If you're a regular reader of Outside, chances are you ditched sugary "sports" drinks like Powerade a long time ago. But if you just haven't been able to resist, there's good news. Coca-Cola has announced that it will remove the ingredient BVO, a patented flame retardant, from its entire line of Powerade beverages. The announcement comes more than a year after rival Pepsico said it would do the same for its line of Gatorade drinks.
BVO, or brominated vegetable oil, is used to bind the oil to the other beverage ingredients and prevent them from separating. However, bromine is a halogen and can, over time, displace iodine in the body and interfere with thyroid function. It is not approved for use in Japan or Europe.
The pressure on Coca-Cola began with a Change.org petition by Mississippi teenager Sarah Kavanagh. "Consumers are coming together quickly and efficiently to influence the world's biggest beverage companies in an unprecedented manner," said Pulin Modi, senior campaign manager for Change.org. Although BVO remains approved by the FDA and a part of numerous food and drink products, Kavanagh said she questioned its use specifically in drinks marketed as health conscious and designed for athletes. Her original petition against Gatorade garnered more than 200,000 supporters, while her most recent needed only 60,000 before Coca-Cola saw the writing on the wall.