Tim Hortons lovers got a rude awakening with their Timbits last week when it was announced that traces of weed killer were found in Tim Hortons chocolate glazed Timbits, as well as a number of other beloved Canadian foods. 

READ ALSO: Canadians Are Roasting Tim Hortons For The Disastrous Look Of Their "Smile Cookies" This Year

But as it turns out, weed killer isn't the only potentially dangerous ingredient used by Tim Hortons. Two controversial additives are used in many of Timmie's products and some research has shown that they can even cause cancer. 

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TBHQ and BHT are two preservatives that are both officially approved for use in food, meaning the government thinks they're okay for us to consume. However, the possible danger of the additives has been greatly debated with some researching suggesting that they can cause cancer in lab animals. 

While it's not 100% certain how bad these two additives could be for humans, there is reputable research to suggest some pretty scary side effects from them.

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First let's take a look at TBHQ,  also known as Tertiary butylhydroquinone. This additive is used to keep iron-based foods from discolouring after a period of time, but a few different studies have looked at how dangerous it can be. 

In one government study, the Centers for Science in the Public Interest found that TBHQ caused tumours in lab rats. While that study only looked at test animals, another by the National Library of Medicine in the US found that the chemical caused vision disturbance in humans and also mentioned liver enlargement, convulsions, and paralysis as other risks. 

Meanwhile, the people behind the Feingold Diet, a food program used to allegedly control ADHD, believe that TBHQ is linked to the behavioural disorder and urge people who suffer from ADHD to avoid the additive altogether. 

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As for BHT, whose full name is butylated hydroxytoluene, it acts similarly to TBHQ in that it keeps foods, especially oils from oxidizing. And just TBHQ it is also thought to have some dangerous effects. 

BHT is commonly used in conjunction with another additive called BHA, which according to the US National Toxicology Program is reasonably suspected to cause cancer in humans. BHT, on the other hand, has been widely debating with some research suggesting that it could decrease cancers, but others showing it has the opposite effect. 

A report from the University of California also outlines the danger of the unknown, saying that since the full risks of consuming BHT are really unclear. The report states that it's best for humans to try to limit consumption of it, just in case, especially from foods that are unhealthy to begin with. 

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So, where do these potentially harmful foods show up in Tim Hortons food? According to the restaurants official full ingredient lists, the additives can be found in lots of popular menu items including cherry cheese danishes, cinnamon rolls, croissants and other pastries, almost all their donuts, in some sandwich buns, their chipotle sauce, and their chilli beef. 

READ ALSO: There's A Huge Online Scandal Surrounding Tim Hortons Timbits And Canadians Are Shook

In most cases with Tim Hortons, the TBHQ and BHT are found in either the oils or fats in their ingredients, meaning it is added to the food long before it gets to them. And in fairness to Tim Hortons, these additives can be found in lots of other foods as well, like butter, chips and crackers, and processed frozen foods. 

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But just because everyone is doing it, doesn't make it right. Tim Hortons is not the only establishment using harmful additives in their food, but that doesn't mean we should be consuming TBHQ and BHT without even thinking about it. Other companies have already stepped up to remove TBHQ from their foods and Tim's could follow suit. 

Back in 2015, cereal company General Mills, which produces cereals like Cheerios, Lucky Charms, Reese Puff's, and Fibre One, announced they would be removing BHT from their foods after they heard it was keeping people from buying their cereal.

*Cover photo for illustrative purposes only.

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