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J Toxicol Environ Health. 1977 May;2(5):1211-20.

Tartrazine and the developing nervous system of rats.


Rat dams were exposed to the artificial food color tartrazine (FD&C Yellow no. 5) at dietary levels of 0, 1, and 2% during gestation and lactation. The experimental offspring were continued on the same diets for approximately 3 months after weaning. No adverse physical or behavioral effects were noted in the dams. Fetal development and postnatal viability of the offspring were also normal. The only effect on postnatal development of the central nervous system (CNS) was a small transient change in neuromotor clinging ability of female offspring. The limited effect of tartrazine on the CNS was further evidenced by the facts that (1) the neurobehavioral profiles of the experimental weanlings revealed no significant abnormalities, and (2) morphochemical analysis of brain tissue, as well as brain weights, revealed no abnormalities. Tartrazine did appear to exert more general signs of toxicity in the offspring--namely, depressed body weight, an apparent reduction in thymus weight, and a slight elevation of red blood cells and hemoglobin.

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