This is a topic that was recently brought to my attention by my boss & it has me greatly intrigued (& a little concerned). He recently saw a N.Y. Times article talking about how a young girl was reading the label on her orange flavored Gatorade bottle & saw that it contained brominated vegetable oil (BVO).
What is brominated vegetable oil? Well, it’s a flame retardant that is used on plastics & kid’s clothing, but seems to moonlight in some of our sodas & drinks. It’s used as an emulsifier (basically keeps drinks from separating, especially citrus type ones). The FDA claims it’s safe in small amounts since they limit the BVO to 15 parts per million in fruit flavored drinks. The use of BVO in foods has been banned in Japan & most countries in Europe. A bit eyebrow raising, no?
I don’t know about you, but the thought of consuming even minuscule amounts of flame retardant in my fruity drink is NOT appealing in the least. Now don’t panic, according to the numbers, BVO’s are found in only about 10% of sodas in the US. Most often, it seems to be the more citrus-type ones… like the orange flavored Gatorade (supposedly the only flavor Gatorade that uses it), and Mountain Dew.
Studies have shown that you really need to be sucking down a LOT (extreme amounts) of soda to have the BVO’s affect you. In those cases, a few people suffered skin lesions, memory loss, & nerve disorders from an overdose of bromine.
I think consuming brominated vegetable oils is a bit concerning, but I also think if you drink THAT much soda, you may be in more danger from the amount of sugar & calories you’re taking in. At the end of the day, I think avoiding those types of drinks, sticking with water most often, & reading labels are your best bets.
- Do any of your favorite drinks contain BVO’s?