The Danger of Dye

Why do you like some foods, and dislike others? Are you a “texture person” who can’t stand the feel of cottage cheese or yogurt in your mouth, or do you not care at all how a food feels? Do you want your food to be yellow if it is lemon flavored, and orange if it is supposed to taste like oranges? There are a lot of factors that influence food preferences in people, so companies who make food have to create products that not only taste great, but are appealing to all of the senses. Food coloring is a large part of that process.

Food coloring itself is not a new invention, ancient Romans used spices and foods like saffron, carrots, beets, and spinach to color their dishes.  However in 1856, the first synthetic food coloring was created as a by-product of coal processing. The very first foods approved by the USDA to have food coloring added in were cheese and butter. By the year 1900, hundreds of foods, cosmetic products, and and drugs contained synthetic food dyes.

Unfortunately, it was discovered that many of the dyes being used were carcinogenic and contained very dangerous toxins, they were quickly banned by the US government. This set in motion a series of laws passed regarding what types of food coloring could be used, and what couldn’t. Currently, there are several approved dyes for use in the United States. The chart below is copied from the FDA website and shows what are currently approved:

Color Additives Approved for Use in Human Food
Part 74, Subpart A: Color additives subject to batch certification(4)
21 CFR Section Straight Color EEC# Year(2)Approved Uses and Restrictions
§74.101 FD&C Blue No. 1 E133 1969 Foods generally.
1993 Added Mn spec.
§74.102 FD&C Blue No. 2 E132 1987 Foods generally.
§74.203 FD&C Green No. 3 —- 1982 Foods generally.
§74.250 Orange B(3) —- 1966 Casings or surfaces of frankfurters and sausages; NTE(7) 150 ppm (by wt).
§74.302 Citrus Red No. 2 —- 1963 Skins of oranges not intended or used for processing; NTE(7) 2.0 ppm (by wt).
§74.303 FD&C Red No. 3 E127 1969 Foods generally.
§74.340 FD&C Red No. 40(3) E129 1971 Foods generally.
§74.705 FD&C Yellow No. 5 E102 1969 Foods generally.
§74.706 FD&C Yellow No. 6 E110 1986 Foods generally.

There are many more that are approved for use in drugs and cosmetic products, to view all of the approved food additives and dyes, click here.

While the USDA and FDA have approved the above food additives, there are many researchers who are worried about the side effects of ingesting these chemicals. In fact, the European Union has started placing warnings on foods that contain dyes to warn the consumers of health risks! According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), “The three most widely used dyes, Red 40, Yellow 5, and Yellow 6, are contaminated with known carcinogens … Another dye, Red 3, has been acknowledged for years by the Food and Drug Administration to be a carcinogen, yet is still in the food supply.” Below is a summary of studies on food dyes directly from the CSPI report:

Blue 1 was not found to be toxic in key rat and mouse studies, but an unpublished study suggested the possibility that Blue 1 caused kidney tumors in mice, and a preliminary in vitro study raised questions about possible effects on nerve cells. Blue 1 may not cause cancer, but confirmatory studies should be conducted. The dye can cause hypersensitivity reactions.

Blue 2 cannot be considered safe given the statistically significant incidence of tumors, particularly brain gliomas, in male rats. It should not be used in foods. Citrus Red 2, which is permitted only for coloring the skins of oranges not used for processing, is toxic to rodents at modest levels and caused tumors of the urinary bladder and possibly other organs. The dye poses minimal human risk, because it is only used at minuscule levels and only on orange peels, but it still has no place in the food supply.

Green 3 caused significant increases in bladder and testes tumors in male rats. Though the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) considers it safe, this little-used dye must remain suspect until further testing is conducted.

Orange B is approved for use only in sausage casings, but has not been used for many years. Limited industry testing did not reveal any problems.
Red 3 was recognized in 1990 by the FDA as a thyroid carcinogen in animals and is banned in cosmetics and externally applied drugs. All uses of Red 3 lakes (combinations of dyes and salts that are insoluble and used in low-moisture foods) are also banned. However, the FDA still permits Red 3 in ingested drugs and foods, with about 200,000 pounds of the dye being used annually. The FDA needs to revoke that approval.

Red 40, the most-widely used dye, may accelerate the appearance of immune-system tumors in mice. The dye causes hypersensitivity (allergy-like) reactions in a small
number of consumers and might trigger hyperactivity in children. Considering the safety questions and its non-essentiality, Red 40 should be excluded from foods unless and until new tests clearly demonstrate its safety.

