Bromines are a class of halogens that include fluoride, chlorine and iodine. Exposure to bromine can lead to a bromine toxicity, known as ‘The Bromide Dominance Theory’, and it has many detrimental consequences to our health. Firstly your thyroid will not hold on to the iodine it needs because when you ingest or absorb bromine, it displaces iodine, so you end up with an iodine deficiency. This is bad news because iodine affects every tissue in your body, not just your thyroid.

Bromine is a central nervous system depressant and can cause a number of psychological symptoms such as acute paranoia and psychosis. Bromine toxicity can also manifest as –

  • Cardiac arrhythmias
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite and abdominal pain
  • Metallic taste in your mouth
  • Severe acne
  • Skin rashes
  • Low Thyroid function

Bromide-containing pesticides (methyl bromide) are also widely used for soil fumigation and post-harvest treatment. Residues in non-organic food are the most common way we are exposed to Bromines. They tend to accumulate through the food chain – meaning we face a particular risk of these chemicals slowly building up in our bodies. Also as fire retardants in our computers, pillows, cushions and TVs. 

Where else can Bromines be found?

  • Bakery goods and some flours – a dough conditioner for impatient bakers (potassium bromate) 
  •  Soft drinks, including Mountain Dew, and until recently Fanta and Gatorade and other citrus-flavored sodas – in the form of brominated vegetable oils (BVOs) to help suspend the flavour and colour evenly in the liquid.
  • Medications such as some inhalers, nasal spray, for ulcers, and anaesthesia agents
  • Bromine-based hot tub and swimming pool treatments. A better option than bromine and chlorine is an ozone purification system. This way it’s possible to keep the water clean with minimal chemicals
  • Plastics (to make computers)
  • Fire retardants like polybromo diphenyl ethers or PBDEs used in fabrics, carpets, upholstery, your TV, computer and mattresses
  • Toothpastes and mouthwashes – (Potassium bromate) added as an antiseptic and astringent. It can cause bleeding and inflammation of the gums.

How To Avoid Bromines.

It’s not easy but you can limit your exposure by :

  • Open the windows to your building/home and car to let the fresh air in. Environmental toxins are much higher inside buildings and cars than outside. Use fans to circulate the air.
  • Look for organic whole-grain breads and flour. Or else you can look for the “no bromine” or “bromine-free” label on baked goods.
  • Eat organic as often as possible.
  • Reduce exposure to pesticides by washing all your produce, preferably in a sink full of diluted apple cider vinegar.
  • Your car upholstery
  • Use glass and ceramic storage containers, avoiding eating, drinking or storing food and fluid in plastic.
  • Avoid soft drinks.
  • If you own a hot tub, look into ways of keeping the water clean with minimal chemical treatments.
  • Look for personal care products that are as non-toxic as possible. Remember your skin is your largest organ so it will absorb toxins.

Today, bromine is extracted on an industrial scale from salt lakes that are especially rich in the element, like all the Dead Sea. It’s huge business. 

In 1990, the United Kingdom banned bromate in bread. In 1994, Canada and Japan did the same in 2010. Brazil recently outlawed bromide in flour products, and the US have no laws around it’s use, and sadly nor do we have any here in Australia. 


  • also see Organic, Thyroids

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