Last month, Kavanagh read an article by Environmental Health News about the potential health threats of brominated vegetable oil, an emulsifier used in some popular beverages. Kavanagh found the story after searching the web for more information about BVO. What she read inspired her to start a petition on Change.org calling for Gatorade's manufacturer, PepsiCo, to remove BVO from certain products, such as Gatorade Thirst Quencher Orange. Today the petition has nearly 200,000 signatures from around the world.
BVO was patented by chemical companies as a flame retardant and has been banned in food and beverages in Europe and Japan. In 1970, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration conditionally approved the interim use of BVO in fruit-flavored soft drinks. More than 30 years later, BVO's status is still listed as interim, despite concerns from scientists that the research is outdated and insufficient