also though this question has actually been floating approximately the web for over 10 years, no one has actually really provided a critical answer come the topic. On Yahoo answer alone over there were end 56 threads within the last 5 years asking a similar form of the question. The American Optometric association issued this warning,"Food coloring, while safe for consumption, is no necessarily sterile. Using it on contact lenses put the separation, personal, instance at risk for one eye infection. And also remember that details dyes and also tints, depending upon what lock are derived from, may cause a reaction like red or irritated eyes in some people." and yet, countless view this warning as vague and much more hypothetical, thinking that due to the fact that they don"t mention particular instances of poor side effects, there more than likely aren"t any. None of these certain risks have been experiment obviously, so it is tough to speculate what the food coloring could do to her eye, however nowhere online does it point out anything about pH or possible chemical burns native the dye. After ~ watching plenty of youtube videos of people attempting the feat, nearly every one of them had trouble maintaining their eyes open or no crying/shouting/screaming about how bad it burns or stings (much to the amusement the those filming the videos.) One person who blogged about the experience also admitted that hours later after rinsing his eye they still throbbed. Therefore what"s leading to the burning? A few first year optometry students chose to take it a closer look.

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It turns out it is very hard to find any kind of values because that what the actual pH (how acidic or an easy something is) of various food color dyes, so we measured them ourselves. We tested two different brands of food coloring, a brand name and also a generic so to speak; we supplied McCormick and Market Pantry (Target brand). In order come accurately measure the pH, us couldn"t use color-changing strips due to the fact that the color of the dye would likely interfere through the color the strip would change, so we offered a digital waterproof pH meter. Below are the pH dimensions we collected:


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for the sector Pantry brand food color dyes, the pH dimensions were all really close and rather acidic, averaging a value of about 3.14. The McCormick brand, however, were slightly much less acidic, where two of the colors (red and blue) average a pH of 4.73 and the various other two colour (yellow and also green) were nearer neutral with an mean of 6.85 pH. The distinctions in pH values acquired in the two various brands might be added to the different preservative agents used in between the two and also the amount of preservative used. Just to offer you one idea of exactly how acidic the industry Pantry brand dyes are, a pH value of 3 is about how acidic vinegar is. Our results of various pH"s for different colors and also brands actually make sense when thinking about how it seemed prefer the color of dye made a distinction in exactly how much the stung as soon as dropped in the eye. As soon as reading through many responses to the topic of whether it is for sure to put food dye in her eye, a lot of people reasoned that it was probably safe due to the fact that it is edible and doesn"t irritate the stomach. There are 2 difficulties with this train that thought: 1) The stomach is very acidic itself and has a pH that 2, so that is an ext able come tolerate acidic substances than your eye and 2) once you consume food coloring, commonly you room not drinking it straight from the bottle, you placed very few drops in everything food product you room making, and the pH of those couple of drops are really unlikely to have actually much the an impact on the overall pH of that specific foodstuff (which is very different native placing many drops that the dye directly and also undiluted right into your eye.) To summary at this point, there are some food colorings that are acidic enough to cause a chemical burn if you put them in her eye: