Doug / 04-04-2011 / Consumer Safety

FDA Examines Link Between Artificial Food Dyes and ADHD

According to CNN, The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is asking for additional studies on food dye and ADHD link. An FDA advisory committee decided Thursday there is insufficient evidence to support a link between artificial dyes in foods and children diagnosed with ADHD. The FDA committee will not make a recommendation to ban or regulate dye additives in food products. However, the committee stressed that there may be a trend between artificial food dyes and side effects in children.

The advisory committee spent two days listening to testimony on dyes and how some children exposed to it may exhibit signs of hyperactivity. The group found itself trying to answer a question whether or not there was enough evidence to connect artificial food dye and hyperactivity, and if so, should the government strengthen its regulations on such ingredients.

According to experts, European companies are already dropping food dyes including Blue #1, Yellow #4 and #6, and substituting them with natural colorings. The experts claim the U.S. continues to allow artificial dyes, not for taste, but for aesthetic reasons.

The United States companies currently use eight dyes in their various products: Citrus Red 2, Red 3, Red 40, Blue 1 & 2, Green 3, and Yellow 5 & 6.

Dr. Benjamin Feingold first noted that food dyes cause ADHD in his 1975 book “Why Your Child is Hyperactive.” The doctor found that eliminating artificial food dyes and additives in a diet declines cases of hyperactivity in children. Subsequent studies of the data found inconsistent correlation between dyes and ADHD. The most recent study on food dyes and ADHD was conducted in 2007 by researchers at the University of Southhampton in the United Kingdom. The study found that artificial food dyes along with sodium benzoate, a food preservative, increased ADHD symptoms in both hyperactive and non-hyperactive children.

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