Brominated Vegetable oil is a vegetable oil that has the element Bromine(35 on the periodic table, second column from the right 3 rows down)  added to it to increase the density of the oil. The food manufacturerer most likely uses this over regular vegetable oil to prevent the oil from floating to the top of the product.

Where does BROMINATED VEGETABLE OIL come from?

Vegatable Oil comes from pressing vegetables, and the Bromine for commercial purposes is obtained by treating brines (from salt wells or seawater) with chlorine, which displaces the bromine.


Mixing bromine and vegetable oil while monitoring the solutions density.


Bromine is a halogen and displaces iodine, which may depress thyroid function. Evidence for this has been extrapolated from pre-1975 cases where bromine-containing sedatives resulted in emergency room visits and incorrect diagnoses of psychosis and brain damage due to side effects such as depression, memory loss, hallucinations, violent tendencies, seizures, cerebral atrophy, acute irritability, tremors, ataxia, confusion, loss of peripheral vision, slurred speech, stupor, tendon reflex changes, photophobia due to enlarged pupils, and extensor plantar responses. In one case, a man who drank eight liters of Ruby Red Squirt daily had a reaction that caused his skin color to turn red and produced lesions diagnosed as bromoderma. The excessive quantities together with the fact that the man had a higher than normal sensitivity to bromine, made this an unusual case. A similar case reported that a man who consumed two to four liters of a cola containing BVO on a daily basis experienced memory loss, tremors, fatigue, loss of muscle coordination, headache, ptosis of the right eyelid as well as elevated serum chloride. In the two months it took to correctly diagnose the problem the patient also lost the ability to walk. Luckily bromism was finally diagnosed and hemodialysis was prescribed which resulted in a reversal of the disorder. A Pepsi product website notes that BVO has been used by the soft drink industry since 1931.

The FDA says this about adding things to vegetable oil:

    (a) The additive complies with specifications prescribed in the "Food Chemicals Codex," 3d Ed. (1981), pp. 40-41, which is incorporated by reference, except that free fatty acids (as oleic) shall not exceed 2.5 percent and iodine value shall not exceed 16. Copies of the material incorporated by reference may be obtained from the National Academy Press, 2101 Constitution Ave. NW., Washington, DC 20418, or may be examined at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). For information on the availability of this material at NARA, call 202-741-6030, or go to: http://www.archives.gov/federal_register/code_of_federal_regulations/ibr_locations.html.

    (b) The additive is used on an interim basis as a stabilizer for flavoring oils used in fruit-flavored beverages, for which any applicable standards of identity do not preclude such use, in an amount not to exceed 15 parts per million in the finished beverage, 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 promptly after completion of the studies.

    [42 FR 14636, Mar. 15, 1977, as amended at 49 FR 5610, Feb. 14, 1984]

More information about BROMINATED VEGETABLE OIL.

Bromine is the only liquid nonmetallic element at room temperature, and one of only six elements on the periodic table that are liquid at or close to room temperature.

In test animals, BVO consumption has caused damage to the heart and kidneys in addition to increasing fat deposits in these organs. In extreme cases BVO has caused testicular damage, stunted growth and produced lethargy and fatigue



  1. Sharon hoerle
    Shame on our government...and FDA..

  2. BarbiD35
    After reading this article, I decided to gather a bit more information on the subject at a bit more reputable sites

  3. BarbiD35
    sorry...my previous posting was incomplete. having computer issues. wanted to say that I researched the subject a little more on sites with articles written by educated and trained experts...like scientists and medical doctors...and compared with the information found on several governmental agency sites. This was done in order to have a much more complete view. Nothing found on one site contradicted the major information found on another site. The different sites addressed the issue from different angles and directions. What I found was that BVO (brominated vegetable oil) is synthetically created and used in many water-based drinks. Citrus flavors are oily and lighter weight than water. Unaided, the flavors would sit on top of the drink and not be dispersed throughout. Bromine is heavier and acts like an emulsifier when bonded to the oily flavors. This synthetic chemical combination allows the flavors to mix better. The taste can be enjoyed from beginning to end. Drinks containing BVO usually look cloudy or hazy. Bromine is dangerous to humans if ingested in large amounts. BVO can accumulate and be stored in the human body for years. No one knows the exact level or the exact number of years but they do know that BVO must be ingested in very high amounts through many years before major problems begin. BVO was considered generally safe and allowed for use in 1958. During the 1970s, it was decided that more information (and study) needed to be done but allowed beverage companies to continue using it in limited and smaller amounts pending the outcome of the study. So far there has been no study completed and no results given. However the consumption of BVO contained drinks are higher than ever. The number of people exposed to low levels of BVO continue to grow daily in the US. We may never know any true harm that low levels of BVO can have over time or if it ever truly leaves the human body...but except for a very few people that may be overly sensitive to the synthetic compound, the current levels that are used doesn't seem to present major health issues in people today. Americans are living longer and are healthier than any prior generation. Combining this with the elevated consumption rates since the 1970s...it is my personal opinion that BVO is not as dangerous as some want to say. Lifespan and overall healthiness would have been obviously effected.