Aspartame = Nutrasweet, Equal, Canderel
Research indicates that this sweetener, found in many "diet" or "light" drinks (like Coca Cola light and Diet Coke) may cause health problems.
Approved in spite of serious deficiencies in safety documentation
The application for approval as a food additive was actually turned down by an FDA expert panel - "The information submitted for our review is inadequate to permit a scientific evaluation of clinical safety (Freeman, FDA Division of Metabolic and Endocrine Drug Products, September 1973)." Similarly, in 1974, Dr. J. Richard Crout, the acting director of the FDA Bureau of Drugs stated "Such deficiencies in each area of required information precluded a scientific evaluation of the clinical safety of this product"
However, these objections, demanding more careful research were overturned by a new FDA commissioner on the basis of studies, 80% of which were sponsored by the manufacturer, Searle.
The FDA approved aspartame for limited use on July 26, 1974. This approval came despite the fact that FDA scientists found serious deficiencies in all of the 13 tests related to genetic damage which were submitted by G.D. Searle.
Later it turned out that important findings in one study, indicating harmful effects (liver cancer) of aspartame had not been reported to FDA until August 18, 1975, 27 months after it had been given to G.D. Searle and over one year after it had been approved. Searle maintained that it had been "overlooked". In another study seven infant monkeys were given aspartame with milk. One died after 300 days. Five others (out of seven total) had grand mal (epileptic) seizures. The actual results were hidden from the FDA when G.D. Searle submitted its initial applications.
For more about this, including references to the above quotes and facts, see Preapproval "Research" & History of Aspartame.
In spite of this and in spite of numerous reports indicating health problems, aspartame is still approved by the FDA.
The parallells with the handling of GE foods are striking (see FDA records support the lawsuit challenging its policy (June 1999)). In the latter case it turned out that FDA likewise ignored warnings by its own experts.
Brief notes on health effects
These quotes are all taken from Aspartame (Nutrasweet) Toxicity center where you can find additional information.
Reference list on scientific reports about adverse effects
The following controlled human studies have shown that aspartame can
Camfield, PR, et al., 1992. "Aspartame exacerbates EEG spike-wave discharge in children with generalized absence epilepsy: a double-blind controlled study." Neurology, Volume 42, page 1000-1003.DHHS 1993. "Methanol Toxicity," American Family Physician, Volume 71(1):163-171, January 1993. Adapted from Case Studies in Environmental Medicine published by the Agency For Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, U.S. Department of Helath and Human Services.
Elsas, Louis J., James F. Trotter, 1988. "Changes in Physiological Concentrations of Blood Phenylalanine Produces Changes in Sensitive Parameters of Human Brain Function," Presented at "Dietary Phenylalanine and Brain Function." Proceedings of the First International Meeting on Dietary Phenylalanine and Brain Function, Washington, D.C., May 8-10, 1987. Center for Brain Sciences and Metabolism Charitable Trust, P.O. Box 64, Kendall Square, Cambridge, MA 02142. Reprinted in "Dietary Phenyalalnine and Brain Function," c1988, Birkhauser, Boston, MA USA, page 187-195.
Fujimaki, H., et al., 1992. "Mast Cell Response to Formadehyde," International Archives of Allergy & Immunology, Volume 98, No. 4, page 324-331.
Gulya, A. Julianna, Roy B. Sessions, Thomas R. Troost, 1992. "Aspartame and Dizziness: Preliminary Results of a Prospective, Nonblinded, Prevalence and Attempted Cross-Over Study," American Journal of Otology, Volume 13, Number 5, pages 438-442.
He, J.L., L.F. Jin, H.Y. Jin, 1998. "Detection of Cytogenetic Effects in Peripheral Lymphocytes of Students Exposed to Formaldehyde With Cytokinesis-Blocked Micronucleus Assay," Biomedical Environmental Science, Volume 11, No. 1, pages 87-92.
