Don’t get me wrong: I loves me some soft drinks. I enjoy destroying the enamel on my teeth and torturing my stomach lining as much as the next guy. And just like those tattooed stoner guys who make their living finding new ways to mangle themselves, I thought Mountain Dew was akin to nectar squeezed from the ample and undulating bosom of Aphrodite. But then I learned it contained something called “Brominated Vegetable Oil” (BVO). The vegetable oil part by itself wouldn’t have been enough to get me to kick the goddess squeezins, but that b-word perturbed me. It sounded… unpleasant. It hearkened to a darker time when powerful men were sexually stifled and seriously pissed-off about it and due process was yet unborn: “Thou hast been found guilty of buggery and are sentenced to have thine naughty bits… brominated! So be it before Almighty God!”
Anyway, being the consummate word-geek*, I looked it up.
bro-min-ate, v., to combine (a substance) with bromine or a bromine compound.
bro-mine, n. a heavy, volatile, corrosive, reddish-brown, nonmetallic liquid element, having a highly irritating vapor and used chiefly in the manufacture of gasoline antiknock mixtures, fumigants, dyes, and photographic chemicals.
*strokes chin* M-hm, m-hm. I see what you’re saying there. Basically, you’re telling me I’ve been paying PepsiCo to FEED ME FUCKING STOP BATH FOR THE PAST TWENTY YEARS!!!!
Of course, I have NO faith that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has any real concern about my health, so I decided to find out what they had to say about this allowance of an oil-bromine mixture in my pop. Figured it be good for a groan. According to the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 21 / Chapter I / Part 180 / Subpart B / Section 30, BVO is allowable as an additive "…pending the outcome of additional toxicological studies on which periodic reports at 6-month intervals are to be furnished and final results submitted to the Food and Drug Administration." Now, you know they don't need bi-annual toxology reports on something they are completely confident isn't harmful, so I became even more curious.
I didn't have to look long to learn BVO causes bromine to accumulate in pig fat and has caused liver lesions in laboratory rats. But we all know about how they just pump those lab animals with a kajillion times the normal ingested amount, so I looked for data specific to humans. According to the International Programme on Chemical Safety (IPCS), observations in human tissues and organs showed "…high levels of lipid-bound bromine only in that country which permitted the use of brominated vegetable oil as a food additive." Ugh. The IPCS goes on to state: "Lipid-bound bromine increased in organ fat in an age-related manner and levels were much higher in the fat extracted from brain, liver and spleen than from adipose tissue."
What all this meant to me is that I had been drinking gas treatment for the past couple of decades and it was all just up there soakin’ my brain. Can’t say I liked the thought of that.
From now on, I gotta go with all natural.
*If I love words so much, why does the word for “word-geek escape me? Fuck.