What is Brominated Vegetable Oil?
BVO Sources in Your Diet

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It's not just hydrogenated oils you have to watch out for now.

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The next time you enjoy a Mountain Dew, ask yourself if you're likely to catch on fire today. If not, why would you drink something used as a fire retardant? One of the additives added to citrus drinks like "The Dew" and Fresca is brominated vegetable oil which is, quite simply, vegetable oil bonded with bromine. Bromine is used in fire retardants. By the way, bromine is also an endocrine disrupter which means too much of it can interfere with thyroid function.

Unfortunately, bromine builds up in the system so it's possible for brominated vegetable oil to cause health issues over time, even if you stay within the guidelines the FDA has set up as safe. The FDA has changed it's stand on this additive because it used to be on the GRAS list and now, it's been moved to the interim dose list, which means the FDA is still saying this additive is safe in lower doses. However, even at interim use dosages, if someone binges on products containing BVO, they may end up with nerve disorders, skin lesions, headaches, memory loss and more. There are cases on record where these reactions have occurred.


Interim BVO Dosage Set by FDA
Source: snopes.com
BVO is approved by the FDA as a food additive, although the agency did change it's status from GRAS to interim use after studies emerged which linked consumption of BVO with heart disease in rats. The FDA only approves the ingredient in what is called an interim dose now, as an emulsifier. So what is a safe dose of BVO? The FDA says products may contain no more than 15 ppm. However, it is still possible to get too much brominated vegetable oil if you drink between 2 and 8 liters daily of a product containing it. There have been reports of headaches, fatique, swollen hands, sores, etc. from consuming 2 to 4 liters per day, of products containing BVO.

The tide is turning in a public way as more and more people express their concern about this food additive and their pleas to have it removed are being heard. Pepsico is removing BVO from their Gatorade because enough people voiced their displeasure at the ingredient being added. If the idea of kids getting lesions, losing their memory or having nerve damage bothers you, please know that your voice can make a difference.


The main product in which BVO is being used as a food additive seems to be citrus drinks so staying away from fruit-flavored carbonated drinks will go a long way toward avoiding it.

Health Care Disclaimer: The FDA maintains that, at interim dosage, BVO is safe. However, there is a renewed interest in the scientific community in examining the safey issues again. Please see your doctor if you have symptoms of bromine poisoning, and get the proper blood work done as well as letting your doctor know if you regularly consume over 2 liters of citrus-flavored beverages a day.