Yellow 5 was not carcinogenic in rats, but was not adequately tested in mice. It may be contaminated with several cancer-causing chemicals. In addition, Yellow 5 causes sometimes-severe hypersensitivity reactions in a small number of people and might trigger hyperactivity and other behavioral effects in children. Posing some risks, while serving no nutritional or safety purpose, Yellow 5 should not be allowed in foods.Yellow 6 caused adrenal tumors in animals, though that is disputed by industry and the FDA. It may be contaminated with cancer-causing chemicals and occasionally causes severe hypersensitivity reactions. Yellow 6 adds an unnecessary risk to the food supply.

Virtually all the studies tested individual dyes, whereas many foods and diets contain mixtures of dyes (and other ingredients) that might lead to additive or synergistic effects. In addition to considerations of organ damage, cancer, birth defects, and allergic reactions, mixtures of dyes (and Yellow 5 tested alone) cause hyperactivity and other behavioral problems in some children. Because of that concern, the British government advised companies to stop using most food dyes by the end of 2009.

The most worrisome thing of all? So many foods made specifically for children contain dyes! When buying food for your family, look for alternatives that don’t contain any unnecessary additives. Sure, they may not look as neon and bright, but they will without a doubt be healthier for you. Plus, there still ARE crazy and fun colored foods out there that are naturally colored, all you have to do is look for them. Natural food colorings often appear on ingredient labels as beets, turmeric root, annatto, saffron, paprika, elderberry juice, and caramel coloring (made from caramelized sugar).

If you are baking or cooking and want to color something without using spices or other food products, there are natural dyes you can purchase! Neither Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s carry products that use artificial dyes and depending on the location, they may even sell all-natural food colorings. Other all-natural food coloring options are:

By Courtney Perry


Thieves Oil

In the 15th Century, the Plague, also known as the Black Death, was responsible for killing millions of Europeans-  almost 60% of Europe’s entire population! While so many homes were unprotected due to ailing families, burglars took full advantage of the situation. Homes were robbed, the ill were pick pocketed, and the dead were stripped of all their valuables. The interesting thing, observed by law officials who finally caught a few of the robbers, was that the thieves did not contract the Plague themselves. They continuously touched the sick, rooted around in contaminated homes, and exposed themselves to the extremely contagious virus yet remained healthy.


Their secret? A blend of essential oils rubbed on their bodies. The oils used were clove bud, lemon, cinnamon bark, eucalyptus, rosemary, tea tree, and lavender. Legend has it that the thieves traded their secret blend of oils for a lighter sentence for their crimes. Their blend of oils is still used today and has been proven by Weber State University to kill 99.99% of airborne bacteria when diffused into a room. In 2006, the University of Manchester published research regarding the effectiveness of essential oils on MRSA, a major problem in hospitals around the world. The essential oils used in thieves oil destroyed MRSA 100%.

You can make your own “thieves oil” or you can purchase it online, and there are several different ways to use it!

  • Diffuser– You’ve probably seen oil diffusers for sale at Bath and Body Works or other stores. Instead of diffusing chemical-filled, toxic fragrances, put 20-30 drops of thieves oil in the diffuser and let the calming, healing oil fill the room


  • All Purpose Spray- Fill a spray bottle with 8 drops of thieves oil and add 8 oz. of water, shake well. This spray is safe to use on all hard surfaces, anywhere that is sticky, grimy, or needs disinfecting
  • Massage oil- Use thieves oil to rub onto sore body parts, or just use it as a relaxing massage oil. Make sure to dilute it in coconut oil or some other carrier before using on skin!
  • Sore Throat Remedy- Add 2 drops of thieves oil to a glass of water and gargle

Thieves Oil Recipe:

There are several different variations of thieves oil recipes, but here is one to get you started

  • 40 drops of Clove Essential Oil
  • 35 drops of Lemon Essential Oil
  • 20 drops of Cinnamon Essential Oil
  • 15 drops of Eucalyptus Essential Oil
  • 10 drops of Rosemary Essential Oil

Mix all oils in a glass bottle and shake well before each use!

Where to purchase thieves oil:

We recommend using Young Living Essential Oils. Click here to check out their site!

