Hi and welcome to Talking Toxins with Rachel…
Toxin of the week: Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA)
So what is it?
It is a synthetic antioxidant. It is used in a variety of food, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals. “BHA is a white crystalline powder or a yellowish-white waxy solid,” according to Drugs.com. As a food antioxidant it is available dissolved in propylene glycol (PG). Used as a preservative, to help prevent fats and oils from going rancid.
What do I find them in?
According to Drugs.com, “It may be found in pharmaceutical gels, creams and liquid or gelatin capsules, tablets and other pharmaceutical dosage forms.” Huffington Post reports, “cereals, gum, fast food, processed potatoes, drink mixes, shortening, snack foods, and so on. The compounds are also found in food packaging, animal feed, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, rubber, and plastics.”
Why should I be concerned?
At much higher levels than consumed by humans, there have been studies that have shown tumors in rats and mice. The FDA has investigated and feels it is safe for consumption at lower levels.
So what can I do?
Read labels, look for natural preservatives such as Vitamin E. Eat fresh foods, rather than prepackaged. Use suggested doses on labels to use a safe levels.
According to the FDA, “While no evidence in the available information on butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) demonstrates a hazard to the public when it is used at levels that are now current and in the manner now practiced, uncertainties exist requiring that additional studies be conducted.” Drugs.com report, “The situation is much the same in Europe. BHA is an approved food additive and is also considered “possibly carcinogenic to humans (category 2B)” [pdf] by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). And the European Commission has placed BHA as a category 1 potential endocrine disruptor [pdf] based on evidence that it interferes with hormone function in at least one living organism.”