Childhood brings to mind bright colors: colorful crafts, brightly dyed toys and multicolored foods like Jell-O, Ring Pops and birthday cakes. While we might have a hard time picturing childhood without all the dazzle of beautiful colors, studies have shown that all those foods containing artificial colors are toxic for children. Over the decades, the FDA has eliminated all but a few artificial color dyes because they’ve caused cancers and other harmful illnesses but the remaining dyes on the market may be no better. The dyes that are FDA approved today are: Green 3, Yellow 5, Yellow 6, Blue 1, Blue 2, Red 3 and Red 40 – they are being put to use heavily by food companies SCPIS reported on a recent study by Purdue University that showed levels of artificial dyes in those foods that were higher than expected. Items like Skittles and Trix Cereal all contain enough artificial dye to negatively impact children’s behavior if combined with just one other dyed food product. Not only that, but remember that dyes are also added to items like childen’s supplements, cough syrup, and personal products like shampoo and moisturizer, and even prescription antibiotics, making the typical American exposed to artificial food coloring quite frequently!
The Possible Dangers of Artificial Dyes
The effects of artificial dyes have been hotly debated since 2008, when the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) sent a letter to the FDA urging them to ban most artificial dye colors. The FDA found a lack of concrete evidence and no further action has been taken to remove these dyes from our food. However, the CSPI claims that the FDA does have enough evidence. After conducting their own research into to the studies done on all artificial dyes on the shelves, the CSPI concluded, FDA tests show that the three most-widely used dyes, Red 40, Yellow 5, and Yellow 6, are tainted with low levels of cancer-causing compounds…in Yellow.” Studies have shown that these dyes, many of which are banned in other countries have a range of negative symptoms. Red #40and Yellow #5 have been linked to ADHD. Other symptoms range in severity from insomnia and allergies, to thyroid tumors, chromosomal damage and lymphomas. Red 40 is a type of “azo” dye, which are dyes that can break down into amines, which can be toxic and absorbed into the skin. These dyes are banned in much of Europe. In addition, Feingold.com reports that, “All the synthetic dyes are allowed to contain harmful contaminants like lead, mercury, arsenic, and benzidine (a carcinogen).” While the FDA does not feel the evidence is conclusive, parents around the country are discovering otherwise. At AllergyKids.com, a site founded by Robyn O’Brien, medical writer and parent Amy Kilgore shared her story. After a friend recommended she remove dyes from her child’s diet, many of her daughter’s symptoms cleared up, including mysterious rashes, bouts of crying, and angry behaviors. Ms. Kilgore is not the exception. Parents all over the internet are sharing success stories of dramatically improved behavior after removing artificial dyes from their childrens’ diets.
So, does that mean a future of plain vanilla or chocolate for our kids’ birthdays? No! These lab-created chemicals have no place in our kitchens but there is a food dye solution that most everyone can use. Color GardenTM creates its food dyes from all-natural products, making them safe for your family to use – in food, in drinks, in skincare products and more! That means you can customize your cakes and DIY recipes with a little color. What do Color Garden’s Dyes contain? Here are the main ingredients for Blue: Red Cabbage Juice and Baking Soda. Yellow? It only contains Turmeric and Baking Soda, and each dye contains less than 1% ethyl alcohol to preserve freshness. Color Garden’s tones are soft like pastels, so you while won’t have bright jarring colors, you can mix and match nicely. You don’t have to save them up only for holidays or birthday cakes! Color Garden can be mixed into drinks (pink martini!), added to organic shampoos (blue for the boys) or to create tie-dye T-shirts. They are so safe you can even use them in your child’s hair – and don’t worry if your child gets a head full of green Color Garden, it washes right out! Perhaps it’s time to make the switch and eliminate unsafe and untested artificial colors from your home. With Color Garden, you can have all the color you need – and all the safety of a natural product. Color Maker, the parent company of Color Garden, is a ShiftCon sponsor. Ms. O’Brien is a speaker at this year’s ShiftCon Conference.