RENO, NV - A Food and Drug Administration Panel is looking at the connection between food dye and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. The panel is meeting Wednesday and Thursday to discuss their findings. Public Health Advocates say dyes do no appear to be to blame for hyperactivity. However, if they are found to be harmful to kids, a ban should be considered.
Cereals, sports drinks, candy, and snacks—all have food dyes.
They are supposed to make food look more fun, more appetizing, or make food look more healthful.
But the Center for Science in the Public Interest says the only people who would miss food dyes are the food dye manufacturers themselves.
James Hicks spends the early afternoon in the park with his daughter Kennedy. He says he likes to read labels to foods for his kids.
"Red #40 I don't know what that is," says James.
When told the FDA is looking into that red dye and others to see if there's a link between it and ADHD in children, James says anecdotally, he already has an answer.
“My mom swore my sister was hyperactive from all the red dyes and candy and stuff so I believe it. But I'm not a scientist so I couldn't be sure,” says James.
“Benjamin Feingold in fact in the 80s really started bringing this idea up,” says Dr. Nevin Wilson.
Wilson, The Pediatrics Chair with the University Of Nevada School of Medicine, says the possible connection is worth looking into, however, when it comes to a connection to anything and food the research is problematic.
“Every time you change a diet, people notice the difference. That placebo effect is always a complication,” says Dr. Wilson.
The dyes are in a lot of foods children like, from morning cereals, to sports drinks, to snacks.
Look on the back of a product and you'll see a dye sometimes more than one, and in more than one color.
The Center for Science in the Public interest is calling for a ban to the dyes,
A Food and Drug Advisory Panel has been combing through research, some which show a connection between hyperactivity and dyes others that do not.
The food dye industry says even mentioning a connection is scaring consumers about a substance they eat every day.
One local pediatrician we talked to says the FDA should concern itself with more important issues.
“I have yet to see any really good credible evidence suggesting that these food dyes are really involved in causing Attention Deficit Disorder the psychiatric disease as we know it,” says Kevin Windisch, a Sparks Pediatrician.
The panel could recommend the agency further regulate dyes, so more studies, place warning labels on food, or do nothing at all.
That recommendation is expect on Thursday.