Are you eating toxic food dyes?

Food dyes are one of the most widely used and dangerous additives.

Every year, food manufacturers pour 15 million pounds of artificial food dyes into U.S. foods — and that amount only factors in eight different varieties, according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest. These dyes are so common in U.S. foods (especially kids’ foods) that parents do not think twice about serving rainbow-colored cereal or fluorescent-blue juice; nor do adults consider bright-orange cheese puffs out of the ordinary.

Food dyes are one of the most widely used and dangerous additives. While the European Union has recently placed regulations on labeling food dyes in order to inform consumers of the health risks, there are no such requirements in the U.S.

Here are some of the most common food dyes used today, according to the Food Freedom Network:

Blue #1 (Brilliant Blue) — An unpublished study suggested the possibility that this dye caused kidney tumors in mice. It is found in baked goods, beverages, dessert powders, candies, cereal, drugs and other products.

Blue #2 (Indigo Carmine) — This dye causes a statistically significant incidence of tumors, particularly brain gliomas, in male rats. It is commonly used in colored beverages, candies, pet food, and other food and drugs.

Citrus Red #2 — It is toxic to rodents at modest levels and has caused tumors of the urinary bladder and possibly other organs. It is added to the skins of Florida oranges.

Green #3 (Fast Green) — This additive caused significant increases in bladder and testes tumors in male rats. It is found in drugs, personal care products, externally applied cosmetic products (except in the eye area), lipstick, candies, beverages, ice cream and sorbet.

Red #3 (Erythrosine) — Recognized in 1990 by the FDA as a thyroid carcinogen in animals, this dye is banned in cosmetics and externally applied drugs. It is used in sausage casings, oral medication, maraschino cherries, baked goods and candies.

Red #40 (Allura Red) — This is the most widely used and consumed dye. It may accelerate the appearance of immune-system tumors in mice. It also causes hypersensitivity (allergy-like) reactions in some consumers and might trigger hyperactivity in children. It is found in beverages, bakery goods, dessert powders, candies, cereals, foods, drugs and cosmetics.

Yellow #5 (Tartrazine) — This can sometimes cause severe hypersensitivity reactions and might trigger hyperactivity and other behavioral effects in children. It is added to pet foods, numerous bakery goods, beverages, dessert powders, candies, cereals, gelatin desserts and many other foods, as well as pharmaceuticals and cosmetics.

Yellow #6 (Sunset Yellow) — This caused adrenal tumors in animals and occasionally causes severe hypersensitivity reactions. It is found in colored bakery goods, cereals, beverages, dessert powders, candies, gelatin desserts, sausage, cosmetics and drugs.

Sources: Food Freedom Network February 3, 2011, Center for Science in the Public Interest “Food Dyes: A Rainbow of Risks” and February 24, 2011.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 30, Number 2, April/May 2011.

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