Essential Oils Warning

* Keep out of reach of children and pets at all times
* Do not use if you are pregnant or breast feeding
* Never leave oils burning with candles or diffusers without supervision
* Patch test oils on your skin before using on a widespread area. You also may want to consult with your physician before ingesting any essential oils
* Some people experience a rash or burning sensation when using Thieves Oil, probably due to the cinnamon oil. If you do, discontinue use immediately
*Make sure you are using oils that are made specifically for therapeutic use. Cheaper oils found in some stores are not safe for ingestion

By Courtney Perry

Homemade Bug Repellent

Have you ever read the ingredients list on the back of your bug spray? Here are some of the common ones and what you should know about each:

  • Deet- According to the Environment Protection Agency, “wash [Deet] off your skin when you return indoors, avoid breathing it in and not spray it directly on your face.” In studies conducted on lab rats, Deet caused brain cell death and behavioral changes after prolonged usage. In humans, Deet has been known to cause memory loss, headache, weakness, fatigue, muscle and joint pain, tremors and shortness of breath. Click here for a short article from MedMinute regarding the dangers of Deet.
  • Citronella oil- Direct application of citronella oil has been found to raise the heart rate of some people. Canada Health is starting to phase out using citronella oil in products because of uncertainties regarding its safety.
  • Neem Oil- Can be irritating to the skin and eyes. In cats, neem oil has caused sluggishness, excessive salivation, impaired movement, trembling, twitching, and convulsions. In one study, pregnant rats were exposed to neem oil and their pregnancies ended shortly after.
  • Ethanol-  associated with skin irritation or contact dermatitis
  • Fragrance- aka chemicals. Virtually unregulated by the FDA and could contain any number of harmful chemicals.
  • Aminomethyl Propanol- The EWG gives it a toxicity rating of 3. According to the EWG, research has shown it to be an irritant, an endocrine disruptor, and as having respiratory effects
  • Sodium Benzoate- has been linked to asthma attacks, hypertension, and ADHD.
  • Prallethrin- Can cause headache, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive salivation, fatigue. Severe cases involve fluid in the lungs and muscle twitching. Seizures may occur and are more common with more toxic cyano-pyrethroids
  • Sodium Nitrite- large amounts can cause rapid heart rate and rapid breathing, as well as seizures, coma, and death. Excess contact with skin and eyes causes redness, itching and swelling. Read more:

The great news is that it is easy and inexpensive to make your own bug repellent, and you know exactly what you are putting on your body. Here is my favorite recipe:


  • Essential oils: choose from Citronella, Clove, Lemongrass, Rosemary, Tea Tree, Cajeput, Eucalyptus, Cedar, Catnip, Lavender, Mint
  • Natural Witch Hazel
  • Distilled or boiled Water
  • Vegetable glycerin (optional)


  1. Fill spray bottle (I used 8 ounce) halfway with distilled or boiled water
  2. Add witch hazel to fill almost to the top
  3. Add 1/2 tsp vegetable glycerin (optional)
  4. Add 30-50 drops of essential oils to desired scent

What does your family use for insect repellent? Do you have a recipe that is tried and true? 


By Courtney Perry

The Fluoride Debate and DIY Toothpaste

How often do you take medications without knowing the potential side effects? If someone on the street walked up to you and said “here take this pill”, would you? When you ingest fluoride in drinking water, toothpaste, mouthwash, and at the dentist, do you know the risks you are taking?

Recently, several counties in the United States have decided to quit adding fluoride to the public water supply because of potential harmful side effects. Recent studies have shown that high levels of fluoride can cause tooth and bone decay. It’s become such a national issue that the Obama Administration is moving towards lowering the amount of fluoride added to drinking water.

In an ABC news article from November 2012, a man named Corey Sturmer described his confusing diagnosis when he went to the dentist at 25-years old and was told he had fluorosis- an erosion of the enamel and discoloration of the teeth due to too much fluoride use. We are all told from the time we are children that fluoride is important for us, we must use it to maintain a healthy mouth. But is this actually the case? In a 2006 study by the National Academy of Science regarding fluoride use proclaimed that fluoride can affect the thyroid gland and potentially lower the intelligence of children. Ummmm, what!? My thoughts, too.

source: wikipedia

Severe Fluorosis
source: wikipedia

Like anything dealing with your health and body, it is important to do research to determine what is best for you and your family- but you may want to consider making the switch to fluoride-free toothpaste.There are hundreds of communities who have decided to go fluoride-free based on scientific findings, here is a list! The Fluoride Action Network has compiled a fantastic list of Frequently Asked Questions regarding Fluoride use. Click here to read the full list, but here are some interesting answers to get you started.

