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Originally published March 26 2009

Maryland May Ban Artificial Food Colors

by David Gutierrez, staff writer

(NaturalNews) The state of Maryland is considering two bills that would impose a ban on a number of food colorings that have been linked to hyperactivity in children. If either of the bills passes, it would make Maryland the first state to prohibit the use of any of the colorings.

Under one bill, the food additives Red 3, Red 40, Yellow 5, Yellow 6, Blue 1, Blue 2, Green 3 and Orange B would be prohibited from use in school food. Under the other, all products containing any of those ingredients would be required to bear a label reading, "Warning: The color additives in this food may cause hyperactivity and behavior problems in some children." The warning labels would have to be displayed between January 1, 2010 and December 31, 2011, at which point the ingredients would have to be phased out.

The food industry has complained that the requirement to place such a label would have the same effect as an outright ban, since no company would want to place such a warning on a product marketed for children.

Both bills have been supported by the Center for Science in the Public Interest.

"These dyes may be cheaper than real food ingredients, but given the troubling evidence concerning their impact on our children, I do not see how we can continue to justify their use," said CSPI's senior nutritionist, David Schardt.

The food colorings in question have all either been banned in Europe or were included in a groundbreaking 2007 study, published in The Lancet, that found increased behavioral problems and hyperactivity among children between the ages of 3 and 9 who drank cocktails of various food additives. After the publication of that study, the European Commission voted to label all products with those ingredients with a warning that they "may have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children."

Three of the additives contained in that study have already been banned in the United States.

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