More than 200,000 health advocates, athletes and consumers are claiming victory on a popular Change.org petition started by 15-year-old Sarah Kavanagh, after Gatorade announced plans to remove brominated vegetable oil (BVO) from their sports beverages this morning.
Kavanagh, a 15-year-old high school sophomore and active member of a local volleyball team in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, said she first became aware of BVO when she searched the internet for the ingredients of the Orange Gatorade she was drinking. When Kavanagh read about BVO, she immediately dumped out the remainder of her drink.
"When I went to Change.org to start my petition, I thought it might get a lot of support because no one wants to gulp down flame retardant, especially from a drink they associate with being healthy,” said Kavanagh after hearing about the victory. “But with Gatorade being as big as they are, sometimes it was hard to know if we’d ever win. This is so, so awesome.”
"Companies like Gatorade put so much thought into marketing,” she added. “As someone who loves to drink their products, I'm so glad they’re making strides to put as much consideration into their customers' health."
Kavanagh says her petition was inspired in part by a Scientific American article linking BVO to chemical residues inside children, contamination of breast milk, and brominated flame retardants’ connections to “neurological development, reduced fertility, early onset of puberty and altered thyroid hormones.”
“Sarah’s petition is one of the most popular consumer-oriented campaigns we’ve ever seen on Change.org,” said Pulin Modi, senior campaigner at Change.org. “Her campaign is a great example of the shift in power we’re seeing between businesses and their customers. Companies like Gatorade can no longer sit back as thousands of consumers are asking for a change—they’re compelled to do something about it.”
BVO remains in a number of other popular PepsiCo and Coca-Cola products like Mountain Dew, Fresca, and the popular sports drink Powerade. The Associated Press reported this morning that Coca-Cola representatives have not responded to requests for comment on the issue.