By Becky Bell
Artificial food dyes are responsible for the bright colors of candy, sports drinks and baked goods.
They're even used in certain brands of pickles, smoked salmon and salad dressing, as well as medications.
In short, they're everywhere.
The topic is highly controversial and there are many conflicting opinions about the safety of food dyes. This article separates the fact from fiction.
What Are Food Dyes?
Food dyes are chemical substances that were developed to enhance the appearance of food by giving it artificial color.
People have added colorings to food for centuries, but the first artificial food colorings were created in 1856 from coal tar.
Nowadays, food dyes are made from petroleum.
Over the years, hundreds of artificial food dyes have been developed, but a majority of them have since been found to be toxic. There are only a handful of artificial dyes that are still used in food.
Food manufacturers often prefer artificial food dyes over natural food colorings, such as beta carotene and beet extract, because they produce a more vibrant color.
However, there is quite a bit of controversy regarding the safety of artificial food dyes. All of the artificial dyes that are currently used in food have gone through testing for toxicity in animal studies.
Regulatory agencies, like the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), have concluded that the dyes do not pose significant health risks.
Not everyone agrees with that conclusion. Interestingly, some food dyes are deemed safe in one country, but banned from human consumption in another, making it extremely confusing to assess their safety.
Bottom Line: Food dyes are petroleum-derived substances that give color to food. The safety of food dyes is highly controversial.
Dyes That Are Currently Used in Food
- Red No. 3 (Erythrosine): A cherry-red coloring commonly used in candy, popsicles and cake-decorating gels.
- Red No. 40 (Allura Red): A dark red dye that is used in sports drinks, candy, condiments and cereals.
- Yellow No. 5 (Tartrazine): A lemon-yellow dye that is found in candy, soft drinks, chips, popcorn and cereals.
- Yellow No. 6 (Sunset Yellow): An orange-yellow dye that is used in candy, sauces, baked goods and preserved fruits.
- Blue No. 1 (Brilliant Blue): A greenish-blue dye used in ice cream, canned peas, packaged soups, popsicles and icings.
- Blue No. 2 (Indigo Carmine): A royal blue dye found in candy, ice cream, cereal and snacks.
The most popular food dyes are Red 40, Yellow 5 and Yellow 6. These three make up 90 percent of all the food dye used in the U.S. (3).
A few other dyes are approved in some countries, but banned in others. Green No. 3, also known as Fast Green, is approved by the FDA but banned in Europe.
Quinoline Yellow, Carmoisine and Ponceau are examples of food colorings allowed in the EU but banned in the US.
Bottom Line: There are six artificial food dyes that are approved by both the FDA and the EFSA. Red 40, Yellow 5 and Yellow 6 are the most common.
Food Dyes May Cause Hyperactivity in Sensitive Children
In 1973, a pediatric allergist claimed that hyperactivity and learning problems in children were caused by artificial food colorings and preservatives in food.
At the time, there was very little science to back up his claim, but many parents adopted his philosophy.
The doctor introduced an elimination diet as a treatment for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The diet eliminates all artificial food colorings, along with a few other artificial ingredients.
One of the earliest studies, published in 1978, found no changes in children's behavior when they were given a dose of artificial food dyes (6).
Since then, several studies have found a small but significant association between artificial food dyes and hyperactivity in children (1).
A small study found that 73 percent of children with ADHD showed a decrease in symptoms when artificial food dyes and preservatives were eliminated (8).
Another study found that food dyes, along with sodium benzoate, increased hyperactivity in both 3-year-olds and a group of 8- and 9-year-olds (9).
However, because these study participants received a mixture of ingredients, it is difficult to determine what caused the hyperactivity.
Tartrazine, also known as Yellow 5, has been associated with behavioral changes including irritability, restlessness, depression and difficulty with sleeping (10).
What's more, a 2004 analysis of 15 studies concluded that artificial food dyes do increase hyperactivity in children (11).
Yet it appears that not all children react the same way to food dyes. Researchers at Southampton University found a genetic component that determines how food dyes affect a child (12).
