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Gatorade Removes Ingredient Linked to Flame Retardant (But It's Still in Some Sodas)

Photo by caseylmphotography on Flickr
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Gatorade announced today that its thirst quencher would no longer contain brominated vegetable oil, a synthetic chemical that has been patented in Europe as a flame retardant.

The drink, which is owned by PepsiCo, had come under some scrutiny after a petition was started last year.

The company's spokeswoman Molly Carter said they had been considering the move for more than a year, and had been working on a way to take out the ingredient without affecting the flavor of the drink. The 200,000 supporters of the Change campaign didn't impact their decision, she said, but it did reflect the general distaste of the public, which she admitted to playing a part in the company's decision.

Brominated vegetable oil, also known as BVO, is used as an "emulsifier," meaning it distributes flavoring evenly so that it doesn't collect at the surface. It was only in a few Gatorade flavors, namely orange and citrus.

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The L.A Times cites a Scientific American article suggesting that “BVO could be building up in human tissues” and that studies on mice have shown “reproductive and behavioral problems” linked to large doses of the chemical. Not exactly what you want to be refueling yourself with after a race.

Brominated vegetable oil can also be found in Gatorade's electroylte competitor Powerade, as well as PepsiCo's Mountain Dew. The oil will stay in the Dew, so now you can be flame resistant and have a low sperm count. Talk about a twofer.