Saturday, March 16, 2013

A few of my favorite things, III: Bromine and Lead and Lewis Powell

Hey did you know that if you add bromine to stuff the stuff gets thicker?  True.  This has come to the attention of many people recently because of a Facebook meme/ petition to get PepsiCo to remove brominated vegetable oil or BVO from soft drinks, where its used in Mountain Dew and Gatorade.  BVO is on a kind of permanent watch-list in the US, where it was dropped by the FDA at the high-water-mark of regulation achieved in US, before Lewis Powell's forces of darkness started the rollback; in Canada you can dump it wherever you want.  BVO in particular is added to soda - and the Times story at the link names a number of other sodas and sugary drinks - to "stabilize" the liquid, which is to say give it "mouth feel" or the feeling you're actually drinking something more substantial than water.  Most sodas use sugar or high-fructose corn syrup to accomplish mouth feel, but some use vegetable oil in solution.  And to keep the vegetable oil in solution, and from going bad, you add bromine to the oil.