Young beautiful scientist working with samples in lab.

 

 

Nearly all the dyes found in modern foods, medicine, toothpaste, beverages, vitamins, cosmetics, etc. are synthetic.  They were originally manufactured from coal tar oil, but today they are made from petroleum. A dye which is listed as “FD&C” is permitted by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) to be added to foods, drugs, and cosmetics.  There are currently 7 permitted colors in the United States.

Originally there were many more, but most have been banned as they were proven to cause cancer or other harmful effects.   Red 40 and Yellow 5 are the most-used food dyes in the U.S.  Most of them are currently banned in European countries.

A dye labeled “D&C” is approved by the FDA to be used only in drugs and cosmetics, but not in food.  They are, however, permitted to be used in toothpaste, mouthwash and medicine.  They will also appear (in the US) as a color with a number, such as Red 30, Yellow 10, etc.

 

 

 


Chocolate cupcakes in a row with colorful icing on a white background.

As early as 1985, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) knew these dyes were dangerous. At that time, only Tartrazine (Yellow 5) was required to be listed in foods and drugs. While the AAP did not suggest removing any of the dyes, they did support listing them all on ingredient labels, and even provided a table of medications and vitamins reported to be without them (as of 1985).  Below are some of the health effects of food dyes.

FD & C Blue 1 - Brilliant Blue - E133
  • Bronchoconstriction /  asthma attack
  • Eosinophilotactic response / allergy
  • Chromosomal damage / can cause mutations or cancer
  • Inhibition of mitochondrial respiration / the energy factories in your cells slow down 
  • Sperm damage
FD & C Blue 2 - Indigo Carmine - E132
  • Bronchoconstriction / asthma attack
  • Hypotension or hypertension / blook pressure too high or too l
FD & C Red 2 - Amaranth - E123
  • Angioedema / swelling of lips and face due to temporary blood vessel changes 
  • Pruritus / itching
  • Urticaria / hives
  • Bronchoconstriction / asthma attack 
  • Inhibition of mitochondrial respiration / energy factories in your cells slow down
  • Genotoxic / damage to DNA can lead to mutations or cancer 
FD & C Red 3 - Erythrosine - E127
  • Bronchoconstriction / asthma attack
  • Elevation of protein-bound iodide / change in iodine balance in blood
  • Thyroid tumors
  • Chromosomal damage, Genotoxic  / damage to DNA can lead to mutations or cancer
  • Immune system inhibition / hurts your immune system
  • Mitochondrial respiration inhibition / energy factories in your cells slow down
  • Attacks drug metabolizing enzymes / interferes with the body’s ability to deal with toxic chemicals 
FD & C Red 40 - Allura Red - E129
  • In rats: Lower brain weight
  • In rats: Lower reproduction
  • In rats: Lower survival
  • Behavioral toxicity / the rats’ behavior changed when they ate Red 40 
  • Inhibition of mitochondrial respiration / energy factories in your cells slow down 
  • Genotoxic / damage to DNA can lead to mutations or cancer 
FD & C Yellow 5 - Tartrazine - E102
  • Asthma, bronchospasm / asthma attack
  • Increased bronchial reactivity / asthma attack from even less trigger exposure
  • Angioedema / swelling of lips and face due to temporary blood vessel changes 
  • Urticaria / hives 
  • Eczema
  • Allergic reactions
  • Genotoxic / damage to DNA can lead to mutations or cancer 
  • Inhibition of mitochondrial respiration / energy factories in your cells slow down 
  • Behavioral, mood, & sleep changes
  • Overactive and aggressive behavior
  • Xenoestrogenic / can act like a female hormone and may cause a serious liver disease in women after menopause 
FD & C Yellow 6 - Sunset Yellow - E 110
  • Urticaria / hives
  • Eczema
  • Rhinitis / nasal inflammation with symptoms like those of nasal allergy
  • Nasal congestion / stuffy nose 
  • Bronchoconstriction / asthma attack 
  • Eosinophilotactic response / allergy
  • Purpura / bruising
  • Sperm damage
  • Abdominal pain, Vomiting, Indigestion
  • Distaste for food
  • Elevated liver enzymes / liver damage
  • Elevated serum creatinine and urea / kidney damage
  • Mood changes, aggression, overactivity
  • Inhibition of mitochondrial respiration / energy factories in your sells slow down
  • Xenoestrogenic / can act like a female hormone and may cause liver disease in women after menopause
  • Chromosome damage and DNA fragmentation / broken or damaged DNA which may lead to mutations or cancer 
  • Suppressed glutathione levels / interferes with the body’s capacity to deal with toxic chemicals
  • Suppressed superoxide dismutase activity / interferes with an enzyme that protects cells from being damaged 
  • Elevated triglyceride levels / excessive buildup of fats in the bloodstream
D & C Yellow 10 - Quinoline Yellow - E104
  • Contact dermatitis / skin rash 
D & C Yellow 11 (Contaminant in Yellow 10)
  • Contact dermatitis / skin rash
  • Chromosomal changes, cancer
  • Liver significantly enlarged and deteriorated

Aren’t The Dyes Certified To Be Safe? NO

fda

They are certified to contain no more than the amount of lead, mercury, arsenic, benzidine, and other contaminants that the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) considers acceptable. They are certified to contain a minimum percent of actual color as specified in the Code of Federal Regulations. The manufacturer must submit a sample of each batch of dye to the FDA for certification. In 2014, almost 24 million pounds of coloring were certified. Consider benzidine. Yellow #5 & Yellow #6 are each allowed to have 1 ppb (parts per billion) of benzidine. That is a really tiny amount; benzidine is known to cause cancer, but it apparently can’t be easily removed from the dye, so the FDA decided to allow it at that amount. But how much is really in there? Drs. Peiperl and Prival wanted to see how much benzidine is actually in the Yellow #5 and #6 you buy in the supermarket, so they bought bottles and tested them. In 1993, they found that half of the 53 Yellow #5 samples they tested contained 7 to 83 ppb of benzidine, and in 1995, they found that half the 67 samples of Yellow #6 contained more than 10 ppb benzidine, with some as high as 104 ppb, and one at 941 ppb. Separately, Dr. Lancaster, in Canada, did a similar study in 1999, reporting that he was finding levels of benzidine ranging from less than 5 to 270 ppb. Consider lead. That is a big subject, well covered by the Mayo Clinic’s website on lead poisoning, and the FDA tells us to avoid it because it damages the brain of both children and adults. Yet while the synthetic food colorings are allowed to have no more than 10 ppm (parts per million) of lead, many of the “D&C” colors used in medications and given multiple times a day to sick people are allowed to have double that amount.