Equal, Nutrasweet, Equal Measure, Spoonful, Canderal (E951)

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Equal, Nutrasweet, Equal Measure, Spoonful, Canderal (E951)

Aspartame was not approved until 1981, in dry foods. For over eight years the FDA refused to approve it because of the seizures and brain tumors this drug produced in lab animals. The FDA continued to refuse to approve it until President Reagan took office (a friend of Searle) and fired the FDA Commissioner who wouldn't approve it. Dr. Arthur Hull Hayes was appointed as commissioner. Even then there was so much opposition to approval that a Board of Inquiry was set up. The Board said: "Do not approve aspartame". Dr. Hayes OVERRULED his own Board of Inquiry.
Shortly after Commissioner Arthur Hull Hayes, Jr., approved the use of aspartame in carbonated beverages, he left for a position with G.D. Searle's Public Relations firm.
Long-Term Damage. It appears to cause slow, silent damage in those unfortunate enough to not have immediate reactions and a reason to avoid it. It may take one year, five years, 10 years, or 40 years, but it seems to cause some reversible and some irreversible changes in health over long-term use.
METHANOL (AKA WOOD ALCOHOL/POISON) (10% OF ASPARTAME) Methanol/wood alcohol is a deadly poison. People may recall that methanol was the poison that has caused some "skid row" alcoholics to end up blind or dead. Methanol is gradually released in the small intestine when the methyl group of aspartame encounter the enzyme chymotrypsin.
The absorption of methanol into the body is sped up considerably when free methanol is ingested. Free methanol is created from aspartame when it is heated to above 86 Fahrenheit (30 Centigrade). This would occur when aspartame-containing product is improperly stored or when it is heated (e.g., as part of a "food" product such as Jello).

Methanol breaks down into formic acid and formaldehyde in the body. Formaldehyde is a deadly neurotoxin. An EPA assessment of methanol states that methanol "is considered a cumulative poison due to the low rate of excretion once it is absorbed. In the body, methanol is oxidized to formaldehyde and formic acid; both of these metabolites are toxic." The recommend a limit of consumption of 7.8 mg/day. A one-liter (approx. 1 quart) aspartame-sweetened beverage contains about 56 mg of methanol. Heavy users of aspartame-containing products consume as much as 250 mg of methanol daily or 32 times the EPA limit.

The most well known problems from methanol poisoning are vision problems. Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen, causes retinal damage, interferes with DNA replication, and causes birth defects. Due to the lack of a couple of key enzymes, humans are many times more sensitive to the toxic effects of methanol than animals. Therefore, tests of aspartame or methanol on animals do not accurately reflect the danger for humans. As pointed out by Dr Woodrow C. Monte, Director of the Food Science and Nutrition Laboratory at Arizona State University, "There are no human or mammalian studies to evaluate the possible mutagenic, teratogenic, or carcinogenic effects of chronic administration of methyl alcohol."
It has been pointed out that fruit juices and alcoholic beverages contain small amounts of methanol. It is important to remember, that the methanol in natural products never appears alone. In every case, ethanol is present, usually in much higher amounts. Ethanol is an antidote for methanol toxicity in humans. The troops of Desert Storm were "treated" to large amounts of aspartame-sweetened beverages which had been heated to over 86 degrees F. in the Saudi Arabian sun. Many of them returned home with numerous disorders similar to what has been seen in persons who have been chemically poisoned by formaldehyde. The free methanol in the beverages may have been a contributing factor in these illnesses. Other breakdown products of aspartame such as DKP, may also have been a factor.
In a 1993 act that can only be described as "unconscionable", the FDA approved aspartame as an ingredient in numerous food items that would always be heated to above 86°degrees F (30°Degrees C).
Much worse, on 27 June 1996, without public notice, the FDA removed all restrictions from aspartame allowing it to be used in everything, including all heated and baked goods.

The truth about aspartame's toxicity is far different than what the NutraSweet Company would have you readers believe. In February of 1994, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released the listing of adverse reactions reported to the FDA (DHHS 1994). Aspartame accounted for more than 75% of all adverse reactions reported to the FDA's Adverse Reaction Monitoring System (ARMS). By the FDA's own admission fewer then ONE PERCENT of those who have problems with something they consume ever report it to the FDA. This balloons the almost 10,000 complaints they once had to around a million. However, the FDA has a record keeping problem (they never did respond to the certified letter from the WEBMASTER of this site... a major victim!) and they tend to discourage or even misdirect complaints, at least on aspartame. The fact remains, though, that MOST victims don't have a clue that aspartame may be the cause of their many problems! Many reactions to aspartame were very serious including seizures and death. Those reactions included:

DORway documents now linked to SYMPTOM!
Abdominal Pain

Anxiety attacks

arthritis

asthma


Asthmatic Reactions

Bloating, Edema (Fluid Retention)

Blood Sugar Control Problems (Hypoglycemia or Hyperglycemia)

Brain Cancer (Pre-approval studies in animals)

Breathing difficulties

burning eyes or throat

Burning Urination

can't think straight

Chest Pains

chronic cough

Chronic Fatigue

Confusion

Death

Depression



Diarrhea

Dizziness

Excessive Thirst or Hunger

fatigue


feel unreal

flushing of face

Hair Loss (Baldness) or Thinning of Hair

Headaches/Migraines dizziness

Hearing Loss

Heart palpitations

Hives (Urticaria)

Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)

Impotency and Sexual Problems

inability to concentrate

Infection Susceptibility

Insomnia


Irritability

Itching


Joint Pains

laryngitis

"like thinking in a fog"

Marked Personality Changes

Memory loss

Menstrual Problems or Changes

Migraines and Severe Headaches (Trigger or Cause From Chronic Intake)

Muscle spasms

Nausea or Vomiting

Numbness or Tingling of Extremities

Other Allergic-Like Reactions

Panic Attacks

Phobias

poor memory



Rapid Heart Beat

Rashes


Seizures and Convulsions

Slurring of Speech

Swallowing Pain

Tachycardia

Tremors

Tinnitus


Vertigo

Vision Loss

Weight gain
Aspartame Disease Mimics Symptoms or Worsens the Following Diseases

Fibromyalgia

Arthritis

Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

Parkinson's Disease

Lupus

Multiple Chemical Sensitivities (MCS)


Diabetes and Diabetic Complications

Epilepsy


Alzheimer's Disease

Birth Defects

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Lymphoma


Lyme Disease

Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)

Panic Disorder

Depression and other Psychological Disorders


How it happens:
Methanol, from aspartame, is released in the small intestine when the methyl group of aspartame encounters the enzyme chymotrypsin (Stegink 1984, page 143). Free methanol begins to form in liquid aspartame-containing products at temperatures above 86 degrees F.. also within the human body.
The methanol is then converted to formaldehyde. The formaldehyde converts to formic acid, ant sting poison. Toxic formic acid is used as an activator to strip epoxy and urethane coatings. Imagine what it does to your tissues!
Phenylalanine and aspartic acid, 90% of aspartame, are amino acids normally used in synthesis of protoplasm when supplied by the foods we eat. But when unaccompanied by other amino acids we use [there are 20], they are neurotoxic.
That is why a warning for Phenylketonurics is found on EQUAL and other aspartame products. Phenylketenurics are 2% of the population with extreme sensitivity to this chemical unless it's present in food. It gets you too, causing brain disorders and birth defects! Finally, the phenyalanine breaks down into DKP, a brain tumor agent.
In other words: Aspartame converts to dangerous byproducts that have no natural countermeasures. A dieter's empty stomach accelerates these conversions and amplifies the damage. Components of aspartame go straight to the brain, damage that causes headaches, mental confusion, seizures and faulty balance. Lab rats and other test animals died of brain tumors.
Despite the claims of Monsanto and bedfellows:

1. Methanol from alcohol and juices does not get converted to formaldehyde to any significant extent. There is very strong evidence to confirm this fact for alcoholic beverages and fairly strong evidence for juices.

