The refreshing taste of carbonated water, sugar, and flame retardant.

Any time I turn on the TV, radio, or even sign online, I feel as though I’m bombarded by a million and one different people or companies telling me not to eat something. High fructose corn syrup, splenda, preservatives, etc, etc. Essentially, I’ve accepted the fact that just walking outside and breathing will inevitably give me cancer or something else terrible and deadly, which is why I’ll proudly continue to sip my Diet Coke whenever I feel like it and happily enjoy the outdoors on a warm, sunny day. Needless to say, when I first heard the dangers of drinking Mountain Dew, my initial response was to disregard it – until I read this:

The thought of a mouse dissolving in a bottle of Mountain Dew certainly has the Ick! factor. But, does it really matter? The fact is that it’s fairly meaningless—but that doesn’t mean it’s okay to drink Mountain Dew.

I don’t think anyone was ever under the impression that Mountain Dew was necessarily healthy, but dissolving a mouse? That’s the kind of stuff horror movies are made of – and we’re ingesting it? Voluntarily? I can only speak for myself here, but I like my internal organs right where they are, solid and intact, thank you very much. And why is that not the only reason not to drink Mountain Dew?

Brominated Vegetable Oil, affectionately known as BVO.

BVO is a vegetable oil derived from corn or soy and bonded with the element bromine. BVO was originally patented by chemical companies for use as a flame retardant, but today is used in citrus flavored sodas like Mountain Dew , Squirt, and Fresca to prevent the flavoring from separating from the soda and floating to the top. Oh. Okay. Flame retardant to beverage ingredient. Got it.

Bromine is a scientifically proven endocrine disruptor which messes with hormones in the human body, competing for the exact same receptors used to capture iodine. What this means for us is consuming food or beverages that contain BVO will prevent our bodies from holding on to the iodine it needs – and iodine affects every single tissue in our body. Thyroid issues, skin lesions, memory loss, and nerve disorders are all documented symptoms of ingesting quantities of the chemical – so while grabbing a Mountain Dew for a quick afternoon pick-me-up won’t melt our intestines like it melted the mouse, its impacts are still dangerously unpleasant.

BVO is already banned in food throughout Europe and Japan, and according to Scientific American “deserves a fresh look” from what was considered a safe limit in 1977.  However, that was 35 years ago – before Three Mile Island, the Challenger tragedy, and many other things that were considered harmless, so this fresh look should prove interesting. In the meantime, I’ll remain a Diet Coke fan.


By Jillian Seaton

Jillian is a recovering sorority girl/cheerleader and an aspiring trophy wife/crazy cat lady who somehow found herself in the magical land of auto dealership marketing and family portraits. Her true passions in life are writing, whiskey, music (especially good ol' rock 'n roll), and cheese. Jillian's life goals include saving the world from cancer and becoming the best astronaut ever.