After an online petition received more than 200,000 complaints over PepsiCo Inc.’s use of brominated vegetable oil in its Gatorade product line, the company has announced it will remove the controversial ingredient from the sports drink products.
Attention over brominated vegetable oil grew after the New York Times ran a story on Sarah Kavanaugh, a 15-year old Mississippi resident who found the ingredient to be a bit curious. After Googling BVO, Kavanaugh was startled by the information she found on the ingredient, which has been patented as a flame retardant. It’s banned throughout Europe and Japan and has been connected with neurological disorders and damage to thyroid hormones. According to the New York Times, “Brominated vegetable oil contains bromine, the element found in brominated flame retardants, used in things like upholstered furniture and children’s products. Research has found brominate flame retardants building up in the body and breast milk, and animal and some human studies have linked them to neurological impairment, reduced fertility, changes in thyroid hormones and puberty at an earlier age.”
Kavanaugh’s response to the findings was to start a petition on Change.org, an online petition platform, to ask Pepsi to remove the ingredient. While Pepsi has agreed to remove BVO from its Gatorade products, it’s still found in about ten percent of drinks sold in the U.S., according to the Times, and it’s still in Pepsi products including Mountain Dew. The company currently has not announced plans to remove it from its other product offerings.
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