While effects from food dyes have been observed in children with and without ADHD, some children seem much more sensitive to dyes than others (1).
Despite this, both the FDA and the EFSA have stated there is currently not sufficient evidence to conclude that artificial food dyes are unsafe.
Their regulatory agencies work on the premise that a substance is safe until proven harmful. However, there is certainly sufficient evidence to raise some concern.
Interestingly, in 2009 the British government began encouraging food manufacturers to find alternative substances to color food. As of 2010, in the UK a warning is required on the label of any food that contains artificial food dyes.
Bottom Line: Studies suggest there is a small but significant association between artificial food dyes and hyperactivity in children. Some children seem to be more sensitive to dyes than others.
Do Food Dyes Cause Cancer?
The safety of artificial food dyes is highly controversial.
However, the studies that have evaluated the safety of food dyes are long-term animal studies.
Nevertheless, other dyes may be more concerning.
Concerns About Blue 2 and Red 3
An animal study on Blue 2 found a statistically significant increase in brain tumors in the high-dose group compared to the control groups, but the researchers concluded there was not enough evidence to determine whether Blue 2 caused the tumors (20).
Based on this research, the FDA issued a partial ban on erythrosine in 1990, but later removed the ban. After reviewing the research, they concluded that the thyroid tumors were not directly caused by erythrosine (24, 25, 26, 27).
In the U.S., Red 3 has mostly been replaced by Red 40, but it is still used in Maraschino cherries, candies and popsicles.
Some Dyes May Contain Cancer-Causing Contaminants
While most food dyes did not cause any adverse effects in toxicity studies, there is some concern about possible contaminants in the dyes (28).
Red 40, Yellow 5 and Yellow 6 may contain contaminants that are known cancer-causing substances. Benzidine, 4-aminobiphenyl and 4-aminoazobenzene are potential carcinogens that have been found in food dyes (3, 29, 30, 31, 32).
These contaminants are allowed in the dyes because they are present in low levels, which are presumed to be safe (3).
More Research is Needed
Artificial food dye consumption is on the rise, especially among children. Consuming too much food dye containing contaminants could pose a health risk.
However, with the exception of Red 3, there is currently no convincing evidence that artificial food dyes cause cancer.
Nevertheless, note that most of the studies evaluating the safety of food dyes were performed decades ago.
Since then, the intake of dyes has dramatically increased and often multiple food dyes are combined in a food, along with other preservatives.
Bottom Line: With the exception of Red 3, there is currently no conclusive evidence that artificial food dyes cause cancer. More research needs to be done based on the increasing consumption of food dyes.
By Kayla Wiles
What if paint could cool off a building enough to not need air conditioning?
<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="835862ffe8b025c2f0ae633c999ecb08"><iframe lazy-loadable="true" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/caFzYvYAUo4?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>The paint would not only send heat away from a surface, but also away from Earth into deep space where heat travels indefinitely at the speed of light. This way, heat doesn't get trapped within the atmosphere and contribute to global warming. A video about this project is available on <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=caFzYvYAUo4&feature=youtu.be" target="_blank">YouTube</a>.</p><p>"We're not moving heat from the surface to the atmosphere. We're just dumping it all out into the universe, which is an infinite heat sink," said Xiangyu Li, a postdoctoral researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who worked on this project as a Ph.D. student in Ruan's lab.</p><p>Earth's surface would actually get cooler with this technology if the paint were applied to a variety of surfaces including roads, rooftops and cars all over the world, the researchers said.</p>
An infrared camera image shows that white radiative cooling paint developed by Purdue University researchers (left, purple) can stay cooler in direct sunlight compared with commercial white paint. Purdue University image / Joseph Peoples<p>In a paper published Wednesday (Oct. 21) in the journal <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.xcrp.2020.100221" target="_blank">Cell Reports Physical Science</a>, the researchers show that compared with commercial white paint, the paint that they developed can maintain a lower temperature under direct sunlight and reflect more ultraviolet rays.</p><p>Their proof is infrared camera images taken of the two paints in rooftop experiments.</p><p>"An infrared camera gives you a temperature reading just like a thermometer would to judge if someone has a fever. These readings confirmed that our paint has a lower temperature than both its surroundings and the commercial counterpart," Ruan said.</p><p>Commercial "heat rejecting paints" currently on the market reflect only 80%-90% of sunlight and cannot achieve temperatures below their surroundings. The white paint that Purdue researchers created reflects 95.5% sunlight and efficiently radiates infrared heat. </p>
- Paint: The Big Source of Ocean Microplastics You Didn't Know About ›
- Researchers Develop Solar Paint That Turns Water Vapor Into ... ›
- Can Reflective Roofing Save Energy and Help the Environment? ›
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
The extremely active 2020 hurricane season has another storm in store for the beleaguered Gulf Coast.
