Below, 3 E number tables. The Red table denotes the most dangerous, the Amber for medium risk and Green for the least harmful
.

RED Table - MOST DANGEROUS:


Name
E Number
How it is used
What you should know
Allura Red AC
E129
Widely used as food colouring, in snacks, sauces, preserves, soups, wine, cider etc.
Avoid if you suffer from asthma, rhinitis (including hay fever) and urticaria (an allergic rash also known as hives
Amaranth
E123
Food colour used in wine, spirits, fish roe
Banned in the US. Avoid if you suffer from asthma, rhinitis, urticaria and other allergies.
E951
Widely used as a sweetener in drinks, snacks, sweets, alcohol, desserts and 'diet' foods
Aspartame may affect people with PKU (phenylketonuria) Recent reports show the possibility of headaches, blindness and seizures with long-term, high-dose aspartame
Benzoic Acid
E210
Widely used preservative in many foods including drinks, low-sugar products, cereals and meat products
Can temporarily inhibit the function of digestive enzymes and may deplete glycine levels. Should be avoided by those with allergic conditions such as hay fever, hives and asthma.
Brilliant Black BN
E151
Widely used in drinks, sauces, snacks, wines, cheese etc
People who suffer from allergic conditions, asthma, rhinitis, urticaria, etc. should avoid this substance
Butylated Hydroxy-anisole (BHA)
E320
Very widely used as a preservative, particularly in fat containing foods, confectionary, meats
The International Agency For Research on Cancer says that BHA is possibly carcinogenic to humans. BHA also interacts with nitrates to form chemicals known to be mutagenic (cause changes in the DNA cells)
Calcium Benzoate
E213
Preservatives in many foods including drinks, low-sugar products, cereals, meat products Can temporarily inhibit the function of digestive enzymes and may deplete glycine and amino levels. Should be avoided by those with allergic conditions such as hay fever, hives and asthma
Calcium Sulphite
E226
Very widely used, mainly as a preservative in a vast array of foods - from burgers to biscuits, from frozen mushrooms to horseradish pulp In the US sulphites are banned from many foods, including meat, because they make old products look fresh. They can cause bronchial problems, flushing, low blood pressure, tingling, and anaphylactic shock. The International Labour Organisation (ILO) says avoid them if you suffer from bronchial asthma, cardiovascular or respiratory problems and emphysema.
Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)
E621
Widely used as a flavour enhancer Those sensitive to monosodium glutamate have felt symptoms including pressure on the head, seizures, chest pains, headache, nausea, burning sensations and tightness of face. Many baby food producers have stopped adding this substance
Ponceau4R, Cochineal Red A
E124
Widely used as a colouring People who suffer from asthma, rhinitis, urticaria, may find their symptoms become worse following consumption or foods containing this colouring.
Potassium Benzoate
E212
Preservatives in many foods including drinks, low-sugar products, cereals, meat products Can temporarily inhibit the function of digestive enzymes and may deplete glycine and amino levels. Should be avoided by those with allergic conditions such as hay fever, hives and asthma.
Potassium Nitrate
E249
Used as a preservative in cured meats and canned meat products Three main health concerns; It can lower the oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood; it may combine with other substances to form nitrosamines, which are carcinogenic, and it may have an atrophying affect on the adrenal gland.
Propyl P-hydroxy-benzoate, Propyl-paraben, Paraben
E216
Preservative in Pates, cereals, snacks, meat products and confectionary Parabens have been identified as the cause of chronic dermatitis in numerous instances.
Saccharin and its Na, K and Ca salts
E954
Very widely used sweetener, found in diet, and no added sugar products The International Agency for Research on Cancer has concluded that Saccharin is possibly carcinogenic to humans
Sodium Metabisulphite
E223
Widely used as a preservative and antioxidant May provoke life-threatening asthma - a woman developed severe asthma after eating a salad with a vinegar based dressing containing E223
Sodium Sulphite
E221
Preservative used in wine making and other food processes Sulphites have been associated with triggering asthma attacks; most asthmatics are sensitive to sulphites on food.
Stannous Chloride (tin)
E512
Antioxidant and colour retention agent in canned and bottled foods, fruit juices Acute poisoning has been reported from ingestion of fruit juices containing concentrations of tin greater than 250mg per litre. Causing nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and headaches.
Sulphur Dioxide
E220
Very widely used preservative Sulphur Dioxide reacts with a wide range of substances found in food, including various essential vitamins, minerals, enzymes and essential fatty acids. The most common adverse reaction to sulphites in bronchial problems, particularly those prone to asthma. Other adverse reactions may include hypotension (low blood pressure) flushing, tingling sensations and anaphylactic shock. The ILO says you should avoid E220 if you suffer from conjunctivitis, bronchitis, emphysema, bronchial asthma or cardiovascular disease.
Sunset YellowFCF, Orange -Yellow S
E110
Widely used food colour Some animal studies have indicated growth retardation and severe weight loss. People with asthma, rhinitis or urticaria should avoid this product.
Tartrazine
E102
Widely used yellow food colour May cause allergic reactions in perhaps 15 per cent of the population. It may be a cause of asthmatic attacks and has been implicated in bouts of hyperactivity disorder in children. Those who suffer from asthma, rhinitis, urticaria may find symptoms worsen after consumption

