I adore doing crafty things, especially around the holidays. So when I was exploring ideas for Christmas tree decorations, I came across something really cool. Feathers! I decided that I would take some feathers left over from another project and make cool tree ornaments. There was one problem though…my feathers were orange and I needed red ones. Google to the rescue, and I found a recipe for dying feathers with-of all things-Koolaid!
I went out and bought several packets of black cherry Koolaid and followed the instructions I had found on the internet. Not too hard at all, and it worked like a charm. But, not only did the feathers turn bright red, so did my hands! And, I could not wash the stuff off. That got me to thinking…what is this stuff made out of? And, what about the kids who are routinely guzzling it down?
Again, Google to the rescue. Turns out that Koolaid is not the wholesome thirst quencher of my long-ago youth. Here’s the list of what it contains: Sugar, Citric Acid (Provides Tartness), Calcium Phosphate (Prevents Caking), Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Artificial Flavor, Red 40, Blue 1 (color additives).
Even though there is 5 teaspoons of sugar per cup; that isn’t the worst thing. It’s the color additives that make it downright dangerous. A sufficient number of studies have demonstrated that dyes cause hyperactivity in children. In Europe, Red 40 is being phased out. FDA tests have shown that the the most-widely used dyes, including Red 40, are tainted with low levels of cancer-causing compounds. Tests on lab animals of Blue 1, Blue 2, Green 3, Red 40, Yellow 5, and Yellow 6 showed signs of causing cancer.*
Okay, Koolaid may work as a cheap and convenient way to dye feathers, fabric and even human hair, but I don’t think it cuts it as a soft-drink for kids.