2. Formaldehyde obtained from methanol is very toxic in *very small* doses as seen by recent research.
3. Aspartame causes chronic toxicity reactions/damage due to the methanol to formaldehyde and other break down products despite what is claimed otherwise by the very short, industry-funded experiments using a test substance that is chemically different and absorbed differently than what is available to the general public. "Strangely enough", almost all independent studies show that aspartame can cause health problems.
4. A common ploy from Monsanto is to claim that aspartame is "safe" yet a few select people may have "allergic" reactions to it. This is typical Monsanto nonsense, of course. Their own research shows that it does not cause "allergic" reactions. It is there way of trying to minimize and hide the huge numbers of toxicity reactions and damage that people are experiencing from the long-term use of aspartame.
Summary
Given the following points, it is definitely premature for researchers to discount the role of methanol in aspartame side effects:
1. The amount of methanol ingested from aspartame is unprecedented in human history. Methanol from fruit juice ingestion does not even approach the quantity of methanol ingested from aspartame, especially in persons who ingest one to three liters (or more) of diet beverages every day. Unlike methanol from aspartame, methanol from natural products is probably not absorbed or converted to its toxic metabolites in significant amounts as discussed earlier.

2. Lack of laboratory-detectable changes in plasma formic acid and formaldehyde levels do not preclude damage being caused by these toxic metabolites. Laboratory-detectable changes in formate levels are often not found in short exposures to methanol.

3. Aspartame-containing products often provide little or no nutrients which may protect against chronic methanol poisoning and are often consumed in between meals. Persons who ingest aspartame-containing products are often dieting and more likely to have nutritional deficiencies than persons who take the time to make fresh juices.

4. Persons with certain health conditions or on certain drugs may be much more susceptible to chronic methanol poisoning.
5. Chronic diseases and side effects from slow poisons often build silently over a long period of time. Many chronic diseases which seem to appear suddenly have actually been building in the body over many years.
6. An increasing body of research is showing that many people are highly sensitive to low doses of formaldehyde in the environment. Environmental exposure to formaldehyde and ingestion of methanol (which converts to formaldehyde) from aspartame likely has a cumulative deleterious effect.
7. Formic acid has been shown to slowly accumulate in various parts of the body. Formic acid has been shown to inhibit oxygen metabolism.
8. The are a very large and growing number of persons are experiencing chronic health problems similar to the side effects of chronic methanol poisoning when ingesting aspartame-containing products for a significant length of time. This includes many cases of eye damage similar to the type of eye damage seen in methanol poisoning cases.
Toxicity Effects of Aspartame Use Selection of Health Effects from Short-term and/or Long-Term Use Note: It often takes at least sixty days without any aspartame NutraSweet to see a significant improvement. Check all labels very carefully (including vitamins and pharmaceuticals). Look for the word "aspartame" on the label and avoid it. (Also, it is a good idea to avoid "acesulfame-k" or "sunette.") Finally, avoid getting nutrition information from junk food industry PR organizations such as IFIC or organizations that accept large sums of money from the junk and chemical food industry such as the American Dietetic Association.

If you are a user of any products with aspartame, and you have physical, visual, mental problems... take the 60-day no aspartame test. If, after two months with no aspartame your symptoms are either gone, or are much less severe, please get involved to get this neurotoxin off the market. Write a letter to the FDA, with a copy to Betty Martini (for proof of how the FDA doesn't keep proper records). Write your congressmen. Return products containing aspartame to the point of purchase... for a FULL refund. Make a big stink if they WON'T give you a full refund! Tell all your friends and family... and if they stop using aspartame and also "wake up well"... get them involved in the same way.

Aspartame is an "approved sweetener" because of a few greedy and dishonest people who place profits above human life and well-being. With the FDA and our Congress culpable, only an INFORMED and ACTIVE public will affects its reclassification from "food additive" to TOXIC DRUG, and removed from the human food chain.
Need to view some of the FDA original documentation?
Link to a printable report form: http://www.dorway.com/reprtfrm.html Addresses: Commissioner Food and Drug Administration 5600 Fishers Lane Rockville, Maryland 20857 Mrs. Betty Martini Mission Possible International 9270 River Club Parkway Duluth, Georgia 30097 Internet E-mail: bettym19@mindspring.com Links for additional information:

http://www.dorway.com Front door to everything!

http://www.dorway.com/possible.html Mission Possible Files

http://www.dorway.com/asprlink.html Links to more sites/source information

http://www.holisticmed.com/aspartame More in-depth Information

http://www.trufax.org/menu/chem.html More good articles


Links for books:
http://www.dorway.com/books.html

http://www.dorway.com/amazon.html DORway Amazon Bookshelf


NOW... that you are aware of the 92 FDA recognized symptoms (that required a Freedom Of Information Act request to pry from their reluctant hands) and HOW aspartame does its dirty work, change to my Official Dogma page. On this page Mark Gold has taken the IFIC "Official" aspartame safety myth and shot it full of holes using all of the smoking guns that were used by the FDA to approve this poison as a food additive, along with information they either ignored or discounted. This excellent debunking of the official FDA/Monsanto/Searle/Nutrasweet/Nutrasweet Kelco/AMA/ADA/IFIC/??? chain of lies and half truths includes a long history of this "product's" sordid trail to the marketplace and the sweet tooth.


The Deadly Deception of Aspartame by the FDA and Searle

"The Deadly Deception" cites chapter and verse of the coverup by Searle and the FDA. Here are some highlights from the book "The Deadly Deception":


1969 - Dr. Harry Waisman fed ASP mixed with milk to monkeys. One died after 300 days of ASP and five others had grand mal seizures. Searle deleted this negative study when the company submitted safety evidence to the FDA.
1970 - The FDA banned cyclamate during the time that the safety of saccharin was being questioned. The time seemed ripe for ASP.
1971 - Dr. John Olney, a research psychiatrist, told Searle that aspartic acid caused "holes in the brains of mice."
1974 - Searle people said these studies raised "no health problems." Searle told the FDA about these findings after approval was granted.
1975 - Many of the test animals fed ASP developed large TUMORS. These were NOT reported to the FDA.
1977 - Despite the many complaints about ASP, William Conlon and Thomas Sullivan, the US attorneys, took no action, in five years the statute of limitations for a grand jury investigation expired. A year later Conlon took a position with the law firm that represents Searle. (U.S. Attorney, Samuel Skinner did the same and ended up Chief of Staff in Bush's White House. ed.)

