The Dangers of Artificial Colors – and a Safer Solution

artificially colored cereal

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, 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, 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.

Color MakerNatural Food Coloring with Color Garden by Color Maker

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.

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Announcing ShiftCon Sponsor Dr. Bronner’s

We are proud to announce another sponsor for Shiftcon 2014, Dr. Bronner’s.





Dr. Bronner’s is a 5th generation family owned business that makes socially and environmentally responsible products of the highest quality and dedicates profits to helping make a better world. “All-One!”

Their personal care products and oils are fair trade and organic.These include: Classic Liquid and Bar Soaps, Pump Soaps, Hair Care, Lip and Body Balms, Lotions, Shaving Gels, Baby & Sensitive Skin Care products, Cleaning products, and Coconut Oil.

Not only does Dr. Bronner’s offer great soaps but they also fight for our right to know what is in the products we buy. Both Dr. Bronner’s and Shiftcon believe that changes need to be made to what we are using and consuming. That includes the labeling of GMOs and organic integrity (none of the “all natural” misleading labels).


Dr. Bronner's


At Shiftcon, our attendees will have a chance to try out Dr. Bronner’s products and learn more about what makes this company great. Also, Dr. Bronner’s team will be throwing a special party during the conference.

Dr. Bronner’s will be hosting our #RethinkthePink Saturday night reception. Rethink the Pink is about the Pink marketing gone wrong. It’s referred to as “pinkwashing” and is frowned on. Along with Dr. Bronner’s, we want to educate our bloggers and consumers about the “pink” products that contain cancer causing ingredients. One of our goals is to shift the focus to REAL prevention of cancer and not just lip service.

Connect with Dr. Bronner’s at, Facebook, and Twitter.

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ShiftCon Panel: How to Get Media Attention

How to Get Media Attention: Who me? Yes YOU! “Don’t just hate the media, become the media!” I first heard the saying from punk rocker Jello Biafra, and it was my mantra for years as I published a newspaper and worked as a journalist exposing environmental harms in the Rocky Mountains. All these years later, […]

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Safer tips for grilling

Healthy Grilling Tips For a Great Summer

Summer is barbecue time, which everyone knows means unhealthy, junk-laden toxic foods and questionable toxicity with your grill. But what if the problem wasn’t the foods but the brands you are buying?  And what if you could eliminate toxins from your grilling? You can make choices that keep you and your friends and family healthy, while […]

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Announcing ShiftCon 2014 Breakfast Sponsor: Applegate

  We’ve got another amazing breakfast sponsor for ShiftCon 2014. Applegate will be providing conference-goers with some prime protein options – organic deli meats, bacon, and sausage. Applegate’s  mission is to “Change the Meat We Eat.”  That means making good meat – the kind that’s raised humanely without antibiotics and hormones – accessible to as […]

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Announcing ShiftCon Breakfast Sponsor: Rudi’s Organic

We are happy to announce another breakfast sponsor for ShiftCon 2014, Rudi’s Organic.   Rudi’s Organic is the leading producer of certified organic bread in the U.S. They are committed to baking high-quality organic breads that contain the healthiest ingredients possible. Rudi’s has always been about living free- free of artificial ingredients, preservatives, high fructose corn […]

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Announcing ShiftCon Sponsor: Molly’s Suds

We are excited to announce another great sponsor for ShiftCon 2014, Molly’s Suds. Molly’s Suds makes natural products for laundry, pet and home. They are certified vegan & cruelty free, perfume & dye free, no formaldehyde, no parabens, no SLS/SLES, and no harsh chemicals! That makes Molly’s Suds good for you, your entire family, and the […]

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Announcing ShiftCon 2014 Breakfast Sponsor: Nature’s Path

We are thrilled to have Nature’s Path as one of the breakfast sponsors for ShiftCon 2014. They will be providing their delicious cereals and granolas for the conference guests to enjoy. With great flavors such as Chia Coconut Granola, Blueberry Cinnamon Flax Cereal, and Heritage Flakes, their products will fuel attendees with healthy energy. The […]

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Announcing ShiftCon Breakfast Sponsor Organic Valley

We are excited to welcome Organic Valley as a breakfast sponsor for ShiftCon 2014.   About Organic Valley We’re a cooperative of family farmers on a mission to produce the world’s best organic foods for you and your family. Today, more than 1,800 Organic Valley and Organic Prairie farm families around the United States are […]

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