- Hurricane Delta Floods Parts of Louisiana Still Recovering From ... ›
- Hurricane Delta's Rapid Intensification Is Fueled by Climate Change ... ›
- Hurricane Delta Breaks Record for Earliest 25th Named Storm ... ›
- Pence Dismisses Climate Action at RNC as Hurricane Hits Gulf Coast ›
Plain Naturals is making waves in the CBD space with a new product line for retail customers looking for high potency CBD products at industry-low prices.
Is More CBD Really Better?<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDU2ODQyNC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYzMzYxMDMzN30.6B08i5QYW_Iq5bUf3qtm8oK8o6FKsRUZ74gdakgJ_TY/img.jpg?width=980" id="0ef5b" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="bac86abf3ce246742b18b0dc4052f4dd" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Plain Naturals offers a 5000mg CBD oil tincture in 30ml bottle for $99.99.<p>Consumers have gotten used to paying high prices for low amounts of cannabidiol. Plain Naturals is beginning to change that. There are myriad <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5569602/%23:~:text=Chronic%2520use%2520and%2520high%2520doses,be%2520well%2520tolerated%2520by%2520humans.&text=Nonetheless%252C%2520some%2520side%2520effects%2520have,vitro%2520or%2520in%2520animal%2520studies." target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer nofollow">studies</a> showing that low doses of CBD (less than 50mg per day) are ineffective for many users. And many clinical <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5569602/%23:~:text=Chronic%2520use%2520and%2520high%2520doses,be%2520well%2520tolerated%2520by%2520humans.&text=Nonetheless%252C%2520some%2520side%2520effects%2520have,vitro%2520or%2520in%2520animal%2520studies." target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer nofollow">studies</a> have shown effective dosages of 100 - 800mg per day to be effective for many conditions ranging from <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5569602/%23:~:text=Chronic%2520use%2520and%2520high%2520doses,be%2520well%2520tolerated%2520by%2520humans.&text=Nonetheless%252C%2520some%2520side%2520effects%2520have,vitro%2520or%2520in%2520animal%2520studies." target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer nofollow">anxiety and depression to Parkinson's disease and cancer</a>. And several <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5569602/%23:~:text=Chronic%2520use%2520and%2520high%2520doses,be%2520well%2520tolerated%2520by%2520humans.&text=Nonetheless%252C%2520some%2520side%2520effects%2520have,vitro%2520or%2520in%2520animal%2520studies." target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer nofollow">studies</a> published by the National Institutes of Health have shown up to 1500mg per day to be consistently "well-tolerated" by adults. </p><p>Now it is always recommended to begin with a lower dosage and increase until an effective dose has been reached. But the advantage of starting with a higher potency CBD oil is that it is much easier to use less to start with and increase over time than to buy very low dose CBD oil and ultimately end up buying more and more stronger products. To start at 50mg per dose of a 5000mg oil, you would simply use ⅓ dropper or about 10-12 drops.</p>
The Truth About CBD Product Potency<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDU2ODMyNC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYyNDc2NTg1N30.OAm3iOTO_pKZLXi7KdJ7n0DGOFMdOmIYuG4ArGooFC4/img.jpg?width=980" id="d657c" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="ee016a81b29caa699b9185b64ce345d6" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
CBD gummies from Plain Naturals are 100% vegan and sugar free.<p>Unlike most CBD brands which can be much smoke and mirrors when it comes to stating their product quality, potency and consistency, PlainNaturals.com has <a href="https://plainnaturals.com/product-information" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer nofollow">lab tests</a> conducted by FDA/DEA approved laboratories and publishes their product lab test <a href="https://plainnaturals.com/product-information" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noreferrer noopener">reports</a> right on their website so customers know the quality of the product they are buying. </p><p>In a recent <a href="https://crnusa.org/sites/default/files/RAC%2520attachments/CBD/CBD%2520RTC%2520Final.