Colorful Carcinogens: Why We Should Ban Food Dyes

In case you aren't already suspicious of Red 40 and Blue 2, a new report by the Center for Science in the Public Interest will give you reason to be. The organization argues that artificial dyes pose "A Rainbow of Risks." Cameron Scott summarizes the report on the website of the San Francisco Chronicle:

Evidence suggests, but does not prove, that Blue 1, Blue 2, Green 3, Red 40, and Yellow 6 cause cancer in animals. The three most widely used dyes -- Red 40, Yellow 5, and Yellow 6 -- are contaminated with known carcinogens.

The granddaddy of them all, Red 3, is recognized by the Food and Drug Administration as a carcinogen. The law requires it to be illegal, but pressure from Ronald Reagan's Secretary of Agriculture, John R. Block, scuttled the required ban. About 200,000 pounds annually of Red 3 go into foods including Betty Crocker's Fruit Roll-Ups and ConAgra's Kid Cuisine frozen meals.

Read the full story at SFGate.com.

Presented by

Daniel Fromson, a former associate editor at The Atlantic, is a writer based in Washington, D.C. He writes regularly for The Washington Post. His work has also appeared in Harper's Magazine, New York, and Slate.

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well. Bestselling author Mark Bittman teaches James Hamblin the recipe that everyone is Googling.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well.

Video

Before Tinder, a Tree

Looking for your soulmate? Write a letter to the "Bridegroom's Oak" in Germany.

Video

The Health Benefits of Going Outside

People spend too much time indoors. One solution: ecotherapy.

Video

Where High Tech Meets the 1950s

Why did Green Bank, West Virginia, ban wireless signals? For science.

Video

Yes, Quidditch Is Real

How J.K. Rowling's magical sport spread from Hogwarts to college campuses

Video

Would You Live in a Treehouse?

A treehouse can be an ideal office space, vacation rental, and way of reconnecting with your youth.

More in Health

Just In