AMBER TABLE - MEDIUM RISK:

Name
E Number
How it is used
What you should know
Aluminium
E173
To clear tap water and as a food colour High levels of aluminium have been linked with Alzheimer's and Osteoporosis
Annatto
Bixin
Norbixin
E160B
Food colour used in wide variety of foods including margarine, bakery, desserts, cheese, smoked fish, cereals and liqueurs May provoke flare-ups of urticaria and angioneurotic oedema (an allergic reaction characterised by the sudden onset of swelling in the skin, and other areas) difficulty in breathing
Canthaxanthin
E161G
Food colouring in sausages Main concern is tendency to form crystals in the retina of the eye. Long-term ingestion may cause liver damage.
Carbon Dioxide
E290
Used for fizz in beer and other drinks. It retards ripening in vegetables and fruit and inactivates moulds and bacteria Exposure to carbon dioxide over long periods of time can be dangerous. Experimental evidence shows that carbon dioxide exposure might significantly reduce fertility
Cyclamic Acid And it's Na and Ca Salts
E952
Used widely as sweetener in 'Diet', energy-reduced and no-added-sugar products Some skin conditions such as Pruritis, Dermographia, Urticaria and Angioneurotic oedema have been attributed to intake of Cyclamates.
Diphosphates, Disodium Diphosphate, SAPP
E450
Used as a leavening agent in doughnuts, biscuits, baking powder, cheese, canned potatoes and fish etc. Excessive use may lead to imbalance of mineral levels, which could potentially lead to damage to bone density and osteoporosis.
Ferrous Gluconate
E579
Colouring for olives Can kill children, especially between 12 and 24 months. As little as 2gm may cause death. However these levels could usually only be taken In the form of iron supplements.
Gelatine
None
Widely used as a thickening and gelling agent in jellies, confectionery, meat products. There are concerns over gelatine in the wake of the BSE crisis as it is obtained from slaughterhouse by-products. These are usually obtained from pigs, but very occasionally from cattle
Glutamic Acid
E620
Widely used as a flavour enhancer and salt substitute. Particularly in condiments and seasonings Researchers are concerned that glutamates could kill nerve cells which might be involved with degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and Huntington's.
Hexa-methylene tetramine (Hexamine)
E239
Preservative used in cheese May be combining formaldehyde and ammonia. Formaldehyde is considered carcinogenic and may provoke asthma, bronchitis, headaches and skin irritation.
Karaya Gum
(Gum Sterculia)
E416
Used as an emulsifier in salad dressings, as a binder in meat products also in cheese and ices, liqueurs and chewing gum It absorbs a large quantity of water and so acts as a laxative, which may produce abdominal discomfort. Occasional allergic reactions, i.e., urticaria, rhinitis, dermatitis and asthma, has been attributed to powered Karaya gum
Lactitol
E966
