Coca-Cola Under Trouble

10.07.2000

Greenpeace Unveils Global Campaign Challenging Olympic Polluter Coca-Cola - Harvard Medical School: Active Girls Who Drink Colas Are Five Times More Likely to Fracture Bones.

Greenpeace now unveiled a global internet campaign challenging Olympic sponsor Coca-Cola and Hanover Expo 2000 sponsor for undermining the Environmental Guidelines of the Sydney 2000 Games and for its worldwide use of global warming HFC gases. The campaign features polar bears, the icon Coca-Cola uses to sell billions of drinks. Ironically, scientific studies show Arctic polar bears are starving due to climate change.

The CokeSpotlight website, produced in conjunction with Canadian-based internet activist organisation Adbusters, enables people around the world to campaign with Greenpeace to change Coca-Cola's policy on HFC refrigeration. www.cokespotlight.org provides a comprehensive campaign kit including downloadable stickers, posters, postcards and email images to lobby Coca-Cola directly.

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"Coca-Cola has had seven years to take the initiative and place environmentally friendly refrigeration at the Olympic site in line with the Environmental Guidelines," said Greenpeace Olympics campaigner, Corin Millais.

"Instead Coca-Cola will continue its polluting practice of using HFC and undermining the Green Games. Coca-Cola At the Olympic site Coca-Cola will have 1700 refrigerators that run on global warming HFC gases and only 100 Greenfreeze coolers that comply with Sydney HFCs (hydrofluorocarbons) are one of the most potent greenhouse gases ever invented. On average over 20 years, one tonne of HFCs cause 3300 times more climate change destruction than one tonne of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas. In 1997 the United Nations Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change was extended to include HFCs.

Natural refrigeration systems, known as Greenfreeze, are commercially available and can be used instead of HFCs. There is a wide range of commercially available, cost-effective Greenfreeze systems available for supermarkets, pubs, restaurants, offices, ice-cream and drinks chillers, freezer cabinets and air conditioning.

The Greenpeace report - Green Olympics, Dirty Sponsors: How McDonald's and Coca-Cola's global HFC pollution is undermining the world's first Green Games at the Sydney Olympics is available at the Australian Greenpeace-site.

Meanwhile, a new study, released on June 14, says: Active girls who drink cola drinks are five times more likely to have had bone fractures than girls who don't drink soda pop, according to a study published by Grace Wyshak of the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) and Harvard Medical School (HMS) in the June issue of the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine . Reports on this study were published by most US media and two weeks after publication, there's a stateside reduction of sold cola beverages of ca. 10 %.

Four hundred and sixty ninth and tenth grade girls reported their activity levels, carbonated beverage drinking habits, and history of bone fractures. From an analysis of the data, Wyshak found that drinking any type of carbonated beverage increased the likelihood of having a bone fracture and that the greatest increases were for those who drank cola beverages and reported their physical activity as either high-level or vigorous.

Wyshak, an associate professor of biostatistics and population and international health at HSPH and an associate professor of psychiatry at HMS, has examined the relationship between drinking soda pop, physical activity, and bone fractures twice before. In both of the previous studies, the first on postmenopausal women, the second on teenagers, Wyshak consistently found strong relationships between consumption of carbonated beverages and bone fractures in physically active populations.

"This new study confirms again what we've seen before," she said. "In active girls, there is an association between carbonated beverages - cola drinks in particular - and bone fractures."

Wyshak says that she doesn't know why cola beverages or other soft drinks increase likelihood of bone fractures. One possibility is that cola drinks contain phosphoric acid, which has previously been shown to affect calcium metabolism and bone mass. Others believe that young people may be choosing to replace milk in their diets with soda pop, giving their growing bodies less calcium with which to make bones.

"These studies raise important questions," said Wyshak. "Why is the effect of cola drinks greater for physically active people than for those less active? Is it the phosphoric acid, or something else, that makes the relationship between colas and bone fractures so strong? And is this a foreshadowing of the skeletal health of a population that has gone through adolescence drinking more soda pop than has any previous generation?"

Wyshak's first paper on this topic, "Nonalcoholic Carbonated Beverage Consumption and Bone Fractures Among Women Former College Athletes," was published in the Journal of Orthopedic Research, Volume 7, in 1989. Her second paper, "Carbonated Beverages, Dietary Calcium, the Dietary Calcium/Phosphorus Ratio, and Bone Fractures in Girls and Boys," was published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, Volume 15, in 1994.

Addendum:

Building on a past NASA study which found a 2.9 percent decline per decade in total Arctic sea ice extent over the last 20 years, the new Canadian study further concludes that the sea ice season in western Hudson Bay has been reduced by about three weeks over the same period. The study says that, as a result of the reduction in sea ice, polar bears have less time to hunt and are returning to land in poorer condition. Weight for both male and female polar bears is declining and female bears are having fewer cubs. Although significant population decline has not yet begun, this is inevitable if the trends continue. More on this topic here

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