Bread Additive Bromate Is Goitrogenic

The Bromide Dominance Theory

A bromide dominance condition may develop when  bromide, acquired through environmental, occupational, iatrogenic or dietary exposure, causes bromide levels in the body to rise high enough to inhibit iodine enzyme metabolism.
Iodine supplementation alters the competitive bromide-iodine relationship causing bromide excretion. Thus, bromide dominance is diminished and  proper iodine enzyme metabolism may be restored.
In the toxic 21st Century, these questions must be raised:
  • Would we have such a severe iodine deficiency without bromide dominance?
  • If iodine deficiency is the underlying cause of many diseases, is bromide “the underlying cause of the underlying cause?”
  • Is bromide dominance creating a public health crisis?

Where Does Bromide Dominance Come From?

Bromide is an insidious, additive used in many common products, and as a pesticide.  Because of the sheer amount of bromide-supplemented products,  exposure to this man-made additive has caused a depletion of iodine in human populations.  Studies in lab animals provide alarming evidence that even small amounts of bromide exposure can be toxic. (1)
What products contain bromide?
Currently, bromide is found in pesticides (methyl bromide),  some bread products (potassium bromate), brominated vegetable oil that may be added to citrus-flavored drinks, hot tub cleansers, certain asthma inhalers and prescription drugs, plastic products, some personal care products, some  fabric dyes, and as a fire retardant in mattresses, carpeting, etc.  (See expanded Products’ Discussion Below.)
Effects of Bromide on the Organs
Iodine depletion weakens the thyroid and other organs. (2)(3)(4)(5)(6)  In individuals where the bromide-iodine ratio is less, bromide may not be problematic.


Elevated bromide levels have been implicated in every thyroid disease, from simple hypothyroidism to auto-immune diseases to thyroid cancer. Malenchenko found bromide levels 50 times higher in thyroid cancer than normal thyroid tissue. (7)
Rats fed even the minimal amount of bromine expected to be encountered in the environment underwent goiter-like changes (8),  an arguable case of bromide dominance.  In the FIRE project, exposing rats to the brominated flame retardant compound, bromocyclodecane, showed consistent effects on the thyroid hormone axis, including decreased T4.  Thyroid gland cells have increased size and larger nuclei, indicating increased synthetic activity. (9) With enhanced intake of bromide, fully one-third of the iodine content in the thyroids of rats was replaced by bromide. (10)


Skin biopsied from a woman who had been on bromide-containing sedatives for nearly four years  found increased bromide in normal skin and three times that in an affected skin lesion. (11) An infant administered a syrup containing sodium bromide developed vegetative lesions on the face and scalp. (12) Technicians exposed to brominated compounds for prolonged periods developed multiple cherry angiomas on the trunk and extremities. (12)


The psychiatry literature abounds with cases of elevated bromide levels being implicated in mental conditions from depression to schizophrenia. (14)(15)(16) As Guy Abraham, MD, asks, “How many people with misdiagnosed bromism are currently treated with psychiatric drugs?”(17)  Bromide was used to suppress women’s sex drive in the 1950s.


Potassium bromate, a bread additive, is known to cause renal damage and permanent deafness in animals and man. (18)  In the FIRE project, the most relevant effect on exposing rats to 28 days to the brominated flame retardant compound, tetrabromobisphenol-A, was hearing.  Specifically, the lower frequency range was affected . (19)


The ability of bromate to cause cancer, especially kidney cancer, is a significant health concern.  (20)  The gene expression in kidneys in rats given a high dose 100-week potassium bromate in their drinking water showed marked gene expression difference from the lower non-cancer dose.  The high dose kidney gene expression resembled an adenoma-like expression pattern. (21)

Potassium bromate as an additive to most commercial bread and baked goods probably provides the most egregious contribution to bromide overload in Western cultures. Bromated flour is product “enriched”  with potassium bromate.  Some commercial bakers claim they use bromated flour because it yields dependable results, and it makes more elastic dough which can stand up to bread hooks and other commercial baking tools.  (22) However, Pepperidge Farm manages to use only unbromated flour with excellent results.
The UK banned bromate in bread in 1990.
Canada banned bromate in bread in 1994. (23)
Proposal P230 in Australia: Food Regulation Ministerial Council (FSANZ) still has not finalized its July 2007 proposal to mandate iodized salt in breads, breakfast cereals and biscuits.
Back in 1999, the Center for Science in the Public Interest petitioned the FDA to prohibit the use of potassium bromate, charging that the FDA has known for years that bromate causes cancer in lab animals, but has failed to ban it. (24)  As of September 2007, the US FDA responded to Breast Cancer Choices inquir with the statement, ” Potassium Bromate is still listed as a safe additive.”
When drinking water containing bromide is exposed to ozone, bromate ion, a powerful oxidizing agent, is formed.  Two significant recalls of drinking water involving bromate have occurred:  Wegmann’s Food You Feel Good About Spring Water Recall in 2006, and Coca-Cola’s Dasani in 2004. (25)
Potassium bromate is an antiseptic and astringent in toothpaste, mouth and gargles.  Very toxic if taken internally.  May cause bleeding and inflammation of gums in toothpaste.  (26)
Flame retardants reduce the flammability of a wide variety of commercial and household products.  Some brominated home retardants migrate from the products in which they are used and are entering the environment and people.  (27)
Sodium bromate in Products: Permanent Waves, Hair Dyes, Textile Dyes Sodium bromate is in permanent wave neutralizers, hair dye material, and  the textile dyeing process. (28) Benzalkonium is used as a preservative in some cosmetics. (29)