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer nofollow">report</a> published by the Food and Drug Administration, FDA tested 147 cbd oils and cbd products. They found that of the 102 products that indicated a specific amount of CBD, 18 products (18%) contained less than 80% of the amount of CBD indicated; 46 products (45%) contained within 20% of the amount of CBD indicated; 38 products (37%) contained more than 120% of the amount of CBD indicated and of those 147 products, the FDA also found nearly half contained levels of THC above the limit of 3.1 mg per serving (or .3%). </p><p>So there's a 70% chance that a CBD consumer is not getting what they pay for and a 50% chance that the product they are buying may not be legal.</p><p>When you buy CBD oil online from <a href="https://plainnaturals.com/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noreferrer noopener">PlainNaturals.com</a>, you also get an unconditional money back guarantee and the manufacturer's warranty of the product quality and potency.</p>
CBD and Hemp Creams offer high-benefit, low-cost options to consumers.<p>Plain Naturals has taken the uncertainty out of the online CBD store process. By offering detailed laboratory reports on all their products and offering a money back guarantee, PlainNaturals.com online CBD store puts control back in the hands of the consumer when it comes to making their decision about where to buy CBD online.</p><p>In all 50 states and at the federal level it is 100% legal to <a href="https://plainnaturals.com/shop/ols/categories/cbd-oils" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noreferrer noopener">buy CBD oil online</a> from an online CBD store provided that the product meets the standards set forth in federal regulations, containing not more than 0.3% THC and manufactured from industrial hemp.</p><p><a href="https://plainnaturals.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer nofollow">PlainNaturals.com</a> offers CBD (Cannabidiol) products like <a href="https://plainnaturals.com/shop/ols/categories/cbd-oils" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer nofollow">CBD Oils</a>, <a href="https://plainnaturals.com/shop/ols/categories/cbd-gummies--edibles" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer nofollow">CBD gummies and edibles</a>, <a href="https://plainnaturals.com/shop/ols/categories/cbd-isolate-powder" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer nofollow">CBD isolate powder</a>, wholesale CBD, <a href="https://plainnaturals.com/shop/ols/categories/cbd--hemp-creams--lotions" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer nofollow">CBD and hemp cream</a> and <a href="https://plainnaturals.com/shop/ols/categories/essential-oils--aromatherapy" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer nofollow">essential oils</a>. <a href="https://plainnaturals.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer nofollow">PlainNaturals.com</a> continues to be a top supplier of wholesale CBD products to retailers and has also opened a retailer online portal for stores and CBD dealers to buy CBD in bulk.</p><p>EcoWatch readers can take advantage of a special offer from <a href="https://plainnaturals.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer nofollow">PlainNaturals.com</a> and save an additional 25% off any purchase of $99 or more through 10/31/20 with coupon code <strong>ecowatch25</strong>.</p>
As the days tick down to next month's presidential election, debate rages over the U.S. government's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic with critics of President Donald Trump calling for his ouster due to his failure to protect the American public.
- Trump's Latest EPA Rollback Lets Polluters Spew More Lead ... ›
- Trump EPA Won't Regulate Toxic Drinking Water Chemical That ... ›
- States Sue Trump EPA for Suspending Environmental Regulations ... ›
- Air Pollution Shortens Life Span by Three Years, Researchers Say ... ›
- Air Pollution Linked to Alzheimer's and Parkinson's Damage in ... ›
- Plastic Packaging Use Increases During the Coronavirus - EcoWatch ›
- Coronavirus Plastic Waste Polluting the Environment - EcoWatch ›
- Biodegradable, Carbon-Negative Straws and Cutlery Could Help ... ›