Food Additives – B
Bee products – pollen, honey, royal jelly, wax. Extraction of these substances all leads to deprivation or damage to the insects. Sugar is often substituted for the stolen honey, bees legs are sometimes torn off in pollen collection. Bees wax is derived from the honey comb meant to accommodate food stores and young of the insects. Used in lipsticks, many cosmetics, the wax can be easily substituted with paraffin (petroleum based) or vegetable oil, ceresin or carnauba wax. Beepollen is used in nutritional supplements, cosmetic products and toothpastes. 14, 3
Benzene – an aromatic hydrocarbon, benzene is used in solvents, toxic to humans and the environment. See Aromatic Hydrocarbons 3, 14
Benzoic acid – used in mouthwashes and deodorants, as a food preservative (210,211,212,213) and in medicines, contained in coal tar and resins, as benzoin. May be derived from vertebrates. Also added to soft drinks, processed juice and cordial. Sensitivity can provoke asthma and stomach pains. 3, 47, 48, 75
Benzoin – Often used in cough remedies, cosmetics, perfumes and incense. Obtained from a fragrant resin produced by trees native to eastern Asia, or synthetically. 3, 47
Benzyl alcohol – used in a great many medications as a preservative, as anaesthetic, and disinfectant. Also found in cosmetics as a preservative. Toxic to newborns and may result in cerebral palsy and developmental delay. 47
Betaine – alkaloid compound, found in sugar beet and other plants.
Biotin – Vitamin H, Vitamin B factor, derived from milk or yeast. Used in cosmetics and creams. 14, 3, 2
Blood – used in medicine, cheese-making, foam rubber manufacture, intravenous feeding, as an adhesive in plywood production, and sometimes as a source of lecithin. 14, 75
Bone ash/meal – used in some toothpastes, to make sugar white and in fish tank filters. Bone meal is a major ingredient in fertilisers and is found in some calcium supplements. See organic gardening for an alternative to fertilisers. 14, 3
Bran – or aleurone, the subdermal layer of the seed coat of grains, contains the most nutrients, but is unfortunately usually removed during processing 1, 3
Brand Names – despite their attempts to secure a place in our hearts as reliable, safe, honourable producers, a lot of popular brand names are both unethical in their practices and manufacture of products which use unnecessary animal testing and ingredients. see also Testing
Many famous brand products are produced in third world countries where labour is cheaper and environmental standards may not be as stringent as their home countries. Such was the case with Union Carbide, whose low standards of safety in their plant in Bopal, India, resulted in the fatal poisoning of thousands of people with cyanide gas in the 1980's.
Clothing and footwear manufacturers have been known to exploit workers in Asia, many of whom are very young, paying them as little as a dollar for fourteen hours work, to produce shoes such as Nike which sell for up to $200 a pair in the Western world. The exposure of such unethical practices has resulted in the industry being forced to make guarantees that this would not continue.
Nestle contributed to the deaths of infants in Africa, by their militant marketing of milk formulas as being better for babies than breast-milk, but not allowing for the inadequacies of education and water sterilisation in many places.
Jeremy Seabrook, in the New Internationalist claims that despite the vigilance of companies on the unlicensed use of their logos,
"… most transnationals do not distain to fake their own goods. Using their own logos and brand-names, inferior products are substituted for the originals…Savlon, from Johnson&Johnson…in India…contains both Quinoline Yellow WS and Sunset Yellow FCF (banned in Norway). The same thing is true of Dettol. Colgate toothpaste appears to consist principally of chalk and cloves. (Unilever) Wheel detergent is 42 percent salt, which adds nothing to its cleaning capacity. In the West, detergents must contain less than four percent insoluble matter."
(my comments in brackets)
Bread – the flour from which white bread and some whole grain breads has often been bleached to acheive that high degree of whitness which would normally occur at a slower pace. Benzoyl peroxide, chlorine or chlorine dioxide are often used for this purpose. 65
Bread often contains additives of animal origin or having potential health damaging consequences including:
223 sodium metabisulphite – all sulphites are linked to asthma
280 propionic acid – implicated in migraines, may be derived from animals
282 calcium propionate – as above
329 magnesium lactate – flour treatment agent, from Lactic acid found in milk
481 and 482 sodium and calcium stearoyl lactylate – flour treatment agent, animal derived
920 L-cysteine mono-hydrochloride – flour treatment agent, derived from hair and feathers 26, 43, 47
Bristles – 'natural' bristles are made from pig hair. Used in some toothbrushes, painting, artist's and shaving brushes. Nylon or Taklon synthetic alternatives are readily available and most often less expensive. 2, 3
Bronopol – a formaldehyde releasing microbial agent used in shampoos and conditioners, makeup bases and cleansing products. Known to cause dermatitis. See formaldehyde also. 47
BSE – bovine spongiform encephalopathy. Is thought to have been introduced to cows by the practice of feeding them meat products, unethical in the least, the disease causes nerve and brain degeneration and eventually death. Fear of transmission to humans has resulted in the slaughter of thousands of animals in the UK. 2
B12 – Vitamin B-12 is a micronutrient that is also referred to as Cobalamin and Cyanocobalamin. Vitamin B-12 is a water-soluble compound. Unlike the other B-vitamins which cannot be stored, but which must be replaced daily, vitamin B12 can be stored for long periods in the liver and kidneys. Plant foods do not contain vitamin B12 except when they are contaminated by microorganisms. A deficiency of B12 disrupts the formation of red blood cells, leading to reduced numbers of poorly formed red cells, leading to a anaemia. Symptoms of anaemia include fatigue, loss of appetite, diarrhoea and moodiness. However, "vitamin B12 deficiency is actually quite rare even among long-term vegans…Some researchers have even hypothesised that vegans are more efficient than the general public in absorbing vitamin B12. Certainly for other nutrients, such as iron, absorption is highest on low dietary intakes." (Vegetarian Resource Group) 2, 43, 58
Vitamin B12 is not found in vegetables, but for vegetarians can be found in spirulina, eggs, milk, fortified cereals or fortified soy milk.
Butyl compounds – Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA)and Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT) are the most widely used antioxidants, found in breakfast cereals, dry beverage mixes, cake mixes, candy, gum, margarine, glazed fruit, chips, peanuts, polyethylene food wraps, adhesives and vegetable oils. Not permitted in infant foods. In the top ten of most commonly used preservatives in cosmetics. Also used in many petroleum products including jet fuels, paints, adhesives, printing products and plastics. Known to accentuated tumour growth and cause liver damage in rat tests, may trigger hyperactivity, and other intolerances; serious concerns over carcinogenicity; BHA (additive no 320) is banned in Japan; in 1958 & 1963 official committees of experts recommended that BHT (additive no 321) be banned in the UK, however due to industry pressure it was not banned; McDonald's eliminated BHT from their US products by 1986. Also responsible for contact dermatitis in some people 40, 47. see also toxicity 'toluene'