FD&C Green #3

What is FD&C Green #3?

FD&C Green #3 is a synthetic dye used in food, drugs, and cosmetics (except those used in the eye area) in the US (1).

Green No. 3 is the least-used dye out of all the FD&C-approved dyes. When it is used, it is usually in combination with yellow dye to make green hues (23).

Other names for FD&C Green #3:

  • Fast Green FCF
  • E143 (Europe)

Processed foods that may contain FD&C Green #3:

  • Candy
  • Canned vegetables
  • Cereal
  • Desserts
  • Drinks
  • Jello
  • Salad dressings

Products that may contain Green #3:

  • Body wash
  • Conditioner
  • Deodorant
  • Hair gel
  • Lipstick
  • Lotion
  • Makeup
  • Medications
  • Nail polish
  • Shampoo
  • Shaving cream
  • Supplements
  • Other personal care products

How is FD&C Green #3 absorbed and metabolized?

Based on animal studies, only about 5% of FD&C Green #3 is absorbed in the gut. Most of it is excreted in the stool (4).

Is there a maximum amount of FD&C Green #3 allowed per day?

The ADI (acceptable daily intake) according to the FDA is 2.5mg per kg body weight per day, but the estimated average intake in the US is only 0.1mg per day (2).

The European Union has actually banned FD&C Green #3 from being used in food (5).

Can people have adverse reactions to FD&C Green #3?

There haven’t been any human studies, but animals have been fed a diet with up to 5% FD&C Green #3 for several years, and the main adverse effects were green-staining of the stomach and sometimes the kidney (67).

One study found that feeding mice extremely high doses of Green #3 (like 500mg/kg bw/day) was immunotoxic, but that is not really applicable for the doses that humans normally consume (8).

It has also been found to cause tumors at the injection site when injected into animals and inhibits electrical signaling of neurons when they are bathed in Green #3, but again, that’s not really how Green #3 is used in humans (910).

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