1980 - A Public Board of Inquiry of three scientists was activated. These (2 MDs and one PhD) voted to ban ASP. Because of those negative findings a five member Commissioner's Team of Scientists was impaneled: Three said ban; two said it was safe. Another member was added. You guessed it: deadlock. Dr. Jacqueline Verrett, PhD, toxicologist on the team said, "Bureau officials were working up to a whitewash. Safety questions remain unanswered."

1981 - Dr. Arthur Hull Hayes, Jr. was appointed the new FDA Commissioner and overuled the Public Board of Inquiry's recommended ban of ASP. He said his approval was part of the Reagan administration's new reform! Throughout the 1980's Searle has pointed out that the best evidence of ASP's safety was the fact that it had been approved in more than 60 countries. But these foreign approvals had been based on these controversial test, and the questionable approval of the FDA. It was approved as a "food additive," and hence, exempt from continued safety monitoring. (Searle is not obligated to monitor any adverse reactions.)
1983 - THE NATIONAL SOFT DRINK ASSOCIATION wrote to the FDA that ASP was breaking down in warm climates. But the Association later accepted ASP. Dr. Hayes office approved the use of ASP in soft drinks just two months before he quit his job as FDA chief. He then obtained a job with a public relations firm who represents NutraSweet.
1984 - Seven million pounds of NutraSweet are swallowed by about 100,000 people.
1985 - Reports of side-effects mount.
1987 - ACSN is founded by Mary Nash Stoddard and consumer advocate, James Turner. They believe ASP should be recalled and retested as a drug.
(Also, former US Atty. prosecuting G.D. Searle for falsifying original tests, recused himself at the last minute, taking a position with Sidley & Austin, Searle's lawfirm. He was later appointed head of the Dept. of Transportation, over the FAA, and then moved into position of Chief of Staff in Bush's White House. Skinner was honored by the Epilepsy Foundation in Chicago as their man-of-the-year. Former MONSANTO ATTORNEY, JUDGE CLARENCE THOMAS was appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court, amidst swirling controversy. Ed.)

Aspartame - What you don't know can hurt you - Why isn't the FDA protecting your health?

"Aspartame was the most studied additive ever approved by the Food and Drug Administration," argues Martha Stone, Nutrition Advisor and professor at Colorado State University. Stone, an advocate for aspartame, claims that "aspartame wouldn't have gotten to the market if it caused problems in humans" (qtd. In Castrone 12D). Does "most studied" imply safe for human consumption? More importantly, what were the results of these studies and how was aspartame approved? An in depth look at the history of aspartame approval reveals a trail of suspicious methods and possible collusion between the FDA and the G. D. Searle company, manufacturer of aspartame.


Aspartame was discovered in 1965 by a chemist from the Searle company (Farber 53). After researching their product to determine its safety, Searle submitted tests to the FDA for the approval of aspartame. According to The Deadly Deception, compiled by the Aspartame Consumer Safety Network, the FDA approved aspartame in 1974 for limited use based on the tests selected by Searle. After the approval, the FDA learned that some of Searle's other products had serious side effects. Also, a study done by Dr. John Olney, research psychiatrist from the Washington School of Medicine, revealed that holes in the brains of mice appeared after the consumption of aspartic acid, a major ingredient in aspartame. This study was submitted to the FDA after they had already approved aspartame for limited use. This new evidence prompted the FDA to organize an internal Task Force to investigate Searle's original research (7-8).

In their investigation, the FDA 1975 Task Force reviewed a study done for Searle in 1969 by Dr. Harry Waisman, Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Wisconsin. The study involved feeding aspartame mixed with milk to seven infant monkeys. After 300 days, five monkeys had gran mal seizures and one died. Dr. Waisman died before all of his studies were completed. The Task Force uncovered that when Searle had submitted the Waisman study to the FDA, all the negative data had been omitted (The Deadly Deception 6-7).

The Task Force also discovered that questionable lab practices had been performed by researchers from Searle. In a summary of their investigation, the Task Force concluded:
We have uncovered serious deficiencies in Searle's integrity in conducting high quality animal research to accurately determine or characterize the toxic potential of its products. . . . The cumulative findings of problems within and across the studies we investigated reveal a pattern of conduct which compromises the scientific integrity of the studies. (Qtd. in The Deadly Deception 8-9).
This investigation revealed that Searle researchers had cut out tumors in animals that had been fed aspartame and neglected to report all of them or check for cancer. Also, animals that were "reported as dead, were later reported alive again" (The Deadly Deception 9).
Other findings of the Task Force included "falsified data" from another Searle product, the Copper 7-IUD, a birth control device. This product had to be pulled off the shelves due to a $9,000,000 lawsuit. Searle lost even though they claimed the IUD was safe (The Deadly Deception 8).
As a result of the findings of the 1975 Task Force, a smaller Task Force was assigned in 1977 to investigate Searle's original research even further. This investigation uncovered that Searle had again falsified data by submitting inaccurate blood tests. Apparently, they had substituted unrelated animal tests because of instrument problems. In another study, a closer look revealed that uterine tumors had developed in some test animals. Searle "admitted" that these tumors were related to the ingestion of a breakdown product of aspartame, Diketopiperazine (The Deadly Deception 10).

Due to the 1977 Task Force findings, FDA ordered a grand jury investigation of Searle's aspartame studies. Assistant U.S. Attorney, William Conlon, and U.S. Attorney, Thomas Sullivan, failed to start any legal action against Searle concerning aspartame testing. Consequently, time ran out and the grand jury investigation terminated. Conlon was then hired by the law firm that represented Searle. It is interesting to note that this was not the first time Searle had been involved in a grand jury investigation. They had been accused of unreported tumors in the testing of their two drugs, Flagyl and Aldactone (The Deadly Deception 10-11).

According to an article in Technology Review, aspartame came up for approval again in 1980. This time the FDA recommended that a Public Board of Inquiry be created to determine aspartame's safety. The Board was composed of three scientists. They "recommended keeping aspartame off the market until further animal tests could show that it did not cause tumors" (Farber 53).
The disapproval of aspartame by the Public Board of Inquiry wasn't enough. The Deadly Deception states that a five member Commissioner's Team of Scientists was then formed to look at the results of the Public Board of Inquiry conclusions. Three scientists voted against approval and two scientists voted for approval. Inexplicably, a sixth member joined the team with a vote of "yes" to the approval of aspartame creating a deadlock. Dr. Goyan, the FDA Commissioner, decided not to approve aspartame at this time (13, 16).
In April of 1981, Dr. Arthur Hayes became the new Commissioner. Searle applied again for approval of aspartame. A few months later, Dr. Hayes approved aspartame for use in dry foods. In 1983, he approved aspartame for use in diet soft drinks (The Deadly Deception 14-15). One month later, Dr. Hayes left the FDA and within three months he was working for Searle's advertising agency, Burson-Marsteller (Farber 53).

Aspartame's history of approval speaks for itself. The Searle company, whose sales were 700 million in 1992 (Therrien 42), had much to gain from the approval of aspartame. After researching their own product, Searle selectively chose the tests and then submitted them to the FDA. How can Searle, the company who stands to profit, determine which reports are to be given to the FDA? An instant bias is created when this is allowed to happen. Even when independent researchers, such as Olney and Waisman, were approached by Searle to conduct safety tests, Searle withheld important information that these researchers had discovered. The Searle company's effort to produce a clear picture on the safety of aspartame is at best a weak attempt. Falsified data, unscientific lab practices, and a history of problems with some of their other products makes it hard to believe that Searle's concern for the public's health takes precedence over financial gains.

