- April 22, 2015
Brominated vegetable oil, or BVO, is a toxic chemical that has appeared as an additive in dozens of soft drinks for decades. When consumed over an extended period of time, BVO can accumulate within the body and cause detrimental health effects. In fact, there have been multiple cases in which an individual who consumed excessive amounts of soda containing BVO was hospitalized with severe ailments, including loss of memory and muscle coordination. In light of the public’s recent enlightenment regarding BVO in soft drinks, Coca-Cola and PepsiCo have agreed to remove the chemical from their products.
Hazards of BVO in Food Products
BVO and other compounds in the same family of chemicals (including flame retardants like polybrominated diphenyl ether, or PBDE) have been linked to a variety of health problems, including the repression of hormone function, brain development issues, fertility problems, impaired thyroid function, and cancer. Japan and Europe had already banned BVO in their foods and beverages, but America is known well for its refusal to follow suit in cases of chemical additives in food.
BVO is typically found in soft drinks and sports beverages that are citrus-flavored. This is because citrus beverages contain oil and, without the BVO, the oil would separate and float to the top of the bottle. BVO acts as an emulsifier, helping the oil and carbonated water to stay together. Some of the popular sodas and sports drinks that contained BVO as of April of 2015 are:
- Fresca Original Citrus
- Powerade in Fruit Punch and Strawberry Lemonade flavors
- Great Value sports drinks
- Fanta Orange
- Mountain Dew (diet and original)
- Sunkist Pineapple
- Crush orange soda
- Gatorade Thirst Quencher Orange
Research has also shown that brominated beverages can lead to a buildup of bromine in breast milk and blood. In 2003, a man was treated for a strange skin condition that caused swelling and open sores to appear on his hands. It was discovered that his bromine levels were double of what is considered normal.
Being an Informed Soft Drink Consumer
If you do choose to consume sodas, energy drinks, sports beverages, and the like, take a moment to study the ingredients label before popping the top. Knowing what goes into your body – and, in the case of BVO, what stays in your body – is the first step toward improved health and wellness. If you have any questions about your diet or nutrition, please don’t hesitate to contact Dr. David DiGiallorenzo and schedule a consultation at our Wellness Center.