Widely used as a sweetener in energy-reduced, no-added-sugar and 'diet' products May cause diarrhoea in very large (50g or more) doses. In animal studies there is evidence of some foetotoxicity (mutagenic damage to the foetus)
Litholrubine BK
E180
Used as a dye for cheese rind Can affect those who suffer from asthma, rhinitis, urticaria and other allergic reactions.
Phosphoric Acid
E338
Widely used as a solvent, antioxidant and as a flavouring (mainly in soft drinks) Excessive intake of phosphorus in food and drink may produce an imbalance of essential minerals leading to a loss of calcium from bone and calcification of soft tissues, especially the kidneys. The acceptable daily limit is 70mg. But it is quite likely that someone eating a typical western junk food diet could consume 500mg of phosphorus a day. At this level bone mineral content and density will decrease, making the onset of osteoporosis more likely.
Potassium Chloride
E508
Widely used as a seasoning and in yeast products Large doses by mouth (although rare) can cause gastrointestinal irritation, weakness, circulation problems and vomiting. However, potassium chloride in a commercial dietary salt substitute produced a near-fatal poisoning in an eight-month-old infant.
Quillaia extractSaponin
E999
Foaming agent in soft drinks Powdered Quillaia bark has highly local irritant and stimulatory properties. Unlikely to cause problems in drinks, but large doses severe toxic effects including liver damage, respiratory failure, convulsions and coma
Sodium aluminium phosphateAcidic
E541
Raising agent used in scones and sponge cakes High levels of aluminium have been linked with Alzheimer's and Osteoporosis
Sodium, Monosodium, Disodium and Trisodium Citrates
E331
Controls acidity in carbonated drinks, evaporated milk and dry soup mixes Excessive intake may upset the acid/alkaline balance and cause tetany (muscle spasms) or depress the heart
Sodium Phosphates; Monosodium, Disodium, Trisodium Phosphates
E339
Used in quick cook pasta and coffee whiteners Excessive intake of phosphorus in food and drink may produce an imbalance of essential minerals leading to a loss of calcium from bone and calcification of soft tissues, especially the kidneys. The acceptable daily limit is 70mg. But it is quite likely that someone eating a typical western junk food diet could consume 500mg of phosphorus a day. At this level bone mineral content and density will decrease, making the onset of osteoporosis more likely.
Sodium Potassium Tartrate
E337
Used as an emulsifier in processed cheese Should be avoided by people with cardiac failure, high blood pressure, damaged liver or kidneys as it can cause sodium and water retention.
Sorbitan Monostearate
E491
Widely used emulsifier At high levels can cause liver and bile duct enlargement, growth retardation.
Succinic Acid
E363
Flavour enhancer in soups, desserts and drinks Large doses may produce diarrhoea and vomiting.
 
GREEN - Least Harmful:
 
