Today, Gatorade pledged to take flame-retardants out of their sport’s drinks after a high-school student raised awareness about the issue. Sarah Kavanagh, a 15-yr old student, collected upwards of 200,000 signatures in a Change.org-petition campaign for Gatorade to remove brominated-vegetable oil (BVO) from their sports beverages. Gatorade agreed on Jan. 25 to comply and Kavanagh will tell her story on Dr. Oz on Wed., Jan. 30, 2013.
Gatorade has become synonymous with athletic victories and as such is a popular drink for ahtletes of all ages (see the slidewhow). Kavanagh is no different. The sophomore and a member of a local volleyball team in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, said she first became aware of BVO when she searched the internet for the ingredients of the Orange Gatorade she was drinking.
When Kavanagh read about BVO, she immediately dumped out the remainder of her drink. "When I went to Change.org to start my petition, I thought it might get a lot of support because no one wants to gulp down flame retardant, especially from a drink they associate with being healthy,” said Kavanagh after hearing about the victory.
The ingredient BVO to date will still be in a number of other PepsiCo and Coca-Cola products like Fresca, Mountain Dew, PowerAde, as well as energy drinks like Amp and cocktail mixers like Tom Collins (link here for a list of all drinks that contain BVO). Brominated vegetable oil is used to stabilize citrus flavored drinks and has been used by the soft drink industry since 1931.
Kavanagh says her petition was inspired in part by a Scientific American article linking BVO to chemical residues inside children, contamination of breast milk, and brominated flame retardants’ connections to “neurological development, reduced fertility, early onset of puberty and altered thyroid hormones.”
“Sarah’s petition is one of the most popular consumer-oriented campaigns we’ve ever seen on Change.org,” said Pulin Modi, Senior Campaigner at Change.org. “Her campaign is a great example of the shift in power we’re seeing between businesses and their customers. Companies like Gatorade can no longer sit back as thousands of consumers are asking for a change -- they’re compelled to do something about it.”
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