Sunday, April 11, 2010

Should artificial colours be banned?

From the full transcript at Ockham's Razor radio program "Whether or not artificial colours affect everyone is where some confusion occurs. A study done in the general population and recently published in The Lancet, a well-respected medial journal, reported that six artificial colours, and the preservative, benzoate, caused increased hyperactivity and attention problems in children. But, to make a long story short, it was shown that some children changed a lot, whereas others changed only a little. Overall the results were significant statistically, so they showed that reactions are certainly occurring. The most important result of that study was that it showed that children in the general population do react to these additives, showing changes in distractibility, impulsivity and restlessness. It is now known why some children change greatly and others not at all. This difference in response was also found by other researchers managing this complex question in the past. Some toxicological research has shown variation in the speed of metabolism of the suspect aromatic compounds in different individuals, just as there is variation in the rate that people metabolise other chemicals. This is often identified with regard to medications. Perhaps most children are able to metabolise the chemicals quickly enough not to suffer any adverse reactions to them."

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