HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Sixteen-year-old Hattiesburg High School student Sarah Kavanagh has launched a petition on Change.org asking Gatorade to remove all brominated vegetable oil from its orange flavored beverages.
The petition, posted in early November, has over 170,000 signatures.
Although banned in Europe, India, and Japan, BVO has been added to Canadian and American beverages since the 1970s to give them a cloudy look and keep the citrus flavor thoroughly mixed throughout. In large quantities, it has been linked to various health problems. The US Food and Drug Administration limits the amount of BVO allowed in consumables.
There is no scientific consensus as of yet whether or not BVO is dangerous in small quantities, but some people have reported symptoms of bromide poisoning after binging extremely large quantities of beverages containing the chemical. It is unclear if BVO is the cause, as many ingredients in sodas and soft drinks can be dangerous in large quantities.
Some studies suggest BVO may build up in the body over time.
"I love Gatorade, but the consumer should come first," said Kavanagh. The Hattiesburg High School sophomore says she first became aware of BVO when she searched the Internet for the ingredients of the orange Gatorade she used to love.
She said she was first alerted to the possible dangers after reading an article in Scientific American.
Representatives from Gatorade could not be reached for comment, but soft drink manufacturers have stated in the past that they are not concerned about BVO.