Food Dyes and Additives Found to be Unsafe – Linked to ADHD & Cancer

Food Dyes & Additives Found to be Unsafe - Linked to ADHD & Cancer 1

By  Dr. Michelle Kmiec

Contributing Writer for Wake Up World

Natural and alternative health advocates have long known that artificial (synthetic) food additives have had a negative effect on human health.

Currently, although links have been made between consumption of  food additives and  increased hyperactivity (as well as cancer, chromosomal damage and other adverse affects), the FDA continues to drag its  feet by still maintaining its  stance that the results of such findings are “inconclusive” and continuing to recommend the use of ADHD drugs, while allowing the use of these dangerous additives.

Common Food Dyes & Additives

The use of unnatural substances to give food the appearance of something natural is a strange concept indeed. In the USA, there are seven artificial colorings that are permitted by the FDA. They are:

    •  FD&C Blue No. 1 – Brilliant Blue FCF, E133 (blue shade)

    •  FD&C Blue No. 2 – Indigotine, E132 (indigo shade)

    •  FD&C Green No. 3 – Fast Green FCF, E143 (turquoise shade)

    •  FD&C Red No. 40 – Allura Red AC, E129 (red shade)

    •  FD&C Red No. 3 – Erythrosine, E127 (pink shade, commonly used in glacé cherries)

    •  FD&C Yellow No. 5 – Tartrazine, E102 (yellow shade)

    •  FD&C Yellow No. 6 – Sunset Yellow FCF, E110 (orange shade)

In recent years, others such as FD&C Red No. 2, FD&C Red No. 4, and FD&C Red No. 32”Ž (to name a few) were  banned for use due to ill effects on human  health.

The FDA is Confused

However, the Food and Drug Administration is confused, and a bit confusing. In 2006 it released a statement that  “FDA officials recommend stronger warnings for ADHD drugs”.  Kate Gelperin, a drug-safety expert at the FDA, told members of the agency’s Pediatric Advisory Committee in a daylong meeting;  “We recommend that these issues be addressed”.  She said regulators were struck by a surprising number of cases of  “hallucinations, both visual and tactile, involving insects, snakes and worms”,  characterizing the tales as  “particularly traumatic and undesirable”.

Another report compiled from  FDA data also showed that  the FDA was unable to identify risk  factors in patients that physicians should look out for before prescribing the drugs.  “No risk factors were identified which could account for the majority of reports of psychosis-related events…  Also of note, in the overwhelming majority of cases, the patient had no prior history of a similar condition.”

Susanna N. Visser, who oversees the Center for Disease Control (CDC) research on ADHD,  expressed her concerns in 2009, stating that “families of toddlers with behavioral problems are coming to the doctor’s office for help, and the help they’re getting too often is a prescription for a Class II controlled substance, which has not been established as safe for that young of a child. It puts these children and their developing minds at risk, and their health is at risk.”

ADHD & Cancer Linked to Food Dyes

Interestingly, five of the allowed colors in the USA were linked to ADHD, cancer and other health conditions in Europe  in a study conducted  by Southampton University, which found these dyes to cause elementary school aged children to become distracted, failing computer attention tests.

According to a recent CBS News report, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) says that  dyes used in a many commercial food products (from breakfast cereals and salad dressings) present a “rainbow of risks”, including hyperactivity, allergies and cancer.  Michael F. Jacobson, executive director of CSPI wrote  “These synthetic chemicals do absolutely nothing to improve the nutritional quality or safety of foods, but trigger behavior problems in children and, possibly, cancer in anybody…  The Food and Drug Administration should ban dyes, which would force industry to color foods with real food ingredients, not toxic petrochemicals.”

Food Dyes and Known Risks

In the USA, the five commonly used synthetic dyes are:


(also known as E number E102, C.I. 19140, or FD&C Yellow 5)

This dye is commonly found in confectionery, cotton candy, soft drinks (Mountain Dew), energy drinks, instant puddings, flavored corn chips (Doritos, Nachos, etc), cereals (corn flakes, muesli, etc.), cake mixes, pastries, custard powder, yellow popcorn, soups (particularly instant or “cube” soups), sauces, some rices (like paella, risotto, etc.), powdered drink mixes, sports drinks, ice cream, ice pops, candy, Peeps marshmallow treats, chewing gum, marzipan, jam, jelly, gelatins, marmalade, mustard, horseradish, yogurt, noodles such as Kraft Dinner, pickles and other pickled products, certain brands of fruit squash, fruit cordial, potato chips, Biscuits, and many convenience foods together with glycerin, lemon and honey products.

