To test the individual effect of artificial food colorings
(AFCs) and a preservative on the behavior
of the general Chinese population.
One hundred thirty children (70 boys and 60 girls) in Hong Kong with a mean age of 8.64 years were enlisted to the study with a within-subject crossover between AFCs, a preservative (sodium benzoate), and a placebo capsule. Two behavior
scores were used including the strengths and weaknesses of attention deficit hyperactivity
disorder and normal behavior
rating scale and the child behavior
checklist-teacher report form.
Capsule A containing AFCs and Capsule B containing sodium benzoate had no significant adverse effect compared with placebo in both behavior
scores. This result persisted when analysis was restricted to children with 85% consumption of capsule (per protocol analysis).
There seem to be no significant associations between AFCs and a preservative on Chinese children's behavior
at the age of 8 to 9 years. Future directions and implications of this research are discussed.