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Potassium bromate

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Title: Potassium bromate  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: Potassium chlorate, Potassium, Bromates, King Arthur Flour, Potassium phosphate
Collection: Bromates, Food Additives, Iarc Group 2B Carcinogens, Oxidizing Agents, Potassium Compounds
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Potassium bromate

Potassium bromate
IUPAC name
Potassium bromate
Other names
Potassium bromate(V)
Bromic acid, potassium salt
ChemSpider  Y
EC number 231-829-8
Jmol-3D images Image
RTECS number EF8725000
UN number 1484
Molar mass 167.00 g/mol
Appearance white crystalline powder
Density 3.27 g/cm3
Melting point 350 °C (662 °F; 623 K)
Boiling point 370 °C (698 °F; 643 K) (decomposes)
3.1 g/100 mL (0 °C)
6.91 g/100 mL (20 °C)
13.3 g/100 mL (40 °C)
49.7 g/100 mL (100 °C)
Solubility slightly soluble in alcohol
insoluble in acetone, ethanol
-342.5 kJ/mol
Safety data sheet ICSC 1115
Carc. Cat. 2
Toxic (T)
Oxidant (O)
R-phrases R45 R9 R25
S-phrases S53 S45
NFPA 704
Flash point Non-flammable
Lethal dose or concentration (LD, LC):
LD50 (Median dose)
157 mg/kg (oral, rat)[1]
Except where otherwise noted, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C [77 °F], 100 kPa).
 N  (: Y/N?)

Potassium bromate (KBrO3), is a bromate of potassium and takes the form of white crystals or powder.


  • Preparation 1
  • Uses in baking 2
  • Regulation 3
  • References 4


Potassium bromate is produced by passing bromine into a solution of potassium hydroxide. An industrial electrolytic process is used for large scale production.

Alternatively, it can be created as a by-product of potassium bromide production by absorption of bromine from ocean water into potassium carbonate.

Uses in baking

Although banned for use in foods by many countries, in the USA Potassium bromate is typically used as a flour improver (E number E924). It acts to strengthen the dough and to allow higher rising. It is an oxidizing agent, and under the right conditions, will be completely used up in the baking bread. However, if too much is added, or if the bread is not baked long enough or not at a high enough temperature, then a residual amount will remain, which may be harmful if consumed . Potassium bromate might also be used in the production of malt barley where the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has prescribed certain conditions where it may be used safely, which includes labeling standards for the finished malt barley product.[2] It is a very powerful oxidizer (E° = 1.5 volts comparable to potassium permanganate).

A dramatic reaction to the use of potassium bromate in baked goods was famously[3] portrayed in an episode of Fringe (TV series), wherein a main character, upon reading the ingredients on a box mass-produced, strawberry-flavored toaster pastries, exclaims: "Death! Delicious, strawberry-flavored death!"[4][5]


Potassium bromate is classified as a category 2B carcinogen (possibly carcinogenic to humans) by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).[6]

Potassium bromate has been banned from use in food products in the European Union, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Nigeria,[7] South Korea, Peru and some other countries. It was banned in Sri Lanka in 2001[8] and China in 2005.

In the United States of America, it has not been banned. The FDA sanctioned the use of bromate before the Delaney clause of the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act—which bans potentially carcinogenic substances— went into effect in 1958. But since 1991 the FDA has urged bakers to voluntarily stop using it. In California a warning label is required when bromated flour is used.[9]

Japanese baked goods manufacturers stopped using potassium bromate voluntarily in 1980; however, Yamazaki Baking resumed its use in 2005, claiming they had new production methods to reduce the amount of the chemical which remained in the final product.[10]


  1. ^
  2. ^ Section 172.730 Potassium Bromate, Food Additives Permitted for Direct Addition to Food for Human Consumption, US Code of Federal Regulations, US Food and Drug Administration
  3. ^ "5 Things That Were Awesome In Last Week's Fringe".  
  4. ^ Fringe Season 2, Episode 21: "Northwest Passage" 6 May 2010
  5. ^ Powell, Bonnie. "Health risks of potassium bromate maybe not so ‘Fringe’".  
  6. ^ IARC--Summaries & Evaluations: Potassium Bromate (Group 2B), International Agency for Research on Cancer
  7. ^
  8. ^ Bridges Across Borders, Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide
  9. ^ California OEHHA Bromate Meets the Criteria for Listing
  10. ^ AsiaPulse News: Japan's Yamazaki Baking to use potassium bromate in bread
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