Compiled By Rich Murray, MA
Room For All
1943 Otowi Road
Santa Fe, New Mexico 87505 USA
Telephone: 505-501-2298
Web Site:

Posted: 07 Spetember 2007,,,,,
Subject: Food additives and hyperactive behaviour in kids
McCann D, Grimshaw K, Sonuga-Barke, Warner JO, Stevenson J, et al, The Lancet 2007.09.06 pdf
454 KB: Murray 2007.09.06

Food additives and hyperactive behaviour in kids
McCann D, Grimshaw K, Sonuga-Barke, Warner JO, Stevenson J, et al, The Lancet 2007.09.06 pdf 454 KB: Murray 2007.09.06

"Artificial colours or a sodium benzoate preservative (or both) in the diet result in increased hyperactivity in 3-year-old and 8/9-year-old children in the general population."

"The study dietitian also obtained a report based on 24-h recall by the parent of the child's pretrial diet, which allowed an assessment of baseline levels of the number of foods containing additives consumed by the child in the previous 24 h."

[ Rich Murray comments: Did they collect data on the amounts of MSG, aspartame, and sucralose consumption, which probably are significant co-factors in neurotoxicity?

Since poor memory is a commonly reported symptom by aspartame reactors, could this have affected the "24-hour recall by the parent of the child's pretrial diet"? ]

"We have completed a pilot study showing that changes in hyperactivity in response to food additives can be produced within about 1 h."

"Doses for mixes A and B for 3-year-old children were roughly the same as the amount of food colouring in two 56-g bags of sweets.

For 8/9-year-old children, the dose for mix A was equal to about two bags of sweets a day and for mix B about four bags of sweets a day."

Food additives and hyperactive behaviour in 3-year-old and 8/9-year-old children in the community: a randomised, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial.
Donna C McCann,,
Angelina Barrett,
Alison Cooper,
Debbie Crumpler,
Lindy Dalen,
Kate EC Grimshaw,,
Elizabeth Kitchin,
Kris Lok,
Lucy Porteous,
Emily Prince,
Edmund J Sonuga-Barke,,
John O Warner,,
Jim Stevenson.,



We undertook a randomised, double-blinded, placebo-controlled, crossover trial to test whether intake of artificial food colour and additives (AFCA) affected childhood behaviour.


153 3-year-old and 144 8/9-year-old children were included in the study.

The challenge drink contained sodium benzoate and one of two AFCA mixes (A or B) or a placebo mix.

The main outcome measure was a global hyperactivity aggregate (GHA), based on aggregated z-scores of observed behaviours and ratings by teachers and parents, plus, for 8/9-year-old children, a computerised test of attention.

This clinical trial is registered with Current Controlled Trials (registration number ISRCTN74481308).

Analysis was per protocol.


16 3-year-old children and 14 8/9-year-old children did not complete the study, for reasons unrelated to childhood behaviour.

Mix A had a significantly adverse effect compared with placebo in GHA for all 3-year-old children (effect size 0 20 [95% CI 0 01-0 39], p=0 044) but not mix B versus placebo.

This result persisted when analysis was restricted to 3-year-old children who consumed more than 85% of juice and had no missing data (0 32 [0 05-0 60], p=0 02).8/9-year-old children showed a significantly adverse effect when given mix A (0 12 [0 02-0 23], p=0 023) or mix B (0 17 [0 07-0 28], p=0 001) when analysis was restricted to those children consuming at least 85% of drinks with no missing data.


Artificial colours or a sodium benzoate preservative (or both) in the diet result in increased hyperactivity in 3-year-old and 8/9-year-old children in the general population.

