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Aspartame Ban Proposed in Hawaii

January 29th, 2008 by Ryan Ozawa · 9 Comments · Hawaii, Politics

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.

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9 Comments so far ↓

  • patrick

    Time to start hoarding!

  • Murfdawg

    This is so typical of this state to knee-jerk on everything. Just like the van-cams, superferry, mass transit, it’s a wonder how anything gets done. Massive studies have been done by independent researchers that can’t conclude that Aspartame is dangerous or has any ill effects. Where are all the other states on this so-called “bandwagon”? Sounds to me like the whole saccarin argument back in the early 80’s and how it caused cancer in laboratory rats. Yeah…that’ll happen when you give them concentrated doses at levels that are almost equal to their body weight.

    Bet if I went to the state legislature today and told them the sky was falling they would duck and cover in a heartbeat.

  • Geoff (xforce11)

    Splenda shares would boom if it happened. I love my Diet Cheerwine b/c it is made with Splenda and tastes like the original.

  • Stephen Fox

    All of the above comments are ridiculous.
    These people should just sit down and drink 5 cases of diet whatever, and sadly, they wouldn’t be heard from for a very long time, because they would all have some form of both methanol/formaldehyde and phenylalanine poisoning. No great loss in the larger scheme of things, eh?

  • Murfdawg

    To Fox: There’s always something in the background that is going to kill you eventually. Whether it’s the power lines we live under, pollution in the water, folding chairs, you name it. It seems to me though that Hawaii legislation is so draconian that they “knee-jerk” everything. Whatever happened to people looking both ways before they cross the street? I know it’s off-topic but you get the picture. If the Hawaii govt. is that serious about health, ban cigarettes then. This issue and the solution that they are proposing doesn’t help anyone in the long run. And if I’m not mistaken, isn’t Splenda part of the ban too? If not, I’m down with what Geoff is saying.

  • Geoff (xforce11)

    Splenda is not Aspartame so I don’t think it would be a part of the ban. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Splenda

  • Murfdawg

    Sweet! Pun intended. =)

  • Rich Murray

    Dark wines and liquors, as well as aspartame, provide similar levels of methanol, above 120 mg daily, for long-term heavy users, 2 L daily,
    about 6 cans.

    Within hours, methanol is inevitably largely turned into formaldehyde, and thence largely into formic acid — the major causes of the dreaded symptoms of “next morning” hangover.

    Fully 11% of aspartame is methanol — 1,120 mg aspartame in 2 L diet soda, almost six 12-oz cans, gives 123 mg methanol (wood alcohol).
    If 30% of the methanol is turned into formaldehyde, the amount of formaldehyde, 37 mg, is 18.5 times the USA EPA limit for daily formaldehyde in drinking water, 2.0 mg in 2 L average daily drinking water.

    Medicine has to consider that the many sources of methanol and formaldehyde are additive co-factors.

    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/aspartameNM/message/1286
    methanol products (formaldehyde and formic acid) are main cause of alcohol hangover symptoms [same as from similar amounts of methanol, the 11% part of aspartame]:
    YS Woo et al, 2005 Dec: Murray 2006.01.20

    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/aspartameNM/message/1143
    methanol (formaldehyde, formic acid) disposition: Bouchard M et al, full plain text, 2001: substantial sources are degradation of fruit pectins, liquors, aspartame, smoke: Murray 2005.04.02

    “… aspartame. It’s perfectly safe,” eminent diabetes MD S. Kalani Brady — er, Doctor, RX for ignorance, 3 days earnest study of recent 2 years of mainstream research by groups independent of vested interests: Murray
    2008.01.27
    http://rmforall.blogspot.com/2008_01_01_archive.htm
    Sunday, January 27, 2008
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/aspartameNM/message/1507

    details on 6 epidemiological studies since 2004 on diet soda (mainly aspartame) correlations, as well as 14 other mainstream studies on
    aspartame toxicity since summer 2005: Murray 2007.11.27
    http://rmforall.blogspot.com/2007_11_01_archive.htm
    Wednesday, November 14, 2007
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/aspartameNM/message/1490

    Hawaiian aspartame ban bills in House and Senate challenge corporate clout, Sen. J. Kalani English & Suzanne Chun Oakland, Rep. Calvin K.Y. Say & Mele Carroll: Murray 2008.01.25
    http://rmforall.blogspot.com/2008_01_01_archive.htm
    Friday, January 25, 2008
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/aspartameNM/message/1505

    http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/site1/house/members/rep13.asp

    Mele Carroll
    13th Representative District
    Hawaii State Capitol, Room 405
    415 South Beretania Street
    Honolulu, HI 96813
    Phone 808-586-6790; fax 808-586-6779
    From Maui, toll free 984-2400 + 66790
    From Molokai and Lanai,
    toll free 1-800-468-4644 + 66790
    E-mail repcarroll@Capitol.hawaii.gov;

