Bromide Toxicity: A Killer in Our Midst

by Out Origin

Bromide is all around us and is found in many different forms, including salts with other cationic species. It also produces strong acids like hydrobromic acid (HBr), or weaker hypobromous acid (HOBr). These substances usually have very soluble properties that allow them to mix well and easily enter the solution from their surroundings.

Presence of Bromine

Bromide Presence


The bromide toxins in seawater are generally found at lower concentrations than the chloride, but still exceed average values by quite a bit. Some places have higher levels between 65 mg/l - 80 mg /L, making for an exciting chemistry experiment when mixed with water.

Bromine is found in most waters, but it can be extremely high or low depending on how much salt is used to make the water. For example, bromides are often present at low concentrations when coming from desalinated sources like cities that use frozen chloride ponds for their supply instead of natural rainfall.

The typical daily dietary intake of bromide in the United States is somewhat low from grains, nuts, and fish. A study found that Dutchmen consume more than that on average - making their diets much richer. This difference may explain why Bottle-Feeding infants have lower levels than those fed directly through breastfeeding.

Bromide Toxicity in Humans and Animals

Bromide in Humans & Pets

Bromides are still used today to treat epilepsy and other conditions. They were once also widely accepted as a medication. Bromism (chronic bromide intoxication) was quite common until it came under consideration for its adverse effects on mental health. As a result, this led many countries to ban or restrict its use from being marketed without a prescription. However therapeutic benefits may exist, but they only last temporarily before you become dependent on continued exposure, which can have severe consequences if taken improperly.

Bromide is found in photographic chemicals, well-water, and brominated vegetable oils. Bromides can move from one place to another through ingestion or inhalation, resulting in bromide toxicity if a sufficient amount is ingested over time.

This type of contamination may have been reported by workers who handled these compounds  as fumigants for storing food items at home without proper ventilation systems. However, it would never cause any significant health problems in low amounts unless combined with other factors like high sodium intake.

 Also Read: Does Your Breakfast Contain Poisonous Potassium Bromate 

How does toxicity happen:

Bromine Poison in Humans

Bromide is a mineral found in our bodies that can substitute for chloride. It promotes nerve transmissions by relaxing membrane tension. In doing so they don't prevent information from being sent across connections between cells or muscle fibers with each heartbeat. Unfortunately, this means higher levels may inflict toxic impacts of bromide, which would have detrimental effects on brain activity.

Bromide is a salt that accumulates in the body and can be found throughout your organs, bones, and skin. It has been estimated to have a mid-low elimination rate which means its half-life is around 9-12 days, and the mode of clearance is urine or other bodily fluids. It is also released through breast milk and may end up causing neonatal bromism in newborns.

Toxic Dose: It is important to note that one death has been reported after ingestion of around 4 doses or more sodium bromide. Chronic consumption of higher doses per day may cause 'bromism,' which leads people into fits of euphoria and happiness and makes them prone to mood swings and other symptoms such as nausea and vomiting. The bromide toxicity symptoms from Acute oral overdose may include nausea and vomiting from gastric irritation, while chronic intoxication can also result in various neurologic or psychiatric effects.

 Also Read: Household Items That Contain Bromine


Effects of Bromide toxicity:
Effects Of Bromine Toxicity

  • The neurologic and psychiatric effects of bromide toxicity are restlessness, irritability, or inability to concentrate. Patients have also reported hallucinations that can be diverse, from hearing voices to being convinced someone is controlling how you think & feel about yourself.
  • bromine toxicity symptoms also include confusion alongside noting down things incorrectly; weakness leading to disability if not appropriately treated - stupor or coma.
  • Gastrointestinal effects of bromide toxicity can be both short-term and long-term. For example, nausea associated with acute ingestion will subside after one passes out, while chronic use may result in constipation or diarrhea, depending on your body.
  • The skin may be affected by various rashes, including acneiform and pustular. Up to 25% percent have been reported in patients with this condition.



