The Color Yellow Is 'Toxic' and Could Be Bad for Your Health

Say it isn't so! A new study reveals the happiest shade on the color spectrum isn't as mellow as we think. The yellow dyes found in items that many of us have in our homes -- because, let's face it, yellow is pretty -- could contain a dangerous chemical called PCB-11. Yep, everything from our towels and kids' pajamas to papers and the very paint on our walls may contain traces of polychlorinated biphenyls, which are linked with cancer, birth defects, irritations, developmental problems in children, and severe acne.


So here's the deal: PCBs were banned in this country 35 years ago, but traces of the chemical called PCB-11s -- which are the byproduct of pigment manufacturing -- can still be found in many yellow items sold in stores, particularly those that were manufactured in China. A pair of children's pajamas purchased at WalMart and made overseas was found to contain 20 times more PCB-11 on its front -- which features a yellow design -- then on the back, which is red. And when researchers tested yellow ink-treated paper products like maps, napkins, and postcards, they found 15 out of 18 of them contained PCB-11s.

Although we should all be aware of this news, experts are telling us not to panic. The truth is -- no matter how many yellow items you eliminate from your home -- PCB-11s are present in the air we breathe and the water we drink. And there is still not enough information out there about the health risks associated with PCB-11.

So, there's a good chance many yellow products could contain PCB-11 and there's a chance PCB-11 could contain carcinogens. That's what we know so far. You've got to admit, it's maddening. You try to eat healthfully, buy organic foods, etc. and every time you turn around, you learn about another new danger. Looking around my house, I see yellow paper, yellow clothing, and yellow towels. I was even considering painting a wall in my house yellow. Guess I'll give more serious consideration to my second color choice: teal.

The best advice at this point is don't panic, but check labels when you purchase yellow items and consider getting rid of anything yellow that was manufactured overseas. Of course, keep in mind some items made in this country might contain traces, but the chances are greater that they are safer. You may not want to run and repaint all of your walls, but you could avoid yellow-dyed items that are non-essential, like papers and clothing.

Does this news scare you? Would you rethink using yellow paint or buying yellow-dyed products?


Image via thedailyenglishshow/Flickr

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