The FDA should be the objective source to verify if Searle's research is valid. The FDA has the final approval and the public depends on them to determine the safety of a product. In this particular case, the repeated reviewing of aspartame studies by forming two task forces, a Public Board of Inquiry, and two teams of scientists seems redundant if not suspicious. The research indicating tumors and falsifying of data resurfaced every time. It appears that all of these attempts were to ultimately get aspartame approved, not to determine it's safety. If the FDA had been really concerned, they should have insisted on reviewing all of the original research before it was approved for limited use in 1974. Even if the FDA's repeated attempts to investigate aspartame's safety were legitimate, ultimately, it was Commissioner Hayes' responsibility to determine if this product should enter the market. When he approved aspartame, it was more than questionable if his intentions were sincere. His employment with FDA was just long enough to get aspartame approved and then he conveniently quit and was hired by a Searle related company! How can we rely on the FDA to make the right decisions concerning aspartame approval if we are suspicious of their motives?
How does all this relate to the safety of aspartame? First we must explore what safe means. The FDA defines safe as a "reasonable certainty of no harm" (Farber 48). Searle's evaluation of aspartame's safety was compromised when they withheld negative data and supplied inaccurate test results. Without valid research, "reasonable certainty of no harm" is difficult to determine. How can aspartame be on the market if the FDA and Searle failed to determine whether it was safe or not?

Brain tumors and seizures in aspartame-fed animals indicate a possible risk to humans. The dictionary definition of safe means "not presenting or involving any danger or risk" (Webster's 877). Does this mean aspartame is not safe? The answer lies in the hands of the public. Although aspartame was not tested on humans before its approval, it now has been tested on the public by default. Over 200 million Americans consume aspartame products (Weininger 1/ZZ1). We have been the guinea pigs in the testing of aspartame without even knowing it. A look at aspartame's ingredients and its devastating effects on human beings provide the evidence for avoiding all aspartame products.


FDA Pivotal Safety Study: Aspartame Caused Brain Seizures

by Pete Hardin


"Despite approval by the federal Food and Drug Administration as a sweetener, Aspartame remains the focus of serious human health questions poised by a core of skeptics.
Aspartame is the generic name for "NutraSweet", which is owned by Monsanto Corp. FDA okayed Aspartame for limited food use in the early l980s. In June 1996, FDA sanctioned use of Aspartame in thousands of food products. Aspartame consists of three components: 50% phenylalanine (a chemical which transmits impulses in the human brain), 40% aspartic acid and 10% methanol (wood alcohol-a poison).
FDA's human "safety" determination for Aspartame is based upon some 112 studies submitted to FDA by the original manufacturer, Searle Pharmaceuticals. (Monsanto acquired Searle Pharmaceuticals in the mid-1980s.) Of those 112 studies, FDA designated 15 studies "pivotal".
Critics have been relooking those "pivotal" studies and come away puzzled how FDA can deduce human "safety". Take, for example, one of the 15 "pivotal" studies: "52 Week Oral Toxicity Infant Monkey Study (SC-18862)." This study orally dosed Aspartame to seven infant Rhesus monkeys for 52 weeks, in work conducted at the University of Wisconsin Medical Center at Madison, Wisconsin. The work was reported in l972.

The monkeys were divided in three groups: a low dose group (1.0 g/kg), a medium dose group (3.0 g/kg.) and a high dose group (4-6 g/kg). Aspartame was incorporated into milk formula and administered orally. The high dose group did not consume intended levels of aspartame during the study, perhaps due to the overt sweetness (200 times greater than sugar). Thus, researchers concluded, the high-dose group actually ingested approximately as much Aspartame as the medium-dose group. (Editor's note: The UW-Madison researcher, H. A. Waisman, deceased in mid-study. For that reason, the low-dose group monkeys was pulled from this study at about 200 days-prior to when brain seizures commenced for the medium and high-dose groups.)

There was no control group. That ostensible inadequacy in the research protocol was dismissed by the lack of available monkeys and "..limitations in adequately skilled laboratory personnel..."
All medium and high dose monkeys showed increased phenylalanine levels in their blood. All medium and high dose monkeys exhibited brain seizures, starting about seven months into the experiment.
The study reported "All animals in the medium and high dosage groups exhibited seizure activity. Seizures were observed for the first time following 218 days of treatment... The seizures were of the grand mal type... One monkey, m38, of the high dose group, died after 300 days of treatment. The cause of death was not determined..."
Data for the deceased monkey were lost.
The study correlates brain seizures with high amounts of phenylalanine ingested by the monkeys. The study determined: "following the end of the experiment, medium and high dose monkeys were kept under observation for three months. No further convulsions were detected during this period." In other words, once the Aspartame was withdrawn from the monkeys' diets, the brain seizures ceased.
How could FDA claim a "pivotal" study, in which all of the medium and high dose monkeys suffer brain seizures, confirms Aspartame's safety for humans?

Robert Cohen, a private citizen from Oradell, New Jersey (who has a degree in pharmakinesology - brain chemistry), recently un earthed this "pivotal" study. Cohen's personal theory: the milk-based formula in which the monkeys were served their Aspartame in this study is a key link why the brain seizures were suffered. Cohen contends that ingesting dairy products elevates the pH of the stomach. He asserts that drinking a 12 oz. glass of milk buffers the pH of the human stomach from 2 to 6. At a pH of 6, Cohen contends, simple proteins such as Aspartame pass through undigested. Thus, they move to the blood stream intact. (Editor's note: Cohen claims the same phenomenon explains why IGF-1 (insulin-like Growth Factor -- - a potent mitogen, i.e., cancer causing agent) from rbGH-derived milk survives digestion and enters the human bloodstream).

Recently, a long term Aspartame critic rolled out a new data analysis, suggesting that Aspartame was a factor in increased incidents of human brain lesions. Monsanto spokesperson Dr. Robert Moser countered that claim, saying that Aspartame was not ingested and did not enter the blood stream.
The data revealed by this "pivotal" study submitted to FDA renders false Moser's assertion that Aspartame does not enter the bloodstream. Elevated levels of phenylalanine in the blood of monkeys fed medium and high levels of Aspartame prove that the compound is absorbed into the blood stream. The brain seizures followed.
What is the significance of this issue for dairy? NutraSweet is increasingly used in dairy products. At worst, presence of dairy products increases the odds that Aspartame can be channeled through the stomach into the bloodstream, by buffering the stomach's acidity.
Word is that CBS' television's hard-hitting news program, "60 Minutes" is preparing a segment on the Aspartame controversy, tentatively due for broadcast on December 29. (was shown) (Editor's Note: We were told recently that an adhesives applications firm in Texas is working on a project to include Aspartame on the back of U.S. Postal Service stamps, to make the stamps which consumers lick "taste better") SWEET NIGHTMARES!"
Page continues: ANTI-ASPARTAME CONSUMER GROUP OFFERS INFORMATION TO PUBLIC
"A consumer group, Mission Possible, has requested that FDA withdraw Aspartame from public use, in light of the obvious negative health effects depicted in the "pivotal" study described above. The blood data shows the chemical entered the Rhesus monkeys' blood streams. All monkeys receiving medium and high doses of Aspartame suffered severe brain seizures after about seven months' treatments.

