A professor of nutritional studies was met with an unpleasant surprise when she discovered her breast milk turned green after drinking a blue sports drink.
Ingibjörg Gunnarsdóttir, competing in a volleyball tournament, drank a bottle of blue Powerade before playing, Vísir reports. At the end of the match, she intended to feed her child in the locker room. “I have never seen such a disturbing colour of breast milk before,” she told Vísir. “It was bright green.”
There are also reported examples of the colouring in sports drinks changing the colour of urine, from red to deep orange to green.
Sports drinks such as Powerade use what are known as Azo compounds to colour the beverages. Many of these compounds, such as tartrazine, can cause allergic reactions in people. A 1994 study at the University of Melbourne suggested that children previously identified as hyperactive may exhibit an increase in irritability, restlessness, and sleep disturbance after ingesting tartrazine.
Many Azo dyes are banned in the EU, among them Red 2G.
Brynhildur Pétursdóttir, the editor of the consumer watchdog paper Neytendablaðið, told Vísir that the EU has deemed six different Azo compounds as harmful.
UPDATE: A spokesperson for Vífilfell, the company that distributes Powerade in Iceland, has told Vísir that only yellow, orange and red Powerage contain Azo compounds. Blue Powerade actually contains FD&C Blue No. 1 (e-133), which is banned in many European countries.