Activists are calling on the Food and Drug Administration toban artificial food dyesafter more research confirms the link to ADHD. David Kohn ofThe Baltimore Sunexplains:
"At this point, there's no evidence of a connection between dyes and children's behavior," says FDA consumer safety officer Judith Kidwell. She points out that in 1982, a National Institutes of Health panel examined the safety of artificial dyes and found no evidence of risk.
That attitude frustrates activists. "They're at least 20 years behind the science," says Michael F. Jacobson, executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest. Last month, the group petitioned the FDA to ban use of the dyes, as well as sodium benzoate, a common preservative that critics also suspect of contributing to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD.
"At the very least, they ought to give some consideration to what the British government is doing," Jacobson said.
The FDA is reviewing the CSPI's petition; a spokesman said he didn't know when the agency would respond.
Scientists aren't sure how these chemicals might affect the brain. There are only eight artificial food dyes used in the U.S. To get specific colors, manufacturers mix them.
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