Blue dye #1 is a food coloring that used to be made from coal tar, but apparently we don’t have to worry about coal in our candy any more. According to the FDA, blue dye #1 is now usually made from “raw materials obtained from petroleum.” What an improvement – you get a dose of petroleum derivative with your sugar fix.
If your kids are into eating blue stuff, might as well let them munch on a pair of organic blue jeans. At least the cotton is all natural. As for the blue dye – well, let’s go over the fold to see what’s up with that.
What’s in That Blue Candy?
Blue dye#1 can be a beer coloring, too – just add blue to your favorite yellowy beverage and you get green.
Is it safe? Well, the FDA thinks so. But for a number of years there’s been some linkage suggested between food coloring and attention deficit disorder. Last year the European Union asked for a voluntary ban on coloring and other additives.
In any case, the occasional bag of blue candy probably can’t do much harm. Besides, blue isn’t the only food color that has, um, interesting stuff in it. Bugs, anyone?
What’s in Those Blue Jeans?
Indigo is a blue textile dye that used to be made from a plant called dyer’s woad. Nowadays synthetic indigo is made from petroleum derivatives (what a coincidence – just like blue dye #1!): aniline, formaldehyde, and hydrogen cyanide.
Why does formaldehyde sound so familiar? Oh, right, it’s an irritant linked to sick building syndrome and health problems experience by Katrina refugees living in FEMA trailers.
If you’re really into organic blue jeans, you might want to check with the manufacturer and see if the dye is organic, as well as the cotton. At least you’ll know what you’re getting into.
What’s in Those Bras?
Why would textile dye make a difference? That’s what some bra-wearers might want to know. They’ve been breaking out in painful rashes, hives, and boils around their torsos, and a number of them have alleged that formaldehyde in a popular line of brassieres is the culprit.
Those wouldn’t be blue bras, would they?
h/t to Scientific American for their article on food coloring.
Image: dawnzy on flickr under creative commons.