Soft drink manufacturers Coca-cola and PepsiCo are working to remove the chemical ingredient BVO, brominated vegetable oil, from their soft drinks. BVO is patented as a flame retardant and is not approved for human consumption in other parts of the world, including in Europe and Japan. Excessive consumption of BVO has been linked to health issues such as memory loss, fatigue, tremors, and ptosis of the eye.
BVO is currently found in products including Gatorade, Powerade, Mountain Dew, Amp energy drinks, and Fanta Orange. About 10% of all sodas sold in the United States contain BVO.
BVO is commonly used in the soft drink industry as an emulsifier. It helps prevent the separation of flavoring additives in citrus-flavored drinks. The product is made by taking vegetable oil from crops like corn and soy and bonding it with the element bromine.
Coke and Pepsi have argued it is safe and helps distribute the flavor evenly in their drinks but are now agreeing to remove it from their beverages. The companies stand by the claim that BVO is not dangerous, but are removing the product because marketing sodas as “natural” has become a priority and provides a competitive advantage.