What is it?
Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT) is a chemical derivative of Phenol, which is largely derived from petroleum.
Why is it used?
BHT is used for its antioxidant properties to retard rancidity in oils. It is used in cereals, chewing gum, potato chips and oils both in the product and/or in the packaging for the product.
Why should I know about it?
Debate surrounds the link of BHT to cancer risk, asthma and behavioral issues in children as studies either increased or decreased these risks in various animal studies. And, while human fat contains residues of BHT, it is an unnecessary food additive that is easily replaced by safe substitutes (e.g., vitamin E).
The Center for Science in the Public Interest urges consumers to avoid it when possible.
BHT is banned for use as a food additive in Europe and Japan.