The Health Effects of Potassium Bromate In Foods

You may have most likely consumed bromated flour without ever knowing about it. Bromine is a chemical compound frequently used in flame retardants, baking ingredients, cell phones, plastic, dye, soda, and prescription drugs. The use of this chemical shows no signs of slowing down despite the warnings from the Centers for Disease Control about the serious, long-term health effects from constant exposure and consumption.


Potassium bromate is a powerful oxidizing agent that chemically ages flour much faster than open air. Potassium bromate bleaches dough, and enhances its elasticity by strengthening its network of molecular bridges, which makes for the formation of tiny, thin-walled bubbles as the bread rises. The end product is fluffy, soft and unnaturally white.

Today, many small and commercial bakeries voluntarily avoid using bromated flour. However, it’s still found in many fast food buns and some flours, among other products.



Whenever bromated flour isn’t baked for long enough or at a high enough temperature, or if too much potassium bromate is added in the first place, this harmful additive can potentially be found in the final product in far greater quantities.

The long-term health impact is hard to determine, but it’s still an important issue for you to know about for your ongoing health.

Children exposed to high levels of brominated compounds (PBDEs) in flame retardants are known to suffer development issues.

Mental dysfunction related to the overexposure to bromine is so common it even has a name — bromism. In one specific case of bromism, a patient consumed vast amounts of soda that contained brominated vegetable oil. The patient experienced problems including fatigue, headache, memory problems, and loss of muscle control.

Potassium bromate is a known kidney toxin and has killed human embryonic kidney cells in lab tests. If you prefer healthy kidneys, avoid bromine!

Ears require a balance of potassium and sodium, two minerals that are helpful for promoting proper hearing. When tested on animals, potassium bromate created chemical imbalances within the inner ear. Researchers believe that an imbalance of nutrients may lead to hearing loss in humans.

Bromine’s interferes with proper thyroid function, hormone synthesis, and kidney health. And those are just a few of the many problems associated with excessive bromine intake. Reducing your exposure to bromine and related chemicals, such as potassium bromate, is a key step to protecting your health.




Unfortunately for consumers, the actual long-term impact of bromated flour can’t be specifically determined. Even though the long-term health effects can’t be stated with certainty, it’s easy to eliminate the risk, because potassium bromate is not an essential ingredient and many companies have eliminated it from their products. To avoid the substance, do not purchase foods that have “bromated flour” or “potassium bromate” in their list of ingredients.

Potassium bromate is an unnecessary and potentially harmful food additive, and should be avoided.

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