I try to avoid red 40 or any colors so why do they put harmful things in meds
An excellent question. I have no idea why; at first it took me a few minutes to get the gist of what you were saying.
Red #40 and Yellow#5 are currently under investigation in the US as Red #40 has been known to cause intestinal tumors in mice since the 90's (Red#2 since the 70's) and Yellow #5 seems linked to ADHD. It seems the USA consume 200,000 pounds of Red #3 every year even thought it is known (for ~25years) to cause thyroid cancer in rats.
The real question is why these food and medicinal products have to be so brightly colored? A time traveller from 300 years ago would probably starve looking for something recognisable to eat today.
When I was a kid; the red dye was cochineal (a beetle extract) which obviously became expensive.
Yellow #1- #4 are already banned and a few others aren't far behind. Blue #1 and #2 are under investigation and Red #3 can only be ingested (eaten) due to the unpleasant side effects it can have on the skin in topical preparations.
Probably why my sisters site (not in the USA) selling all natural soap (not even palm oil because of cutting down rain forests) does well (different clays and natural plant dyes as colorants). I hadn't really thought about it much until now.
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