Limiting Exposure to Hexane

If you’ve watched the news lately, you may have heard about the hexane poisoning of 137 workers at a Chinese plant that manufactures touch screens for smart phones. 

Hexane, according to government standards, only exposes us to mild toxicity when ingested and is most toxic when inhaled. 

However, long term exposure can cause extremity and muscle weakness, blurred vision, brain cell damage, nervous system inflammation and head ache and fatigue.  So what does this have to do with my food, you ask?

The chemical formula C6H14, hexane and other variations of the word, also known as 2-methylpentane, 3-methylpentane, 2-3 dimethylbutane or 2-2 dimethylbutane is most commonly used in the food industry to extract oils like grapeseed, canola and soy. 

It is a hydrocarbon vapor that is most commonly extracted from crude oil. 

It’s also very commonly used as a solvent in industrial cleaners, leather and shoe glue, tile and roofing adhesive.

What can you do to limit your exposure?

When looking for clean cooking oils, make sure that they are organic and read “cold pressed” or “expeller pressed” on the label to insure the cleanest extraction process was used.