(must read for cat owners - http://www.animalendocrine.com/yd/)
Until recently I had no idea that in the US, bromine has been added to bread for decades. In the past, iodine had been added to flour and salt, which helped cure America's "goiter belt". Then, for 'some reason' they took iodine out of bread and replaced it with bromine...
WASHINGTON - The Center for Science in the Public Interest today petitioned the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to prohibit the use of potassium bromate, which is used to strengthen bread dough. CSPI charged that the FDA has known for years that bromate causes cancers in laboratory animals, but has failed to ban it.
Bromate was first found to cause tumors in rats in 1982. Subsequent studies on rats and mice confirmed that it causes tumors of the kidney, thyroid, and other organs. Instead of banning bromate, since 1991 the FDA — with only partial success — has urged bakers to voluntarily stop using it.
BROMINE: BACKGROUND INFORMATION
Bromine is a nonessential chemical element, but is found in relatively large amounts in the food supply where it is a component of many pesticides and fumigants; bromine is also present in many pharmaceuticals and organic chemicals such as flame retardants, and is also used as a disinfectant in hot tubs. Potassium bromate is an additive in commercial baking flour. As a consequence, most individuals have a considerable body burden of bromine.
Bromine is quickly distributed throughout body tissues where it displaces chlorine and iodine. Bromine interferes with the uptake and utilization of iodine by tissues, since it is similar in size and chemical reactivity, to iodine.
Data on elimination of bromine from the body are scanty, but urine is the principal route of excretion for iodine; urine contains relatively large amounts of bromine and due to its similarity to iodine, urine is also expected to be the principal excretion route for bromine.
Bromine accumulation may present with neurologic symptoms such as irritability, restlessness, weakness, and stupor. Other symptoms and signs include nausea, anorexia and skin rashes. Since it may displace iodine from binding sites, bromine excess may present with signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism.
RATIO: BROMINE/IODINE (Br/I)
There is some support for the notion that iodine "displaces" bromine. Data analysis at RMA indicates that bromine and iodine are positively correlated: higher bromine excretion is associated with hgiher iodine excretion. Abraham has also published research indicating that iodine supplementation increases bromine excretion.(Abraham GE. “Iodine supplementation markedly increases urinary excretion of fluoride and bromide.” Townsend Letter, 2003; 238:108-109).
The median "background" ratio, in persons who are not supplementing with iodine, is approximately 10 to 12. Here, the ratio is 5.5. Higher ratios might be expected in individuals supplementing with iodine but may also be seen when iodine excretion is markedly low. Lower ratios, especially in the face of iodine supplementation, might indicate a lower body burden of bromine, but this needs to be confirmed by additional research.
So bromine is harmful because it fights with iodine for absorption by your organs (and has no use in the human body, whereas iodine is vital). The same is true of chlorine and fluorine (fluoride). I found this stuff out last year while digging to see what I could do to help my gut; while iodine itself probably isn't an issue for me, I resolved to get a filter that removes chlorine from drinking water since it can harm the beneficial bacteria in your intestines.
Based on studies of chlorine's effects on human cells, the Environmental Protection Agency sets the safe level in drinking water at no more than four parts per million. Even that dilute level can wipe out lots other life forms, however, as anyone knows who has filled a goldfish bowl from the tap.
There's no debate that chlorinating our water kills off a wide array of malignant bacteria—just try drinking the tap water in countries that don't fully disinfect it. Much less is known, however, about chlorine's effect on good bacteria that help preserve healthy digestive systems. We simply don't know enough about the microbial ecosystem in the human gut to identify every type of bacteria that's important, much less how well those bacteria survive when we guzzle mildly chlorinated tap water.
As for that familiar foe, sodium fluoride...
Dr. Kenezy Gyula Korhaz states that iodine chelates heavy metals such as mercury, lead, cadmium, aluminum, and halogens such as fluoride and bromide, thus decreasing their iodine-inhibiting effects, especially of the halogens. Iodine has the highest atomic weight of all the common halogens (126.9). Iodine is the only option when it comes to removing these toxic haloids from the thyroid and even the pineal gland where fluoride concentrates, especially when there is a deficiency of iodine in the body.
The human pineal gland contains the highest concentration of fluoride in the body. Fluoride is associated with depressed pineal melatonin synthesis and this depression increases one’s chance of cancer.
Dr. David Brownstein says that fluoride inhibits the ability of the thyroid gland to concentrate iodine and research has shown that fluoride is much more toxic to the body when there is iodine deficiency present. Brownstein says that after only one dose of iodine, the excretion of fluoride increases by 78%.
On January 7, 2011, the US Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) proposed lowering the recommended level used in the water fluoridation program to 0.7 ppm, because of the very high incidence of dental fluorosis among American children. An amazing 41% of ALL American children aged 12-15 are now impacted by this condition.
As with all holistic health topics, it can be a bit worrying but it's important not to overreact with things like this. The human body needs close to 100 vitamins and minerals that we know of, this is just one. Actually, reading that list and the tiny trace elements required makes me think how difficult space exploration would be for humans if we are allowed to get that far again.