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How Deadly Is Aspartame?

When heated to 86 degrees Fahrenheit (human body ~ 98.6) -- aspartame releases free methanol that breaks down into formic acid and formaldehyde in the body. One quart of aspartame-added beverage contains about 56 mg of methanol.

Dr.Louis J Elsas explained to the US senate committee on labor and human resources: ” I am a pediatrician, a professor of pediatrics at Emory, and have spent 25 years in the biomedical sciences, trying to prevent mental retardation and birth defects caused by excess phenylalanine..[I] have considerable concern for the increased dissemination and consumption of the sweetener aspartame – 1-methyl N-L-a-aspartyl-L-phenylalanine – in our world food supply. This artificial dipeptide is hydrolyzed by the intestinal tract to produce L-phenylalanine, which in excess is a known neurotoxin.” Countering claims that lab tests indicated little harm from small amounts of aspartame, Dr Elsas noted, “Normal humans do not metabolize phenylalanine as efficiently as do lower species, such as rodents, and thus most of the previous studies in aspartame effects on rats are irrelevant to eh question.”

Before 1980 the FDA had refused to approve the use of aspartame. FDA toxicologist Dr. Adrian Gross testified to congress that aspartame caused tumors and brain cancer in lab animals and therefore violated the Delaney Amendment that forbids putting anything in food that is know to cause cancer. Aspartame also is blamed for the increase in diabetes as it not only can precipitate the disease but also stimulates and aggravates diabetic retinopathy and neuropathy, which, when interacting with insulin, can cause diabetics to go into convulsions.

Dr. Betty Martini worked in the medical field for 22 years. She was the founder of Mission Possible International, working with doctors around the world in an effort to remove aspartame from food, drinks, and medicine ). She gave this account of how pharmaceutical interests overcame claims of public welfare:

” Donald Rumsfeld was CEO of Searle, the conglomerate that manufactured aspartame. For 16 years the FDA refused to approve it, not only because it’s unsafe, but also because they wanted the company indicted for fraud. US prosecutors hired on the defense team were Sam Skinner and William Conlon. Skinner went on to become secretary of transportation, squelching cries of the pilots having seizures on this seizure-triggering drug, aspartame, and then chief of staff under G.H.W.Bush. Some of these people reached high places. Even supreme court justice Thomas Clarence is a former Monsanto attorney (Monsanto bought Searle in 1985 and sold it a few years ago.). When John Ashcroft became attorneys general in 2001, Larry Thompson from King and Spalding Attorneys (another former Monsanto attorney) became deputy under Ashcroft. However the FDA still refused to allow Nutrasweet (aspartame) on the market. It is a deadly neurotoxic drug masquerading as an additive. It interacts with all antidepressants, L-dopa, Coumadin, hormones, insulin, all cardiac medication, and many others. It also is a chemical hyper-sensitization drug, so it interacts with vaccines, other toxins, other unsafe sweeteners, like Splenda that has a chlorinated base (like DDT) and can cause autoimmune disease. It has a synergistic and additive effect with MSG. Both being excitotoxins, the aspartic acid in aspartame, and MSG, the glutamate. The FDA has known this for a quarter of a century and done nothing even though it’s against the law. Searle went on to build a NutraSweet factory and had $9 million worth of inventory. Donald Rumsfeld was on Pres. Reagan’s transition team and the day after Reagan took office he appointed and FDA commissioner who would approve aspartame.”

Searle salesperson Patty Wood-Allott claimed that in 1981 Rumsfeld told company employees ‘he would call in all his markers and that no matter what, he would see to it that aspartame be approved this year.”

Dr.Martinni noted: “The FDA set up a board of inquiry of the best scientists they had to offer, who said aspartame is not safe and causes brain tumors, and the petition for approval is hereby revoked. The new FDA commissioner, Arthur Hull Hayes, overruled that board of inquiry and then went on to work for the PR agency of the manufacturer, Burson-Marstellar, rumored at $1,000 a day, and has refused to talk to the press since. There were three congressional hearings because of the outcry of the people being poisoned. Senator Orrin Hatch refused to allow hearings for a long time. The first hearing was in 1985, and Senator Hatch and others were paid by Monsanto. So the bill by Senator [Howard] Metzenbaum never got out of the committee. This bill would have put a moratorium on aspartame, and had the NIH do independent studies on the problems being seen in the population, interaction with drugs, seizures, problems with pregnancy, and even behavioral problems in children. This is due to the depletion of serotonin caused by the phenylalanine in aspartame.”

