The food industry dumps over 15 million pounds of the dyes studied into the food supply each year. Three of the dyes carry known carcinogens, and 4 can cause serious allergic reactions in some consumers. New studies show that seven of them contributed to cancer in lab animals, including brain and testicular tumors, colon cancer, and mutations.
Many artificial food dyes contain known human and animal carcinogens. For example, one carcinogen called benzidene is found in red 40, yellow 5, and yellow 6, and although it is regulated, the FDA’s tests may be underestimating our exposure to this toxic compound. Caramel colorings, containing 2- and 4-methylimidazoles induce cancer in animals, as well. Tartrazine, a yellow “azo” dye (found in yellow 5) is genotoxic, meaning it binds to DNA and causes damage.
Blue 2: linked to brain tumors in mice
Green 3: linked to bladder cancer back in 1981
Yellow 3: known to cause some mild allergic reactions – especially in people who are sensitive to aspirin
Yellow 6: associated with cancer of the adrenal glands and kidneys as well as possible allergic reactions
Red 3: was considered for banning in 1983 because of a possible link to thyroid tumors
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