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Do Synthetic Food Colors Cause Hyperactivity?

Man-made food dyes may do more than make processed food look good. Some believe that the additives are triggering behavioral problems in children.

Following research published in the Lancet, the European Parliament is now requiring products containing synthetic food colors to carry warning labels proclaiming that "consumption may have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children." Now, the U.S. FDA has scheduled a hearing to examine the issue. The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) is asking the agency for a synthetic food-dye ban.

The Chicago Tribune reports:

"The dyes are often used to enhance the appearance of ... products that are aimed at children and have little nutritional value, the CSPI said ... Since naturally derived alternatives exist, the continued use is hardly worth any potential risk ... Today, the nine synthetic hues approved for use in food ... are used primarily to help restore the color washed away by industrial processing, even out natural variations and make foods look more appealing".

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