Reagan’s FDA commissioner Hayes initially approved aspartame only as a powdered additive. But in 1983, just before he left his position, he approved the additive for all carbonated beverages.

Attempting to study or report on aspartame is a thankless task for mainstream academics. Dr. Janet Starr Hull, an OSHA-certified environmental hazardous-waste emergency-response specialist and toxicologist, in 1991 was diagnosed with Graves’ disease ( a defect in the immunization system that leads to hyperthyroidism) only to learn through her own research she had been poisoned by aspartame. She stated, “Many scientists at prestigious American universities will tell you they cannot get grants for continued research on aspartame or Splenda, or their department heads have been told to drop all discussion on the topic. Some say aspartame research isn’t worth the effort because they cannot get published in America scientific journals. Others claim research centers constructed by the large corporations, such as Duke University’s Searle Research Center, were designed with manages research as a construction proviso.”

Illustrating the battle between experts in regard to aspartame was the 2005 research by Dr. Morando Soffritti, scientific director of the European Ramazzini Foundation of Oncology and Environmental Sciences in Bologna, Italy. Soffritti conducted a three year study on 1,800 rats and concluded that aspartame is a mulipotential carcinogen. His work was peer-reviewed by seven world experts, and in April 2007, Dr. Soffritti received the third Irving J Selikoff Award from the Mount Sinai School of medicine in New York City, where he presented a more recent study that confirmed the cancer causing potential of aspartame at even small doses. He noted that only a small amount of aspartame can trigger cancer, and babies of mothers who ingested aspartame could grow up to contract cancer. Other studies conducted in Spain, such as the “Barcelona Report” by the staff of the biology department of the University of Barcelona, confirmed that aspartame transformed into formaldehyde in the bodies of living laboratory specimens and spread throughout vital organs. These studies, largely unreported in the US media, confirmed aspartame’s carcinogenicity in lab rats.

In 2006, media reports spoke of a ‘new study’ that counted Soffritti’s research. This study was not new. It was actually conducted in the mid 1990s and reported that researchers could find no link between aspartame and cancer, according to Unhee Lim, PhD, a researcher at the National Institute of Health (NIH). Lim and colleagues worked with 473,984 men and women between the ages of 50 & 71 who participated in this diet-and-health study. In 1995 and 1996, participants were asked how much they drank of three popular diet beverages – soda, fruit drinks, and tea. They were also asked in they added aspartame to their coffee or tea. From the answers, the researchers calculated how much aspartame they consumed on a daily basis. During the next 5 years 1,972 of those studied developed lymphoma or leukemia, and 364 developed brain tumors. When the researchers looked at people who consumed an average of at least 400mg of aspartame a day (about 2 cans of soda) they found no link between consumption and cancer.

Critics noted that this study was subject to ‘recall bias,’ since those in the study were being asked to remember what and how much they drank, “If their recollections weren’t accurate, it compromises the findings,” said Michael F Jacobson, executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a consumer watchdog organization. There was also no consideration of the many other foods and additives that contained aspartame, which added to the daily intake. Yet, the few corporation mass media outlets that carried the story in 2006 introduced the ten-year old study with headlines such as “Findings May Help to Alleviate Concerns Raised by Rat Study Last Year.”

Why such aversion by the media to dealing with controversial health issues? According to the center for public integrity (CPI), in the past 7 years the pharmaceutical and health-products industry spend in excess of $800 million to lobby legislators and government officials at both the federal and state levels. Manufactures of pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and other health products spent nearly $182 million on federal lobbying from January 2005 through June 2006. “No other industry has spend more money to sway public policy,” stated a 2005 CPI special report titled “drug Lobby Second to None.” Its combined political outlays on lobbying and campaign contributions is topped only by the insurance industry.”

Reference Sources:

March 18, 2010

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