If you’ve wanted to ruin another thing you’ve been putting in your body for years, here’s some facts about Gatorade. The PepsiCo beverage has a petition running on Change.org, started by 15-year-old Sarah Kavanagh, of Hattiesburg, Miss., which points out that some of Gatorades’ and 10% of other drinks sold in the United States has brominated vegetable oil (BVO) in it.
“Gatorade: Don’t put flame retardant chemicals in sports drinks!” is the straight forward name of the petition Kavanagh has been circulating on the Internet about one of the top sports drinks in the world. Most manufacturers use BVO as a way of keeping ingredients from separating and having other oils from rise to the top of beverages, said What Is That Ingredient?
“Bromine is a halogen and displaces iodine, which may depress thyroid function,” reads the BVO health disclaimer on the nutrition website. “Evidence for this has been extrapolated from pre-1975 cases where bromine-containing sedatives resulted in emergency room visits and incorrect diagnoses of psychosis and brain damage due to side effects such as depression, memory loss, hallucinations, violent tendencies, seizures, cerebral atrophy, acute irritability, tremors, ataxia, confusion, loss of peripheral vision, slurred speech, stupor, tendon reflex changes, photophobia due to enlarged pupils, and extensor plantar responses. In one case, a man who drank eight liters of Ruby Red Squirt daily had a reaction that caused his skin color to turn red and produced lesions diagnosed as bromoderma.”
The unhealthy additive also contains bromine, which Kavanagh notes is the same element found in flame retardant used on upholstery and items like pajamas. “Who wants to drink that? Not me!” says Kavanagh.
The petition brings up that the chemical is “under intense scrutiny because research has shown that they are building up in people's bodies, including breast milk, around the world,” according to Scientific American. There are apparently “links to impaired neurological development, reduced fertility, early onset of puberty and altered thyroid hormones.”
The Los Angeles Times reported in March that the Center for Science in the Public Interest found high levels of 4-methylimiodazole, which is an animal carcinogen, within Pepsi and Coco-Cola products. The FDA disputes these claims, though both companies openly use the BVO chemical, as it can be found in Powerade, Fresca and Fanta Orange from Coke, Squirt and Sunkist from Dr. Pepper Snapple Group, as well as Mountain Dew and Gatorade from PepsiCo.
Brominated vegetable oil has been connected to short-term conditions, such as cramping, blurred vision, teariness, vomiting and cyanosis (a symptom that turn your skin blue),but as noted earlier, bromine build up in fatty tissues, reports MSN Money. In rats, MSN claims continued BVO exposure leads to heart lesions, while in humans it has a correlation with memory loss, birth defects and growth problems.
The petition has 195,000 signatures as of Dec. 14.
Below is the full text from the Change.org petition.
“The other day, I Googled "brominated vegetable oil." It was the last time I drank Orange Gatorade. I found out that this "BVO" is a controversial flame retardant chemical that is in some Gatorade drinks! Who wants to drink that? Not me!
I’m naturally a curious and argumentative person doing things like debate team in school. I also love sports like volleyball, and I always believed Gatorade when they said stuff in their ads about how it's good to drink when exercising. And, just like most people, I care about my health. So, as I was sitting at home the other day drinking an Orange Gatorade, I decided to look up some of the ingredients.
The last ingredient is "brominated vegetable oil," which has been banned in Japan and the European Union. That means, #1 it’s not necessary to make Gatorade, and #2 there is enough information out there that entire countries have banned this chemical product.
According to Scientific American, BVO has been patented as a flame retardant and is found in some beverages including some flavors of Gatorade. It is “under intense scrutiny because research has shown that they are building up in people's bodies, including breast milk, around the world.” The same article also mentions that there are “links to impaired neurological development, reduced fertility, early onset of puberty and altered thyroid hormones.”
I’m not a scientist, but if there are lots of suspicious things about putting a flame retardant chemical in Gatorade (most flavors don’t even use it!) then why would Gatorade want to put it in a product designed for people like me who are into sports and health?
It doesn’t make sense. Please sign my petition asking Gatorade to stop putting flame retardant chemicals in sports drinks.”
Debra Crew, President, PepsiCo Americas Beverages
Mehmood Khan, Executive Vice President, PepsiCo Chief Scientific Officer, Global Research and Development
Brett O'Brien, General Manager, Gatorade
Pete Brace, Public Relations
You put slick ads on TV encouraging people like me to buy your products, but it’s shocking that you have a flame retardant chemical called ‘brominated vegetable oil’ in some flavors. Please stop deceiving consumers and remove this chemical from your products."
We know you can do better than this! We look forward to hearing an update.