Brominated vegetable oil is found in about 10% of soft drinks. It is vegetable oil that has the element bromine attached to it. Bromine looks a little like iodine to the body and competes with it for absorption. The more bromine you get, the less iodine you get. The less iodine you get, the less thyroid hormone you can make because the body needs iodine to make thyroid hormone.
By adding bromine to vegetable oil, manufacturers can make the vegetable oil the same density as water. That way, they can get flavorings to stay mixed in the drink without them separating out. Brominated Vegetable Oil (BVO) was once designated as “generally recognized as safe” by the U.S. government. However, this status was removed in 1970 by the FDA because a group of researchers couldn’t find enough evidence to support that designation. Since then, BVO has been approved as an “interim food additive”. In other words, it was “temporarily” grandfathered in (in the U.S.) and allowed to be used in foods as long as the concentration was less than 15 parts per million. That was over 40 years ago. In the meantime, BVO has been banned as a food additive in Europe, Japan, and India (for soft drinks).
Jorge Flechas, MD speaks internationally to medical doctors on the topic of thyroid and iodine. He once told an audience a story of a young man who was drinking many servings each day of a BVO-containing soft drink. The young man was having a lot of learning and behavioral problems. He was given a large dose of iodine to test whether he was iodine deficient. When they collected his urine to measure the iodine they noticed a strange “sludge” in his urine. Further analysis showed that the sludge contained bromine. You see, just as bromine can take the place of iodine in the body, so too can iodine take the place of bromine. When he was given the iodine it helped clear his body of the bromine. The young man was instructed to stop drinking the BVO-containing soft drink and within a matter of weeks his behavioral and learning symptoms resolved.
There have been reports of people developing “bromism” after consuming too much of BVO-containing soft drinks. These were severe cases. However, certainly there are many teenagers and others that could easily be consuming enough BVO-containing soft drinks to easily account for some of the symptoms they are experiencing. A LOT of soft drinks are sold in vending machines in U.S. high schools and many of the most popular drinks contain BVO. This could easily explain some of the learning and behavioral problems we are seeing in our schools.
Soft drinks that contain brominated vegetable oil include, Mountain Dew, Gatorade Orange, Crush Orange, Crush Peach, Crush Pineapple, Strawberry Powerade, Fanta, Dr. Pepper, Fresca, Squirt, Sunkist Orange, and possibly others.