What Is Bromide Toxicity?
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Bromide Toxicity- Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Published on May 16, 2023 and last reviewed on Sep 08, 2023   -  5 min read


While bromide is an essential mineral for human health and is commonly found in trace amounts in some foods, it can be toxic at higher doses. Read to know more.


Bromide toxicity has been linked to various physical and mental health problems in humans, including thyroid disorders and brain fog. While bromide is an essential trace mineral for human health and is commonly found in some foods, it can become toxic at higher doses. In humans, bromide toxicity can lead to a range of symptoms, including headaches, fatigue, anxiety, depression, irritability, and memory problems. In severe cases, bromide toxicity can cause seizures and coma. Bromide toxicity is most commonly seen in people who work in industries where they are exposed to brominated chemicals (such as flame retardants) or who live near sources of environmental contamination (such as coal-fired power plants).

Where Is Bromide Found?

Bromide is a naturally occurring element that is found in trace amounts in the environment. It can be found in some minerals, such as bromine-rich brines and bromide-containing rocks. It is also present in some medications, such as sedatives and anticonvulsants (antiepileptic drugs).

Bromide can also be found in certain foods, such as seafood, grains, and nuts, as well as in some water sources. The levels of bromide in these sources are generally low and not harmful to human health. However, long-term exposure to high bromide levels from any source can lead to bromide toxicity and negative health effects.

What Are the Sources of Bromine?

There are several ways that humans can be exposed to bromine. One common way is through the ingestion of food that contains bromine residues, such as fruits and vegetables that have not been washed thoroughly or have not had their skin removed. Bromine can also be found in flour and other grains contaminated with bromine-containing pesticides. Bromine is also used as an additive in some foods, such as potassium bromate in bread dough, and can be found in certain personal care products like mouthwash, toothpaste, and hair dyes. In addition, bromine can be present in drinking water and in the air inside motor vehicles.

How Does Bromide Cause Toxicity?

Bromine is a naturally occurring element that can cause toxicity when an individual is exposed to high levels of it over a long period of time. When it enters the body, bromine can replace iodine, which can lead to an underactive thyroid gland. Bromine also has its own toxic effects on tissues, and there is some evidence that it may have cancer-inducing properties. It can affect the modulation of neurotransmitters in the brain, potentially causing emotional problems such as depression, psychosis, anxiety, and mood instability. Some cases of schizophrenia are also related to bromine toxicity.

What Are the Symptoms Of Bromide Toxicity?

The symptoms of bromide toxicity can vary depending on the level of exposure and the length of time that an individual has been exposed to high levels of bromide. Some common symptoms of bromide toxicity include:

In severe cases, bromide toxicity can also cause serious symptoms, such as:

  • Seizures.

  • Coma.

  • Kidney damage.

  • Respiratory failure.

Other symptoms of bromine toxicity can include:

  • Severe skin problems.

  • Anorexia.

  • Vague abdominal cramps.

  • Bloating.

  • Excessive fatigue.

  • An abnormal or metallic taste.

  • Unstable cardiac rhythms.

How To Diagnose Bromide Toxicity?

Bromide toxicity can be difficult to diagnose because the symptoms can be similar to those of other conditions. To diagnose bromide toxicity, the healthcare provider will inquire about medical history, including any medications that the patient is taking or has taken in the past and any potential exposures to bromide. They will also perform a physical examination and may order several tests to help diagnose bromide toxicity. These tests may include the following:

  • Blood Tests: Blood tests can measure the bromide levels in the body and help the healthcare provider to determine if the patient has been exposed to high bromide levels.

  • Urine Tests: Urine tests can also measure the bromide levels in the body and help the healthcare provider to determine if the patient has been exposed to high bromide levels.

  • Imaging Tests: Imaging tests, such as CT scans or MRIs, can help the healthcare provider to see if bromide has caused any damage to the patient’s organs.

  • Thyroid Function Tests: Bromide toxicity can affect the thyroid gland, so the healthcare provider may order thyroid function tests to check for any changes in thyroid hormones.

What is The Treatment For Bromide Toxicity?

Treating bromide toxicity typically involves supportive care to address symptoms and remove excess bromide from the body. This may include medications to control seizures, fluids to prevent dehydration, and medications to improve breathing. In severe cases, dialysis may be necessary to remove excess bromide from the blood. It is important to report to the healthcare provider as soon as possible if a person suspects they may have been exposed to high levels of bromide. The specific treatment will depend on the amount and duration of exposure, as well as the individual's symptoms and overall health.

How Can One Prevent the Toxicity Of Bromide?

By taking the precautions listed below, an individual can help reduce their risk of bromide toxicity and protect their health. Listed below are some methods of prevention:

  • Avoid Medications That Contain Bromide- If a person is taking a medication that contains bromide, they should talk to the healthcare provider about alternative options.

  • Limit Exposure To Bromide-Containing Products - Avoid using products that contain bromides, such as some flame retardants, pesticides, and cleaning products.

  • Choose Low-bromide Foods- Some foods, such as seafood, grains, and nuts, contain small amounts of bromide. To reduce the risk of bromide toxicity, choose low-bromide options when possible.

  • Drink Clean Water- Bromide can be found in some water sources. To reduce the risk of exposure to bromide, make sure to drink clean, filtered water.

  • Avoid Inhaling Bromine- Containing Fumes and Dust - If someone works in an industry that uses bromide-containing chemicals, follow proper safety protocols to protect them from inhaling fumes or dust.


Bromide toxicity is a condition that occurs when a person is exposed to high levels of bromide, either through ingestion, inhalation, or skin contact. Bromide is a chemical that is used in a variety of industrial and commercial products, including flame retardants, insecticides, and disinfectants. In large amounts, bromide can be toxic to humans and can cause a range of symptoms, including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, and coma. In severe cases, bromide toxicity can be life-threatening. To prevent bromide toxicity, it is important to follow safety protocols when working with bromide-containing chemicals and to avoid ingesting or inhaling large amounts of bromide.

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Last reviewed at:
08 Sep 2023  -  5 min read




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