So for this post I'd like to talk to you about another group of food additives that are widely considered very dangerous, and yet are still legal in America despite being banned in many other countries worldwide. They are artificial dyes, including Yellow 5, Red 40, and Blue 2, among many others. Yellow 5, arguably the most well know of these dyes, is an artificial food coloring that is used in a wide variety of food products. Even more dangerous, Yellow 5 has also been used in various medications, including aspirin. Yellow 5 is proven to cause hypersensitivity reactions in certain groups of people as well as childhood behavioral effects such as hyperactivity and impulsiveness. However Yellow 5, despite its mild infamy, is far from the most dangerous of these dyes.
Blue 2, another legal dye, is proven to cause a significant increase in tumor growth and brain cancer in lab rats. This dye is used almost solely in candy, ice cream, and baked goods. You may notice that the biggest consumers of these goods are in fact children. The FDA asserts that the drug is safe for human consumption, but the CSPI, or Center for Science in the Public Interest, says otherwise. Additionally, this dye is also linked to behavioral problems is children.
Image courtesy of healthychild.org
Finally, Red 40 is the most widely used artificial dye. By now unsurprisingly, it also causes a significant increase in tumor growth. This dye is used in just about all categories of artificial food as well as in cosmetics. This brings up the question, why can companies not switch to natural food dyes, such as beet juice, carrot juice, or turmeric? But I suppose profit is far more important than health in the end.