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Artificial Dye Safety

December 12, 2013

Some people argue that food dyes are harmful to human health, but do decades of safety research back up these allegations?



The safety of food dyes. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

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If you believe the hype on the internet lately, artificial food dyes will make your children hyperactive, destroy your brain, or even kill you with cancer. We asked chemist Derek Lowe to separate the facts from the hyperbole. He says decades of safety research don’t back up these scary claims.

DEREK LOWE (Chemist andblogger, In the Pipeline):

Some people may remember Red Dye #2 from back in the 70s, an example of one that was taken off the market in the U.S. There were some tests in rodents that showed that it might cause cancer in the intestinal tract in very high doses.


But he says you’d have to ingest huge amounts of Red Dye #2 every day to reach that dosage. What’s more, it’s still legal in the European Union. He adds that in the developed world, no food dyes have been conclusively linked to health problems in humans. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.