Thursday, December 1, 2011

the kids get wacky...

Yesterday I took the kids to their doctor's office since they've both had this ominous cough. The Boy is now on antibiotics and even though I specifically asked for nothing with dyes in it, the doctor prescribed zithromax, which has Red #40. The pharmacy looked in the insert for me, and when I called the on-call number it was suddenly MY job to research which drugs were safe for him and which pharmacy carries them. 87 phone calls and Google searches later, I located a pharmacy that carried dye free amoxicillin, which was free (cool!) but EVERY other drug has dyes.

I realize it's my job to do everything in my power to take care of my kids, so I don't really mind doing the calling and Googling, but the doctor actually said to me- (paraphrasing) 'I know some kids get wacky when they have dyes, even though all of the research says otherwise, other parents have said the same thing.'

my happy, sweet boy
Well then. I guess she got to sneak her opinion in there after all! Good for you, Dr. Julie. (this is the same pediatrician who accused me of doing a horrible job of breastfeeding the baby Girl in the hospital, which is ludicrous. My blood boils when I see this woman.)

So, if "all of the research" says there's no reason to worry about dyes in our food (bangs head on desk) lets just challenge Dr. Knows Everything. I plan on writing her a bitchy polite note informing her that this isn't some sort of off the cuff, hippie mom experiment, but was so surprised by reading this information, I thought I'd share some compelling links with you guys, too:

CSPI Urges FDA to Ban Artificial Food Dyes Linked to Behavior Problems

Banned in the U.K., food dyes are U.S. staple

A Parent's Guide to Diet, ADHD, and Behavior

Petition to Ban the Use of Yellow 5 and Other Food Dyes  "It is medically and ethically unwise to burden hyperactive children and their parents with concerns about foods with synthetic dyes. After all, parents (and pediatricians) first would have to know about the potential risk and then figure out if their children were adversely affected by dyes. Then they would have to protect their children from packaged and restaurant foods with dyes and from dyed foods served at friends’ parties, school events, picnics, and elsewhere. Parents (and children) should not be burdened with having to fend off the almost ubiquitous risks" (from the petition above)

F.D.A. Panel to Consider Warnings for Artificial Food Colorings

The Hidden Health Risks of Food Dyes  "The three most widely used culprits—Yellow 5, Yellow 6 and Red 40—contain compounds, including benzidine and 4-aminobiphenyl, that research has linked with cancer."

This awesome blog  had this information compiled from CSPI information on an existing post:

"Here is what the CSPI writes about existing artificial dyes:
Caution: BLUE 1 (found in beverages, candy and baked goods.)
One (unpublished) animal test suggested a small cancer risk, and a test-tube study indicated the dye might affect neurons. Blue 1 might be safe, but it should be better tested.
Avoid: BLUE 2 (found in pet food, beverages and candy.)
Animal studies found some—but not conclusive—evidence that Blue 2 causes brain cancer in male rats, but the Food and Drug Administration concluded that there is "reasonable certainty of no harm.”
Caution: CITRUS RED 2 (found in the skin of some Florida oranges only.)
The amounts of this rarely used dye that one might consume, even from eating marmalade, are so small that the risk is not worth worrying about.
Avoid: GREEN 3 (found in candy and beverages.)
A 1981 industry-sponsored study gave hints of bladder and testes tumors in male rats, but FDA re-analyzed the data using other statistical tests and concluded that the dye was safe. Fortunately, this possibly carcinogenic dye is not widely used.
Avoid: ORANGE B (found in sausage.)
Approved for use only in sausage casings, high doses of this dye are harmful to the liver and bile duct. However, that is not worrisome because Orange B has not been used for many years.
Avoid: RED 3 (found in candy and baked goods.)
The evidence that this dye caused thyroid tumors in rats is "convincing," according to a 1983 review committee report requested by FDA. FDA's recommendation that the dye be banned was overruled by pressure from elsewhere in the Reagan Administration. Red 3 used to color maraschino cherries, but it has been replaced there by the less controversial Red 40 dye. It is still used in a smattering of foods ranging from cake icing to fruit roll-ups to chewing gum.
Caution: RED 40 (found in soda pop, candy, gelatin desserts, pastries, pet food, and sausage.)
The most widely used food dye. While this is one of the most-tested food dyes, the key mouse tests were flawed and inconclusive. An FDA review committee acknowledged problems, but said evidence of harm was not "consistent" or "substantial." Red 40 can cause allergy-like reactions. Like other dyes, Red 40 is used mainly in junk foods.
Avoid: YELLOW 5 (found in gelatin dessert, candy, pet food, and baked goods.)
The second-most-widely used coloring causes allergy-like hypersensitivity reactions, primarily in aspirin-sensitive persons, and triggers hyperactivity in some children. It may be contaminated with such cancer-causing substances as benzidine and 4-aminobiphenyl (or chemicals that the body converts to those substances).
Avoid: YELLOW 6 (found in beverages, candy, and baked goods.)
Industry-sponsored animal tests indicated that this dye, the third most widely used, causes tumors of the adrenal gland and kidney. In addition, small amounts of several carcinogens, such as 4-aminobiphenyl and benzidine (or chemicals that the body converts to those substances), contaminate Yellow 6. However, the FDA reviewed those data and found reasons to conclude that Yellow 6 does not pose a significant cancer risk to humans. Yellow 6 may cause occasional, but sometimes-severe hypersensitivity reactions."  Read more here.

So, I'm just a little miffed that a pediatrician doesn't take any of this seriously. I can't imagine my son trying to recover from an illness while simultaneously feeling as crappy as he feels when he's ingested Red #40. The kid puts up with enough as it is!

1 comment:

  1. Wow! I didn't realize you were so passionate on this issue. That's awesome :) I was having a dye dilemma today while at the store trying to find stuff to decorate a cake that didn't contain dyes. You would think it wouldn't be so hard, but I came up with nothing :(