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Philippines warns tainted drink could shrink testes

/ 07:48 PM May 31, 2011

MANILA, Philippines—The Philippines and Taiwan have warned some sport drinks may have been contaminated with a chemical that could cause infertility and block boys’ sex organ development, officials said Tuesday.

The Philippine Food and Drug Administration is monitoring some imported Taiwanese sport drinks, fruit juices and soft drinks that Taipei said may contain excessive amounts of DEHP, the agency’s spokeswoman Jesusa Joyce Cirunay said.

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Taiwan earlier this month issued a major recall of products, including more than 460,000 bottles of sports drinks and fruit juice, over fears they contained the chemical widely used in manufacturing PVC products.

Taipei warned Manila last week that DEHP could have been illegally added to food products that were exported to the Philippines, Cirunay told Agence France-Presse.

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“Our government has asked Taiwan for a list, and we are tracking these products,” she added.

Cirunay did not name the brands on the list, saying no traces of DEHP contamination have been found and there have been no reports of people falling ill in the Philippines.

While low doses are generally safe, high doses or prolonged exposure to DEHP could have harmful effects, such as retarding the development of boys’ testes, she added.

“Children are especially prone to harmful effects of high doses of DEHP, or to repeated exposure which can lead to testicular effects, fertility problems, and toxicity to kidneys,” the government regulator said in a health advisory.

Hong Kong Tuesday banned two Taiwanese drinks after tests showed they were tainted with excessive amounts of DEHP.

Hong Kong health officials said six samples from different batches of the Speed sports drink and Speed lemon flavor sports drink, both manufactured by a same company in Taiwan, were found to be laced with DEHP.

Taiwanese authorities have arrested the owner of a company that used DEHP rather than more expensive palm oil in products supplied to dozens of local drinks makers. He faces up to six months in jail.

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TAGS: Consumer Issues, Food, Health, Philippines, sex organ, sport drinks, Taiwan, testes DEHP
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