Are you worried about the potassium bromate cancer risk? If so, you are not alone. The US is one of the few places that still uses this potentially unsafe compound in breads and pastry. Even though it has been clearly linked with thyroid, liver and other cancers in rats and mice.
Potassium bromate is used in flour and baked goods to increase volume and texture. It is banned in many other places like the EU, Brazil, Canada and China. Most bromate breaks down into the harmless bromide during baking. But even small amounts will increase cancer risk over a lifetime. If the bread or pastry isn’t baked at a high enough temp or for long enough, or if too much potassium bromate is added at the start, it may still be found in the final product.
Potassium Bromate Cancer Risk.
Google scholar has over 2,500 results for the term potassium bromate cancer and every one refers to a research study. Oddly enough the potassium bromate msds doesn’t mention any of these research studies. Perhaps because they involved rodents rather than humans. But why would there be so many studies if it was harmless?
International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) data says potassium bromate is highly toxic. It caused;
- Renal tumours in rats.
- Thyroid tumours in rats.
- Peritoneal mesotheliomas in male rats.
- Renal tumours in hamsters.
- Oxidative DNA damage in rat kidneys leading to kidney tumours.
So is it really safe, or are we playing with fire by using it? Should we ignore this data just because the studies involve rodents and therefore don’t reflect the effect on humans. Or should we avoid the potassium bromate cancer risk? It’s up to you. It’s your health.
This post is part of our food additives to avoid series.