PepsiCo Inc. will remove a controversial chemical that is added to orange Gatorade in response to customer complaints.
Outcry over the chemical, known as brominated vegetable oil, or BVO, had been building over the past year. BVO has been patented as a flame retardant, and it has been linked to a number of health hazards.
Environmental Health News reported on the chemical last year, and the story inspired a Mississippi teenager to petition PepsiCo to remove BVO. Beverage Digest first reported the news on Friday, and a spokesperson for PepsiCo told the Associated Press the decision to remove BVO had been in the works for the past year and was not in response to the recent petition.
The spokesperson told Associated Press that BVO will only be removed from Gatorade, and not other citrus-flavored sodas made by PepsiCo, such as Mountain Dew.
The company said its decision was not based on any health or safety concerns, since the Food and Drug Administration allows low doses of the chemical in beverages.
PepsiCo did not return calls from EHN seeking comment. The company will reportedly replace BVO with a chemical called sucrose acetate isobutyrate in Gatorade.
BVO, used as an emulsifier only in citrus-based drinks, is also in Mountain Dew, Squirt, Fanta Orange, Sunkist Pineapple, Powerade Strawberry Lemonade and Fresca Original Citrus. The most popular sodas Coca-Cola and Pepsi do not contain BVO.
In November, Sarah Kavanagh, a 15-year-old high school student from Hattiesburg, Miss., read an article by Environmental Health News about the potential health threats of BVO. Kavanagh found the story after searching the web for information on an ingredient she saw on a Gatorade label. What she read inspired her to start a petition on Change.org calling for Gatorade's manufacturer, PepsiCo, to remove BVO from products. The petition gathered nearly 200,000 signatures from around the world in just a few months.
For more, read the full story at environmentalhealthnews.org.
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