Pepsi caves to a baseless chemical scare

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Sigh. It s another victory for the scaremongers. PepsiCo. is removing brominated vegetable oil from its citrus-flavored Gatorade drinks after hearing rumblings from consumers concerned about the emulsifier.

PepsiCo. spokeswoman Molly Carter told the Associated Press the change was in the works for a year and was not in response to a recent petition on by a Mississippi teenager that attracted 200,000 signatures.

Of course the decision simply gave the popular press another excuse to call brominated vegetable oil a flame retardant, simply because it shares an ingredient, bromine, that s used in flame retardants. Which, by the way, are also non-toxic.

ACSH s Dr. Josh Bloom agrees with the Pepsi move: There are so many other options for emulsifying agents available, it would take a large book to list them all. Although BVO shows no evidence of being harmful, the presence of metabolically labile bromine in the chemical is somewhat concerning to me. From a chemical and pharmaceutical point of view, it is something that is generally avoided. There is no harm in switching to something else.

Rolling his eyes, ACSH s Dr. Gilbert Ross says sarcastically he s sure now that the controversial chemical is out of Gatorade, cases of cancer and other ailments will drop precipitously. Moreover, if every time an activist group charged some chemical with being toxic, and a large, respected company making safe products changed their formulation in response, that would not be a productive move, he added.