RHODAMINE B (Syllabus: GS Paper 3 – Sci and Tech)

News-CRUX-10     15th March 2024        
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Context: Recently, Tamil Nadu govt prohibited the sale of cotton candy or candy floss after discovering the presence of Rhodamine-B, an industrial dye, in samples collected from stalls in Chennai.

Rhodamine B

  • About: It is a chemical compound widely utilized in synthetic dyes across various industries, including textiles, cosmetics, plastics, and food coloring.
  • Potential Health Hazards: Despite its prevalent use in food coloring, Rhodamine B has been associated with health concerns such as skin and eye irritation, respiratory issues, and debates regarding its carcinogenic properties.
  • Carcinogenicity Classification: The United States' National Library of Medicine has not classified Rhodamine B as carcinogenic to humans, but concerns persist regarding its safety.
  • Reasons for Ban: The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) prohibits the addition of colorants to food unless explicitly permitted by regulations. Rhodamine B is not among the permitted synthetic colorants listed in the Food Safety and Standards (Food Products Standards and Food Additives) Regulation, 2011.

oRed - Ponceau 4R, Carmoisine, Erythrosine

oYellow - Tartrazine, Sunset Yellow FCF

oBlue - Indigo Carmine, Brilliant Blue FCF

oGreen - Fast Green FCF

  • Cell Death Induction: Rhodamine-B has the potential to induce cell death within the body.
  • Neurological Damage: Prolonged usage of Rhodamine-B can lead to damage to cerebellum tissue and the brainstem.
  • Organ Damage: Recent evidence suggests that Rhodamine-B can harm the kidneys and liver, while also increasing the risk of stomach tumors.
  • Non-Food Colorant and Carcinogenicity: Despite its use as a colorant, Rhodamine-B is not suitable for consumption and is toxic to the human body, being classified as a carcinogen.