Butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) and butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA), are chemicals and synthetic compounds that are used for various reasons. They look like a white crystalline solid and is used by manufacturers to preserve cereals and keep other foods fresh.
They can also be used as antioxidants to prevent oil in foods from going rancid by giving the food longer shelf life. T
WHY ARE BHA and BHT SO BAD?
How can something that is greatly used in our day to day products be toxic?
- Research has shown that both the BHA and BHT found in several foods and cosmetic products have a high tendency of being carcinogens because of the elements they possess.
- BHT, through studies and reported cases, is known to cause retardation in growth, metabolic stress and even weight loss if not controlled quickly.
- It is also advisable for cosmetic companies to desist from manufacturing skincare products that contain BHT, as it can cause complicated skin issues and dermatitis.
- They are extremely dangerous for the nervous system especially for kids because it can result in hyperactivity and several behavioral disorders.
- Also, for expectant mothers, BHT causes the fetus in the mother’s womb to be deformed or developmental abnormalities.
- BHT can cause liver damage in the excretory system.
- People that have difficulty in metabolizing these compounds may experience intense abdominal pain
- Although BHA aids in removing the dead top layer of the skin, it may also lead to tingling, skin redness and irritations.
- Research has also shown that BHA and BHT have detrimental effects on the blood.
HOW DO THEY END UP IN PRODUCTS?
These compounds are not naturally occurring. They are added by the food manufacturers to prevent spoilage and cosmetic factories as skincare ingredients.
PRODUCTS THEY ARE USUALLY FOUND IN
BHA is usually found in food products like cereals, butter, potato chips, instant mashed potatoes, dessert mixes, beverage, preserved meat, baked goods, beer, lard, chewing gums, etc. as preservatives. It is also found in petroleum products, rubber, cosmetic products, and aids in packaging food with wax.
BHT is used as a dietary supplement because of its antioxidant properties. It is found in food products like dehydrated potatoes, some commercially prepared bread, meats, cereals, baked goods, snack foods and even beer and some vegetable oils.
HOW TO IDENTIFY THEM ON FOOD PRODUCT LABELS?
If you are sensitive to these substances or if you are scared of the effect it will have on you; it is very important that you read the labels of the product carefully before purchasing, as BHA and BHT will be listed in the ingredient section.
Although medical evidence has not clearly shown that BHA and BHT are dangerous, it would be wise to stay away from them. Try using more organic products, especially with foods like cereal. Organic foods while not perfect will not include any synthetic ingredient.