These days, most food products that are specifically marketed to children contain tartrazine. Unfortunately, it doesn’t stop here. Tartrazine is also found in many medications, cosmetics and personal care products. It is in fact derived from coal tar. Some may not be familiar with what coal tar actually is or where it originates from. The online dictionary at www.dictionary.reference.com refers to coal tar as `a thick, black, viscid liquid formed during the distillation of coal, that upon further distillation yields compounds, as benzene, anthracene, and phenol, from which are derived a large number of dyes, drugs and other synthetic compounds, and that yields a final residuum (coal-tar pitch), which is used chiefly in making pavements.`
Tartrazine can also be seen on ingredient labels as FD&C yellow 5, E102 or C.I. 19140. It is one of a group of dyes known as azo dyes. It is in fact an artificial coloring that is used to make foods and other products more visually appealing or appetizing. It is also used in the printing, textile and paper-manufacturing industries as pH indicators or biological stains.
Side-Effects of Tartrazine
Time and time again, tartrazine has been proven to cause many different side-effects and allergic reactions in people. These can include: anxiety, migraines, asthma attacks, blurred vision, eczema, other skin rashes, thyroid cancer, Eosinophilia (increase in specific forms of white blood cells), clinical depression, ADHD or hyperactivity, hives, permanent DNA damage, heart palpitations, rhinitis, sleep disturbances/insomnia, general all-over weakness, hot flushes and OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder). In severe cases, anaphylactic-like reactions to tartrazine have also been reported. It is sometimes even fed to chickens to make their egg yolks more yellow and visually appealing!
Studies have also revealed that consuming tartrazine also aggravates and increases the symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (a painful wrist condition which is caused by the compression of the median nerve, which passes between the ligaments and bones in the wrist). The reason for this aggravation is because tartrazine interferes with the metabolism of Vitamin B6 in the body. By eliminating tartrazine from the diet, it is possible to reduce and even prevent the occurrence of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.The main reason that tartrazine is used is because of the fact that it is a cheap alternative to beta-carotene, which is 100% natural and beneficial to our health. Turmeric can also be used as an alternative colorant in savoury dishes. Malt and Annatto can also replace this extremely unhealthy additive.