(02/01/13) - The dyes that make some of our favorite foods so appealing, could be harming us - especially our children. We've got red drinks, blue candy, orange Jello, and yellow mac and cheese. In all, nine different artificial dyes are approved for use in the in the United States.
No one knows what causes ADHD, but more than five million American kids have it. Christian Sleipnes was diagnosed when he was 4. Then, his mom read about a possible link between ADHD and food dyes.
So, Katherine Sleipnes eliminated them from her son's diet. "We were willing to try anything."
Most of the dyes are made from petroleum and used for no other purpose than to make our food look better. So could they really be putting our kids' health at risk?
Dr. Dr. Daniel Bober, of Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital, thinks so. "Whether it's Cheetos, or gummy bears, or kool-aid, so it's very difficult for a child that has a normal American diet to avoid using these types of dyes."
An FDA advisory committee determined evidence of food dyes causing hyperactivity in kids is inconclusive.
But, Dr. Bober says, the European parliament demands that foods with certain dyes contain warning labels. "If they already have ADHD, that food dyes could exasperate their symptoms."
The food color industry says, the problem is not the dye. They declined an interview, but an official was quoted as saying, "We don't see any strong compelling data at this point that there is a neurological effect."
Christian has been dye-free for months and his mom has noticed he's more focused and less distracted.
Overseeing the safety of artificial food color was one of the reasons the FDA was founded in 1930. The agency is calling for more research before they make a final decision.
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