Because I don’t like coffee, I’ve been known on rare occasions to imbibe sugar water with caffeine in the form of Mountain Dew. That’s how I learned about brominated vegetable oil (BVO). It’s one of the ingredients. Bromine helps keep the citrus flavor suspended in the drink. It’s also an ingredient in flame retardants.
The chemical is not approved as a food additive in Europe, India, and Japan. Some studies showed reproductive, heart, and behavioral problems in rats. (Who knows how much of this stuff the rats were forced to drink? I’m sorry for them.) Here’s a quote from Wikipedia: “One case reported that a man who consumed two to four liters of a soda containing BVO on a daily basis experienced memory loss, tremors, fatigue, loss of muscle coordination, headache, and ptosis of the right eyelid, as well as elevated serum chloride. In the two months it took to correctly diagnose the problem, the patient also lost the ability to walk.” He ultimately had to undergo dialysis, which took care of his symptoms.
Here’s a tip: if you consume two to four liters of soda per day, you will have reproductive problems because no one will want to reproduce with you.
Until this year, BVO was also used in Gatorade. After an online petition regarding Gatorade, Pepsico agreed to remove the ingredient, but not from its other product, Mountain Dew.
According snopes.com, in 2003 there was a man who developed “swollen hands with oozing sores.” Doctors were puzzled, but he was finally diagnosed with a rare case of bromoderma when they discovered that his blood levels of bromine were twice what is normal. Turns out he’d been drinking about eight liters of Ruby Red Squirt (another BVO beverage) per day!
Most of us would have trouble drinking eight liters of plain water per day. How could anyone possibly consume that much? The whole subject makes me kind of nauseous. Even though I only drink Mountain Dew about three times per year, I’m think I’m through with it.