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FDA Assessment: Most Children are Exposed to Food Dyes

Exposure assessments conducted by the Food and Drug Administration find that most American kids are exposed to food dyes.

FDA has not yet published the full results, but according to results presented Aug. 13 at the 248th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society, estimates of at least 96 percent of children aged 2-5 years are exposed to Red 40, Yellow 5, Yellow 6 and Blue 1.

In 2011, FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition’s Food Advisory Committee concluded that, based on all available data, no causal link could be established between children’s consumption of synthetic color additives and adverse behavioral effects, including hyperactivity. But the committee did recommend additional research, including the exposure assessment.

The assessment was based on the amount of Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C) color additives in more than 580 food products and data from a two-day period of the 2007-2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey of food consumption. It narrowed in on estimates for consumers aged 2 years or older, children aged 2-5 years, and teenage boys aged 13-18 years.

Future work includes estimating exposure using 14-day food consumption data. And “FDA is reassessing the safety studies conducted on FD&C color additives that are available in its files,” the poster reads. “However, all exposure estimates for these color additives are well below the acceptable intake levels that have been established by FDA.”

Responding to the data, Lisa Lefferts, senior scientist for the Center for Science in the Public Interest, said that, “Such widespread exposure to artificially colored foods is bad news for all children, since artificially colored foods aren’t healthy foods in the first place.”

Researchers and parents have been debating for the past 40 years whether there’s a link between artificial coloring and hyperactivity in children. CSPI argues that common dyes do pose this and other health risks and has requested that FDA ban Red 40, Yellow 5, Yellow 6 and five other food dyes.

© Food Safety News
  • It would be noteworthy to include some additional basic facts about these (and many other food dyes) such as the EU banning these from food products becasue they havent been proven safe. This concept is called the precautionary principle; a notion that basically states that when human or environmental health is at stake, it may not necessary to delay protective action for scientific certainty. Similarly we (the US) have failed in issues of lead-based paint, trilcosan, DDT, asbestos, etc.., where inaction has led to hundreds and thosands of illness and premature morbidity and mortality associated with exposure.

    • BluebirdofUnhappiness

      When did this EU ban take place? Because as far as I’ve heard, they may be used with a warning label about hyperactivity. http://www.food.gov.uk/science/additives/foodcolours So if you want to include “basic facts” a fact-checking step would be helpful.

  • tallen2007

    FDA Assessment: Most Children are Exposed to Food Dyes How much tax payer money did it take for the FDA to figure this out?