Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman, L.L.C.

Teen's curiosity turns into movement against energy drink

Most of us have probably seen the dog food commercials that talk about using real ingredients versus artificial additives -- like chicken byproduct meal -- in the food we feed our pets. But are we as selective of what we put in our own bodies? One teenage girl got curious, and her curiosity has sparked an online petition to look more closely at the ingredients in sports drinks.

As a vegetarian, the young girl was a little more "label-conscious" than her peers. While drinking a Gatorade, she took a moment to read the label. One ingredient stood out: brominated vegetable oil. While it included the word "vegetable," she didn't rely on assumption that it was plant-based and safe. What she found out was that it could pose more of a threat than most people think.

She looked up the ingredient on the internet and found out that it had a long list of side effects, some that were very scary. Neurological disorders and altered thyroid hormones were two of those that seemed especially scary. As she dug deeper, she realized that it has received mixed reviews but is ultimately approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Not so in other countries. In fact, the European Union has already banned the substance and Japan is currently in the process.

So why manufacturers in the United States are still allowed to use brominated vegetable oil? She didn't know, but she has started a movement to strike it from ingredient lists in the United States too. She turned her Internet focus from research to awareness and started a petition to persuade PepsiCo to remove the ingredient from the drink that started it all: Gatorade. She has already garnered 200,000 signatures, with that number growing every day.

Source: The New York Times, "Drink Ingredient Gets a Look," Stephanie Strom, Dec. 12, 2012

Whether it is a food, drink, child's toy or tool, there are a number of dangerous products out there. Our Pittsburgh website provides information and access to experienced victim representation.

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