Known health effects: causes hyperactivity, chromosomal damage, and has been linked to allergic reactions and migraine headaches.

Sunset Yellow

(also known as Orange Yellow S, FD&C Yellow 6 or C.I. 15985)

Sunset Yellow is often found in orange sodas, orange jelly, marzipan, Swiss rolls, apricot jam, citrus marmalade, lemon curd, sweets, hot chocolate mix and packet soups, trifle mix, breadcrumbs, snack chips, shelf fresh noodles, cheese sauce mixes as well as chocolates such as Cadbury Creme Egg.

Known health effects: causes hyperactivity, cancer and is linked to stomach upsets and swelling of the skin.

Allura red

(also known as Food Red 17, C.I. 16035, FD&C Red 40,  E129)

Can be found in soft drinks, candy, children’s medications, cereal, beverages, snacks, gelatin desserts, baked goods, ice cream.

Known health effects: causes hyperactivity, cancer and may bring on allergic reactions.


(also known as  FD&C Blue No. 2 , E132 (indigo shade)

Can be found in  soft drinks, bakery products, cereals, candy, drink powders, mint-flavored jelly, frozen desserts, pet foods, kidney tests and for testing milk.

Known health effects: causes  hyperactivity, asthma, heart issues  and may bring on allergic reactions.

Brilliant Blue

(also known as FD&C Blue No. 1, FCF, E133 (blue shade)

Can be found in  soft drinks, gelatin desserts, ice cream, drink powders, candy, bakery products, cereals, feta cheese, dairy products and pudding. Also used in toothpaste, mouthwash, deodorants, cosmetics and pet foods.

Known health effects: causes  low blood pressure, asthma, hives,    and may bring on allergic reactions.  

Caution: Do not consume if  sensitive to aspirin.

In 2003 the FDA also sent out a safety warning concerning the use of Blue no. 1 as a detection method in medical procedures:

“There were several reports of toxicity, including death, temporally associated with the use of FD & C Blue No. 1 (Blue 1) in enteral feeding solutions. The dye was used to help detection and/or monitoring of pulmonary aspiration in patients being fed by an enteral feeding tube. Reported episodes were manifested by blue discolouration of the skin, urine, faeces or serum and were associated with serious complications such as refractory hypotension, metabolic acidosis and death. Seriously ill patients, particularly those with a likely increase in gut permeability, may be at greater risk.”

Why Do We Need Food Dyes Anyway?

And what exactly is the need of these food dyes in our food? Absolutely none – other than to add a specific “desirable” color  (often to attract children).

So, with estimated users of ADHD drugs in the multi-millions in both children and adults, shouldn’t the question be…what is causing this behavior rather than routinely  administering dangerous (but profitable) pharmaceutical drugs?

Isn’t it logical that an artificial substance such as food coloring along with preservatives, processing, and ridiculously high amounts of sugar (not to mention high corn fructose in practically every product sold) could possibly have a negative effect on our health?

Thank-goodness research is now linking what some of you have known all along:  That unprocessed natural and organic whole foods, free of preservatives additives and chemicals, are the only foods we should be eating in order to be healthy and to live a long energetic life!

No research is required… only common sense.


Previous articles by Dr. Michelle:

About the author:

dr michelle kmiec The Dangers of Warfarin (Coumadin) – Natural Alternatives for Stroke Prevention

Dr. Michelle Kmiec is a board certified chiropractic physician who also holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Biology, and a minor in Medical Research. She is a life-long athlete who after curing herself 100% naturally from MS and anxiety, became an avid nutrition health researcher/promoter. She has been featured in many Health magazines, and has been a guest on radio talk shows in the USA, Canada, United Kingdom, and Australia. She is the author of Health Freedom Revolution: Exposing the Lies, Deceit and Greed of the Medical Profession’, Founder of Online Holistic Health, and a contributing writer for other popular informative health website/blogs. She is also founder of The Triad of Life™ Holistic Lifestyle Program – the most comprehensive holistic program on the internet today.

For more information, visit Online Holistic Health or connect with Dr. Michelle Kmiec on FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.


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