10 Bromine

Bromine is a widespread toxin that has been linked to cancer, obesity, and diabetes development (Andra, 2014). PBDE (bromide) interferes with biochemical processes and accumulates in body tissues. 

Bromine Causes Iodine Deficiency

One of the ways that bromine increases the risk for breast cancer is through its ability to cause iodine deficiency. Low iodine levels are associated with the development of breast cancer because iodine is necessary for healthy cell development and secretory cells of the breasts. Also, iodine deficiency allows heavy metals to bind in breast tissue, which increases the risk for the development of breast cancer. All forms of bromides compete with iodine for the same receptors in the body, preventing iodine from being absorbed. Thus, causing the potential for iodine deficiency. 

Iodine deficiency is suspected of being a leading cause of hypothyroid disorder. Deficiency systems are fatigue, cold hands and feet, foggy brain, and depression. Immune suppression is also a side effect of bromine exposure (Frawley, 2014). Bromine has also been found to impair mitochondrial function, thus impairing energy production in the body (Pazin, 2015).

Bromine Forms

Bromine compounds have long technical names that reflect their chemical composition and are better known by their acronyms, for example:

            Brominated flame retardants (BFRs)

            Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs)

            Tetrabromobisphenol A (TBBPA) 

            Hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD) 

            Polybrominated biphenyls (PBBs)

Bromine Toxicity Symptoms

Environmental medicine practitioners suspect that many people are experiencing bromine toxicity symptoms, which include skin rashes, severe acne, loss of appetite, abdominal pain, fatigue, metallic taste, cardiac arrhythmias, obesity, and cancer. 

Reduce Your Exposure

Bromine is an industrial chemical used in large volumes in fire retardants and baked goods. Fire retardants are commonly used in mattresses, carpeting, furniture, car interiors, and hair dyes. Potassium bromate is used as an additive in most commercial bread and baked goods. Read bread labels and look for terms that indicate bromine use, which include bromated flour, enriched or dough conditioners. Products that contain flame retardants are sources of bromine. Avoid the sources of bromine in its various forms.


Bromine compounds are used in fabrics.

Opt for natural, treatment-free clothing, bedding, and curtains. Natural materials include cotton, wool, hemp, and bamboo.

Memory Foam

Flame retardants are used in mattresses, bed pillows, decorative pillows, and upholstered seating (chairs and sofas).

Natural latex rubber mattress, natural pillow filler such as kapok,  wool, or cotton.


Specifically, methyl bromide, is used mainly on strawberries.

Buy organic produce to avoid pesticide residue on produce. Review the Clean 15 list from the EWG.org 

Dough Conditioners

Commercial baked goods and some flours contain a dough conditioner called potassium bromate. 

Organic, whole-grain baked goods.

Soft Drinks

Citrus-flavored sodas, including Mountain Dew, Gatorade, Sun Drop, Squirt, and Fresca, contain bromine in the form of brominated vegetable oils (BVOs). 

Carbonated water (e.g.: Pellegrino) or stevia-sweetened sodas are carbonated with CO2 rather than phosphorus.


Asthma inhalers such as Atrovent Inhaler, Atrovent Nasal Spray, Pro-Banthine (for ulcers), and some anesthesia agents contain bromine.

Look for bromine-free medications or treat the underlying cause of asthma to reduce your need for medication.

Pool Sanitizers

Bromine-based hot tub and swimming pool treatments are used in place of chlorine to kill bacteria and contaminants.

Saltwater pools. Test bromine levels in pools and hot tubs that you use regularly.

Personal Care Products

Toothpaste, mouthwash, and gargles contain potassium bromate as an antiseptic and astringent. 

Look for products with simple ingredients such as baking soda and tea tree oil.

Hair Treatments

Sodium bromate is found in permanent wave neutralizers and hair dye formulas.

Avoid permanents, use natural hair dye such as Henna, and let your hair grow naturally.

Vegetable Oils

Bromine is found in brominated vegetable oil.

Opt for organic extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil, or coconut oil.


Carpets and rugs treated with flame retardants contain bromine.

Replace synthetic carpeting with natural floorings such as wood, wool, cork, or bamboo. Avoiding bromine dust from bromine-treated carpeting requires either daily ventilation or removal of the carpet. 

Automobile Fabric

Headers in cars generally have foam underlayment and fabric that are both treated with brominated flame retardants.

Ventilate the interior by opening widows after and wipe down car interiors to remove bromine dust.

Ventilation Reduces Exposure

If you spend considerable time around sources of exposure, such as your car interior, carpet at home or work, or have a synthetic mattress, try to increase ventilation as much as possible. Wiping down the windows and interior of your car, and areas of your home will help remove some of the bromine dust that accumulates as a film. 

Protect Your Body

Antioxidant nutrients such as phenols and flavonoids as well as minerals such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, and zinc have been found to protect against the toxic effects of potassium bromate (Saad, 2014).

Supplement Recommendations

Nutrient 950 (Integrative Therapeutics)

Mineral 650 (Integrative Therapeutics)

MediClear (Thorne)

Bromine Summary Checklist

O Remove bromine from your home

O Avoid exposure to bromine

O Take detoxifying supplements, if exposed to bromine

O Add detoxifying foods to your daily diet.