BHT (Butylated hydroxytoluene) and BHA (Butylated hydroxyanisole) are preservatives found in cereal, vegetable oil, potato chips, chewing gum, frozen sausages, enriched rice, lard, shortening, candy and jello/jelly. Butylated hydroxytoluene in food is used mainly to prevent oil from going rancid, as is BHA and to keep foods from changing color or flavor. In fact, any processed food that contains some type of oil most likely contains one of these.
BHT has an E number of E321, BHA has an E number of E320. There are many BHA and BHT side effects… and both are linked to cancer.
Is butylated hydroxytoluene in food safe?
Butylated hydroxytoluene in food has been observed by the NTP to cause increased liver weight & abnormal cell behavior.
Is butylated hydroxyanisole safe?
BHA is “reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen” by the National Toxicology Program (NTP). Animal studies that exposed mice, hamsters and fish to BHA showed increased stomach cancer in mice and hamsters, and liver cancer in fish.
Sadly, BHA and BHT side effects mean they can also cause allergies, effect the brain, alter behavior, and may even cause cancer. BHA and BHT are oxidants which can form cancer-causing compounds in the human body.
Food producers can put these toxins in our foods as long as they remain within so-called ‘safe’ limits. But is there a safe limit? Is it okay to expose ourselves to ‘just a little bit’ of a substance that causes cancer? Or should we avoid it?
Every chemical has what is called a ‘material safety data sheet (or MSDS) which lists potential side effects. I have included these below so you can understand butylated hydroxyanisole side effects and those of BHT also.
This post is part of our Food additives to avoid series.