Do we need fluoride?

No. It is now well established that fluoride is not an essential nutrient. This means that no human disease – including tooth decay – will result from a “deficiency” of fluoride. Fluoridating water supplies is therefore different than adding iodine to salt. Unlike fluoride, iodine is an essential nutrient (the body needs iodine to ensure the proper functioning of the thyroid gland). No such necessity exists for fluoride.

Does Fluoride occur naturally in water?

As a general rule, the only fresh water with high levels of fluoride (other than waters polluted by fluoride-emitting industries) is water derived from deep wells. Rather than being something to celebrate, high levels of naturally occurring fluorides have wreaked havoc on tens of millions of people’s health around the world. People consuming water with naturally high levels of fluoride have been found to suffer serious health ailments including disfiguring tooth damagebone diseaseulcersreduced IQthyroid disease, and infertility. Because of this, international organizations like UNICEF assist developing nations in finding ways of removing fluoride from the water.

Thankfully, most fresh water supplies contain very low levels of fluoride. The average level of fluoride in unpolluted fresh water is less than 0.1 ppm, which is about 10 times less than the levels added to water in fluoridation programs (0.7 to 1.2 ppm).  The frequent claim, therefore, that “nature thought of fluoridation first” does not withstand scrutiny.

Does fluoridated water reduce tooth decay?

If water fluoridation has a benefit, it is a minimal one. Recent large-scale studies from the United States have found little practical or statistical difference in tooth decay rates among children living in fluoridated versus non-fluoridated areas. In addition, data complied by the World Health Organization (WHO) shows that tooth decay rates have declined just as rapidly in non-fluoridated western countries as they have in fluoridated western countries. Read more.


What are the risks from swallowing fluoride?

Fluoride has long been known to be a very toxic substance. This is why, like arsenic, fluoride has been used in pesticides and rodenticides (to kill rats, insects, etc). It is also why the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) now requires that all fluoride toothpaste sold in the U.S. carry a poison warning that instructs users to contact the poison control center if they swallow more than used for brushing.

Excessive fluoride exposure is well known to cause a painful bone disease (skeletal fluorosis), as well as a discoloration of the teeth known as dental fluorosis. Excessive fluoride exposure has also been linked to a range of other chronic ailments including arthritisbone fragilitydental fluorosisglucose intolerancegastrointestinal distressthyroid disease, and possibly cardiovascular disease and certain types of cancer.

While the lowest doses that cause some of these effects are not yet well defined, it is clear that certain subsets of the population are particularly vulnerable to fluoride’s toxicity. Populations that have heightened susceptibility to fluoride include infants, individuals with kidney disease, individuals with nutrient deficiencies (particularly calcium and iodine), and individuals with medical conditions that cause excessive thirst.

To see a complete list of FAN’s research on fluoride’s health effects, click here. 

If you are ready to make a move towards a fluoride-free lifestyle, you can start by making your own toothpaste! It’s not as scary as it sounds. I’ve tried several recipes but so far, my favorite recipe comes from

Homemade Coconut Oil Toothpaste

  • 3 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 3 Tbsp baking soda
  • 25 drops peppermint essential oil
  • 1 packet stevia
  • 2 tsp vegetable glycerin (optional)

Put the coconut oil and baking soda in a bowl and mash up with a fork until blended. Add the peppermint essential oil, stevia and optional vegetable glycerin and continue to mash and stir until you’ve reached toothpaste consistency.


By Courtney Perry

Apple Cider Vinegar: The Ultimate Problem Solver

Deciding to go chemical-free can be overwhelming, hence the reason for this blog. Take one day at a time, learn about your options, and make baby steps. An easy way to start is by doing research about the items you may already have in your house that can take the place of other harsh, toxic products! Today I am going to highlight one of my favorites: apple cider vinegar. 

Apple cider vinegar (ACV) can be used for so many different things it should be a staple in your home. In fact, one week ago I went to the doctor with bright red, swollen, spotted tonsils, a fever, and chills. A positive strep test sent me into hysterics because I am severely allergic to most antibiotics. I went home and decided I was going to cure my strep throat with apple cider vinegar, and I did just that. For a week I gargled the vinegar diluted in warm water. Within 12 hours, my sore throat was gone. I went back to the doctor after 6 days to get another strep test and lo and behold, it came back negative! From extensive online research, apple cider vinegar has been known to cure strep throat along with several other ailments. Please note, strep throat can be a very serious sickness with potential life threatening side effects if not treated. See your doctor and choose the best treatment plan for you

When choosing an apple cider vinegar brand, the more organic and natural the better, as with most things. My favorite brand is Bragg, it contains something called  “the mother” which looks like a big ball of snot in the bottom of the bottle. Do not be afraid. This goopy, snotty looking mass is what makes the vinegar so good for you. It has a ton of enzymes and good bacteria! 


