Bromine leak in Russia causes alarm, Coca-Cola says "drink up"
Over 40 hospitalized after bromine leak in Russia's Urals
01/09/2011 MOSCOW, September 1 (RIA Novosti)
Forty two people were hospitalized in and around the Urals city of Chelyabinsk on Thursday following a bromine leak, the health ministry said.
A total of 103 people sought medical assistance after several bromine containers leaked in a rail car at 7:35 am (1:35 GMT), forcing an evacuation of the Chelyabinsk railway terminal. The cause of the leak has yet to be established.
State television showed pictures of a cloud of dirty yellow smog billowing over the station. The smog drifted some 20kms, state media said. Schools were closed down as a precautionary measure.
more at link [link to en.rian.ru] Wikipedia confirms the toxic nature of bromine, used variously including as a pesticide. However then an out of place inclusion reveals Coke products add the brominated oil to citrus drinks such as Mountain Dew.
Bromine is also used in the production of brominated vegetable oil, which is used as an emulsifier in many citrus-flavored soft drinks (for example, Mountain Dew). After the introduction in the 1940s the compound was extensively used until the UK and the US limited its use in the mid 1970s and alternative emulsifiers were developed. Soft drinks containing brominated vegetable oil are still sold in the US (2011). [link to en.wikipedia.org] The claim is the vegetable oil gives the citrus drink the thickness of a fruit drink. Why the oil must be brominated is unclear.