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Recently, the Tamil Nadu government banned the sale and production of cotton candy in the state after it was found that the chemical Rhodamine-B was being used for making it.

About Rhodamine-B

  • It is a water-soluble chemical compound.
  • While it appears green in powder form, it turns vivid fluorescent pink when it comes in contact with water.
  • It is a chemical commonly used for dyeing in the textile, paper, leather, and paints industry as a coloring agent that helps in attaining the red and pink spectrum.
  • "As per the Food Safety Standards Act, 2006, preparation, packaging, importing, selling and serving food items with Rhodamine-B in wedding ceremonies and other public events is a punishable offence.
  • It is an industrial dye which is not allowed in food anywhere in the world as it is toxic.

Why is it harmful?

  • Researchers have identified that if food containing this chemical is consumed regularly, it can cause damage to the cerebellum tissue in the brain and to the brainstem that connects the brain to the spinal cord.
  • These damages can lead to functional abnormalities and can hinder humans’ motor functioning. 
  • The chemical is toxic for humans and can cause oxidative stress on cells and tissues if ingested.
  • It becomes particularly hazardous when it is mixed with food products, leading to cancer and tumour over time.

Q1) What is dyeing?

A dyeing process is the interaction between a dye and a fibre, as well as the movement of dye into the internal part of the fibre. Generally, a dyeing process involves adsorption (transfer of dyes from the aqueous solution onto the fibre surface) and diffusion (dyes diffused into the fibre). 

Source: Tamil Nadu bans sale of cotton candy due to presence of 'cancer causing' chemical