BHT (Butylated hydroxytoluene; 2,6-di-tert-butyl-p-cresol; also known as 2,6-dibutylhydroxytoluene) stands for butylated hydroxytoluene. It is a synthetic antioxidant commonly used as a preservative in a variety of products, including food, cosmetics, and personal care products. BHT helps prevent substances from oxidizing, which can lead to changes in product color, flavor and overall stability.
Some key points about BHT
- Antioxidant properties: BHT acts as an antioxidant, inhibiting or slowing the oxidative deterioration of products caused by exposure to air, light or heat. This property helps extend the shelf life of many products.
- Preservatives: BHT is commonly used as a preservative in foods, cosmetics, and personal care products to prevent the growth of bacteria and fungi. It helps maintain the freshness and quality of these products over the long term.
- Stabilizer: BHT is used as a stabilizer in some formulations to maintain product color, flavor and texture by preventing oxidative changes.
Commonly used in the food industry: BHT is approved for use as a food additive by regulatory agencies in many countries. It is commonly found in processed foods such as cereals, snacks, baked goods, and some cooking oils.
Cosmetics and Personal Care Products: BHT is also used in cosmetics and personal care products such as lotions, creams, lip balms and hair care products to protect the formula from oxidation and improve its stability.
Regulations overseen by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) consider BHT to be "generally recognized as safe," allowing small amounts to be added to foods. Despite this, and the National Cancer Institute's earlier determination that BHT is not carcinogenic in animal models, society has expressed concerns about its widespread use. BHT has also been hypothesized to be an antiviral drug, but as of December 2022, the use of BHT as a drug is not supported by the scientific literature and has not been approved for use as an antiviral drug by any drug regulatory agency . The relevance of these findings to human health remains the subject of ongoing research and debate.
It's worth noting that people's opinions about the safety of BHT may vary, and some people may choose to avoid products containing this ingredient because of personal preferences or concerns. If you have specific concerns or sensitivities, please consult a healthcare professional or a dermatologist who can provide personalized advice based on your individual situation. Additionally, it's a good practice to check product labels and choose one that matches your preferences.