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Butylated hydroxyanisole


Written on labels as: Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT)

Found in the following products: Personal care products for lips, makeup, sunscreens, creams, antiperspirant/deodorant, food and food packaging

Chemical purpose: It acts as a preservative and antioxidant for personal care products.

Potential harmful risks:
Cancer: The
National Toxicology Program classifies BHA as “reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen.”

Organ-system toxicity and endocrine disruption: In animal studies, BHA produces liver damage, stomach cancers and interferes with normal reproductive system development and thyroid hormone levels. BHA has strong evidence backed by the European Commission on Endocrine Disruption to be a human endocrine disruptor.

Reproductive and developmental toxicity: A study completed by Jeong on the development and functions of the reproductive system on rats indicated changes in testosterone levels, sexual maturation and weight of sex organs due to high doses of BHA.

The European Union banned BHA and considers it unsafe in fragrance.

Environmental Working Group, “Skin Deep. Butylated Hydroxyanisole,” [Online]. Available: [Accessed 15 May 2014].
Jeong SH et al, “Effects of butylated hydroxyanisole on the development and functions of reproductive system in rats,” Toxicology, vol. 208, no. 1, pp. 49-62, 2005.

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