Lari Lavigne's son Tyler has collected dozens of Bellywashers soft drink bottles.
"I thought I was doing something wonderful for him, but now I find out I have been putting him in harm's way. It's horrible," says Lavigne, who is making reference to a class action lawsuit just filed against the company that markets the product ‘In Zone Brand' out of Georgia.
According to the suit, the 'Bellywashers' drink has been found to have a mixture of ingredients which could, under certain conditions, form benzene, a chemical linked to leukemia. More specifically, vitamin C or ascorbic acid mixed with sodium benzoate or potassium benzoate.
"Currently, there are actions developing in Kansas, Seattle, and Washington, D.C. We are testing other products right now," says Tallahassee attorney Tim Howard.
"This totally angers me that this was marketed to children. They have known about the for 15 years and they have done nothing about it. They know it could have hurt kids and they marketed it straight to them," says co-plaintiff Lisbeth Gordon.
A spokesperson for In Zone brand says the presence of both ingredients does not mean benzene is present. It only means benzene may be triggered if that mixture is exposed to light or heat.
The drinks will not be pulled from shelves, but for the time being vitamin C, one of the chemicals in question, has been taken out the drink until the suit is resolved.