It’s the stuff of urban legends and a million e-mail forwards: aspartame (a.k.a. Nutrasweet, Equal, and other brands) causes cancer, brain tumors, and a multitude of other ghastly and deadly health problems. And while the FDA, MIT, and several other so-called “experts” have constantly affirmed the relative safety of aspartame, hundreds of thousands of web pages can’t be wrong!
To save the lives of countless soda and coffee drinkers in Hawaii, a bill has been introduced in the state Legislature (HB2680 and SB2506) to ban aspartame from the islands, courtesy House Speaker Rep. Calvin Say and Sen. Kalani English. The proposed law would prohibit “the manufacture, sale or delivery or holding or offering for sale of any food containing any amount of aspartame and its derivative compounds in any of their trade names.”
The Hawaii bill has the enthusiastic backing of New Mexico resident Stephen Fox, who had campaigned for a similar ban in Santa Fe. In an e-mail plea for support, Fox thanked the lawmakers who “see the merit and need to protect the health of all Hawaiians, no matter what duplicity is perpetuated by the top brass and corporate lackeys at the FDA.” Also lauded were Sen. Suzanne Chun-Oakland and Rep. Mele Carroll.
“I think it’s great when we do extreme legislation, because it rises the issue above and it gets all of our attention,” Carroll said in a KHON interview yesterday.
Fox says the New Mexico legislation was “overwhelmed and eviscerated” by a number of aspartame sympathizers, including Kraft, Philip Morris, Coca Cola, Wrigley’s gum, and Japan’s Ajinomoto. He warns: “The same corporations and even more will show up in Honolulu, make no mistake!”
In an online update, Fox says he’s been in contact with Adrian Chang, a local engineer who led the fight against fluoridating Hawaii’s water supply. Only time will tell whether the aspartame bill, and Fox’s crusade, will have similar success.