Liu 1993, Main 1983, Molhave 1986, National Research Council 1981, Shaham 1996, Srivastava 1992, Vojdani 1992, Wantke 1996
John, E.M., et al., 1994. "Spontaneous Abortion Among Cosmetologists," Epidemiology, Volume 5, No. 2, page 147-155.
Koehler, SM, A. Glaros, 1988. "The Effect of Aspartame on Migraine Headache," Headache, Volume 28, page 10-14.
Kulczycki Jr., Anthony, 1995, "Aspartame-induced hives," Study described in Letter to the Editor, Journal of Allergy & Clinical Immunology, February 1995, page 639-640.
Liesivuori, Jyrki, Heikki Savolainen, 1991. "Methanol and Formic Acid Toxicity: Biochemical Mechanisms," Pharmacology & Toxicology, Volume 69, page 157-163.
Liu, Kai-Shen, et al., 1993. "Irritant Effects of Formaldehyde Exposure in Mobile Homes," Environmental Health Perspectives, Volume 94, page 91-94.
Main, D.M., T.J. Hogan, 1983. "Health Effect of Low-Level Exposure to Formaldehyde," Journal of Occupational Medicine, Volume 25, page 896-900.
Molhave 1986, National Research Council 1981, Shaham 1996, Srivastava 1992, Vojdani 1992, Wantke 1996
National Research Council 1981. "Formaldehyde and Other Aldehydes," National Research Council, National Academy Press, Washington, D.C., c1981.
Shaham, J., Y. Bomstein, A. Meltzer, Z. Kaufman, E. Palma, J. Ribak, 1996. "DNA--protein Crosslinks, a Biomarker of Exposure to Formaldehyde--in vitro and in vivo Studies," Carcinogenesis, Volume 17, No. 1, page 121-125.
Soffritti, M, et al, 2005. "Aspartame induces lymphomas and leukaemias in rats" Eur. J. Oncol., vol. 10, n. 2, pp. 107-116,
Srivastava, A.K., et al., 1992. "Clinical studies of employees in a sheet-forming process at a paper mill," Veterinary and Human Toxicology, Volume 34, No. 6, page 525-527.
Spiers, P.A., Donald Schomer, LuAnn Sabounjian, Harris Lieberman, Richard Wurtman, John Duguid, Riley McCarten, Michele Lyden, 1988. "Aspartame and Human Behavior: Cognitive and Behavioral Observations," Presented at "Dietary Phenylalanine and Brain Function." Proceedings of the First International Meeting on Dietary Phenylalanine and Brain Function, Washington, D.C., May 8-10, 1987. Center for Brain Sciences and Metabolism Charitable Trust, P.O. Box 64, Kendall Square, Cambridge, MA 02142. Reprinted in "Dietary Phenyalalnine and Brain Function," c1988, Birkhauser, Boston, MA USA, page 169-178.
Trocho, C., et al., 1998. "Formaldehyde Derived From Dietary Aspartame Vinds to Tissue Components in vivo," Life Sciences, Vol. 63, No. 5, pp. 337+, 1998
Van Den Eeden, SK, et al., 1994. "Aspartame Ingestion and Headaches," Neurology, Volume 44, page 1787-1793.
Vojdani, A., 1992. "Immune Alteration Associated With Exposure to Toxic Chemicals," Toxicol Ind Health, Volume 8, No. 5, page 239-254.
Wantke, F., C.M. Demmer, P. Tappler, M. Gotz, R. Jarisch, 1996. "Exposure to Gaseous Formaldehyde Induces IgE-Mediated Sensitization To Formaldehyde in School-Children," Clinical and Experimental Allergy, Volume 26, pages 276-280.
Walton, Ralph G., et al., 1993. "Adverse Reactionbs to Aspartame: Double-Blind Challenge in Patients From a Vulnerable Population," Biological Psychiatry, Volume 34, page 13-17. Also see followup: Volume 36, page 206-210.
Walton, Ralph G. 1996. Interview by Mike Wallace on CBS News, "60 Minutes," broadcast December 29, 1996.(Source: Aspartame (Nutrasweet) Toxicity center)
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