Potassium Bromate

What Is It?

Sodium Bromate and Potassium Bromate are inorganic salts of bromic acid. Both of these salts are colorless and odorless crystals. In cosmetics and personal care products, Sodium Bromate and Potassium Bromate may be used in hair straighteners and permanet wave products.

Why Is It Used?

Sodium Bromate and Potassium Bromate are oxidizing agents that may be used in hair straightening or permanent wave products.

Scientific Facts

Sodium Bromate and Potassium Bromate are inorganic salts that act as oxidizing agents. Potassium Bromate is added to flour to strengthen the dough and allow higher rising. It is added at a level that will be used up as the bread is baked.

Safety Information

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) includes Potassium Bromate on its list of direct food additives. It may be used in the malting of barley. The FDA also premits Potassium Bromate to be added to flour that is used to bake bread. The safety of Sodium Bromate and Potassium Bromate has been assessed by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) Expert Panel. The CIR Expert Panel evaluated the scientific data and concluded that Sodium Bromate and Potassium Bromate may be used in permanent wave formulations at concentrations not to exceed 10.17%, measured as Sodium Bromate.

CIR Safety Review: Bromate was poorly absorbed through the skin in several in vivo and in vitro studies. Potassium Bromate was found to be mutagenic in a mammalian cell assay and in one of three bacterial strains tested. Potassium Bromate applied to the skin or injected subcutaneously was not carcinogenic. This is in contrast to positive results observed after oral dosing. The high reactivity and poor skin absorption of these oxidizing agents was considered the likely explanation for results between routes of exposure.

Potassium Bromate was at most a mild sensitizer. On the basis of the available information, the CIR Expert Panel concluded that these ingredients may be used in permanent wave formulations and similar products at concentrations not to exceed 10.17% measured as Sodium Bromate.

Link to FDA Code of Federal Regulations for Potassium Bromate

Potassium Bromate is not permitted for use in cosmetics and personal care products in the European Union (see Annex II). Sodium Bromate is not specifically listed in the Cosmetics Regulation of the European Union.

Link to the EU Cosmetic Regulation:

In Canada, products containing 600 mg Sodium Bromate or 50 mg Potassium Bromate must carry a warning label “to be kept out of the reach of children, and in case of accidental ingestion, a Poison Control Centre or physician is to be contacted immediately.” Products containing these ingredients must also be packaged in a child-resistant package.

Link to the Health Canada website: 


Find out more about the regulation of Food Additives by the Food and Drug Administration

Food Ingredients and Packaging: http://www.fda.gov/Food/IngredientsPackagingLabeling/default.htm

Food Contact Substances: http://www.fda.gov/Food/IngredientsPackagingLabeling/PackagingFCS/defaul…

Substances Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS): http://www.fda.gov/Food/IngredientsPackagingLabeling/GRAS/default.htm

Search the Code of Federal Regulations http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfcfr/cfrsearch.cfm

EU Cosmetics Inventory http://ec.europa.eu/consumers/cosmetics/cosing/