What is it?
Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA) is a synthetic waxy solid prepared from 4-methoxypenol and isobutylene.
Why is it used?
BHA is used for its antioxidant properties to retard rancidity in fats, oils and oil containing foods. It is used in products and packaging ranging from cereals to chewing gum to potato chips and vegetable oil.
Why should I know about it?
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services states BHA is “reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen.” Yet, the Food and Drug Administration still permits BHA to be used in foods.
BHA can be replaced by safer chemicals such as Viitamin E safer, by safer processes (e.g., packing foods under nitrogen instead of air), or can simply be left out of products- many brands of oily foods, such as potato chips, don’t use any antioxidants.
The Center for Science in the Public Interest suggests avoiding consumption of products containing BHA.
The food additive is banned in Japan and many European countries.