Persons wishing to receive more information about Aspartame should write Mission Possible at the following address and include 5 32 cent postage stamps to cover return postage. The address is: Mission Possible, 5950 H State Bridge Road, Suite 215, Duluth, Georgia 30155


Aspartame -- History of Fraud and Deception

Today we have "Nutra-Sweet", which is widely used in a plethora of consumables, despite a demonstrated neurological reaction in some people. In February 1996, it was decided to also use the product name "Benevia". It is estimated that as many as 20,000,000 people cannot metabolize phenylalimine, and this inability is genetically inherited by children. The inability to metabolize phenylalinine can lead to mental retardation in children. This means a risk of retardation for millions of children. A multi-billion dollar enterprise, this substance is said to be "refined" from "natural"substances. Like other "refined" substances, it represents a health threat to the general public. No long term studies have been performed to evaluate the physiological effects of this substance, yet the public is lead to believe it is absolutely safe. Technically, the chemical is called aspartame, and it was once on a Pentagon list of biowarfare chemicals submitted to Congress. [1] Aspartame is in over 4,000 products worldwide and is consumed by over 200 million people in the United States alone. What follows is a skeletal examination of the chronology related to aspartame. A more detailed chronology is given later in this chapter based on information provided to us by the Aspartame Consumer Safety Network.

Aspartame is produced by G.D. Searle Company, founded in 1888 and located in Skokie, Illinois. Searle is now owned by others. It is about 200 times sweeter than the refined sugar that it is meant to replace, and it is known to erode intelligence and affect short-term memory. It is essentially a chemical weapon designed to impact populations en masse. It is an rDNA derivative made from two amino acids, L-phenylalanine, L-aspartic acid and methanol. Originally discovered during a search for an ulcer drug in 1966, it was "approved" by the FDA in 1974 as a "food additive".

Approval was followed by a retraction based on demonstrated public concern over the fact that the substance produced brain tumors in rats. According to the 1974 FDA task force set up to examine aspartame and G.D.Searle, "we have uncovered serious deficiencies in Searles operations and practices, which undermine the basis for reliance on Searle’s integrity in conducting high quality animal research to accurately determine the toxic potential of its products." The task force report concluded with the recommendation that G.D. Searle should face a Grand Jury "to identify more particularly the nature of the violations, and to identify all those responsible." [2]
In 1976, an FDA "task force" brought into question all of G.D. Searle’s aspartame testing procedures conducted between 1967 and 1975. The final FDA report noted faulty and fraudulent product testing, knowingly misrepresented product testing, knowlingly misrepresented findings, and instances of irrelevant animal research. In other word, illegal criminal activity. Understandably scared, Searle officials sought to suppress the FDA findings and obstruct justice. They turned to Nixon and Ford administration operative Donald Rumsfeld and elected him "chairman of the Searle organization." In 1977, the Wall Street Journal detailed the fact that Rumsfeld made efforts to "mend fences" by asking "what Searle could do" in the face of the changes. Also in 1977, Dr. Adrian Gross, a pathologist working for the FDA, uncovered evidence that G.D.Searle might have committed criminal fraud in withholding adverse data on aspartame. [3]

The FDA requested that U.S. Attorney Samuel Skinner be hired to investigate Searle’s aspartame testing procedures in January 1977. Samuel Skinner was the federal prosecutor responsible for convincing the Grand Jury to investigate whether Searle willfully and criminally withheld data that cast doubt on the safety of aspartame. In February 1977, Skinner met with Searle attorneys at the Chicago law firm of Sidney & Austin. Suddenly, newly elected President Carter announced that Skinner would not remain in office, and Skinner thereafter announced that he would be hired by Sidney & Austin. Obviously, Skinner then had to recuse himself from the Searle prosecution. The case was taken over by U.S. Attorney William Conlon, who essentially sat on the case, despite complaints from the Justice Department, which was urging that a grand jury be convened to prosecute Searle Company for falsifying Nutra-Sweet test data. Failing to preform his duty, Conlon also joined Searle’s law firm in January 1979.

Skinner’s defection from the FDA might have been prompted by the results of the review of the Searle studies. David Hattan, deputy director of the FDA Division of Toxicological Review and Evaluation, concedes that anyone reading the orginal FDA investigation reports is likely to be "shocked" by what they reveal. He says that the ensuing review of the Searle studies, in which he was involved from the time of his arrival in 1978, was one of the most thorough in the agency’s history. It included an unprecedented hearing before a public board of inquiry composed of experts from outside the agency. Arthur Hayes, Jr., then Commissioner of the FDA appointed by Reagan, agreed with Searle and the FDA’s Bureau of Foods (now the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition) that "an appropriate analysis of the data showed no significant increases in tumor incidence in rats exposed to aspartame or DKP, one of the breakdown products of aspartame. The board of inquiry rejected concerns that aspartame’s components could cause neurological damage.[4]
In 1981, under pressure from the soft drink lobby, FDA Commissioner Hayes approved the initial use of aspartane in dry foods and as a tabletop sweetner, discounting public complaints as anecdotal and ignoring three FDA scientists.[5] who voiced the fact that there were serious questions concerning brain tumor tests after having done an in-house study. Hayes was widely profiled as a man who believed that approval for new drugs and additives was "too slow" because "the FDA demanded too much information." Hayes also ignored the fact that the biased scientific studies paid for by Searle were faulty.[6] After leaving the FDA, Hayes took the post of senior medical consultant for the public relations firm retained by Searle..[7] A subsequent inquiry "found no improprieity".

In July 1983 it was approved for use in soft drinks in the United States, followed three months later by approval in Britain by the Ministry of Agriculture. All this was done despite the fact that the Department of Defense knew that aspartane was neurotoxic and harmful to human health. These facts were deliberately suppressed by the government. It is also interesting that in 1981 FDA scientist Dr. Robert Condon, in an internal government document, said "I do not concur that aspartame has been shown to be safe with respect to the induction of brain tumors." All safety was thrown aside because of pressure from Searle. Considering the connections the drug companies have to the medical and intelligence community, it would not be surprising that there were other factors involved in the pressure to adopt aspartame into the diet of the population.

In 1984, the Arizona Department of Health began testing soft drinks to ascertain the level of toxic deterioration by-products in soft drinks. It was determined that soft drinks stored in elevated temperatures promoted more rapid deterioration of aspartame into poisonous methyl alcohol (methanol). The FDA decided to ignore these results. Public complaints about the effects of aspartame began to come in. People complained of headaches, dizziness, vomiting, nausea, blurred vision, seizures, convulsions and a host of other reactions to aspartame.
Also in 1984, the Centers for Disease Control made the fraudulent announcement that "no serious, widespread" side effects of aspartame had been found. It was an outright lie, and this announcement was quickly followed by another from PepsiCo that it was dropping saccharin and adopting aspartame as the sweetener it all its diet drinks. Others followed suit, despite the January 1984 broadcast on CBS Nightly News where the chief scientist for the FDA task force investigating Searle publicly stated that Searle company officials made "deliberate decisions" to cloak aspartame’s toxic effects.

