OEHHA is planning a symposium on the neurological and neurobehavioral impacts of synthetic food dyes in Summer/Fall 2019. The risk assessment process will include a public review period and scientific peer review.

The 2018-2019 California state budget passed by the Legislature earlier this year included funding for OEHHA to review the scientific literature on the health effects of children's exposure to synthetic food dyes and prepare a summary report by July 1, 2019. The results will help inform potential legislation addressing food dyes, including possible reintroduction of an earlier bill (S.B. 504 introduced in 2017) that would have required (for the first time in the U.S. at the federal or state level) warning labels on all foods containing synthetic food dyes, including food served at restaurants.

The preamble to S.B. 504 included several notable (and alarming) declarations:

Synthetic food dyes trigger hyperactivity and other behavioral problems in some children with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) or other behavioral disorders, and may also trigger these behaviors in other children without those disorders.

The removal of food dyes from the diet reduces symptoms in affected children.

Foods containing synthetic food dyes are heavily marketed to children.