School of Psychology
(D McCann PhD, A Barrett BSc,A Cooper MSc, D Crumpler BSc,L Dalen PhD, E Kitchin BSc,K Lok MSc, L Porteous BSc, E Prince MSc, Prof EJ Sonuga-Barke PhD, Prof J Stevenson PhD)

and School of Medicine
(K Grimshaw MSc), Department of Child Health
University of Southampton, Southampton, UK;

and Department of Paediatrics,Imperial College, London, UK
(Prof J O Warner MD)

Correspondence to:

Prof Jim Stevenson,
School of Psychology, Faculty of Medicine
Health and Life Sciences, University of Southampton
Southampton SO17 1BJ, UK


Artificial food colours and other food additives (AFCA) have long been suggested to affect behaviour in children.1

Ben Feingold made his initial claims of the detrimental effect of AFCA on childhood behaviour more than 30 years ago.2

The main putative effect of AFCA is to produce overactive, impulsive, and inattentive behaviour -- ie, hyperactivity -- which is a pattern of behaviour that shows substantial individual differences in the general population.

Children who show this behaviour pattern to a large degree are probably diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Despite the failure of early studies3 to identify the range of proposed adverse affects, a recent meta-analysis4 of double-blinded, placebo-controlled trials has shown a significant effect of AFCA on the behaviour of children with ADHD.

The possible benefit in a reduction in the level of hyperactivity of the general population by the removal of AFCA from the diet is less well established. Evidence from our previous study on the Isle of Wight has suggested adverse effects on hyperactivity, measured by parental ratings for 3-year-old children on a specific mix of additives.5

These findings needed replication on 3-year-old children, and to establish whether the effects could be seen with a wider range of measures of hyperactivity.

The present community-based, double-blinded, placebo-controlled food challenge was designed to extend the age range studied to include 8/9-year-old children to determine whether the effects could also be detected in middle childhood.



Figures 1 and 2 present details of recruitment and participation in the study, for 3-year-old and 8/9-year-old children, respectively.

The study sample was drawn from a population of children aged between 3 years and 4 years, 2 months, registered in early-years settings (nurseries, day nurseries, preschool groups, playgroups) and from children aged between 8 and 9 years attending schools in Southampton, UK.

To ensure that the study sample included children from the full range of socioeconomic backgrounds, schools were recruited based on the number of children receiving free school meals (an index of social disadvantage).

The distribution of the percentage of children receiving free meals in the schools taking part indicated the proportions for the city as a whole.

To further check on how representative the sample was, teachers completed a hyperactivity questionnaire6 for all 3-year-old and 8/9-year-old children.

Parents who returned an expression of interest form were contacted by phone and a home visit arranged.

On this visit, a research assistant and the study dietitian, provided full information about the study and its dietary implications, and written informed consent was obtained.

The study dietitian also obtained a report based on 24-h recall by the parent of the child's pretrial diet, which allowed an assessment of baseline levels of the number of foods containing additives consumed by the child in the previous 24 h.

The study was approved by the local research ethics committee (reference no 04/Q1702/61) and written informed consent was obtained from parents.

Participating early-years settings received £250 and each school £500 as a contribution towards school funds for the benefit of all children.

Study design and challenge protocols

The study design and challenge protocols for both ages were similar.

Children were entered into this study with a within-subject crossover between two active mixes (A and B) and a placebo drink.

The two active mixes differed both in the quantities of additives and the specific additives included.

Mix A was similar to the active challenge used in the Isle of Wight study,5 and mix B was selected to indicate the current average daily consumption of food additives by 3-year-old and 8/9-year-old children in the UK.7

Both mixes included sodium benzoate, which had been included in the challenge on the Isle of Wight study and in previous studies.8,9

Mix A for 3-year-old children included:
20 mg of artificial food colourings
5 mg sunset yellow [E110]
2 5 mg carmoisine [E122]
7 5 mg tartrazine [E102]
and 5 mg ponceau 4R [E124, Forrester Wood, Oldham, UK])
and 45 mg of sodium benzoate [E211, Sigma Aldridge, Gillingham, UK]).

