Sunday, December 20, 2009

Industrial Waste in my Mountain Dew?

No, the title of this blog entry isn’t alarmist, nor is it a conspiracy theory.

Let’s talk a moment about…FD&C Yellow #5. We’ve all heard of it, but what is it, really? And why is it that everywhere you turn, you find it in…something that you typically use, or would like to use?

FD&C (Federal Dye & Coloring) Yellow #5 is also known as tartrazinethis is a substance that is a coal-tar derivative. Yes, you read that right. Coal tar. In your food. Yum.

It’s used in everything from pudding to rice, soft drinks to prescription medication and beyond.

There’s just one problem

Hyperactivity. Ah, yes. “Your kid is hyperactive! You shouldn’t feed him so much sugar!” Well, guess what? All of  those cases of ADHD that are so frequently diagnosed (and misdiagnosed) these days? Yeah, um, Tony the Tiger’s sugar content doesn’t enter into the equation. Yep, FD&C Yellow #5 is present.

These days, we’re starting to see it listed as Tartrazine Yellow #5. Same stuff. Oh, and let’s not forget the other “yellows” – how about Yellow #6? That’s the benevolent-sounding “Sunset Yellow” that we’re starting to see bandied about. Guess what?


It’s being injected into squash to make it look more yellow and therefore tempting to select over paler (and more natural) squash. It’s other claim to fame is in coloring cotton refuse in chemistry experiments. No, I didn’t make that up.

It’s also banned in many countries because it’s a known carcinogenic. But hey, not here in the good ol’ US of A! We like our cancer-causing genetically-altered vegetables!

The whole family includes things such as the following common ingredients in everything from our soaps to our sodas:

FD&C Red #40
Sunset Yellow
Yellow #5 (Tartrazine)
Sodium Benzoate
Yellow #13
Brilliant Scarlet 3R or 4R (aka Cochineal Red A)
Food Red 3

…the list goes on.
Hey! How about some vitamins for your kids?

(listed under “OTHER INGREDIENTS”) …artificial colors*...

*Bubble gum: FD&C Red #3, Red #40; Watermelon: FD&C Blue #1, Yellow #5; Grape: FD&C Red #3, Blue #1; Cherry: FD&C Red #40, Blue Raspberry: FD&C Blue #1.
People who are sensitive to aspirin should avoid these items like the plague. People who suffer from asthma will find their problem exacerbated by these as they are histamine liberators. Migraines, thyroid cancer, even lupus have had their causes or triggers linked indirectly with products containing these ingredients and more research is being performed to determine if these are indeed more direct causes.

So why is industrial waste being pumped into our Doritos, toothpaste, birth control pills, even so-called “natural ice cream” such as Dreyers brand and things that should have no business being yellow to begin with like skim milk and shrimp?

THAT is the question indeed.