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The use of the tartrazine yellow additive in food products for human consumption is permitted within the acceptable daily intake of 7.5 mg/kg of body weight per day (following the Joint Expert Committee on Food Additives standards). However, studies have described this as a toxic component. The dye, which is intensively used in the industry and commerce, enters the aquatic environment through releases of non-treated or inadequately treated effluents; however, further ecotoxicological research is needed. We addressed studies reporting the toxic effects of the exposure to this dye developed in humans, guinea pigs, and Danio rerio (a fish with molecular bases and genomes similar to humans). Based on this review, the doses allowed for acceptable daily intake, or even lower, toxic effects, can be evidenced for different organisms, life stages, and tested times. The reported values may not be protective to aquatic life. In a paper about the exposure of D. rerio from embryos to larvae kept at values lower than 0.05 and 0.5 g.L-1 for pure and commercial tartrazine, there was ecotoxicological effect for embryos and larvae 48 hours after hatching, which implied cardiac edema, changes in the yolk sac, scoliosis, and tail distortions.
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