Bromine Poisoning Diagnosis

  • When a patient has high serum chloride and anion gap, it is often due to interference from bromide in their analysis.
  • The threshold for detection by usual methods is 50 mg/L, but some clinical laboratories may use assays with an increased sensitivity that can detect lower levels.
  • For example, lower molecules count per liter will show up much higher on the meter. Therapeutic values should range from 20-200 mEq (2 -4 Sigmas) above 3000 mg/l; any more than this could be fatal.



Bromine Toxicity Treatment

  • If the person is not breathing or has stopped moving, put them in a drowning position to protect their airways. 
  • There are no specific supplements or antidotes for high bromide levels, but chloride will help excrete the excess. Also, a healthy diet should be adopted and one can consult a doctor on  how to maintain and improve body immunity.
  • It is important to remember that activated charcoal does not adsorb inorganic bromide ions, but it may be able to trap organic ones.
  • Bromide is a chemical found in many water filters and can have dangerous side effects. The kidney eliminates it, but there are ways to reduce it with fluids, which could help you feel better if bromine poisoning has caused any issues for your health.
  • Hemodialysis is an effective treatment for patients with kidney problems or severe bromine toxicity symptoms. Hemoperfusion isn't as good, but it's still worth trying if you're out of options. Other ways include eating vitamins or minerals that help excrete bromine.


What to do for Bromine Poisoning exposure? 

What To Do For Bromine Exposure


  • The best way to avoid adverse health effects from exposure to bromine toxins is by moving quickly and steadily outside in fresh air. If you were indoors when released, get out as soon as possible - Bromine will sink low, so the high ground is essential.
  • The emergency person will tell you to either leave or stay in place as they try and protect those around them from exposure.
  • The health risks from bromine exposure are severe. You should remove any clothing that may be contaminated with this chemical and wash quickly using soap and water to reduce your risk for infection or other complications.
  • Quickly take off your clothes that might have bromine on them, and if you are assisting someone else - do the same. If you need to pull over a cloth for yourself, cut it away from the body instead of pulling it up to avoid contacting any contaminated areas.
  • When you're done washing, dry off quickly with a clean towel. If there are still chemicals on your skin from bromine or any other reason (like swimming in contaminated water), then thoroughly wash for a decent amount of time. Don’t forget to remove items like eyeglasses or jewelry. 
  • After washing yourself, put your clothing in a bag to avoid touching contaminated areas. 
  • The best way to protect yourself and others from chemicals on your clothes is by disposing of them in a double sealed bag.
  • When the authorities arrive, tell them about the clothes. The health department or emergency personnel will take care of it from there.


How to prevent toxicity:

You can't immune yourself from Bromine toxicity, but here are some ways to restrict exposure.

  • Avoid brominated products and always read labels.
  • Minimizing your exposure to bromine-containing pesticides is vital for the safety of yourself and those around you. Also, buy produce from reputable stores and thoroughly wash all vegetables and fruits before consumption (peel the skin if possible).
  • The safest way to store your water is in glass or tin vessels. It will stay fresh longer if you don't put it into plastic bottles, which also helps keep out bromine. Also, steer clear of carbonated beverages.
  • Check the ingredients and label of all baked goods and flour or wheat, and ensure they don't contain bromine. Do the same with beauty and body products as well.
  • The water in your hot tub or sauna is probably clean, but you should install an ozone purification system to make sure. Bromine toxins can still get into the pools even with all of these measures- installing one will help avoid contamination and keep things safe.
  • The easiest way to get rid of bromine is by ventilating your building. You can do this with open windows or an exchange system that swaps out inside air for fresh air outside, so it's constantly blowing purer than what you would find inside a home without such ventilation systems.
  • Mold and mildew are other common sources that will make their way into buildings through humidifiers. 



Bromine is a by-product of common chemical processes and can be found in many places. It's also present when you swim, but there are ways to limit your exposure. You can also adopt immune boosting supplements to strengthen your immunity.

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