A friend of mine was horror-struck the other day when she noticed that I had a Coke can sitting open in the fridge. Appearently, she had heard that the aluminum in the can, when in contact with oxygen and the acids in the Coca-Cola, can do bad things to people.
Now, this sounded like a myth to me, but I thought I’d pose it to the Teeming Millions to see if there some truth to it…
So, whatya say, will leaving an open Coke in the fridge overnight shorten my lifespan?
Why would the Coca-Cola company put its product in a container that is known to be result in a harmful beverage? It would be very, very stupid of them.
Also, when one considers the size of the company and the abundance of soft drinks in aluminum cans, if the story were true, you could find it in non-fiction books and reputable sources. The fact that you heard it from a friend who heard it from someone else says a lot about the truth of the statement.
The can are lined with a plastic so there is no contact between coke and aluminum. Not that any thing would happen if there were.
Well, I’m not sure that nothing will happen if the Coke can was uncoated. Cecil has noted the high acidity of Coca Cola and postulated its effects on aluminum foil. I suppose we could just experiment for ourselves to confirm what actually happens – not that I would ever doubt The Master, mind you.
In a follow-up column, Cecil confirums the plastic coating on soda cans to separate the aluminum from the liquid they contain.
Oh, I should add – what gives carbonated drinks such as Coke their fizz? Carbon dioxide, yes? And what’s in CO[sub]2[/sub]? Oxygen, of course! So by your friend’s reasoning, all that oxygen should’ve had plenty of time to work its evil while the cans of Coke are sitting on your supermarket’s shelves, and the concoction should be pure poison by the time you buy it – which, of course, is not the case.
I think the only thing that an open can of Coke does in the fridge overnight is go flat. All that sugar will still rot your teeth, but that’s another matter altogether.
Oh – Welcome to the boards, Kitfox!
Well, not quite… the oxygen in CO2 is bound in that gas, so you wouldn’t have 2 O’s and a C floating around in solution, just the same way that the O in water doesn’t detach it’s self and float around alone; it stays bound up in H2O. If the O in CO2 separated by it’s self and did it’s own thing, we’d be able to breath pure CO2 no problem…
(yeah, the individual atoms will swap spots with each other, but mr.C is always holding the hands of two O atoms, even if they switch off with their clones)
Perhaps it is connected to the similar advice that my grandmother used to give way back when. Don’t leave (for example) beans in a can open in the fridge, or leave a spoon or other metal utensil in food in the fridge. It was apparantly just asking for botulism.
We used to rent a room out to a couple who insisted this would cause…CANCER. [Said just like that – with the ellipsis and italics.] Although it wasn’t restricted to Coke, it was any open can of soda.
Well, having a plasic coating on the inside of the can seems to debunk the myth, which I believe had something to do with aluminum oxide dissolving into the soda and doing Bad Things when drank. How being in the fridge was supposed to make this worse then sitting open on the counter, I don’t know.
Unless its the PLASTIC that causes the Bad Things.
Anyway, thanks for the help…
Well, Mr. Bulowski could discover that it’s not actually Coca-Cola at all, but your cure for not being a homicidal maniac.
Botulism is caused by an anaerobic organisim, Clostridium botulinum, which can’t grow in the presence of oxygen. It can grow inside a sealed can however and this is why you’re always told to throw out cans that appear swollen without opening them.
Coke, in years past couldn’t use TIN cans cuz the Phosphoric Acid formed poisonous Tin Phosphate.
So they used Stainless. Until Aluminum, that is.
Did you know that those cans are formed from a sheet of Al into “half” cans, and then turned “inside out”?
Really. A can company is one of my customers.