Antimony Poisoning Risk: Toxic Antimony in Foods We Eat

Is there a risk of antimony poisoning from antimony in food? A study by Shotyk et al. reported that there are elevated levels of antimony in drinking water bottled in PET containers.

Antimony poisoning has resulted in the past from drinking fruit juices which contained a high level of acid. Antimony poisoning has symptoms similar to arsenic poisoning.

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Antimony is a metal that is found in the earth’s crust. Most people are exposed to antimony at low levels every day in food, air and water.  It is used as a catalyst (it speeds up chemical reactions) in the production of PET containers. A study by Shotyk et al. reported that there are elevated levels of antimony in drinking water bottled in PET containers.

Antimony Electron Shell-Image via Wikipedia

Although the levels of antimony in water from PET bottles was below the danger threshold, it was still 90 times greater than the level of antimony found in water from other kinds of containers, such as glass.

The longer that water, or juice, is stored in a PET bottle, is the more that antimony is leached from the container.

Antimony also has other uses. It is used as a flame retardant in plastics and textiles and in enamels for glass and metals.

People react differently to chemicals like antimony. The effect that antimony has on someone’s body will be determined by factors such as the length of time that the person has been exposed to antimony, the dosage of antimony, the person’s habits and the person’s level of exposure to other chemicals.

Antimony poisoning can occur when persons are constantly exposed to the toxin over a period of time.

Food as Medicine: The Poisons in Our Food

When persons breathe antimony in over an extended period, for example at their workplace, it irritates the lungs and can eventually lead to problems with the lungs, stomach and heart. Antimony poisoning can cause vomiting, stomach pain and stomach ulcers. Traces of antimony have been found on toys for children


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Antimony trioxide is suspected to cause cancer. In short term studies with animals, those that breathed high levels of antimony had damage to the liver, heart, kidneys and lungs. In long term studies the animals had hair loss, eye irritation, heart problems and lung damage.

There are tests that can show whether persons have been exposed to antimony. Antimony can be found in the feces, blood and urine of persons for several days following exposure.

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Published in: Consumer Information


RSSComments: 4  |  Post a Comment
  1. Shotyk also found that lead leaches out of glass. In about the same amounts. Take your pick!

  2. Lots of contaminants all over the place. :-(

  3. Geez, take your pick is right. It’s hard to do anything anymore without exposing ourselves to some type of toxin! Great article!

  4. Thanks Prism.

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