20002
Founded in 1990 as the Alliance To End Childhood Lead Poisoning, we have
expanded our work on lead poisoning prevention to address other
housing-related health hazards.