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Flame Retardants In Your Drinks? Gatorade Removes Ingredient Following Petition

Update Date: Jan 26, 2013 01:09 PM EST

PepsiCo, the makers of Gatorade, said Friday they will no longer be using an ingredient linked to flame retardant in their sports drinks after a petition against the retardant was garnering support online.

The flame retardant is brominated vegetable oil (BVO) which was used in citrus versions of the sports drink to prevent the flavorings from separating. Studies have suggested there are possible side effects, including neurological disorders and altered thyroid hormones.

Sarah Kavanagh, a 15-year-old from Hattiesburg, Miss., who became concerned about the ingredient after reading about it online and started a petition to get PepsiCo on The petition gained over 200,000 signatures and got the attention of the executive at PepsiCo Inc. and they are going to remove it.

"While our products are safe, we are making this change because we know that some consumers have a negative perception of BVO in Gatorade," said company spokeswoman Molly Carter in a statement to the Chicago Tribune newspaper.

Gatorade was first created for them to replenish electrolytes and used mainly by athletes, but now many Americans tend to drink more sports and energy drinks.

Brominated vegetable oil is also found in other carbonated soft drinks Mountain Dew, Coca-Cola, Fanta, Dr. Pepper Snapple Group, Sun Drop and Squirt.

A spokesman for the company says the new drinks will roll out in the next few months. Concern about BVO, which is banned from food in Europe and Japan, grew after a December 2011 article in Scientific American in which scientists called for a reassessment of its safety.

"When I went to to start my petition, I thought it might get a lot of support because no one wants to gulp down flame retardant," Kavanagh, 15, said in a statement. "This is so, so awesome."

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