I have been doing some online research and until now I had been neutral about bleached flour. I have followed Rose’s arguments. That the chlorine evaporates and is gone by the time the flour reaches the consumer. That we all drink chlorine in municipal water systems. Here is one abstract from a scientific paper that I found.
Chlorinated fatty acids have been found to be major contributors to organohalogen compounds in fish, bivalves, jellyfish, and lobster, and they have been indicated to contribute considerably to organohalogens in marine mammals. Brominated fatty acids have been found in marine sponges. Also, chlorinated lipids have been found in meat exposed to hypochlorite disinfected water, and in chlorine-treated flour and in products made from such flour. Following exposure to chlorine bleached pulp mill effluents, aquatic organisms may have elevated concentrations of chlorinated fatty acids in their lipids. However, a natural production of halogenated fatty acids is also possible. In this paper we summarize the present knowledge of the occurrence of halogenated fatty acids in lipids and suggested ways of their formation. In Part II (Trends Anal. Chem. 16 (1997) 274) we deal with methods of their determination.
Emphasis is mine. Further reading in other papers reveals that chlorine reacts not just with lipids but with proteins as well. The health effects of the compounds that can be formed is not well understood but there are indications that significant health effects are possible. The tendency of lipids to be stored by the body leads me to fear that exposures can be cumulative.
I haven’t been able to discover the European reasoning on this issue. Their regulatory philosophy is different there from the US. In most cases manufacturers must demonstrate the safety of their products. Whereas in the US the FDA must demonstrate harm. The European system is the one I prefer.
In summary. I don’t care how much better the texture is or how much better the cake may taste. Until manufacturers conduct studies that demonstrate the safety of bleached flour my enjoyment of their product would be colored by this uncertainty. I will not use bleached flour.