Otherwise known as brominated vegetable oil, it’s basically a toxic flame retardant used in 10 percent of soda products. Though the substance has already been banned in Europe and Japan, the U.S. is still very much using it in various beverage products. Scientists originally created brominat for use as a flame retardant in plastics, but the food industry has been adding the compound to certain sodas, sports drinks, and juices for decades to keep the artificial flavoring from separating and floating to the top of the can, bottle, or glass.
In the 70s, the Food and Drug Administration set a “safe limit” for BVO in food products, although some critics say that decision was made on industry-supplied data that is now outdated. Decades ago, rodent studies suggested BVO caused heart damage.