Everyone knows that soda isn’t exactly the most healthy drink to consume, but citrus-flavored sodas are packed with more than just sugar. Many citrus-flavored drinks, like Mountain Dew, include a synthetic chemical that has been patented as a flame retardant. Brominated vegetable oil, commonly referred to as BVO, has been banned from foods in Europe and Japan but is still widespread in North America. Ten percent of sodas sold in the U.S. contain this ingredient, which helps to keep the citrus flavor mixed into the drink instead of floating to the surface of the can or bottle.
While there are limits that regulate how much BVO can be included in drinks, the studies on what makes it safe for consumption are decades old. It’s possible that BVO is more harmful than we suspect. Studies done on mice show that a buildup of BVO can cause behavioral and even reproductive issues.