Active mix B included:
30 mg of artificial food colourings (7 5 mg sunset yellow, 7 5 mg carmoisine, 7 5 mg quinoline yellow [E110], and 7 5 mg allura red AC [E129])
and 45 mg of sodium benzoate.

Mix A amounts for 8/9-year-old children were multiplied by 1 25 to account for the increased amount of food consumed by children at this age.

Therefore, mix A included:
24 98 mg of artificial food colourings
6 25 mg sunset yellow
3 12 mg carmoisine
9 36 mg tartrazine
and 6 25 mg ponceau 4R)
and 45 mg of sodium benzoate.

Active mix B included:
62 4 mg of artificial food colourings (15 6 mg sunset yellow, 15 6 mg carmoisine, 15 6 mg quinoline yellow, and 15 6 mg allura red AC)
and 45 mg of sodium benzoate.

Doses for mixes A and B for 3-year-old children were roughly the same as the amount of food colouring in two 56-g bags of sweets.

For 8/9-year-old children, the dose for mix A was equal to about two bags of sweets a day and for mix B about four bags of sweets a day.

After a week on their typical diet (week 0: baseline diet), the artificial colours to be used in the challenges and sodium benzoate were withdrawn from their diet for 6 weeks.

Over this period when challenge with active or placebo drinks were given, additive withdrawal continued (week 1: withdrawal period but receiving placebo; weeks 2, 4, and 6: challenge with randomisation to two active periods and one placebo period; weeks 3 and 5: washout continuing on placebo).

During this period, 3-year-old children received the challenge and washout-placebo drinks on a weekly basis and consumed mixed fruit juices (placebo or active) at home (300 mL/day for 3-year-old children, 625 mL/day for 8/9-year-old children), provided in identical sealed bottles.

At the beginning of the study, children were assigned by the study administrator by a random-number generator to receive one of six possible sequences of placebo, active mix A, or active mix B challenges across weeks 2, 4, and 6.

A masked testing by two independent panels of 20 young adults showed that the active and placebo juice drinks could not be differentiated.

When asked if the mix contained additive, 16 (40%), 21 (52%), and 26 (65%) adults responded positively for mix A, mix B, and placebo, respectively.

We recorded no significant differences between these proportions (Friedman test, ²=4 412, df=2).

Therefore, no reliable differences were seen between the look and taste of the drinks.

The only difference in the composition of the placebo and active mixes was the presence of the AFCA in the active mix with some variation in the proportions of the fruit juices to ensure matching colour and taste for the placebo and active drinks.....

"Global hyperactivity aggregate (GHA)"

...Parents rated their child's behaviour during the previous week for seven items previously used (switching activities; interrupting or talking too much; wriggling; fiddling with objects or own body; restless; always on the go; concentration),4 from which we obtained a total score.....

...A fourth measure for 8/9-year-old children was the Conners continuous performance test II (CPTII),16 a [computerized] test using visual stimuli of 14-min duration and is widely used to assess attention and the response inhibition component of executive control.

We used four scores (SE of reaction time, % of commission errors, dŽ [discriminability index], and ) to derive a weekly aggregate score. This subset of indicators from the CPTII has been shown to be highly correlated with the ADHD rating scale.17.....

...128 (93%) of the 137 children who completed the study consumed more than two-thirds of all drinks, of which 103 (80%) consumed 85% or more (ie, at least six of seven daily drinks per week).....

...Under model 2, in which the effects of other factors were controlled, the effect of mix A for the entire sample was not significant (p=0·123) but mix B did have a significantly adverse effect compared with placebo (p=0·012).

When the analyses are restricted to those children who consumed at least 85% juice, the adverse effect of mix A on behaviour remained non-significant (p=0·066) but was significant for mix B (p=0·003).

The complete case groups showed significantly higher GHA scores than placebo for mix A (p=0·023) and mix B (p=0·001).....


In this community-based, double-blinded, placebo-controlled food challenge, we tested the effects of artificial food additives on children's behaviour and have shown that a mix of additives commonly found in children's food increases the mean level of hyperactivity in children aged 3 years and 8/9 years.

