kind of synthetic antioxidant, which is used widely in food products, is
tert-butylhydroquinone (THBQ). It is an aromatic organic compound which is a
type of phenol. It is a derivative of hydroquinone, substituted with a
tert-butyl group. In the market, this antioxidant is sold as a powder has white
color and slight odor. The code numbers
of this additive is E319.TBHQ,
which is short name of tert-butylhydroquinone,
is used in fats, including vegetable oils and animal fats. Therefore, it
is also found in a wide range of processed foods since they contain some fats.
For example, snack crackers, noodles, and fast and frozen foods. Manufacturers
add TBHQ to frozen fish products with the high concentrations. Producers not
only mix it with the food, but also spray it on the surface of product. It can
also be sprayed onto the outside food packaging as well. This food additive may
be found in coffee creamer, peanut butter, bread, chewing gum, chocolate
product, soft candy and so on.Based
on the Centers for Science in the Public Interest, a research, which was
designed by government, found that this antioxidant increased the incidence of
tumors in rats. And according to the National Library of Medicine, some cases
of vision disturbances have been reported when humans consume TBHQ. Liver
enlargement, neurotoxic effects, convulsions, and paralysis is the results of
study of TBHQ in laboratory animals by National Library of Medicine.Consuming
high doses (between 1 and 4 grams) of TBHQ can lead to several symptoms such as
delirium, nausea, collapse, vomiting and tinnitus (ringing in the ears).
Scientists suggest that it may cause hyperactivity in children as well as
asthma, rhinitis and dermatitis. It may also make Attention deficit
hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms more serious and cause restlessness.
Estrogen levels in women might be influenced by the presence of THBQ.
toxicity studies, TBHQ administration with high dose and long term in lab
animals was associated to the development of cancerous precursors in the
stomach, as well as DNA damage. But unlike other synthetic antioxidant
additives, it did not cause lung lesions in laboratory animals. However, TBHQ
can make cancer cells resistant to chemotherapy agents, according to a study in
the June 2008 issue of “Carcinogenesis,” and a study in the June 2014
issue of “Food Chemistry” proved that TBHQ can fragment DNA and cause
damage to human lung and umbilical cells.