Like most people, you probably don’t spend too much time worrying about your bromine intake from your car upholstery or the Mountain Dew you’re drinking. Bromine toxicity is a very dangerous, and often overlooked, threat to your health that can be found in some surprising sources. In an article by Dr. Thomas Marcola, he explains the dangers of everyday toxins, where they are found, and how to protect yourself against them.
Bromines are very common endocrine disruptors that fall into the same group of elements as fluorine, chlorine and iodine. A high exposure to bromine can cause an iodine deficiency, which can wreak havoc on your thyroid and every tissue in your body.
You are already exposed to a high amount of bromine and chlorine through common products:
•Pesticides (specifically methyl bromide, used mainly on strawberries, predominantly found in California)
•Plastics that are commonly found in computers and televisions
•Baked goods and some flours often contain potassium bromate
•Soft drinks (including Mountain Dew, Gatorade, Sun Drop, Squirt, Fresca and other citrus-flavored sodas), in the form of brominated vegetable oils
•Medications such as Atrovent Inhaler, Atrovent Nasal Spray, Pro-Banthine and anesthesia agents
•Fire retardants used in fabrics, carpets, upholstery, and mattresses
•Bromine-based treatments for hot tubs and swimming pools
Bromine is most commonly fed into our diets through residue on plants we consume, and overexposure can lead to hypothyroidism and many other health problems.
Bromine And Your Health
Ingesting bromine decreases iodine levels in humans, leading to increased risk for cancer of the breast, thyroid gland, ovary and prostate — cancers that we see at alarmingly high rates today. This phenomenon has been given its own name—the Bromide Dominance Theory.
Bromide also builds up in the central nervous system, acting as a depressant to trigger psychological symptoms, including paranoia.
In addition to psychiatric symptoms, bromine toxicity can manifest as the following:
•Skin rashes and severe acne
•Loss of appetite and abdominal pain
A popular product from the 1950s called Bromo-Seltzer, developed by the Emerson Drug Company of Baltimore, was used to treat heartburn, upset stomach, indigestion, headaches and hangovers. Bromides were taken off the American market, as well as removed from Bromo-Seltzer, in 1975 due to their toxicity.
Potassium Bromate in Your Bread
The ban on bromines has not prevented them from sneaking into everyday products in the American household. Potassium Bromate is a common compound used in many breads and dough and has been a huge contributor to bromide overload in Western cultures.
Commercial baking companies claim “enriching” the dough with potassium bromate makes it more elastic and better able to stand up to bread hooks. However, Pepperidge Farm and other large companies manage to use only unbromated flour without any of these so-called “structural problems.”
Potassium bromate is also added to some toothpastes and mouthwashes and has been proven to cause bleeding of the gums.
Sodium Bromate, BMOs, and Where They Hide
Mountain Dew uses brominated vegetable oil as an emulsifier. Even drinking water can be a source of bromide. When drinking water containing bromide is exposed to ozone, bromate ions are formed, which are powerful oxidizing agents. In 2004, the Coca Cola Company had to recall Dasani bottled waters with high levels of bromate. Sodium bromate can also be found in commonly used products such as permanent waves, hair dyes, and textile dyes.
Bromine and chlorine were the most common toxic elements reportedly found in automobiles, according to David Brownstein, MD. They were found in the seats, armrests, door trim, shift knobs and other areas of the car.
The United States is behind other Western countries in removing the toxin from products. In 1990, the United Kingdom banned bromate in bread dough. In 1994, Canada did the same. Brazil recently outlawed bromide in flour products.
Iodine Levels and Cancer Risk
Iodine levels have significantly dropped due to toxic bromine exposure; declining consumption of iodized salt, eggs, fish, and sea vegetables; and soil depletion. In the U.S. population, there was a 50 percent reduction in urinary iodine excretion between 1970 and 1990.
The Japanese consume 89 times more iodine than Americans due to their daily consumption of sea vegetables. Because of this, the Japanese have reduced rates of many chronic diseases, including the lowest rates of cancer in the world. The RDA for iodine in the U.S. is a meager 150 mcg/day, which is significantly less than the average daily intake of 13800 mcg/day for the Japanese.
There is extensive evidence suggesting that low cancer rates in Japan are a result of their substantially higher iodine levels. Iodine has proven antioxidant and anti-proliferative properties.
Low iodine can lead to fibrocystic breast disease in women (density, lumps and bumps), hyperplasia, and atypical mammary tissue. The supplementation of iodine of a period of 3-4 months has been shown to reverse fibrocystic changes in breast. The urine iodine challenge test is the best way to assess iodine levels in humans.
Bromine and Your Thyroid
Bromine exposure depletes your body’s iodine by competing with iodine receptors. Without iodine, your thyroid gland would be unable to produce any thyroid hormone.
Hypothyroidism is far more prevalent in the U.S. than once thought. An estimated 13 million Americans have hypothyroidism, but the actual numbers are probably higher. Some experts claim that 10 to 40 percent of Americans have subpar thyroid function. In most cases, the person is simply suffering from iodine deficiency.
Seven Tips for Avoiding Bromine and Increasing Iodine
Here are a few tips for minimizing your risk of bromine toxicity:
1. Eat organic foods as often as possible. Wash all produce thoroughly to minimize your pesticide exposure.
2. Avoid eating from, drinking from, or storing food and water in plastic containers. Use glass and safe ceramic vessels as often as possible.
3. Look for organic whole-grain breads and flour, or for the “no bromine” or “bromine-free” label on commercial baked goods. If possible, grind your own grains.
4.Drink natural, filtered water instead of sodas.
5. Look into an ozone purification system if you are a hot tub owner. Such systems clean water with minimal chemical treatments.
6. Look for personal care products that are as chemical-free as possible.
7. When in a car or building, open windows as often as possible. Preferably open multiple windows for cross ventilation. Utilize fans to circulate the potentially toxic air.