Breast Cancer Choices is indebted to the pioneering bromide research of Guy E.
Abraham, MD, as well as the clinical and intellectual contributions of David
Brownstein, MD, and Jorge Flechas, MD.

(1)  Vobecky M et al., Interaction of Bromine with Iodine in the Rat Thyroid Gland at Enhanced
Bromide Intake, Biol Trace Elem Res 1996.
(2)  Velicky J et al., The Effect of Bromide on the Ultrastructure of Rat Thyrocytes, Ann Anat 2004.
(3)   Pavelka S et al., Bromide Kinetics and Distribution in the Rat. II Distribution of Bromide in the
Body, Biol Trace Res 2000.
(4)   Velicky J et al., Long Term Action of Potassium Bromide on the Rat Thyroid Gland, Acta
Histochem 1998.
(5)  Velicky J et al., Potassium Bromide and the Thyroid Gland of the Rat: Morphology and
Immunochemistry 1997.
(6) Vobecky M et al., Interaction of Bromine with Iodine in the Rat Thyroid Gland at Enhanced
Bromide Intake, Biol Trace Elem  Res 1996.
(7)  Malenchenko AF et al., The Content and Distribution of Iodine, Chlorine and Bromide in the
Normal and Pathologically Changed Thyroid Tissue, Med Radiol 1984.
(8).  Velicky J et al., Potassium Bromide and the Thyroid Gland of the Rat: Morphology and
Immunochemistry, RIA and INAA Analysis, Ann Anat 1997.
(9) Issue 6, July 2006
(10) Vobecky M et al., Interaction of Bromine with Iodine in the Rat Thyroid Gland at Enhanced
Bromide Intake, Biol Trace Elem Res 1996.
(11)  Hubner K et al., Skin Bromide Content and Bromide Excretion in Bromoderma Tuberosum, Arch
Derm Res 1976.
(12)  Bel S et al., Vegetant Bromoderma in an Infant, Pediatric Dermatology 2001.
(13)  Cohen A et al., Cherry Angiomas Associated with Exposure to Bromides, Dermatology 2001.
(14) Horowitz BZ et al., Bromism from Excessive Cola Consumption, Clinical Toxicology 1997.
(15)  Levin M., Transitory Schizophrenia Produced by Bromide Intoxication, Am J Psychiatry 1946.
(17) Abraham G., The Combined Measurement of the Four Stable Halides by the Ion-Selective
Electrode Procedure Following Their Chromatographic Separation on a Strong Anion Exchange
Resin: Clinical Application, The Original Internist 2006.
(18)  Morizono T et al., The Effects of Cetrimide and Potassium Bromate on the Potassium Ion
Concentration in the Inner Ear Fluid of the Guinea Pig, Physiol Bohemoslov 1988.
(19), Issue 6 2006.
(21)  Geter D et al., Kidney Toxicogenomics of Chronic Potassium Bromate Exposure in F334 Male
Rats, EIMS Meta Data Report 2006.
(22) .
(26) .
(27), Issue 6 2006.
The statements above have not been evaluated by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration.  The
supplements discussed are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.  Do not
take iodine without the supervision of an Iodine-Literate Doctor who is qualified to interpret lab
work in the context of supplementation. This website is intended as information only. The editors of
this site are not medically-trained. Please consult your licensed health care practitioner before
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Cancer Choices, Inc. Contact us for reprint permission. Web page updated October 9, 2007

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Innovative Research and Patient Advocacy

In the toxic 21th Century, the question must be raised, would we even have an iodine
deficiency without bromide dominance from the food supply and environment?
Paracelsus (1493 – 1541), referred to as “the father” of toxicology, is
credited with the concept, “The dose makes the poison.”

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