Tag Archive for 'food dyes'

Weekly Highlights (8/29/2011)

Welcome to “Weekly Highlights”, our weekly post that recaps important child health and safety news, research, and recalls from the previous week but also give us an avenue to share some of the other great reads we’ve come across in our internet travels.

In the News:

Washington State to Require Chemical Reporting for Toys! - A new law took effect this week in Washington which will now require manufacturers of toys, cosmetics, jewelry, and baby products to report when their products contain certain harmful chemicals – from a list of 66 chemicals identified as unsafe. Let’s hope this will spur action in other states, or better yet at the federal level.

Is Gender Selection of a Fetus Ethical? – A new maternal blood test can determine a fetus’ sex as early as seven weeks into pregnancy. The test is not yet available but has sparked a heated ethical debate. Would parents use this to perform sex-selective abortions??

On Food Safety, a Long List but Little Money – The FDA is facing an uphill battle to implement the food safety law passed last year on limited funding. While I have my issues with the FDA, I do think we need to find a way to allocate resources so they can fulfill the responsibilities they’ve been given to keep our food safe.

Food Safety in China, and the Risk to the U.S. - Another food safety crisis in China (reported by the AP here). In the second vinegar scandal this month, vinegar contaminated with antifreeze has killed 11 and sickened 120 in China. This article highlights the continuous spate of scandals in China and the risk they pose to us as imports from China are increasing in the U.S. and the FDA is struggling to keep up. What are we to do? Buy fresh, buy local as much as we can.

The Color of Controversy - A pretty good summation of the history of food dyes, related health studies, and controversies.

Patience, Mom: More Hospitals Say No to Scheduled Delivery Before 39 Weeks – A number of hospitals are now prohibiting scheduled C-sections and inductions before 39 weeks of pregnancy unless medically necessary in light of recent research showing that babies experience a lot of critical development during their final weeks in utero, and mortality rates are cut in half by waiting until 39 weeks versus 37.

New Research:

Global Rates of Obesity Doubled in 30 Years
Three new studies published recently in The Lancet, a British medical journal, say that rates of obesity have doubled worldwide, even as blood pressure and cholesterol levels have dropped. People in the Pacific Islands are the heaviest, but among developed countries Americans are the fattest.

New Report Finds Few Adverse Events Linked to Immunizations
A panel of scientists assembled by the Institute of Medicine says there are relatively few health problems caused by most commonly recommended vaccines. The IOM included experts in pediatrics, immunology, neurology, epidemiology, and statistics. The review of more than 1,000 peer-reviewed studies represents the most comprehensive review of the available literature on the potential side effects for eight vaccines – MMR, chicken pox, influenz, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, HPV, DTAP, and meningococcus. The article describes some of the conclusions drawn by the panel.

Could the Way We Mate and Marry Boost Rates of Autism?
An interesting theory as to why autism rates are on the rise – people with certain traits are increasingly meeting and marrying and having children more likely to be on the spectrum. Cited reasoning: The recent surge in autism rates has coincided with certain social changes, such as an unprecedented movement of women into math and science professions and the dotcom boom making more technically-minded people more sought after as mates. The theory is still largely speculation, but interesting nonetheless.

What Makes Some Preschools Better than Others?
A Vanderbilt University professor suggests that preschool teachers who engage children and use rich and varied vocabulary influence the children’s vocabulary and reading abilities later on.

Kids with Nut Allergies Feel Teased, Excluded
A study in the UK in which 26 families dealing with nut allergies were interviewed found that they routinely encountered skepticism and hostility over their children’s allergies.

Good Reads:

8 Month Old Gets a Cochlear Implant from YouTube - Heartwarming, tear-inspiring video of a child hearing his mother’s voice after a cochlear implant.

When Kids Bring Up Same-Sex Marriage from CNN Living - Several parents share their thoughts on how they address questions about same-sex marriage with their children.

Monsanto’s 5 Most Dubious Contributions to the Planet from TakePart.com – Before bovine growth hormone and GM seeds, there was Agent Orange and styrofoam.

Recalls, August 23 – August 29:

CPSC Child Product Recalls

Child Safety Seat Recalls
No child safety seat recall announcements this week.

USDA/FDA Recalls

We’d love your feedback! If there is anything you’d like us to add or change, we’d love to hear it! If there’s anything you see and think we should feature, please send it our way to purebebeblog@gmail.com. We hope your week is off to a great start!


Jasmine & Heather

What’s in Your Pantry? Cracking Down on Food Dyes…

We have touched on the subject of food dyes in past posts, and how tricky food labels have convinced consumers that they were eating healthy foods, such as blueberries, when in actuality they were consuming chemical-based food dyes.

According to this Washington Post article, “In the early 1990s, FDA and Canadian scientists found that Red 40, Yellow 5 and Yellow 6, the three most widely used dyes, were contaminated with likely human carcinogens. And while many foods, such as M&M’s and Kellogg’s Hot Fudge Sundae Pop Tarts, include as many as five different dyes, even today the carcinogenic potential of such combinations has not been tested.”

Additionally, the British government funded two studies, involving a total of nearly 600 children. They found that artificial food coloring, in combination with a common food preservative, could “make even children with no known behavioral problems hyperactive and inattentive.” So, “Health officials in the United Kingdom urged manufacturers to stop using the six dyes — including Red 40, Yellow 5 and Yellow 6 — involved in those studies. Next, the European Parliament required that foods containing those chemicals bear a label warning that the dyes ‘may have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children.’”

Last week the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) held a meeting to review whether there is a possible association between artificial food dyes and children’s risk of ADHD.

The FDA voted 8 to 6 NOT to ban synthetic food dyes and NOT to require that products containing dyes warn of a possible risk of ADHD. Instead, the FDA recommended that further research on food dyes and hyperactive behavior be conducted.

For the most part, I avoid buying foods with artificial food coloring. As I have mentioned in prior posts, we mostly consume an organic diet these days. But, as you know, it is impossible to control everything that our children put into their mouths, especially when they attend child care outside of the home.

So, I pulled all of the items that I could find with artificial food coloring from my pantry, once and for all, and here is what I found:

Food dye in children’s Pedialyte? I was shocked. This is something that I have given to my children on several occasions, when they had diarrhea and/or a fever and I needed to hydrate them. Nothing like giving our children chemical-laden medicine when their bodies are in the most need of nourishment.

Fortunately, the foods below are some of the healthier, dye-free ‘replacements’ that I also had in my pantry. The Pedialyte pictured below does not contain artificial food coloring, and I will continue to buy the variety below for this reason. I even started buying my children organic loli-pops, since they don’t contain either food dyes or genetically modified high fructose corn syrup.

-What and how many food items do you have in your pantry that contain artificial food coloring?


Related Articles:

Are You What You Eat?

Think Organic Groceries Are Too Expensive? Our Comparison Shopping Results…

Simple Steps To Begin The Organic Food Journey

‘Health Food’ Exposed: The Dangers of Soy

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