Scientists in the U.K. are seeking an overall ban on certain additives because of their links to hyperactivity.
British scientists last week claimed that the number of hyperactive children could be cut by a third by banning certain food additives.
The results of the recent research is causing pressure on the british Food Standards Agency to force manufacturers to stop using the "E-number" chemicals.
The researchers are saying that by removing artificial colours from children's foods would bring not only significant health benefits but would play a critical role in improving society as a whole, as hyperactive children have a harder time with education and end up being labelled slow, disruptive and "troubled."
According to the researchers from the University of Southampton, led by Professor Jim Stevenson, removing the chemicals could also help reduce anti-social behaviour in teenagers.
The authors of the study believe the harm caused to the IQ of youngsters is just the same as the damaging impact of lead on developing brains. and just as efforts were made to protect children against lead poisoning years ago, there is "justification for action now" on food colors.
The research team calculated that 6.6 percent of children aged three to 12, a total of 462,000 in Britian, suffer from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). They believe this figure could be reduced by 30 percent - around 140,000 - if the additives were banned.
During the study, two groups of children showed changes in behavior when given the additives during controlled experiments. The children found it difficult to sit still and concentrate and demonstrated problems with reading. Other symptoms included becoming loud and impulsive.
Professor Stevenson said: "We now have clear evidence that mixtures of certain food colors can adversely influence the behaviour of children.
"We know that hyperactivity in young child is a risk factor for, for example, later difficulties in school. Certainly it is associated with difficulties in learning to read.
"It is also associated with wider behavioural difficulties in middle childhood, such as conduct disorder.
"I feel that the effects we are seeing here are sufficiently great to represent a threat to health."
The researchers, in their report to the British Food Standards Agency, warned that "Elevated levels of hyperactivity in young children represent a risk for continuing behavior problems into later childhood. It should also be recognised that children with elevated levels of hyperactivity can be disruptive to a family and are sometimes socially isolated because peers find their behaviour unsettling."
Hopefully the British FSA will respond positivly to the results of this report. And we would also hope that our own FDA will take a hard look at the additives allowed on our own children's food.
The worst offenders of the food additives were the artificial coloring: tartrazine (E102); quinoline yellow (E104); sunset yellow (E110); carmoisine (E122); ponceau 4R (E124); and allura red (E129).