April 3, 2011

For years, some parents of children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) have believed there is a connection between artificial dyes in food, and their child’s behavior. Now, the Food and Drug Administration is beginning to take a more serious look at the link between the two. Although the FDA says there is insufficient evidence to support a connection between side effects of the dyes and ADHD, they may be more open to the idea that more research is needed.

An FDA advisory committee has been hearing testimony on food dyes and how they may cause some children to exhibit hyperactivity behavior. But the main questions the committee seems to want answered are: Is there enough evidence to make a solid connection between the dyes and hyperactivity? And, if it appears there is, should the FDA strengthen its regulations on these dyes? So far the committee seems to be saying “Not just yet.”

There are 8 dyes currently in use in the United States; Citrus Red 2, Red 3, Red 40, Blue 1&2, Green 3and Yellow 5&6. Experts who have testified before the committee hearings have said European companies are dropping the dyes and substituting natural colorings for them. The United States still allows artificial dyes – not for the taste, but for their pleasing appearance.

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