A Less Sunny Side to the Color Yellow


Even though Polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, were outlawed more than three decades ago, these harsh chemicals can still be found in products today. The Toxic Substances Control Act banned the use of PCBs, in 1979. Even so, PCB 11, which is commonly found in yellow dye, is still allowed in production, because it is considered a by-product of pigment manufacturing. A study, conducted by Rutgers University, has released research regarding the amount of products that actually contain this dye. Basically any product that has yellow pigment, most likely has PCB 11. This includes several common household products like clothes, food packaging, plastic bags, towels, and printed paper.  All clothing that was tested, in the study, contained PCB 11 in alarming amounts.  Most of these clothing items were manufactured overseas, in China.  PCBs have been linked to cancer, birth defects, and skin irritations, but not enough research has been done to study the effects of PCB 11.  PCB 11 has not only been found in products, but also air samples, blood samples, and waterways. Consumers should avoid buying products with yellow dyes, and wash any dyed clothes several times before use. Paint is prevalent with PCBs, so consumers should avoid these paints by purchasing organic home paint.  Until further research is done to test the safety of PCB 11, we should try to avoid coming in contact with it.  Although these chemicals are present in the air we breathe, we can still avoid using products with large amounts of PCBs, by avoiding products that have been dyed, or manufactured overseas, and most importantly, following an organic lifestyle.