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Violet 1 – toxicity, side effects, diseases and environmental impacts

Tuesday, November 14, 2017 by

Violet 1, also known as FD&C Violet No. 1, 1694-09-3, Food Violet 2, C.I. Acid Violet 49, Acid Violet 49, and Benzyl violet 4B, is a dye used for wool, silk, nylon, leather and anodized aluminum. Violet 1 is also used for biological stain, wood stain, inks and colored paper. It has also been used as a color additive in food, drugs and cosmetics.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) no longer authorizes the use of Violet 1. This compound belongs to the class of organic compounds known as diphenylmethanes, which contain a diphenylmethane moiety that are made up of a methane that lacks two hydrogen atoms and instead has two phenyl groups.

Violet 1’s reactivity profile indicates that it neutralizes acids in weakly exothermic reactions to form salts and water. The colorant may be incompatible with isocyanates, halogenated organics, peroxides, phenols (acidic), epoxides, anhydrides and acid halides. Violet 1 may generate hydrogen (a flammable gas), in combination with strong reducing agents such as hydrides.

List of known side effects

There is little concern with the acute and subchronic toxicity of the food colors still in use, but there is significant concern in some groups about their chronic toxicity. Because of this, several of the colors approved for use by the Color Amendments were delisted since 1971, including Violet 1. The colorant was delisted due to concerns about its chronic toxicity, especially its carcinogenicity.

Body systems affected by Violet 1

While there are no data concerning the toxicity of Violet 1 in humans, it is believed that Violet 1 is possibly carcinogenic to humans. There is sufficient evidence of the carcinogenicity of Violet 1 in animals.

In Chronic Toxicity Studies on Food Colors: V. Observations on the Toxicity of Brilliant Blue FCF, Guinea Green B and Benzyl Violet 4B in Rats, the three mentioned food colors were fed to rats at concentrations of 0.03, 0.3, and three percent of their diet for 75 weeks. Thirty rats were used per feeding level, and Brilliant Blue and Benzyl Violet had no adverse effects on growth at any of the levels used. The rats fed with a concentration of Guinea Green showed an initial depression of growth at the two higher levels along with a decreased food efficiency. One group also showed a lower food consumption. Female rats fed three percent of all three colors showed an increase in mortality.

With Brilliant Blue, the increase was proven not related to treatment. The groups that were fed three percent Guinea Green and three percent Benzyl Violet had a total of eight malignant tumors. Five tumors were derived from the epidermis and further investigation of the two colors is required.

Items that can contain Violet 1

Violet 1 has a bright blue-purple color and it comes in powder form. The colorant is easy to dissolve in both cold water and hot water, and it is soluble in ethanol. And when sodium hydroxide solution is added, Violet 1 gains a dark precipitation.

Violet 1 is used mainly for coloring wool, silk, and polyamide fiber dyeing. The colorant has good spelling color performance and it can be refined as food after dye.

How to avoid Violet 1

When coming into contact with products containing the colorant Violet 1, observe the following precautions associated with each code:

  • P201 – Obtain special instructions before use.
  • P202 – Do not handle until all safety precautions have been read and understood.
  • P280 – Wear chemical-resistant gloves/protective clothing/tightly sealed goggles/face protection.
  • P281 – Use personal protective equipment as required.
  • P308+P313 – Get immediate medical advice/attention if exposed or concerned.
  • P405 – Lock up before storing.
  • P501 – Dispose of contents/container.

Where to learn more


Violet 1 is a dye used for coloring wool, silk, and polyamide fiber dyeing.

Violet 1 also goes by the names FD&C Violet No. 1, 1694-09-3, Food Violet 2, C.I. Acid Violet 49, Acid Violet 49, and Benzyl violet 4B.

FDA no longer authorizes the use of Violet 1.

Violet 1 can possibly be carcinogenic to humans, and studies have proven the carcinogenicity of Violet 1 in animals.

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