Synthetic and harmful dyes are found in all sorts of food items. From granola bars to fruit roll-ups to M&Ms to Kraft salad dressings to Kid Cuisine frozen meals and more. In fact, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) notes that each year manufacturers pour about 15 million pounds of synthetic dyes into the foods that kids are most likely to eat. Brightly colored breakfast cereals, over the top neon fruit drinks, and vividly colored candies are all mass marketed to kids and we’re buying those colors up; a dangerous move according to CSPI’s newest report, “Food Dyes: A Rainbow of Risks.” The report calls out the serious health concerns associated with the nine currently approved dyes used in conventionally produced food products.
Health Risks of Synthetic Food Dyes
- CSPI notes that the most commonly used food dyes, such as Yellow 5, Red 40, and six others, are made from petroleum and synthetic chemicals, which alone is bad enough. Worse though these chemicals add up to a “rainbow of risks” for kids and adults.
- Known carcinogens are the major problem associated with synthetic food dyes. The three most widely used dyes, Red 40, Yellow 5, and Yellow 6, are contaminated with carcinogens, says CSPI. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) actively admits that Red 3 is a carcinogen, yet the FDA also approves its use in our food supply.
- Allergic reactions can occur for children exposed to synthetic food dye.
- Numerous studies show that synthetic dyes cause hyperactivity in children. And mixtures of dyes have been shown to cause other behavioral impairments in children.