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Making Dyes from Melanin

Posted on October 23, 2017 by Jeanne Roberts There have been 0 comments

It comes as no surprise to any modern, environmentally-savvy woman (or man) that fabric, food, cosmetic, and consumer product dyes are a disaster.

The cost – to environments in China, Indonesia, Asia, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, South America, and Mexico –  is incalculable. What price do you put on a river used to provide water to people and animals? What price on the increasingly rare species of fish, frogs, and other aquatic animals that will never come back?

The cost to humans was (and still is) is shameful. In 2008, for example, while the executives at blue jeans and other clothing companies continued to rake in astronomical salaries, some poor woman in the Tehuacan Valley in Mexico labored in the heat, stink and dust of a factory for less than one dollar an hour to keep her family fed. Two pounds of tortillas – enough to feed a family of four – cost a dollar. One pound each of rice and beans (other staple foods for Mexico’s poor) cost another dollar. Meat, at $3-5 per pound, was a luxury reserved for holidays. The remaining $4 went to pay rent, the cost of electricity, the few clothes the family could afford, and medicine.

Life was – and remains – a day-to-day struggle just to survive. There is no saving for a luxury like a vacation or a new car. If the breadwinner becomes ill, or dies, the children go to relatives. If there are no relatives, they become feral, prowling the streets and stealing to stay alive. Some are as young as four. If they survive long enough, they, too, go to work to make blue jeans.

Fortunately, all that may soon change. Using melanin, the chemical that gives human skin its color, scientists have demonstrated that it is possible to make natural dyes that don’t kill rivers, aquatics, or animals and humans.

Reported in Science Magazine, the discovery allows for the manufacture of powdered dyes that can be used like conventional pigments, without the fading that occurs in ultraviolet light. Moreover, because melanin exists with living tissues without causing any problems, the dyes could be used in a much wider array of consumer goods; that is, not just clothing and paint, but cosmetics and even food.

Food dyes alone would be worth the effort. Food manufacturers pour 15 million pounds of artificial food dyes into processed food, creating a whole host of health problems, according to Mercola. In fact, according to one public interest group, some of the most commonly used food dyes may be associated with a large number of cancers, and behavioral difficulties like ADD and ADHD in children. Moreover, while Europe has placed certain reporting and usage regulations on food dyes, the USA has not. Ever.

These dyes include:

  •   Blue #1
  •   Blue #2
  •   Citrus Red #2
  •   Green #3
  •   Red #3
  •   Red #40
  •   Yellow #5
  •   Yellow #6

In animal testing, these dyes cause kidney tumors, brain gliomas, urinary bladder tumors, adrenal tumors, severe allergic reactions, immune system tumors, thyroid tumors, tumors of the male sex glands, to name more than a few.

Until scientists perfect the melanin/dye process to a point where it is affordable to manufacturers, please check the prepared foods, cosmetics, and other products you buy for these eight toxic colorants.

This post was posted in Blog and Green Library, Health and Safety, Politically Green and was tagged with ADHD, Asia, biocompatible dyes, China, consumer product dyes, cosmetic dyes, ecofriendly, fabric dyes, food dyes, HEALTH SENSITIVE, melanin, Mexico, NON-TOXIC


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