Inspired by PepsiCo’s decision to remove a controversial chemical from Gatorade, consumer health advocate and high school sophomore Sarah Kavanagh is teaming up with Georgia woman Aveyca Price to start another petition on Change.org challenging Coca-Cola to follow its competitor’s lead and remove brominated vegetable oil (BVO) from its Powerade sports drinks. The petitions collected a joint 49,000 signatures in a matter of days.
Kavanagh, 16 years old, started her Powerade petition after winning a successful campaign to convince Gatorade to remove BVO, which attracted more than 200,000 supporters on Change.org. To promote her campaign, Kavanagh appeared on both “The Today Show” and “The Doctor Oz Show,” which helped inspire several similar petitions asking Coca-Cola to remove BVO from Powerade
“I don’t understand why Powerade is fighting to keep BVO in its sports drinks when Gatorade, Vitamin Water, and BodyArmor will not use it,” said Kavanagh. “It should be easy for Coca-Cola to remove it from Powerade and regain some of the trust so many consumers have lost in this company.”
According to an article in Scientific American, BVO is a patented flame retardant and is banned in Europe and Japan. Research has linked this class of chemicals to health problems affecting fertility, thyroid functionality, and puberty.
More than 49,000 people have signed petitions on Change.org to Coca-Cola about Powerade, started by both Kavanagh and Atlanta-area resident Aveyca Price. Price was inspired both by Kavanagh’s success with Gatorade as well as her current battle with cancer, and the increased attention she has been giving to her diet since her diagnosis. After hearing about Kavanagh’s Gatorade campaign, Price decided she wanted to start her own petition against their primary competitor, Powerade.
“I'm concerned about my health just like everyone, but since I was diagnosed with cancer, I pay extra attention to everything I put into my body,” said Price. “That’s why I’m especially concerned about ingredients like BVO in sports drinks, and I’m thrilled that Sarah has been able to get Gatorade to remove it.”
Each signature on Sarah and Aveyca’s campaign generates an e-mail to product staff at Powerade and parent company Coca-Cola. Sarah and Aveyca have yet to receive a response to their petitions.