Our complete case data has indicated that the effect sizes, in terms of the difference between the GHA under active mix and placebo challenges, were very similar for mix B in 3-year-old and 8/9-year-old children.

For mix A, the effect for 3-year-old children was greater than for 8/9-year-old children.

The effects for mix B were not significant for 3-year-old children because there was greater variability in the response to the active challenges than placebo in this age group.

Thus, we recorded substantial individual differences in the response of children to the additives.

For both age groups, no significant effect of social and demographic factors was seen on the initial level of GHA or in the moderation of the challenge effects.

The moderating effects of genotype on the child's behaviour response to AFCA are examined in a separate paper (unpublished data).

The effect sizes reported in this study are similar to those calculated in the meta-analysis by Schab and Trinh.4

They estimated the effects of AFCA on hyperactivity to be 0·283 (95% CI 0·079-0·488), falling to 0·210 (0·007-0·414) when the smallest and lowest quality trials were excluded.

It should be noted that this meta-analysis included studies of hyperactivity in clinical samples, whereas the present study was done on children in the general population with the full range of degrees of hyperactivity.

These effect sizes recorded by Schab and Trinh are smaller than those reported for stimulant treatment for ADHD in children, for which one meta-analysis21 reported a range of effect sizes from 0·78 (0·64-0·91) by teacher report to 0·54 (0·40-0·67) by parent report. We report effect sizes that average at about 0·18.

Children with ADHD are generally about 2 SD higher on hyperactivity measures than those without the disorder,22 thus an effect size of 0·2 is about 10% of the behavioural difference between them.

This study provides evidence of deleterious effects of AFCA on children's behaviour with data from a whole population sample, using a combination of robust objective measures with strong ecological validity, based partly on observations in the classroom and ratings of behaviour made independently by teachers and by parents in the different context of the home and applying double-blinded challenges with quantities of additives equal to typical dietary intakes.

It also replicates the effects of mix A previously reported on a large sample (n=277) of 3-year-old children,5 although significant effects were only seen with parental ratings in that study.

The specific deleterious compounds in the mix cannot be determined for the present study and need to be examined in subsequent studies.

The effect of artificial colours needs to be differentiated from the effects of preservatives in a 2X2 design.

Further investigation would also need to establish whether the age-related difference seen in the present study can be replicated -- ie, the effects of mix A being greater for 3-year-old children than for 8/9-year-old children.

We examined the effects of additives on changes in behaviour during an extended period in a community-based, double-blinded, placebo-controlled food challenge.

A weakness in this approach is the lack of control over when the challenges are ingested in relation to the timing of measures of hyperactivity.

This study design also needs extensive resources to obtain multisource and multicontext measures of hyperactivity.

We have completed a pilot study showing that changes in hyperactivity in response to food additives can be produced within about 1 h.

Therefore, future studies could use more feasible acute double-blinded challenges undertaken in more controlled settings.

The present findings, in combination with the replicated evidence for the AFCA effects on the behaviour of 3-year-old children, lend strong support for the case that food additives exacerbate hyperactive behaviours (inattention, impulsivity, and overactivity) in children at least up to middle childhood.

Increased hyperactivity is associated with the development of educational difficulties, especially in relation to reading, and therefore these adverse effects could affect the child's ability to benefit from the experience of schooling.23

These findings show that adverse effects are not just seen in children with extreme hyperactivity (ie, ADHD),4 but can also be seen in the general population and across the range of severities of hyperactivity.

Our results are consistent with those from previous studies and extend the findings to show significant effects in the general population.

The effects are shown after a rigorous control of placebo effects and for children with the full range of levels of hyperactivity.

We have found an adverse effect of food additives on the hyperactive behaviour of 3-year-old and 8/9-year-old children.

Although the use of artificial colouring in food manufacture might seem superfluous, the same cannot be said for sodium benzoate, which has an important preservative function.

