It’s time to discuss another toxic chemical in our food and skin care products, and this time we’re asking What is BHT? Butylated Hydroxytoluene, or BHT, is an anti-oxidant which reacts with oxygen free radicals to slow down the autoxidation rate of ingredients in a product that can cause changes in the taste or color. As such, it is primarily used to prevent fats in foods from becoming rancid – but it is also used in cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, jet fuels, rubber, petroleum products, electrical transformer oil, and embalming fluid. Sure sounds like BHT is something that should definitely be in our food, right?
Dangers of BHT
Turns out this additive, used in all the above products, has a scary MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) that says the following:
- Do NOT let this chemical enter the environment.
- Ingestion causes Abdominal pain. Confusion. Dizziness. Nausea. Vomiting.
- The substance may have effects on the liver.
- The substance is harmful to aquatic organisms.
That certainly makes BHT look even more appetizing to have in our food and in our cosmetics! The Skin Deep site rates BHT as having a “high hazard to high hazard depending on product usage” and says it has been shown to be linked to cancer, developmental toxicity, allergies, neurotoxicity, endocrine disruption, biochemical or cellular level changes. So what kind of products, other than our food (it is FDA approved for use in food), can BHT be found in?
Products Containing BHT
- Aveeno Baby Natural Protection Mineral Block Face Stick
- Neutrogena Body Oil
- CVS Beauty Bars Sensitive Skin
- Neutrogena Liquid Facial Cleanser Fragrance Free
- Revlon ColorStay Bronzer for the Face
- Loreal Hip High Intensity Pigments
- OLAY Daily Facials Deep Cleansing Cloths
- Lubriderm Advanced Therapy Lotion Moisturizing Lotion
That’s a list of some pretty popular products, all of which require you to wonder what is BHT and why you should be avoiding it. Who wants to use a product or eat a food that has ingredients also used in jet fuels and embalming fluid? Before you buy a product, I highly suggest you check out lists like the one I referenced to see exactly what you are buying. BHT is bad news, and there are plenty of ways to avoid consuming it. Always do your homework before shopping!