Coca-Cola nixes an ingredient linked to flame retardants from its Powerade sports drinks and other sodas


(Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

[Editor’s note: This article incorrectly linked the reasons why BVO is not approved for use in Europe and Japan to its connection to flame retardants.]

Brominated vegetable oil sounds like an ingredient made for frat brothers. And until now, it kind of was, at least for the athletic bros. BVO is an additive to the Powerade line of sports drinks, which Coca-Cola, Powerade’s parent company, has said works to “improve stability and prevent certain ingredients from separating,” Time magazine reports. It’s also linked to a flame retardant. which has garnered Brominated vegetable oil is not approved for use in both Japan and the European Union, and it was dropped from Powerade’s biggest competitor, Gatorade, last year after a Change.org petition brought it bad press.

Now, Coca-Cola is following suit. The company confirmed Sunday that it would remove the controversial ingredient from its Powerade products. The Associated Press reports:

“A representative for the Atlanta-based company confirmed Sunday that its Powerade brands are ‘BVO-free.’ But… Powerade’s website still lists brominated vegetable oil as an ingredient for its fruit punch and strawberry lemonade flavors.”

The chemical can also be found in several other of the company’s drinks, such as Fresca and Fanta, which Coca-Cola confirmed Monday it will also remove. The Associated Press reports:

“[In the] coming months…the company said it would phase out the ingredient to be consistent with the ingredients it uses around the world. It said it would instead use sucrose acetate isobutyrate, which Coca-Cola said has been used in drinks for more than 14 years, and glycerol ester of rosin, which it said is commonly found in chewing gum and drinks.”

Twitter reaction have ranged from disgust to relief to, of course, hilarity.

Marissa Payne writes for The Early Lead, a fast-breaking sports blog, where she focuses on what she calls the “cultural anthropological” side of sports, aka “mostly the fun stuff.” She is also an avid WWE fan.

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Matt Bonesteel · May 5, 2014

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