When a human consumes "Nutra-Sweet", it breaks down above 85° not only into its constituent amino acids, but into methanol, which further breaks down into formaldehyde, which is carcinogenic[8] and very toxic, as well as formic acid and a brain tumor agent called diketopiperazine (DKP). In a meek attempt to ward off further public inquiry, the FDA in 1984 announced that "no evidence has been found to establish that aspartame’s methanol by-product reaches toxic levels". This was a direct lie, since Medical World News reported in 1978, six years earlier, than the methanol content of aspartame is 1,000 times greater than most foods under FDA control. Furthermore, the methanol in aspartame is "free methanol", which is never found in nature. Methanol in nature is always accompanied by ethanol and other compounds which mitigate the methanol when introduced into the body.

In 1985, Searle Company was bought by Monsanto, the maker of other insidious substances that manage to find their way into human food, including Bovine Growth Hormone (BGH). Senator Metzenbaum, commenting on the FDA relative to the aspartame issue in 1985 said, "the FDA is content to have Searle conduct all safety tests on aspartame. That’s absurd."
Supreme Court Collusion in Aspartame Coverup Clarence Thomas Former Monsanto Lawyer
In 1986, the Washington Post reported that the Supreme Court refused to consider arguments that the FDA had not followed proper procedures in approving aspartame, despite arguments that the product "may cause brain damage." (Supreme Court obstructing Justice). Since Bush-nominated Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas

is a former attorney for Monsanto [9],it is unlikely that hundreds of millions of people will find redress. There are also indications of ties between Monsanto and elements in the CIA.


University of Illinois Fraudulent Study on Aspartame
In August of 1987, the University of Illinois, a recipient of funding from Monsanto, issued a study "exonerating aspartame of causing seizures in laboratory animals." The fact that they were paid by Monsanto automatically invalidates the results. U.S. Senate hearings in 1987 showed that G.D.Searle used "psychological strategy" to get regulators at the FDA "into a yes-saying habit" to "bring them into a subconscious spirit of participation." .[10] More than half of 69 medical researchers polled by the FDA in 1987 said they were concerned about aspartame’s safety.[11]
FDA Ignores Complaints of Neurological Symptoms

In 1989, the FDA received over 4,000 complaints from people who described adverse reactions. Because the FDA conveniently lists aspartane as a "food additive", it removes the legal requirement for adverse effect reporting to any Federal agency and the necessity for safety monitoring processes. Research also indicates that aspartame, when combined with glutamine products (such as MSG, widely used in foods) increase the likelihood of brain damage occurring in children.[12]

Aspartame Affecting Airline Pilots
Some of the more interesting developments in 1989 surfaced in the Palm Beach Post on October 14th, where an article by Dr. H.J. Robert described several recent aircraft accidents involving confusion and aberrant pilot behavior caused by ingestion of products containing aspartame.[13] Soft drink makers were notified of this problem in 1991. It is interesting to note that after Samuel Skinner left Sidney & Austin, Searle’s law firm, he was appointed Secretary of Transportation. Hence, he was in charge of the FAA, just in time to head off complaints from pilots affected by aspartame. His wife was employed by Sidney & Austin. Later as George Bush’s Chief of Staff in 1991, during the Gulf War, he was in a position to head off all inquiries relative to asparatame, no matter where they were directed - to the FDA, FAA or Department of Defense. This constitutes criminal negligence and racketeering. George Bush, of course, was an ex-director of the Central Intelligence Agency.
British News: "Nutrasweet Tests Faked"

On July 20, 1990, an article in the national British newspaper The Guardian, entitled "NutraSweet test results ‘faked’", revealed that the British government had finally been persuaded to review the safety of aspartame after "receiving a dossier of evidence highlighting its potential dangers." According to The Guardian, the dossier alleged that laboratory tests were falsified, tumors were removed from laboratory animals and animals were ‘restored to life’ in laboratory records.[14] The dossier against NutraSweet was compiled by Erik Millstone, a lecturer at the Science Policy Research Unit at Sussex University and author of two books on food additives. It was based on thousands of pages of evidence, much of which was obtained under the Freedom of Information Act. The COT, Committee on Toxicity, was at the time looking into consumption of artificial sweeteners and did not possess the key documents covering alleged mishandling of the safety tests which Millstone was asked to provide.

The British Ministry of Agriculture and Department of Health have never revealed the evidence upon which approval was given in England for the distribution of aspartame, maintaining that "these are matters of commercial confidence." The British government does not testing of its own but relies on safety tests provided by the manufacturer, which of course constitutes a conflict of interest. The 1990 article quoted the British Department of Health as saying "NutraSweet is not a health hazard on the available evidence, but people do suffer ‘ideosyncratic reactions’ to food additives." Interestingly, it was pointed out that three out of 14 members of the Committee on Toxicity have direct or indirect links with the artificial sweetener industry, according to David Clark, the Labour Party Agriculture spokeman, who requested a Parliamentary Answer to address questions of conflict of interest. Aspartame is also sold in England under the product name "Canderel." In 1990, the market for asparatame in England was estimated at £800 million.
Aspartame
Dosing of the Military in the Gulf War
During the 1991 Gulf War, all military personnel were provided free supplies of aspartame-laced soft drinks together with experimental vaccines, nerve gas antidotes and personal insecticides. They were also treated to direct biochemical warfare compounds. The result is Gulf War Syndrome, which is communicable and deadly, and 50,000 military personnel and their dependents are wasting away before our eyes. Criminal negligence? Of course. Criminal conspiracy? Yes. Genocide? Probably - we’re waiting to see.
Aspartame Alters Brain Chemicals That Affect Behavior

Independent tests on animals have shown that aspartame alters brain chemicals that also affect behavior. The chemical nature of aspartame was also shown to defeat its own alleged "purpose" as a "diet aid", since high doses instill a craving for calorie-laden carbohydrates. Then, the aspartame-carbohydrate combination further increases the effect of aspartame on the brain.[15]

Fraudulent Claims of Aspartame as a "Diet Aid"
Interestingly, even the American Cancer Society confirmed that users of artificial sweeteners gained more weight than those who didn’t use the products, further undermining the supposed "purpose" for the existence of aspartame in the food.[16] Haven’t we heard this kind of criminal fraud before?
The major selling point of aspartame is as a diet aid, and it has been demonstrated that the use of this product actually causes people to consume more food. Normally, when a significant quantity of carbohydrate are comsumed, serotonin levels rise in the brain. This is manifested as a relaxed feeling after a meal. When aspartame is ingested with carbohydrates, such as having a sandwich with a diet drink, aspartame causes the brain to cease production of serotonin, meaning that the feeling of having had enough never materializes. You then eat more foods, many containing aspartame, and the cycle continues. Monsanto’s profit from its NutraSweet Division was $993 million in 1990.
Governments Continue Suppression and Coverup on Aspartame

In 1991, the National Institutes of Health.[17] listed 167 symptoms and reasons to avoid the use of aspartame , but today it is a multi-million dollar business that contributes to the degeneration of the human population, as well as the deliberate suppression of overall intelligence, short-term memory[18] and the added contribution as a carcinogenic environmental co-factor. The FDA and the Centers for Disease Control continue to receive a stream of complaints from the population about aspartane. It is the only chemical warfare weapon available in mass quantities (should keep the cone-heads happy) on the grocery shelf and promoted in the media. It has also been indicated that women with an intolerance for phenylalinine, one of the compoents of aspartame, may give birth to infants with as much as a 15% drop in intelligence level if they habitually consume products containing this dangerous substance.[19]

