food coloring and ADHD

FDA examining link between added coloring, ADHD and hyperactivity

The debates about “natural parenting” on the internet almost always descend into heated, ad hominem attacks from both sides within the first few exchanges- with one school of though espousing breastfeeding, a crunchier diet, and often rejecting vaccines and the other leaning toward established scientific findings and accepting the status quo as generally safe.

The Food and Drug Administration has opened the can of worms about the possible link between artificial additives and hyperactivity anew, giving credence to concerns about the colorings by re-investigating the link. Although the FDA stands by its original assertion that a link is tenuous, they concede that among pre-disposed children, it may be a mitigating factor:

In a concluding report, staff scientists from the F.D.A. wrote that while typical children might be unaffected by the dyes, those with behavioral disorders might have their conditions “exacerbated by exposure to a number of substances in food, including, but not limited to, synthetic color additives.”

The New York Times printed part of a statement from the Grocery Manufacturers Association, who dismissed the link as pseudoscience:

“All of the major safety bodies globally have reviewed the available science and have determined that there is no demonstrable link between artificial food colors and hyperactivity among children.”

A behavioral pediatrician spoke to the Times and called the persistent idea that the colorants exacerbate the conditions “urban legends that won’t die.”