#3–BHA and BHT, More Skin Care Toxins

Apr 13th, 2011 | By Sharon Shaw Elrod MSW EdD | Category: For Senior Women

These two chemicals are closely related and very difficult to pronounce.  BHA is butylated hydroxyanisole.  BHT is butylated hydroxytoluene.  You see why we have to use the abbreviations!  They are synthetic antioxidants that are used as preservatives in food, lipsticks and moisturizers primarily.

At a minimum, these two toxins cause allergic reactions on and in the skin.  The International Agency for Research on Cancer classifies BHA as a possible human carcinogen [IARC Monographs on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks to Humans vol. 17 (Paris: International Agency for Research on Cancer), vol. 40 (1986)].  The European Commission on Endocrine Disruption listed BHA as a Category 1 priority substance, based on research studies that identify its interference with hormone function.

In addition, BHT in higher doses acts like estrogen, and affects the normal function of both estrogen and progesteron, which creates reproduction problems in humans. 

International regulation of these two toxins is relatively strong.  The European Union prohibits the use of BHA as fragrance ingredient in cosmetics.  California requires warning labels on products that contain BHA, telling consumers the ingredient in the product may cause cancer.

The David Suzuki Foundation which conducts research and testing on toxins in food and skin care products has more valuable information about these two nasty chemicals.  This Foundation considers BHT and BHA the #1 danger in food and skin care products.  A strong indictment of the two, and a very good reason to read labels and switch to safe and beneficial skin care and nutrition products.



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  1. [...] talked about BHA and BHT before on this site. These preservatives are added to all kinds of prepared food and skin care [...]

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