Name
E Number
How it is used
What you should know
Acacia Gum,Gum Arabic
E414
Widely used as a thickening agent Virtually non toxic, but can provoke asthma
Adipic Acid
E355
Flavouring and leavening agent in dessert mixes, drink powders and bakery Humans can only metabolise small amounts of Adipic acid. It has been found to depress growth in rats.
Ammonium carbonates, Ammonium hydrogen carbonate, Ammonium bicarbonate
E503
Used as an acidity regulator and raising agent in baking powder Considered safe in relatively small amounts (as in food additives) but consumption of large amounts (6-8g) increases excretion of essential minerals.
Beetroot Red, Betanin(e)
E162
Widely used as a colouring Intake should be restricted for small children
Biphenyl (Diphenyl) (Phenyl Benzene)
E230
Used mainly as a preservative to prevent mould on citrus fruit Workers impregnating fruit wrappings with Diphenyl have displayed symptoms which indicate central and peripheral nerve damage and liver injury
Calcium Ascorbate
E302
Widely used antioxidant Large amounts might increase the formation of calcium oxalate stones in the kidneys
Calcium Carbonate
E170
Widely used as a colouring, particularly in confectionery Can cause constipation. Large quantities (less likely in foods than medicinal doses) can result in haemorrhoids, kidney stones, confused behaviour, anorexia, abdominal pains and weak muscles.
Calcium Chloride
E509
Used as a firming agent in fruit Solid particles can cause skin peeling, eye discharge ad nose bleeding. Doses in food however are unlikely to cause problems
Carbamide (Urea)
E927B
Texturiser in chewing gum No harmful side effects. But you might like to know that Urea is a basic part of Urine!
Citric Acid
E330
Widely used as an antioxidant and flavouring A natural, organic additive,Citric acid is considered a chemical, is made from a mold, and is widely used as a preservative not as an organic additive(
although some call it that). It is also used as an anticoagulant in butter. frequent or excessive intake may cause erosion of teeth and gum irritation.
Cochineal, Carminic acid, Carmines
E120
Widely used as a red colouring Safe, but you might like to know that Cochineal is obtained from the dried bodies of a female insect!
Gellan Gum
E418
Thickening and gelling agent, stabiliser High intake may produce a laxative effect
Glycerol
E422
Used to make 'soft scoop' ice cream, to control crystallization in sweets and as a food emulsifier Few adverse effects following intake of the amounts likely to be found in food. Larger amounts may cause mild headache, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, thirst and diarrhoea
Guar Gum
E412
Widely used to create 'mouth feel' (how good a product tastes in the mouth) and to stop ice cream melting Main concern has been over-use as a slimming aid where the fear is it could swell in the oesophagus, causing rupture or choking obstructions.
Hydrochloric Acid
E507
Widely used in food processing May be carcinogenic, if mixed with formaldehyde.
Locust Bean Gum
E410
Found in bakery, ice-cream, soft cheese and sausages May contain tannins, which inhibit appetite and growth.
Mannitol
E421
Widely used as a sweetener in 'diet' and no-added-sugar products Exerts a laxative effect (at doses of 10-20g) However, no serious adverse effects noted in clinical experiments
Methyl Cellulose
E461
Used to increase water absorption and retention and give mouth feel. Stops fried foods from absorbing oil If used as a diet aid should always be taken with plenty of water to prevent blockages. If you have bowel problems you should check with your doctor before taking it as a diet aid.
Polydextrose
E1200
Widely used as a stabiliser, thickening and bulking agent Produces a laxative effect at around 90g per day intake or more - unlikely to cause problems in amounts of food.
Potassium Adipate
E357
Flavouring agent in dessert mixes, drink powders, bakery Humans can only metabolise small amounts of Adipic acid. Depresses growth in rats
Propionic Acid
E280
Used as a preservative, mainly in breads and bakery products Unlikely to cause a problem in food. Exposure of workers to Propionic acid shows mild to moderate skin burns and mild eye redness.
Propyl Gallate
E310
Widely used antioxidant Unlikely to be carcinogenic, although it may cause contact dermatitis in those regularly exposed to it (i.e. bakery workers) In animal studies, male rats developed proputial gland tumours in the pancreas
Silver
E174
Used for the external coating of confectionery Unlikely to cause problems in the amounts found in food stuffs, but long-term use is known to have caused argyria (darkening of the eyes, nose, throat and skin) in one patient with resulting kidney damage.
Sodium Alginate
E401
Widely used as a thickening agent The greatest danger from ingestion of large quantities is the possibility of intestinal obstruction. Unlikely to cause harm
Triphosphates, pentasodium and Pentapotassium Triphosphate
E451
Texturiser used mainly in egg-containing products. Tenderises tinned peas and beans. Maintains moisture in meat products. Unlikely to cause problems in the amounts found in foodstuffs, but ingestion of large amounts (usually only through consuming detergents) can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, fall of blood pressure, slow pulse, cyanosis, tetany (muscle spasm).
Xylitol
E967
Widely used, mainly as a sweetener and to make foods taste fresh There are no toxicity concerns, but stimulation of freshness could mislead consumers.

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