Aug 27, 2012 · In general terms, the law banned artificial colors that proved “injurious to health,” and the government hired chemist Dr. Bernard Hesse to investigate which of the existing 80 dyes being used in foods were safe enough to keep legal.

Citrus Red 2, Red 3, Red 40, Yellow 5, Yellow 6, Blue 1, Blue 2 and Green 3, –which include some of the most commonly used artificial food colorings–have all been identified as being, or being contaminated with, potential cancer-causing chemicals, according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest.

Food coloring, or color additive, is any dye, pigment or substance that imparts color when it is added to food or drink. They come in many forms consisting of liquids, powders, gels, and pastes. Food coloring is used both in commercial food production and in domestic cooking.

Artificial colors are prevalent in our daily life. They are in our lipstick, toothpaste, nail polish, hair dyes and tanning spray, and they’re also added to medications and nutritional supplements to help us differentiate between the various pills in our pill organizer.

Sure, artificial food coloring makes food look more appealing, but they also contain plenty of chemicals. Are they safe? Learn more about what these food additives …

Today, there are only seven approved artificial food colorings in use, which have been extensively tested by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Did you know that about 15 million pounds of petroleum-based dyes are used in food each year, even though some are known carcinogens or pose other serious health risks?