The implications of these results for the regulation of food additive use could be substantial.


JS, JOW, and ES-B participated in the conception and design of the study.

The Food Standards Agency assisted with the design of the study.

DMC directed the execution of the study.

AB, AC, DC, LD, EK, LP, and EP undertook assessments of the children and helped to develop the observational methods employed in the study.

KG supervised and KL executed the nutritional aspects of the study in relation to the preparation of suitable challenge drinks and advice on diet for parents.

DMC and JS analysed the data and wrote the manuscript with input from all the authors.

Conflict of interest statement

We declare that we have no conflict of interest.


We thank the children, families, and teachers in the participating schools and early years settings in the Southampton area for their help and assistance with the study; and Catherine Varcoe-Baylis and Jenny Scoles and the local steering committee for their assistance, especially Ulrike Munford and the representatives from Southampton City Council Children's Services and Learning and the Southampton Early Years Development and Childcare Partnership; and the Food Standards Agency for their significant advice and input into the study. This study received funding from the Food Standards Agency (grant T07040).


  1. Overmeyer S, Taylor E, Annotation: principles of treatment for hyperkinetic disorder: practice approaches for the UK. J Child Psychol Psychiatry 1999; 40: 1147-57.
  2. Feingold BF. Hyperkinesis and learning disabilities linked to artificial food flavors and colours. Am J Nurs 1975; 75: 797-803.
  3. Editorial. NIH consensus development conference: defined diets and childhood hyperactivity. Clin Pediatr 1982; 21: 627-30.
  4. Schab DW, Trinh NT. Do artificial food colours promote hyperactivity in children with hyperactive syndromes? A meta-analysis of double-blind placebo-controlled trials. J Dev Behav Pediatr 2004; 25: 423-34.
  5. Bateman B, Warner JO, Hutchinson E, et al. The effects of a double blind, placebo controlled, artificial food colourings and benzoate preservative challenge on hyperactivity in a general population sample of preschool children. Arch Dis Child 2004; 89: 506-11.
  6. DuPaul GJ, Power TJ, Anastopoulos AD, Reid R, McGoey K, Ikeda M. Teacher ratings of ADHD symptoms: Factor structure and normative data. Psychol Assess 1997; 9: 436-44.
  7. Gregory JR, Collins EDI Davies PSW, Hughes JM, Clarke PC. National Diet and Nutrition Survey: children aged 1·5 to 4·5 years. Vol 1: Report of the Diet and Nutrition Survey. London: HM Stationery Office, 1995.
  8. Egger J, Graham PJ, Carter CM, Gumley D, Soothill JF. Controlled trial of oligoantigenic treatment in the hyperkinetic syndrome. Lancet 1985; 325: 540-45.
  9. Carter CM, Urbanowicz M, Hemsley R, et al. Effects of a few food diet in attention-deficit disorder. Arch Dis Child 1993; 69: 564-68.
  10. Routh D.Hyperactivity. In: Magrab P, ed. Psychological management of pediatric problems. Baltimore: University Park Press, 1978: 3-8.
  11. Thompson MJJ, Stevenson J, Sonuga-Barke E, et al. The mental health of preschool children and their mothers in a mixed urban/rural population. Prevalence and ecological factors. Br J Psychiatry 1996; 168: 16-20.
  12. Hayward C, Killen J, Kraemer H, et al. Linking self-reported childhood behavioural inhibition to adolescent social phobia. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry 1998; 37: 1308-16.
  13. Mash EJ, Johnston C. Parental perceptions of child behaviour problems, parenting self-esteem and mother's reported stress in younger and older hyperactive and normal children. J Consult Clin Psychol 1983; 51: 86-99.
  14. DuPaul GJ, Power TJ, Anastopoulos AD, Reid R. AD/HD rating scale IV: checklists, norms and clinical interpretation. New York: Guilford Press, 1998.
  15. Abikoff H, Gittleman R. Classroom observation code -- a modification of the stony-brook code. Psychopharmacol Bull 1985; 21: 901-09.
  16. Conners CK. The Conners continuous performance test. Toronto, ON, Canada: Multi-Health Systems, 1994.
  17. Epstein N, Erkanli A, Conners CK, Klaric J, Costello JE, Angold A. Relations between continuous performance test performance measures and ADHD behaviours. J Abnorm Child Psychol 2003; 31: 543-54.
  18. Gueorguieva R, Krystal JH. Move over ANOVA: Progress in analysing repeated-measures data and its reflection in papers published in the Archives of General Psychiatry. Arch Gen Psychiatry 2004; 61: 310-17.
  19. Mallinckrodt CH, Watkin JG, Molenburghs G, et al. Choice of the primary analysis in longitudinal clinical trials. Pharm Stat 2004; 3: 161-69.
  20. Office for National Statistics. Standard occupational classification. London: Stationery Office, 2000.
  21. Schachter HA, King J, Langford S, Moher D. How efficacious and safe is short-acting methylphenidate for the treatment of attention-deficit disorder in children and adolescents? A meta-analysis. Can Med Assoc J 2001; 165: 1475-88.
  22. Swanson JM, Sergeant J, Taylor E, Sonuga-Barke EJS, Jensen PS, Cantwell DP. Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and hyperkinetic disorder. Lancet 1998; 351: 429-33.
  23. McGee R, Prior M, Williams S, Smart D, Sanson A. The long-term significance of teacher-rated hyperactivity and reading ability in childhood: findings from two longitudinal studies. J Child Psychol Psychiatry 2002; 43: 1004-17.
John O. Warner with U. Southampton team in 2007 finds kids hyperactive from six food colors, confirming their report in 2004 on study in 2000: Murray 2007.08.11

