Excerpt from The Coal-Tar Colors: With Especial Reference to Their Injurious Qualities and the Restriction of Their Use
For the more accurate and satisfactory representation, I have had engraved a hexagon matrix, types cast from which have been used in the ring symbols.
It will be a source of gratification to the practical sanitarian to note the comparatively small proportion of really injurious colors, for even with some of those which produce marked toxic symptoms such large doses are required as to make it unlikely that serious results could occur by accident. The coloring power of these bodies is so high, as a rule, that almost inappreciable proportions are required for coloring articles of food, ’ so that acute effects, at least, are impossible. A manufacturing confectioner of this city, for whom I make examinations of colors used by him, informs me that a yellow color sold as auramine, has such high tinc torial power that one ounce will color two thousand pounds of candy to the highest yellow tint required in his business. It is obvious that the toxic dose of such a body would have to be very high to render it harmful in such use.
A very interesting feature of the present essay is the summary of the existing legislation on the topic in the more progressive countries in Europe. We have here presented almost every method of reaching the end in view, viz., the protection of the public health without interfering with legitimate trade interests, from the practically absolute law-making power of Germany based on imperial will, to the constitutional system of England, with its reliance on the merits of each individual case. It is cer tain that none of the plans is even approximately satisfactory, and the problem will be even more difficult of solution in the United States indeed, it seems to me to be unsolvable. Possi bly the simplest and most satisfactory method would be to forbid absolutely the use of any artificial color in certain food articles with which such coloration is likely to deceive the user as to quality or condition, and to require in all other cases that the name and amount of color should be placed on the package.
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