Old urban legends about Mountain Dew suggested that the ingredient “Yellow #5” could decrease sperm count and testicle size in men, thereby increasing mail infertility. Though there have been no conclusive scientific studies to support the theory about Yellow #5, it’s probably no surprise that Mountain Dew isn’t the healthiest beverage.
Now, experts suggest that a Mountain Dew ingredient called brominated vegetable oil (BVO), may cause infertility in men.
BVO is a chemical also commonly found in flame retardants and has been banned in Europe.
Mountain Dew isn’t the only soft drink known to contain BVO. Many citrus-flavored drinks including Squirt, Fanta Orange, Sunkist Pineapple, Gatorade Thirst Quencher Orange, Powerade Strawberry Lemonade or Fresca Original Citrus also contain BVO.
BVO has been implicated in a few extreme cases of reactions to its consumption.
Two examples include bromine intoxication and bromoderma.
In bromine intoxication, a man developed headaches, fatigue, ataxia and memory loss in response to drinking 2-4 liters of orange soda every day.
A man who drank 8 liters of Red Rudy Squirt daily developed ulcers (bromoderma) on his hands as a reaction to high levels of BVO.
Though these examples are extreme situations, data suggests other side effects to BVO exposure.
Some animal and human studies have found that exposure to BVO can lead to impaired neurological development, reduced fertility, early onset of puberty and altered thyroid hormones.