"Our study has shown that the effect of food additives on behaviour occurs independently of pre-existing hyperactive behaviour or indeed atopic status.

This is consistent with other studies which have tended to suggest that if food additives have an effect at all, it is via a pharmacological effect which is best exemplified by the non-IgE dependent histamine release. 20,21

We believe that this suggests that benefit would accrue for all children if artificial food colours and benzoate preservatives were removed from their diet.

These findings are sufficiently strong to warrant attempts at replication in other general population samples and to examine whether similar benefits of the removal of artificial colourings and sodium benzoate from the diet could be identified in community samples at older ages."

[ See also:
ASDA (unit of Wal-Mart Stores WMT.N) and Marks & Spencer will join Tesco and also Sainsbury to ban and limit aspartame, MSG, artificial flavors dyes preservatives additives, trans fats, salt "nasties" to protect kids from ADHD: leading UK media: Murray 2007.05.15
50% UK baby food is now organic - aspartame or MSG with food dyes harm nerve cells, CV Howard 3 year study funded by Lizzy Vann, CEO, Organix Brands, Children's Food Advisory Service: Murray 2006.01.13
Combining aspartame and quinoline yellow, or MSG and brilliant blue, harms nerve cells, eminent C. Vyvyan Howard et al, 2005, Felicity Lawrence: Murray 2005.12.21 ]

Archives of Disease in Childhood 2004; 89(6): 506-511
Erratum in: Arch Dis Child. 2005 Aug; 90(8): 875.
(c) 2004 BMJ Publishing Group & Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health
The effects of a double blind, placebo controlled, artificial food colourings and benzoate preservative challenge on hyperactivity in a general population sample of preschool children
B Bateman 1,
J O Warner 1,
E Hutchinson 3,
T Dean 5,,
P Rowlandson 4, Dr. Piers Rolandson, Paediatric Tutor
C Gant 5,
J Grundy 5,
C Fitzgerald 3
and J Stevenson 2

