Artificial food colors and childhood behavior disorders

E. K. Silbergeld, S. M. Anderson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Popular concern over adverse neurobehavioral effects of food additives has recently implicated artificial colors as etiologic factors in childhood hyperactivity (hyperkinesis, attention deficit disorder). However, clinical studies using total dietary elimination such as the so-called 'Feingold diet' have not shown conclusive or dramatic effects when performed under controlled conditions. Challenge studies, in which identified 'responders' to dietary elimination were acutely presented using a cookie or drink containing an estimated 10 common artificial colors, have suggested that some responders may exist, but that any such children are not numerous. In contrast, in vitro and in vivo exposure of rodents to erythrosin B (FD&C Red No. 3) produces significant neurochemical and behavioral effects. Experimental results identify neural Na,K-ATPase as the possible substrate of erythrosin's action. Further, these findings may suggest a genetic basis for the effects of erythrosin in vivo, with implications for the design of future clinical studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)275-295
Number of pages21
JournalBulletin of the New York Academy of Medicine: Journal of Urban Health
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 1982
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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