Even the most informed consumers could be putting their health at risk. That’s the eye-opening truth that Dr. Oz uncovered from his investigation into some of the nation’s leading industries. After consulting the country’s biggest watchdogs and most-respected experts, Dr. Oz documented three of the most shocking threats to your health right now. Learn what they are and how you can fight back.
Threat #1: Brominated Vegetable Oil
Brominated vegetable oil or BVO is essentially vegetable oil treated with the high-density element bromine. BVO was originally created as a flame retardant for children’s clothes and mattresses. The bad news: BVO is commonly added to your favorite sodas and sports drinks.
How did this flame retardant end up in your favorite beverages? Soda manufacturers started adding BVO for cosmetic reasons – it helps prevent the drinks’ ingredients from separating on the shelf. BVO is an emulsifier used to spread the fruit and coloring elements of the liquid evenly, giving citrus drinks a cloudy, more "natural" appearance and keeping the flavors evenly distributed. BVO is primarily used in drinks that contain citrus flavor oil, which the New York Times estimates is around 10% of all beverages. Soft drinks like Mountain Dew, Powerade, Gatorade, Fanta Orange, Fresca and Squirt all contain BVO.
Researchers link BVO to organ damage, neurological issues and even birth defects. Studies have found that brominated flame retardants (BVO’s cousins) build up in human tissues, including breast milk. Animal and some human studies have linked these substances to neurological impairment, reduced fertility, changes in thyroid hormones and early onset puberty. Up until the 1940s, bromide salts were used for medicinal purposes until it was discovered that they could cause psychological symptoms and mental disorders in patients and they were pulled off the market.
More than 100 countries have banned BVO, including countries in Europe and Japan. Yet in the US and Canada, it’s legal to add BVO to beverages in amounts no greater than 15 parts per million. This US standard was set in the 1970s and was supposed to serve as an interim ruling pending additional research. Over 40 years later, however, this standard remains unchanged and BVO is still listed as an “interim food additive” instead of an ingredient. Accordingly, manufacturers that use BVO are technically following government regulations.