Children’s Nutrition: A Guide To Dangerous Food Additives Part 1

Posted May 13, 2012 by LSloane in Nature's Nutrition

Here we clearly list the 20 most dangerous food additives for children; providing both the E number and their alternative full name. We offer a quick reference guide as well as an indepth look at the dangers associated with each food additive.


E numbers are bad for our children, that much we know. But how many of us fully understand the extent of the possible health dangers?

There is a great awareness surrounding food additives and children; in particular their effects on behaviour. Yes food additives can be responsible for hyperactivity in children but are we wise to the other health dangers that are also associated with certain food additives?

And even if we are regularly checking food labels, do we really know what we are looking for? Food additives are often shown on food labels by their E number but more often than not it is the full name of the additive that is shown. Would you recognise a dangerous additive if an E number did not accompany it?

Here we clearly break down the different food additives; giving both their full name and their E number and highlight the particular dangers they pose to our children.

Food Additives & Children – Quick Reference Guide

Dangerous Additives For Children:

E129 (Allura Red AC) – E123 (Amaranth) – E951 (Aspartame) – E210 (Benzoic Acid)
E151 (Brilliant Black BN)  – E320 (Butylated Hydroxy-Anisole/BHA)
E213 & E212 (Calcium & Potassium Benzoate) – E226 (Calcium Sulphite)
E621 (Monosodium Glutamate/MSG) – E124 (Ponceau 4R/Conchineal Red A)
E211 (Sodium Benzoate) – E249 (Potassium Nitrate)
E216 (Propyl P-Hydroxy-Benzoate/Propyl-Paraben/Paraben) – E954 (Saccharin)
E223 (Sodium Metabisulphite) – E221 (Sodium Sulphite) – E512 (Stannous Chloride/Tin)
E220 (Sulphur Dioxide) – SE110 (Sunset Yellow FCF) – E102 (Tartrazine)

Acceptable Additives For Children:

E101 (Vitamin B2) – E160 (Carotene) – E300-304 (antioxidants) – E306-309 (Tocopherols)
E322 (Lecithin) – E375 (Niacin) – E440 (Pectin)

Negative Effects Of Food Additives On Children

  • Aspartame (E951) – Could cause headaches, blindness & seizures. People suffering from disorder PKU should avoid.
  • Benzoic Acid (E210)- Can hinder function of digestive enzymes and could reduce glycine levels.
  • Calcium & Potassium Benzoate (E213/E212) – Can hinder function of digestive enzymes and could reduce glycine levels.
  • Calcium Sulphate (E226) – Can cause low blood pressure, tingling, anaphylactic shock, reddening of the skin and bronchial problems. Avoid if your child suffers from bronchial asthma, emphysema, cardiovascular or respiratory problems – Banned from many foods in the US.
  • MSG (E621) – Can cause headaches, nausea, seizures and chest pains. Can also cause burning sensations, tightness on face and pressure on head.
  • Stannous Chloride/Tin (E512) – Severe poisoning; headaches, nausea, vomiting & diarrhoea.
  • Sulphur Dioxide (E220) – Can cause low blood pressure, flushing and tingling sensations, anaphalactic chock and bronchial problems. Avoid if your child suffers from conjunctivitis, bronchitis, asthma, emphysema and cardiovascular disease.
  • Sunset Yellow (SE110) – Growth hindrance & severe weight loss.
  • Parabens (E216) – Causes severe dermatitis.
  • Potassium Nitrate (E249) – Can lower blood oxygen & can have weakening effects on adrenal gland.

Food Additives & Children’s Behaviour

The following food additives have been proven to affect the behaviour of children:

  • Sodium Benzoate (E211)
  • Tartazine (E102)

Food Additives & Children’s Allergies

If your child has asthma, rhinitis, hay fever, urticaria or other allergies the following food additives should be avoided:

  • Allura Red AC (E129)
  • Amaranth (E123) - Banned in the US
  • Benzoic Acid (E210)
  • Brilliant Black BN (E151)
  • Calcium & Potassium Benzoate (E213 & E212)
  • Calcium Sulphate (E226)
  • Ponceau 4R/Conchineal Red A (E124)
  • Sodium Metabisulphate (E223) 
  • Sodium Sulphite (E221) 
  • Sulphur Dioxide (E220)
  • Sunset Yellow (SE110)
  • Tartazine (E102)

Many studies and much research has highlighted that the following food additives are possibly carcinogenic; having a direct link in the cause of cancer:

BHA (E320)
Potassium Nitrate (E249)
Saccharin (E954)

Sources: Optimum Nutrition For Your child – Patrick Holford 2010

Did you enjoy this article? Have you experiences in this topic that you would like to share with us. If so, we’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

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    These are impressive articles. Keep up the sunny handiwork.


    Great post.


    Very descriptive article, I liked that a lot. Will there be a part 2?

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