Are you a Mountain Dew addict? Then know what you're drinking! BVO is a toxic chemical that is banned in many countries because it competes with iodine for receptor sites in the body, which can lead to hypothyroidism, autoimmune disease, and cancer. The main ingredient, bromine, is a poisonous, corrosive chemical, linked to major organ system damage, birth defects, growth problems, schizophrenia, and hearing loss.
"There’s flame retardant in your Mountain Dew. That soda with the lime-green hue (and other citrus-flavored bubbly pops) won’t keep your insides fireproof, but it does contain brominated vegetable oil, a patented flame retardant for plastics that has been banned in foods throughout Europe and in Japan.
Brominated vegetable oil, or BVO, which acts as an emulsifier in citrus-flavored soda drinks, is found in about 10 percent of sodas sold in the U.S.
“After a few extreme soda binges — not too far from what many [video] gamers regularly consume – a few patients have needed medical attention for skin lesions, memory loss and nerve disorders, all symptoms of overexposure to bromine,” according to a recent article in Environmental News."
Brominated vegetable oil (BVO) is a vegetable oil that is derived from Corn or Soy and bonded with the element Bromine. BVO was in fact patented by chemical companies as a flame retardant initially. Later it was used as an emulsifier, so as to prevent the flavoring from separating and floating onto the surface. The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) limits the amount of BVO allowed in fruit-flavored beverages to 15 parts per million.
The concern about BVO is that Bromines generally are endocrine disruptors that can accumulate in your tissues, central nervous system and breast milk, leading to a number of health problems. It can also act as a depressant and trigger psychological problems.
Bromine is found in a number of other products like Pesticides and Plastics. Bromines are dangerous because they compete for the same receptors that are useful in capturing iodine. Iodine is an important element not just for your thyroid, but affects every tissue in your body, so when you are exposed to a lot of bromine, your body cannot hold on to the iodine it needs. This iodine deficiency is associated with increased risk for cancer of the breast, thyroid, ovary and prostate. For these reasons, usage of BVO in food is banned throughout Europe, Japan and India.
However if you are drinking Mountain Dew and few other citrus-flavored sodas containing BVO, then you are consuming a dose of this synthetic chemical. Some of the other popular drinks that use BVO are:
-Powerade Strawberry Lemonade
-Fresca Original Citrus
Reports in North America have shown that people who consumed few extreme soda drinks, a bit more than what many gamers regularly consume, have needed medical attention for various health issues like skin lesions, memory loss and nerve disorders - all being symptoms of overexposure to bromine. Mouse studies have shown that big doses of these BVO containing soda drinks caused reproductive and behavioral problems. However, normal consumption of these drinks with safe levels of BVO have not reported any serious health issues.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration established the safety limit of BVO in sodas based on a study in 1977. But some scientists believe that the limit is based on data that is thin and decades old, insisting that the chemical deserves a fresh look. The FDA has in fact permitted the usage of this BVO food additive on an "Interim" basis, pending additional study.
The additive (brominated vegetable oil) is used on an interim basis as a stabilizer for flavoring oils used in fruit-flavored beverages, for which any applicable standards of identity do not preclude such use, in an amount not to exceed 15 parts per million in the finished beverage, pending the outcome of additional toxicological studies on which periodic reports at 6-month intervals are to be furnished and final results submitted to the Food and Drug Administration promptly after completion of the studies.
Although there are no serious health reports with 'normal' consumption of Mountain Dew and other soda drinks containing BVO, considering the side effects of long-term Bromine consumption and availability of drinks with other natural additives such as hydrocolloids, we advise people to better avoid drinking soda drinks with BVO. It is to be noted that PepsiCo company has announced in January 2013 that it would no longer use BVO in Gatorade, and that it did not have any plans to remove it from Mountain Dew.