When Will The FDA Wake Up And Realize This Is A National Health Crisis? Guest Post By Abby Egan
I am a mom of two usually adorable children and two rescue dogs. I’m a novice gardener, avid reader and music lover. I work full time in social services (though my hope is that I can someday work part-time to give me more time for my family). I try to educate everyone I meet about the connection between food additives and the growing number of kids being medicated for bi-polar and ADHD.
In the winter of 2011, I was complaining about my son’s behavior to a co-worker. Always a “high maintenance” child, he would throw marathon tantrums at the slightest injustice, have trouble sleeping , etc. She told me to try getting rid of “red dye” because it had helped her grandson. So we did so, and saw some improvement.
Then we went to a birthday party, and Sean had a meltdown, and needed to be removed from the group. I told him “See, you shouldn’t have had the cake – it has red dye.” Another mom overheard me and said, “You are right…but you have to treat it like a food allergy and eliminate all dyes 100% of the time.” She told me to google the Feingold diet.
Wow, it was tough to have to read every label! Then in March 2011, I saw that the FDA was going to be considering the use of dyes in food. Suddenly it became my life’s mission to learn all I could. I read about other kids with identical behaviors, and learned that in Europe, artificially-colored food carries a warning label.
We saw great improvement over the summer, no more time outs needed – and he started sleeping through the night for the first time in his five years of life! He still would have rages and sometimes would be seemingly bouncing off the walls. His father pointed out, “There must be something in **(our favorite snack-cheese cracker in a red box). I checked the label…”TBHQ”. For some reason, all this time I had ignored the recommendation to avoid the preservatives, and so I began to do more research.
It turns out that TBHQ, BHT and BHA are all petroleum based chemicals – just like food dyes. Sean was also reacting to a topical ointment he had been prescribed for rash – and the #1 ingredient in it was PETROLEUM. He is now 100% free of any and all petroleum based chemicals – in his diet, in his bath, in his sunscreen, and in his boo-boo cream.
What a change! We had a peaceful family vacation this past weekend. I marvel at how far we have come in the past year. Even the slightest exposure (red painted on teeth at the dentist, TBHQ crackers at Grandma’s, pixie stick on a field trip, etc.), and he pays for it dearly for DAYS.
It makes me so angry that our goverment isn’t doing anything about this. My next mission: Get my Master’s in Public Health and do something about this! As the Human Services Director for a small town, I see parents in my office daily, who have kids with “ADD”. I always tell them about our experience.
It is atrocious that we live in a society turning a blind eye to this epidemic of diagnosed kids being treated with medication. Of course there are some children who truly have a disorder that requires medication. My hope is that we can reduce that number, and give parents and kids alike some much needed peace of mind by getting the word out about how harmful these food additives are!
I’m grateful to Abby for sharing her story, and for spreading the word in her work. Please post any questions for Abby in a comment below. If you’d like to share your story, send an e-mail to admin[at]diefooddye[dot]com.