Credit to Berkeley Wellness and Mercola.com
BHA and BHT preservatives
Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) aren’t just hard to pronounce. They’re carcinogenic … and found in almost all packaged foods in the U.S.
Pick up a bag of chips, a bottle of vegetable oil, a package of sausage or a box of cereal or cookies and chances are you’ll find BHA and/or BHT in the ingredients list. They can also be found in breakfast cereal, nut mixes, chewing gum, butter spread, shortening, meat, dehydrated potatoes, and beer.
They are widely used by the food industry as preservatives, mainly to prevent oils in foods from oxidizing and becoming rancid.
Most research has been in animals and test tubes, not in people. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) categorizes these food additives as GRAS—generally recognized as safe—which means they are widely considered safe for their intended use in specified amounts, but did not have to undergo pre-market review.
They are used to preserve fats and oils in cosmetics such as lipsticks and moisturizers among other cosmetics, and pharmaceuticals.
BHA is known to cause cancer in rats, and may be a cancer-causing agent in humans as well. In fact, according to the US Department of Health and Human Services, National Toxicology Program’s 2011 Report on Carcinogens, BHA “is reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen.” It may also trigger allergic reactions and hyperactivity, while BHT can cause organ system toxicity.
Dangers: BHA and BHT have been known to impair blood clotting when consumed in high quantities, and promote tumor growth.
Where it’s been banned: The U.K. doesn’t allow BHA in infant food. Japan, and parts of the European Union have banned both BHA and BHT.