FAA Collusion in Suppression of Facts on Aspartame
The March 1995 issue of The Pacific Flyer published a pro-aspartame article in which it stated, "the Federal Aviation Administration conducted its own cognitive research and, according to experts, found no contraindications that would prevent pilots, or anyone, from ingesting aspartame." This flies in the face of consistent reports from pilots who maintain they have suffered severe and dangerous repercussions in the air after drinking soft drinks containing aspartame. Virtually every time, symptoms disappeared when aspartame-laced drinks were discontinued.[20] Over 600 pilots have reported this problem.
FDA "Findings" on Aspartame Remain Based on Faked Tests
So, the faked Searle tests remain. The FDA bases its findings on the faked Searle tests, and the Journal of the American Medical Association, examining the FDA findings, based on the faked Searle tests, announced "the consumption of aspartame poses no health risk for most people." Searle officials argue that the use of aspartame as an artificial sweetener "has been officially approved not only by the FDA, but by foreign regulatory agencies and the World Health Organization" - based on Searle-sponsored aspartame research, not independently conducted tests.
Symptoms of Aspartame Intoxication: Minimal to Severe

The symptoms of aspartame intoxication include severe headaches, nausea, vertigo, insomina, loss of control of limbs, blurred vision, blindness, memory loss, slurred speech, mild to severe depression often reaching suicidal levels, hyperactivity, gastrointestinal disorders, seizures, skin lesions, rashes, anxiety attacks, muscle and joint pain, numbness, mood changes, loss of energy, menstrual cramps out of cycle, hearing loss or ringing in the ears, loss or change of taste, and symptoms similar to those in a heart attack. In addition, aspartic acid chelates (combines) with chromium - which is a necessary element for proper operation of the thyroid gland. People who consume large quantities of aspartame may end up with a false diagnosis of Graves disease and suffer allopathic irradiation of their thyroid gland for no reason. Complaints about aspartame represent 80-85% of all food complaints registered with the FDA. More than 6,000 complaints have been made concerning the effects of aspartame. Thirty independent doctors and scientists have conducted research on the adverse effects of aspartame or have compiled supporting data against its use.The use of NutraSweet® or Equal® should be seriously curtailed or stopped.

Aspartame Use Part of Planetary Biomedical Genocide
The fact that tons of aspartame is pumped into the world population each year, knowingly and deliberately, especially with the historical and documented record of fraud and misrepresentation, constitutes a conspiracy of the highest order, as well as criminal negligence. The rewards of continued use are increased profits for the medical and pharmaceutical industries and chemical companies who produce aspartame and treat people suffering from the effect of it. Aspartame is the only biochemical warfare product on grocery shelves. And, the band plays on ....

Governments Continue Suppression and Coverup on Aspartame

In 1991, the National Institutes of Health.[17] listed 167 symptoms and reasons to avoid the use of aspartame , but today it is a multi-million dollar business that contributes to the degeneration of the human population, as well as the deliberate suppression of overall intelligence, short-term memory[18] and the added contribution as a carcinogenic environmental co-factor. The FDA and the Centers for Disease Control continue to receive a stream of complaints from the population about aspartane. It is the only chemical warfare weapon available in mass quantities (should keep the cone-heads happy) on the grocery shelf and promoted in the media. It has also been indicated that women with an intolerance for phenylalinine, one of the compoents of aspartame, may give birth to infants with as much as a 15% drop in intelligence level if they habitually consume products containing this dangerous substance.[19]


FAA Collusion in Suppression of Facts on Aspartame

The March 1995 issue of The Pacific Flyer published a pro-aspartame article in which it stated, "the Federal Aviation Administration conducted its own cognitive research and, according to experts, found no contraindications that would prevent pilots, or anyone, from ingesting aspartame." This flies in the face of consistent reports from pilots who maintain they have suffered severe and dangerous repercussions in the air after drinking soft drinks containing aspartame. Virtually every time, symptoms disappeared when aspartame-laced drinks were discontinued.[20] Over 600 pilots have reported this problem.

FDA "Findings" on Aspartame Remain Based on Faked Tests
So, the faked Searle tests remain. The FDA bases its findings on the faked Searle tests, and the Journal of the American Medical Association, examining the FDA findings, based on the faked Searle tests, announced "the consumption of aspartame poses no health risk for most people." Searle officials argue that the use of aspartame as an artificial sweetener "has been officially approved not only by the FDA, but by foreign regulatory agencies and the World Health Organization" - based on Searle-sponsored aspartame research, not independently conducted tests.
Symptoms of Aspartame Intoxication: Minimal to Severe
The symptoms of aspartame intoxication include severe headaches, nausea, vertigo, insomina, loss of control of limbs, blurred vision, blindness, memory loss, slurred speech, mild to severe depression often reaching suicidal levels, hyperactivity, gastrointestinal disorders, seizures, skin lesions, rashes, anxiety attacks, muscle and joint pain, numbness, mood changes, loss of energy, menstrual cramps out of cycle, hearing loss or ringing in the ears, loss or change of taste, and symptoms similar to those in a heart attack. In addition, aspartic acid chelates (combines) with chromium - which is a necessary element for proper operation of the thyroid gland. People who consume large quantities of aspartame may end up with a false diagnosis of Graves disease and suffer allopathic irradiation of their thyroid gland for no reason. Complaints about aspartame represent 80-85% of all food complaints registered with the FDA. More than 6,000 complaints have been made concerning the effects of aspartame. Thirty independent doctors and scientists have conducted research on the adverse effects of aspartame or have compiled supporting data against its use.The use of NutraSweet® or Equal® should be seriously curtailed or stopped.

Aspartame Use Part of Planetary Biomedical Genocide

The fact that tons of aspartame is pumped into the world population each year, knowingly and deliberately, especially with the historical and documented record of fraud and misrepresentation, constitutes a conspiracy of the highest order, as well as criminal negligence. The rewards of continued use are increased profits for the medical and pharmaceutical industries and chemical companies who produce aspartame and treat people suffering from the effect of it. Aspartame is the only biochemical warfare product on grocery shelves. And, the band plays on ....
The artificial sweetener aspartame is said by some commentators to be the most fully tested and safest food additive in industrial history. Because it is a dipeptide of two familiar and essential amino acids, namely aspartic acid and phenylalanine, there are prima facie reasons for thinking that it should be safe. It is, moreover, one of the most successful synthetic chemicals every produced. The dominant producer is the Nutrasweet Corporation (a subsidiary of Monsanto), and a recently published estimate suggested that world sales amounted to approximately $1,000 million in 1995.(1)
Doubts about the safety of this compound have, however, surfaced repeatedly during its turbulent history, and a particularly serious set of fresh doubts have recently emerged in a paper in the journal Neuropathology and Experimental Neurology, focusing on the possibility that aspartame might be contributing to the increasing incidence of brain cancer.(2)

Prof. John Olney of Washington University St Louis and his colleagues have based their hypothesis on several sets of considerations. Firstly, they analyzed the cancer statistics gathered by the US National Cancer Institute from catchment areas representing approximately 10% of the US population for the period since 1975. They found that the introduction of aspartame into the USA, into dry goods in 1981 and soft drinks in 1983, was followed by an abrupt increase (of approximately 10%) in the reported incidence of brain tumors. The change was most noticeable between 1984 and 1985, and it corresponded to approximately 1,500 extra cases of brain cancer per year in the USA.

