The Dangers of FD&C Color Pigments

In many ways dyes brighten our lives and add color to our days. And that is good and well when they don’t affect our health. But consuming artificial coloring, either in food or absorbing it through our skin, is another story and a huge health risk. Science has shown the damaging effects of FD&C color pigments but laws have not yet caught up to help us protect ourselves and our children from this dangerous and usually unnecessary toxin.

What are FD&C Color Pigments?

FD&C Color Pigments are synthetically produced colors found in many cleansing and beauty products, as well as foods. They are made from coal tar, which contain toxic heavy metal salts. FD&C is an abbreviation for the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, which was passed to regulate potentially harmful ingredients in products sold within the U.S. While the standards weed out some highly toxic ingredients, many color pigments are still permitted within the law. Although legal, FD&C color pigments can still be harmful to the skin and body. The European Union recently passed guidelines requiring warnings on packaging of foods that contain certain food dyes. The U.S. does not have these stringent practices in place at this time.

FD&C color pigments, otherwise known as artificial coloring or food dyes, are found in many everyday personal care, “health” and beauty products including shampoos, facial cleansers, body washes, baby products, toothpastes, cosmetics, wipes, lotions, hand washes, deodorants and creams. Chances are, any product that is used for body cleaning purposes and does not claim to be all-natural or organic will likely contain FD&C color pigments.

Why are FD&C Color Pigments Dangerous?

When FD&C color pigments are applied to the skin, toxic heavy metal salts found in coal tar may cause external irritation or sensitivity. But that only scratches the surface on why FD&C color pigments are dangerous. As these color pigments absorb into skin, they can deplete the body of oxygen. Without oxygen fueling our cells, we have less energy and our bodies don’t function properly.

Additionally, clinical trials done on animal have shown FD&C color pigments are almost all carcinogenic. Numerous studies have been done using various food coloring to determine their toxicity. In a report entitled “Food Dyes: A Rainbow of Risk” released by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), possible side effects of color pigments include: kidney tumors, brain tumors, urinary bladder tumors, testes tumors, immune system tumors, organ damage, birth defects, nerve cell damage, hypersensitivity and hyperactivity. Almost all dyes contain cancer-causing chemicals individually, and may have increased effects when combined.

The CSPI’s report concludes that dyes with toxicological consequences to the extent of cancer and other serious and life-threatening conditions, are not safe. The CSPI recommends that the FDA ban most food coloring from food products.

Our philosophy at Natura Veda is two-fold: First, we believe in all-natural ingredients. Secondly, if it is natural enough for our skin, it should be edible. While we don’t recommend eating our skincare products, we stand by their purity. If our products pass our strict skin standards on the outside, they are wholesome for the inside of our bodies as well. Food coloring does not pass this test, and that’s why you won’t find any FD&C color pigments in our skincare products.