The most simplistic explanation of TBHQ is that it is a synthetic “antioxidant”—in America this is considered a good thing, but not necessarily in other countries—is a preservative (sometimes including BHA) which is made up of phenol and butane.
Serotonin: A phenolic amine neurotransmitter that is a powerful vasoconstrictor and is found especially in the brain, blood serum and gastric membranes of mammals. Considered essential for relaxation, sleep, and concentration.
· neurotransmitter — n a chemical by which a nerve cell communicates with another nerve cell or with a muscle
· vasoconstrictor — n 1. a drug, agent, or nerve that causes narrowing ( vasoconstriction ) of the walls of blood vessels
So, my conclusion is that TBHQ which is made up of phenol—a substance that can affect your brain chemistry and nervous system—and butane, which is lighter fluid, may not be something you wish to ingest.
It is most commonly used in oils, margarines, crackers, chips, chocolate, soymilk, fast foods (McDonalds’s Chicken McNuggets were cited many times) and many other food products. It is even in Girl Scout cookies (see image). It is also found in certain brands of pet foods, as well as in cosmetic and baby skincare products, varnish, lacquers and resins.
In pre-packaged foods, if you see the words “no trans-fats,” look for TBHQ in the ingredient lists. Some manufacturers, such as Kellogg’s are using TBHQ instead of trans-fats. If you don’t see TBHQ that does not mean it is not there. Manufacturers are not required to list “secondary” ingredients. Call the manufacturer to ask if their oil now contains TBHQ.
Symptoms of phenol sensitivity
Some typical symptoms indicating your child may have a phenol problem are [not all of these need be present]: dark circles under the eyes, red face/ears, diarrhea, hyperactivity, aggression, headache, head banging or other self-injury, inappropriate laughter, difficulty falling asleep at night, and night waking for several hours. The typical adult symptom of phenol intolerance is chronic fatigue syndrome, which is the opposite symptom that most children have, although some children can become tired/lethargic, instead of hyper with sleep and other issues.
Consuming high doses (between 1 and 4 grams) of TBHQ can cause nausea, delirium, collapse, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), and vomiting. There are also suggestions that it may lead to hyperactivity in children as well as asthma, rhinitis and dermatitis. It may also further aggravate ADHD symptoms and cause restlessness. Long term, high doses of TBHQ in laboratory animals have shown a tendency for them to develop cancerous precursors in their stomachs, as well as cause DNA damage to them. It is also suggested that it may be responsible for affecting estrogen levels in women.
The following statistics are taken from the Food Intolerance Network Factsheet
320 BHA and other antioxidants
Antioxidants 310-312 and 319-321, used in prevent rancidity in oils, can cause a full range of reactions from asthma to insomnia, depression, tiredness, learning difficulties and children’s behaviour problems. There are safe alternatives (see below).
Antioxidants are the most hidden of all additives. There are four ways consumers can be tripped up.
* manufacturer fails to list ingredient on the product label
* ingredient is unlisted under the 5% labelling loophole
* consumer hotline gives wrong information when contacted
* staff give incorrect information regarding unlabelled food, eg takeaways
5% labelling loophole
Antioxidants do not have to be listed if vegetable oil forms less than 5% of the final product. In September 2003, Marnie Little from south of Perth suspected antioxidants in Signature Range frozen chips. She was assured by the consumer hotline that the product was free of antioxidants. While on a strict elimination diet she gave her three year old son a handful of chips fried in failsafe oil. Within an hour, her son was ‘having screaming fits, teary, really temperamental – like world war three – and waking at night.’ It took a week for his behavior to return to normal. The company eventually confirmed the presence of both 320(BHA) and 319 (TBHQ) in the oil. These do not have to be listed under the 5% labeling loophole, but what are consumers to do when consumer hotlines tell us that their products are antioxidant free?
310 Propyl gallate
311 Octyl gallate
312 Dodecyl gallate
319 tert-Butylhydroquinone, tBHQ
320 Butylated hydroxyanisole, BHA
321 Butylated hydroxytoluene, BHT
300 Ascorbic acid (vitamin C)
301 Sodium ascorbate
302 Calcium ascorbate
303 Potassium ascorbate
304 Ascorbyl palmitate
306 Mixed tocopherols (vitamin E)
- opaque containers
Where to find harmful antioxidants
Look for these additives in cooking oils, margarines, lards and any other fats or oils. Then look for the products which contain these and you will start to understand the problem. Nearly every processed food contains some kind of fat or oil. It doesn’t matter whether the ingredient label says vegetable oil, a specific oil like canola or sunflower, fats of vegetable origin, or beef tallow – unless they list some of the safe alternatives, they will probably contain one of these harmful additives. Small amounts don’t affect people unless they are very sensitive, but if you eat them every day, effects will build up.
What you can do
REFUSE TO BUY! And tell the food companies of your decision.
“Reece’s Peanut Butter Eggs were one of my weaknesses in my past life. But now with understanding on what certain chemicals do to our cells and brain, I have no problem walking by them in the grocery store. “
Sources: Wikipedia, Natural News, ehow.com, Dana’s View, and MariaHealth.