Their second main finding is that there has also been a marked change in the incidence of particular types of brain tumors, with a reduction in the proportion of a relatively nonaggressive (and often preliminary) type of tumor (astrocytomas) and a sharp increase in the incidence of a far more aggressive (and all too often terminal) type of tumor (glioblastomas).
The investigators argue, moreover, that the reported changes in tumor incidence were unlikely to have been artefacts of improvements in diagnostic technologies. The introduction and rapid diffusion of computerised tomography in the early to mid- 1970s, and of magnetic resonance imaging technology in the early to mid-1980s, certainly improved diagnostic precision. But they contend that the impact of those innovations upon the reported incidence of these central nervous system (CNS) tumors had fully worked their way through before aspartame was introduced.
Before these imaging technologies were introduced, it was far harder to diagnose brain cancer. Consequently, it was often not until tumors developed into glioblastomas that they were diagnosed, and a relatively high portion of tumors at the earlier astrocytoma stage went undetected. When the imaging technologies were introduced, brain tumors tended to be detected at the earlier stage, and consequently in the late 1970s the number of reported astrocytomas went up, while the number of glioblastomas exhibited a corresponding decline.

After aspartame was introduced, however, the opposite pattern can be found. The incidence of glioblastomas rose sharply, and starting in the late 1980s the number of astrocytomas declined even more sharply. Since those latter changes run counter to the direction which could be attributed to the introduction of better diagnostic technologies, it is hard to see how the reported changing tumor incidence could be ascribed to innovations in diagnosis. If the apparent increase in overall incidence had been due to improved diagnostics, then we should expect a marked change in post- diagnostic survival rates, but no such change was evident.

Olney and his colleagues suspect aspartame to be implicated in the aetiology of the extra cases of brain cancer for three main reasons. Firstly, the type of CNS tumor found to be increasing most rapidly in the USA is the same kind of lesion as was found in one of the animal studies conducted on aspartame in the 1970s.(3) Indeed, when the safety of aspartame was considered by a Public Board of Inquiry in 1980, it recommended against the approval of aspartame primarily because of a concern that aspartame appeared to be a brain carcinogen in rodents. A team of scientists at the US Food and Drug Administration concurred with the judgement of the Board, and they too recommended that further studies be conducted to clarify the issue before aspartame could be considered acceptably safe for use. Both the Public Board of Inquiry and the FDA staff scientists were, however, over-ruled by the incoming FDA Commissioner, Arthur Hull Hayes, who asserted that the brain cancer risk was minimal and that further research was not necessary.
Olney and his colleagues have also drawn attention to the results of a study by Shephard et al published in 1993.(4) Shephard and her colleagues attempted to simulate in vitro the conditions that can occur in the human digestive tract, and in particular the conditions which result in the nitrosation of dietary ingredients. They reported that the nitrosated aspartame had significant mutagenic action. That evidence may be important because it suggests not only a mechanism through which aspartame could exert a possible carcinogenic action, but also why the interval between the compound's introduction and the elevation of brain cancer rates appears to have been so brief.

Olney et al also suggest that aspartame may reasonably be suspected of responsibility because the other main candidates for responsibility, such as ionising radiation, smoke inhalation, pesticides, electromagnetic fields and various other chemicals were gradually introduced over recent decades rather than all at once in the early 1980s. Exposures to those potential hazards are, furthermore, occupationally linked and it is hard to see how they could explain why males and females seem to be equally affected.

If Olney's hypothesis is to be substantiated it will be necessary to analyse several long-term brain cancer time- series data sets for other countries covering the period both before and since aspartame was introduced. That has proved difficult because while aggregate brain cancer statistics are readily available, information on tumors types is hard to obtain. If aspartame were to act by modifying an already present or nascent brain cancer, we should expect its impact to vary in different countries in ways which depend on the age structure of the consumers of this sweetener. Anecdotal evidence suggests that a larger proportion of 50 to 70 year old Americans consume aspartame-sweetened products than is the case in the UK or in other European countries. An alternative approach might therefore entail conducting new long-term animal feeding studies, but their relevance to humans is endlessly contestable.

While Olney and his colleagues have raised complex questions about the safety of aspartame, other questions have previously been raised without having been fully answered. The manner in which no fewer than 15 of the initial safety tests were conducted and reported during the 1970s has been repeatedly criticised. An FDA task force showed, for example, that in one particular study it was impossible to identify the occasion on which a particular animals had died. As the report says: "Observation records indicated that animal A23LM was alive at week 88, dead from week 92 through week 104, alive at week 108, and dead at week 112."(5) That represented just one of 52 significant shortcomings in the conduct and reporting of just one of those 15 studies. Those studies have, moreover, never been repeated.
Several commentators have therefore argued that unless and until those 15 pivotal studies are repeated, no-one can be in a position confidently to assert that aspartame is safe. In the mid-to-late 1980s, a series of reports started to emerge suggesting that aspartame is capable of acute adverse reactions in a small proportion of sensitive consumers. The symptoms reported include headaches and blurred vision at the most mild through to epileptic-type seizures at the most severe.

The accumulation of evidence, concerning both acute and chronic hazards, now poses a substantial problem for both regulatory officials and for the general public. The challenge for policy-makers, as ever, is to decide how much evidence is sufficient to support a judgement that something is either sufficiently safe or that it poses a significant hazard. A decision of that sort, in relation to an artificial sweetener, will depend on a judgement about the balance of benefits and risks. It is, however, quite hard to demonstrate that artificial sweeteners are beneficial to any group other than diabetics. The period since the early 1980s has seen a rapid rise in the consumption of artificial sweeteners, but there has been no corresponding decline in the consumption of sugar, either in the USA, the UK or in the European Union as a whole. That implies that, in aggregate, artificial sweeteners are not acting as sugar substitutes but merely as supplements to sugar consumption.

Many of the products containing artificial sweeteners are labelled as 'diet' products implying that consuming artificially sweetened products helps people to control or even to reduce their weight. There is however no reliable evidence to indicate that artificial sweeteners actually help people loose weight. On the contrary, the bulk of the available evidence suggests that in relation to attempted weight loss, artificial sweeteners are at best ineffective and at worst counter-productive. There is, in particular, evidence that artificial sweeteners are appetite stimulants, and while a particular mouthful of artificially sweetened food or drink may contain fewer calories than their sugar-sweetened analogues, the consumption of artificial sweeteners may provoke people into going on, what might be termed, 'a calorie hunt'.
If the likely benefits and risks of aspartame are to be properly explored, and if consumers are to be properly informed and protected, these complex issues need to be explored in a comprehensive and open fashion, and not behind closed doors, be they in Whitehall, in the European Commission in Brussels or at the World Health Organisation's office in Geneva. The public are entitled to be sure, in particular, that none of the experts advising the authorities are acting as paid consultants to the companies which either manufacture or utilise artificial sweeteners. Neither the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food nor the Department of Health, nor the European Commission nor even the WHO can provide such an assurance.



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