California, LA Sue Coca-Cola Over Lead Paint in Labels
LOS ANGELES - State and city officials sued Coca-Cola Co. and its
Mexican affiliates to eliminate bottles from Mexico that have lead-based
ink in labels.
The suit, filed Monday in Los Angeles County Superior Court, said
the bottles are showing up in California and violate state Proposition
65 by failing to include a warning about the toxic chemical.
The suit contends that paint on Mexican bottles of Coke, Diet Coke
and other soft drinks can rub off and be ingested. The lawsuit does
not claim the liquid inside the bottles is contaminated.
"Lead is so toxic that even minuscule amounts can be hazardous to
human health," said the suit, which was filed by state Attorney General
Bill Lockyer and City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo.
The lawsuit demands that Coke and its Mexican affiliates stop using
In a statement, Coca-Cola called the suit "outlandish" and said all
bottles currently produced in Mexico are lead-free.
The suit involves a refillable glass bottle that was never authorized
for sale in California and is being phased out in Mexico, the statement
Atlanta-based Coca-Cola said it is taking steps to settle the lawsuit.
The suit is similar to one against PepsiCo Inc. that was settled last
month when the company agreed to stop using labels containing lead-based
ink on its bottles sold in Mexico.
It requires the company to pay a $1 million civil penalty and another
$4.25 million if it doesn't meet a seven-year phase-out target.
That suit was also filed under Proposition 65.
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