  1. Infection, Inflammation and Repair Division, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK
  2. Department of Psychology, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK
  3. Department of Clinical Psychology, St Mary's Hospital, Isle of Wight, UK
  4. Department of Paediatrics, St Mary's Hospital, Isle of Wight, UK
  5. David Hide Asthma and Allergy Research Centre, St Mary's Hospital, Isle of Wight, UK
Isle of Wight NHS Primary Care Trust, St Mary's Hospital
Parkhurst Road, Newport, Isle of Wight PO30 5TG.
Tel 01983 524081
David Hide Asthma and Allergy Research Centre
Tel: 01983 534373 Fax: 01983 822928
Registered Charity No. 10202
"The Isle of Wight with a population of approximately 130,000 and an annual birth-rate of approximately 1200 has proved an ideal environment for collecting information on the prevalence of commonly occurring medical problems." Research Studies
"This study involves approximately 1400 children who were born on the Isle of Wight from 1st January 1989 to 28th February 1990. The majority has been followed up at the ages of one, two, four and ten years to enable us to follow the natural history of asthma and allergies. A grant is being sought to enable a follow-up of these children when they reach 16 yrs of age in 2005/6."

"(Food Additives and Behaviour)

The study was funded by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food and was designed to assess the impact, if any, of artificial food additives and colourings on the behaviour of three year old children.

An enormous amount of data on children's behaviour has been collected from more than two thousand children, as well as information on allergic symptoms and sensitisation to allergens. Psychological testing and dietary assessments were also carried out on a proportion of the children."

Correspondence to:

Professor J Warner
University Child Health, Southampton General Hospital
Tremona Road, Southampton SO16 6YD, UK

Accepted for publication 14 September 2003

I have moved to a new post at Imperial College based at St. Mary's Hospital London.

Any urgent correspondence relevant to Southampton should be sent to Di Head

I can be contacted on my new e-mail address
Regards, John Warner



To determine whether artificial food colourings and a preservative in the diet of 3 year old children in the general population influence hyperactive behaviour.


A sample of 1873 children were screened in their fourth year for the presence of hyperactivity at baseline (HA), of whom 1246 had skin prick tests to identify atopy (AT).

Children were selected to form the following groups:

and not-HA/not-AT (n = 277).

After baseline assessment, children were subjected to a diet eliminating artificial colourings and benzoate preservatives for one week; in the subsequent three week within subject double blind crossover study they received, in random order, periods of dietary challenge with a drink containing artificial colourings (20 mg daily) and sodium benzoate (45mg daily) (active period), or a placebo mixture, supplementary to their diet. Behaviour was assessed by a tester blind to dietary status and by parents' ratings.


There were significant reductions in hyperactive behaviour during the withdrawal phase. Furthermore, there were significantly greater increases in hyperactive behaviour during the active than the placebo period based on parental reports. These effects were not influenced by the presence or absence of hyperactivity, nor by the presence or absence of atopy. There were no significant differences detected based on objective testing in the clinic.


There is a general adverse effect of artificial food colouring and benzoate preservatives on the behaviour of 3 year old children which is detectable by parents but not by a simple clinic assessment. Subgroups are not made more vulnerable to this effect by their prior levels of hyperactivity or by atopy. PMID: 15155391

Keywords: artificial food colouring; benzoate preservatives; hyperactivity; atopy; double blind placebo controlled challenge

Abbreviations: ADHD, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder;
APHR, aggregated parental hyperactivity ratings;
AT, atopy;
ATH, aggregated test hyperactivity;
BCL, Behaviour Checklist;
HA, hyperactivity;
WWP, Weiss-Werry-Peters Activity Scalee

