Skip the blue eye shadow. Ditch the blue drinks. And don’t even think of blue popsicles, candy or lollipops. At least that’s what a new study about blue dye is telling us. Just because it’s approved for use in the U.S. doesn’t mean it’s safe–and this scary research points to why.
Published in the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology, researchers studied two different blue dyes: Patent Blue and Brilliant Blue. Patent Blue, you may recall, has already been banned from food products in the U.S., but Brilliant Blue (otherwise known as FD&C Blue No. 1) is not banned. In fact, it’s commonly used in food and cosmetics.
After evaluating the health consequences of using this blue dye, they found that it could be seeping into our bloodstream and destroying our gastrointestinal system. In addition, there are concerns that it could inhibit cell respiration, which could lead to ADHD, allergies and asthma. And, when Brilliant Blue was used in feeding tubes, a 2003 study proved that it had links to blue-tinged skin, urine, and feces, as well as hypotension and even death.
Why is this dye so harmful? The researchers say it can get into our bloodstream when the skin’s barrier is vulnerable (like after shaving) or when the dyes are put onto the mucous membrane of the tongue (like from a lollypop).
So why is it still legal to put in our food and cosmetics?
It shouldn’t be, say the researchers. They concluded that it should be banned at least from things like hard candies (which sit on the tongue and expose us to more dye absorption) and certain cosmetics. Will that happen? Probably not anytime soon because, of course, the Association of Color Manufacturers disagree with this study.
In the mean time, if you want to protect yourself, steer clear of any shaving cream, cleansers, toners or makeup that is blue. Also, read the labels of all food and avoid things that include artificial dyes (the labels will say things like, Blue 1, Blue 2, Green 3, Red 3, etc.).
Tell us, does this make you think twice about artificially colored foods?
Photo: sjon via flickr.com