So, what else can apple cider vinegar be used for?

(suggested amount is 2 teaspoons per day diluted in water)

  • High cholesterol
  • Weight loss
  • Skin disorders (eczema, psoriasis, acne, warts)
  • Diarrhea (if bacteria is causing the problems)
  • Hiccups
  • Prevents indigestion
  • Sinus congestion
  • Sore throat
  • Stomach ulcers
  • Fatigue
  • Teeth whitening
  • Leg cramps
  • Gas and bloating
  • Sunburn relief
  • Dandruff


  • Apple cider vinegar has antibacterial properties and absorbs odor so it makes a great cleaning product! Simply mix one part ACV and one part water and spray on any hard surface in your home (even wood). Wipe immediately with a dry towel
  • Mix one tablespoon of ACV with water and rinse your hair with it. You will be amazed at how shiny and healthy your hair looks! 
  • Dab onto your skin blemishes for quick healing 
  • If you are brave, try using ACV as a deodorant. The vinegar smell only lasts for a few minutes and it has been known to keep people smell-free! 
  • Rubbing ACV onto your pet’s skin or adding a little to his or her water bowl can help repel and kill fleas 
  • Clogged drain? Pour 1/4 cup of baking soda into the drain and chase it with 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar. Rinse with hot water
  • Mix one part ACV with one part water and clean your windows. You’ll be amazed at the streak-free, shiny results
  • Garlic, onion, and fish smelling hands can be fixed by simply washing with the ACV
  • Smell remover- place a bowl of ACV on the floor and let sit overnight. It has been proven to work on cigarette smoke, beer, vomit, and several other unpleasant odors! 

What other uses have you found for apple cider vinegar?  

By Courtney Perry

All About GMO’s

We’ve all heard that we are supposed to avoid GMO’s, but do you know what GMO actually stands for? Do you know why they are bad?

Recently I was at a Monsanto/GMO protest in Asheville, North Carolina and I overheard two women talking about how horrible GMO’s are and the negative impact of eating them. In the middle of her sentence, one of the ladies stopped and said “what does GMO stand for anyway?” To my surprise, her friend had no idea either! I feel this is probably not an uncommon scene. While it’s great to avoid something you know is toxic, it becomes easier to avoid it if you really understand why. It’s like quitting cigarettes- it’s a lot easier to quit knowing specifically what it does to your body and lungs as opposed to just knowing “it’s bad for you.”

So here is a crash course on GMO’s:

What does GMO stand for?

 GMO stands for “genetically modified organism”

What exactly are they?

Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are organisms in which the genetic material has been altered in order to achieve a desired trait. These new plant and animal hybrids would never be found in nature, they must be laboratory generated. 

So, what’s the big deal?

Genetically modified food is unstable and problems and side effects are constantly being discovered. In addition to this, the long term effects of eating GMO’s are currently unknown. When the DNA structure of a plant or animal is altered, the outcome can be disastrous. GMO’s are believed to decrease nutritional value, increase toxicity, and possibly cause problems with food allergies.

Here is a great article from the Non GMO Shopping Guide website that outlines the main problems with GMO’s:

How can I avoid GMO’s?

1. Buy organic (100% organic foods will never contain GMO’s intentionally)

2. Familiarize yourself with the most common GMO foods:

  • Soybeans
  • Corn
  • Rapeseed/canola
  • Sugar beets
  • Cotton (used in cottonseed oil and some dairy products)
  • Dairy
  • Sugar
  • Papaya
  • Zucchini

3. Purchase 100% grass fed beef

4. Buy products that are specifically labeled as GMO-free (Molly’s Suds does not use any GMO ingredients in any of our products!)

5. Start a garden if you have the time/space! You will know exactly what has gone into the foods your grow

6. Buy local! It is a lot easier to find non-GMO foods at your local farmer’s market than at the local supermarket 

Check out more great information at the Non GMO Proejct’s website! 


What do you do to try and stay GMO free? Do you and your family make an effort to eat organic?

By Courtney Perry