California could BAN Lucky Charms, Cheetos and Sunchips from being served in schools due to links to ADHD- under new bill that would outlaw 7 junk food additives

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Written By Rivera Claudia

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  • California legislators have introduced a bill to ban seven popular food additives 
  • The ingredients have been linked to behavioral issues in kids, such as ADHD 
  • READ MORE: New York introduces bills to outlaw additives in cereal and bread

California state officials have introduced a bill to ban even more popular food additives from public schools that have been linked to cancer and behavioral issues. 

Democratic assemblymember Jesse Gabriel introduced a bill on Tuesday that calls for banning seven ingredients found in cereals and chips like Lucky Charms, Cap’N Crunch, and Cheetos. 

The substances on the chopping block are Red Dye No. 40, Yellow Dye No. 5, Yellow Dye No. 6, Blue Dye No. 1, Blue Dye No. 2, Green Dye No. 3, and titanium dioxide.

If passed, the legislation would require foods containing these ingredients to be removed from foods served in California public schools beginning in 2025.

Mr Gabriel also authored the California Food Safety Act, also known as the Skittles ban, which will prohibit the use of potassium bromate, propylparaben, brominated vegetable oil, and red dye No. 3. 

Governor Gavin Newsom signed that bill into law last year, which requires all of these ingredients to be removed by 2027. 

The ingredients targeted in the legislation, dubbed Assembly Bill 2316, have been linked to cancer and behavioral issues in children like ADHD.

Lucky Charms and Cheetos are two foods containing ingredients in California's latest proposed bill

Lucky Charms and Cheetos are two foods containing ingredients in California's latest proposed bill

Lucky Charms and Cheetos are two foods containing ingredients in California’s latest proposed bill

‘California has a responsibility to protect our students from chemicals that harm children and that can interfere with their ability to learn,’ Mr Gabriel said. 

‘As a lawmaker, a parent, and someone who struggled with ADHD, I find it unacceptable that we allow schools to serve foods with additives that are linked to cancer, hyperactivity and neurobehavioral harms.’

‘This bill will empower schools to better protect the health and wellbeing of our kids and encourage manufacturers to stop using these dangerous additives.’

The proposed bill is also co-sponsored by watchdogs Environmental Working Group (EWG) and Consumer Reports.   

Brian Ronholm, director of food policy at Consumer Reports, said: ‘These dangerous dyes should not be allowed in foods sold in schools, because they put kids at risk for hyperactivity and other neurobehavioral issues.’

‘Removing these harmful dyes from school foods will protect the health and well-being of kids in California.’

‘Consumer Reports applauds Assemblyman Gabriel for introducing this critical food safety legislation.’

The ingredients that could be banned are prevalent in ultraprocessed foods and have been associated with a host of medical issues. 

Red 40 as well as Yellow 5, and Yellow 6 contain benzidene, a human and animal carcinogen permitted in low, presumably safe levels in dyes. 

According to the FDA, ingestion of free benzidine raises the cancer risk to just under the ‘concern’ threshold, or one cancer in 1 million people.

Shoppers can find Red 40 in cake icings in the baking aisle, while those who love Twinkies will take in a dose of Yellow 5. Yellow 6, meanwhile, can be found in sugary breakfast cereals including Lucky Charms and Cap’N Crunch.

The colors are not banned outright in the EU, nor are they banned in the US. But unlike in the US, European authorities must include a warning label that details the risks associated with the dyes.

They have been theorized to exacerbate attentional problems in children, leading EU regulators to mandate that product makers say dyes could cause ‘an adverse effect on activity and attention in children.’

Titanium dioxide, also referred to as E171, has been banned from being added to food across Europe but it is still widely used in the US as a whitening agent for candies and pastries.

Crowd favorites Skittles, Starbursts, and other candies all contain the chemical compound, according to the EWG.

The FDA maintains that concentrations of the substance in US food is safe, though the American Chemistry Council (ACC), an industry body representing US chemical companies, said a more thorough probe needs to be carried out.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer has classified it as a Group 2B carcinogen that could potentially pose a threat to humans when inhaled.

The designation was based on limited evidence showing that high concentrations of powdered and ultrafine titanium dioxide dust caused respiratory tract cancer in rats exposed by inhalation. 

Mr Gabriel pointed to the 2021 Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, which found an association between synthetic dyes and ADHD in some children, even those who had not previously been diagnosed with the condition.

Watchdog groups argued that ‘children have lower tolerance levels to chemical exposure than adults, and their developing bodies make them especially vulnerable.’

Susan Little, senior advocate for California government affairs at EWG, said: ‘Why are foods with these toxic dyes being served in schools?’

‘We know they are harmful, especially to some children. We need to protect this vulnerable group, especially from being exposed at school, a place where they eat meals and are expected to learn.’

The National Confectioners Association, which represents candy companies, said in a statement to DailyMail.com: ‘It’s time for FDA Commissioner Califf to wake up and get in the game.’

‘These activists are dismantling our national food safety system state by state in an emotionally-driven campaign that lacks scientific backing.’

‘FDA is the only institution in America that can stop this sensationalistic agenda which is not based on facts and science.’

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