Although these artificial colors may be partially broken down and destroyed in the GI tract after consumption of coloured "soft" candies or drinks, it's not necessarily the case for lollipops and hard candies. This is because as children suck on these candies, the dye penetrates through the lining in the mouth (sublingual absorption), which bypasses first-pass metabolism and enters directly into the bloodstream intact.
“Due to these results we consider that hard candies and lollipops containing Brilliant Blue, as well as Patent Blue pose some health risk especially when products are repeatedly licked by most vulnerable consumers – children,” said the lead researcher, adding in an industry interview that, “Health risks of these dyes are mainly attributed to their inhibitory effects on mitochondrial respiration of human cells.”
Brilliant Blue is authorized as a food additive in the US, but Patent Blue is not allowed in many countries including the US, Australia, Canada, Japan, and New Zealand.
The colors have been linked to ADHD, allergies, and asthma in the past (similar to the "Southampton Colours" ...those artificial reds, oranges, and yellows that got most of the media attention a few years back).
The results of this study also apply to men's shaving cream, which for some unknown reason, are traditionally coloured blue with these colours. As micro-abrasions from shaving compromise the protective function of skin, this study showed that significant amounts of the dyes are absorbed transdermally into systemic circulation. Considering the frequency in which men shave their faces, this is a concern. This would also apply to those blue-coloured "soothing" liquids that come with depilatory products.
Most reading this are probably already eating foods (including candy) and using personal care products that are organic (or at least natural), but I'm sure you've got many friends who would benefit from reading this article.
Source: Absorption of triphenylmethane dyes Brilliant Blue and Patent Blue through intact skin, shaven skin and lingual mucosa from daily life products
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