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What Is Food Grade Hydrogen Peroxide?

Updated on January 4, 2015

Hydrogen peroxide is a strong oxidizer, widely used as for rocket propulsion, as a go-to household cleaner, and as a commercial and personal bleaching agent. Though colorless and odorless, the extra oxygen molecule in H2O2 makes this particular chemical compound strong and highly reactive and therefore useful for many applications.

High concentrations of the compound, such as food grade peroxide, can decay tissue and other substances quickly. Pharmaceutical hydrogen peroxide is often sold in low concentrations of three percent in common drug stores, but food grade hydrogen peroxide (35 percent) can be obtained on the Internet and in some health stores.

The most common uses for food grade hydrogen peroxide in the food industry are as a bleaching agent, sterilization agent, and an antimicrobial agent. Products such as wheat flour, egg products, and oils are often bleached with hydrogen peroxide in the United States. Food grade hydrogen peroxide is also sprayed on the linings of food containers, particularly juice boxes, to sterilize the boxes. Products such as milk contain hydrogen peroxide to stave off bacteria. Because hydrogen peroxide decomposes rather quickly, using the product in these ways has been deemed safe.

Food grade hydrogen peroxide is the only kind of peroxide that can be ingested. Ingesting other concentrations or types of hydrogen peroxide, such as pharmaceutical grade or reagent grade, can be dangerous and even destroy human tissue. Food grade hydrogen peroxide is no different; it can be toxic in large quantities. So, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not recommend use of this type of hydrogen peroxide internally.

Despite the FDA’s warnings against the use of food grade hydrogen peroxide, many people believe that the strong oxidizing properties of H2O2 can be beneficial to the body. Proper levels of oxygen are needed for cell respiration and metabolism, for the body to convert food to energy and dispose of waste. Because oxygen is absolutely vital to healthy bodily function, proponents of bio-oxidative therapy believe that hydrogen peroxide can treat various ailments by adding extra oxygen to the body and therefore help the body to function better on a cellular level.

Some, like Dr. David Williams, a biochemist and chiropractor who is a leader in the natural healing circuit, believe that using hydrogen peroxide can be effective against or even cure serious diseases, including cancer and HIV. Dr. Williams suggests taking food grade hydrogen peroxide, in small amounts diluted in water, on an empty stomach. Too much peroxide can cause a stomach-ache or even tissue damage or burns throughout the digestive system.

Because there is not sufficient clinical evidence proving the health benefits of food grade hydrogen peroxide, the FDA does not approve the compound to be used or advertised as a medicinal product. The FDA warns that high-strength hydrogen peroxide can cause serious harm and even death if ingested or use intravenously.

When considering ingesting a chemical compound for its health benefits, one may not readily consider a compound that is also used as rocket propellant. But, with proper guidance, therapy regimens utilizing food grade hydrogen peroxide have been shown to be quite safe and beneficial.


The information provided in this hub is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult your physician or health care provider before taking any home remedies or supplements.


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