13 mainstream research studies in 24 months showing aspartame toxicity, also 3 relevant studies on methanol and formaldehyde: Murray 2007.09.06
4 cases of aspartame-induced thrombocytopenia [ very low platelets in blood ], HJ Roberts MD, Letter in Southern Medical Journal 2007 May:100(5); 543: Murray 2007.08.25
Formaldehyde induced urticarial vasculitis in male medical student, age 40, Michael Pellizzari, Gillian Marshman, Flinders U., Australasian J. Dermatol. 2007 Aug: Murray 2007.08.29
Highly toxic formaldehyde, the cause of alcohol hangovers, is made by the body from 100 mg doses of methanol from dark wines and liquors, dimethyl dicarbonate, and aspartame: Murray 2007.08.31
New details on how formaldehyde and formic acid from methanol are neurotoxic: Chun Lai Nie, Rong Giao He, et al, PLoS ONE 2(7): e629 2007.07.18 Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing: Murray 20097.09.01
Aspartame bans, tis more an avalanche than a trend...: Rich Murray 2007.08.17

[ see also:
ASDA, Wal-Mart's UK supermarket chain, bans artificial colors, trans fats, MSG and aspartame, Marguerite Kelly, The Washington Post: Murray 2007.08.03 ]

So far, USA print and broadcast media are deaf, blind, and dumb, regarding recent major bans of aspartame and MSG in the UK and EU.

The EU Parliament voted July 12 to ban artificial sweeteners in newly born and infant foods.

On May 15 four huge UK supermarket chains announced bans of aspartame and MSG, food dyes, and many additives to protect kids from ADHD -- Sainsbury, Tesco, Marks & Spencer, and ASDA, a unit of WalMart.

May 31: Coca-Cola and the much larger Cargill Inc., after years of secret development, with 24 patents, will soon sell rebiana (stevia) in drinks and food in the many nations where it is approved as a sweetener -- for decades a major sweetener in Japan, China, Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Malasia, Saint Kitts, Nevis, Brazil, Peru, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Israel, and an approved supplement in USA, Australia, and Canada, according to Wikipedia.
Recent research and news re aspartame and stevia: Murray 2007.08.16

"Of course, everyone chooses, as a natural priority, to actively find, quickly share, and positively act upon the facts about healthy and safe food, drink, and environment."

Rich Murray, MA
Room For All
1943 Otowi Road
Santa Fe, New Mexico 87505
Group with 82 members, 1,471 posts in a public, searchable archive
Aspartame Controversy, in Wikipedia democratic encyclopedia, 72 references (including AspartameNM # 864 and 1173 by Murray, brief fair summary of much more research: Murray 2007.01.01
Souring on fake sugar (aspartame), Jennifer Couzin, Science 2007.07.06: 4 page letter to FDA from 12 eminent USA toxicologists re two Ramazzini Foundation cancer studies 2007.06.25: Murray 2007.07.18
Artificial sweeteners (aspartame, sucralose) and coloring agents will be banned from use in newly-born and baby foods, the European Parliament decided: Latvia ban in schools 2006: Murray 2007.07.12
Stevia to be approved and cyclamates limited by Food Standards Australia New Zealand: JMC Geuns critiques of two recent stevia studies by Nunes: Murray 2007.05.29
More from The Independent, UK, Martin Hickman, re ASDA (unit of Wal-Mart Stores) and Marks & Spencer ban of aspartame, MSG, artificial chemical additives and dyes to prevent ADHD in kids: urray 2007.05.16
ASDA (unit of Wal-Mart Stores WMT.N) and Marks & Spencer will join Tesco and also Sainsbury to ban and limit aspartame, MSG, artificial flavors dyes preservatives additives, trans fats, salt "nasties" to protect kids from ADHD: leading UK media: Murray 2007.05.15
Coca-Cola and Cargill Inc., after years of development, with 24 patents, will soon sell rebiana (stevia) in drinks and foods: Murray 2007.05.31
Nurses Health Study can quickly reveal the extent of aspartame (methanol, formaldehyde, formic acid) toxicity: Murray 2004.11.21

The Nurses Health Study is a bonanza of information about the health of probably hundreds of nurses who use 6 or more cans daily of diet soft drinks -- they have also stored blood and tissue samples from their immense pool of subjects.