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Food Dye linked to ADHD

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Wdnesday April 22, 2009 (foodconsumer.org) -- A symposium of nineteen professionals, including toxicologists and pediatricians, have sent a letter to Congress asking them to ban certain synthetic food dyes, as they have been tied to behavioral problems, particularly ADHD, in young children.

The group expresses dismay over what they believe is a lack of concern for the matter, even though pediatric allergist Ben Feingold first discovered the link thirty years ago. Feingold is the founder of the Feingold Association of the United States, an organization dedicated to educating parents about the correlation between additives and behavioral problems.

Ralph Nader's Public Health Research Group asked the FDA in 1977 to ban certain food dyes due to concerns about studies showing that certain red dyes were carcinogenic to animals.

Through the years, there have been ongoing studies to discover exactly how the dyes negatively affect the health and behavior of children. Recently, a plethora of studies in Britain and Australia have backed up Feingold’s hyperactivity claims.

In a 2007 study by the United Kingdom’s Food Standards Agency, a group of children were given a choice of three beverages with the dye and another group a placebo. At the end of the study, the agency found that the synthetic dyes "exacerbate some hyperactive behaviors."

The UK food authority encouraged parents to remove from the diet all food and beverages containing synthetic dyes at the first sign of hyperactivity in their children.

The Euro Parliament passed legislation this past summer, requiring labels to "warn [parents] of the threat of hyperactivity."

Dr. David W. Schab of Columbia University was cited by WedMD as asserting that parents could achieve many of the same benefits that drugs provide, simply by removing synthetic dyes from the diet.

Researchers from the University of Australia in Sydney advise parents to consider removing dyes from their children’s diets as a first course of treatment for ADHD.

Feingold has a website with an elimination diet for parents, providing a way for them to become more aware of those items that affect their children’s behavior.

(By Rachel Stockton, and edited by Heather Kelley)

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