    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/aspartameNM/message/1426
    ASDA (unit of Wal-Mart Stores WMT.N) and Marks & Spencer will join Tesco and also Sainsbury to ban and limit aspartame, MSG, artificial flavors dyes preservatives additives,
    trans fats, salt “nasties” to protect kids from ADHD: leading UK media: Murray 2007.05.15

    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/aspartameNMmessage/1451
    Artificial sweeteners (aspartame, sucralose) and coloring agents will be banned from use in newly-born and baby foods, the European Parliament decided: Latvia ban in schools 2006:
    Murray 2007.07.12

    “Of course, everyone chooses, as a natural priority, to enjoy peace, joy, and love by helping to find, quickly share, and positively act upon evidence about healthy and safe food, drink, and environment.”

    Rich Murray, MA Room For All rmforall@comcast.net
    505-501-2298 1943 Otowi Road, Santa Fe, New Mexico 87505

    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/aspartameNM/message/1469
    highly toxic formaldehyde, the cause of alcohol hangovers, is made by the body from 100 mg doses of methanol from dark wines and liquors,
    dimethyl dicarbonate, and aspartame: Murray 2007.08.31

    http://RMForAll.blogspot.com new primary archive

    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/aspartameNM/messages
    group with 118 members, 1,508 posts in a public archive

  • James R. Granger, III, MD

    It is sad that people will blindly believe that the FDA is infallible and that they would continue to ingets Aspartmae ( and many other food additives) without researching the ENTIRE story.
    Here is the text of my letter to the hawaii legislature:

    I am a physician and truly disturbed by the continued availability of Aspartame in our food supply. As a resident physician I developed tremors in my dominant hand (right). These tremors affected my surgical performance to the point of having one of my professors inquire as to whether or not I had an alcohol problem. I can assure you that I do not, nor have I ever had a substance abuse problem of any kind.

    My tremors persisted beyond my postgraduate training. I then had friends comment on noticing my hand shaking at rest outside of a clinical environment. After removing Aspartame from my diet, the tremors have been absent for over two years.

    I have researched the issue and found that there is a plethora of scientific evidence to substantiate the claim that Aspartame should have never been allowed to enter our food supply.

    Several facts need to be noted:

    1) The FDA commissioner overruled his advisory board in 1983 to allow Aspartame into our food supply.

    2) There is NO nutritional value to Aspartame.

    3) The symptoms of Attention Deficit Disorder ( ADD) are contained within the list of complaints symptoms presented to the FDA regarding Aspartame

    4) The incidence/diagnosis of Obesity, malignant tumors, ADD, anxiety and other diagnosis have all increased in epidemic proportions since the 1983 introduction of Aspartame into the food supply.

    5) Many of the original studies were manipulated and poorly performed.
    Note the summary below ( excerpt from http://www.wnho.net posted 3/12/2004):
    A few of the relevant findings summarized from various documents describing the FDA Task Force Report:

    “Excising masses (tumors) from live animals, in some cases without histologic examination of the masses, in others without reporting them to the FDA.” (Schmidt 1976c, page 4 of US Senate 1976b) Searle’s representatives, when caught and questioned about these actions, stated that “these masses were in the head and neck areas and prevented the animals from feeding.” (Buzzard 1976a) “Failure to report to the FDA all internal
    tumors present in the experimental rats, e.g., polyps in the uterus, ovary neoplasms as well as other lesions.” (Gross 1987a, page 8).

    G.D. Searle “stored animal tissues in formaldehyde for so long that they deteriorated.” (Gordon 1987, page 496 of US Senate 1987; US Schmidt 1976c, page 25, 27 of US Senate 1976b)

    “Instead of performing autopsies on rhesus monkeys that suffered seizures after being fed aspartame, the company had financed a new monkey seizure study with a different methodology that showed no problems.” (Gordon 1987, page 496 of US Senate 1987)

    “Reporting animals as unavailable for necropsy when, in fact, records indicate that the animals were available but Searle choose not to purchase them.” (Schmidt 1976c, page 5 of US Senate 1976b)

    Animals which had died were sometimes recorded as being alive and vice versa. “These include approximately 20 instances of animals reported as dead and then reported as having vital signs normal again at subsequent observation periods.” (Gross 1985, page S10835)

    “Selecting statistical procedures which used a total number of animals as the denominator when only a portion of the animals were examined, thus reducing the significance of adverse effects.” (Schmidt 1976c, page 4 of US Senate 1976b)

    G.D. Searle told the FDA that 12 lots of DKP were manufactured and tested in one study, yet only seven batches were actually made. (Gross 1985, page S10835)

    “Significant deviations from the protocols of several studies were noted which may have compromised the value of these studies. In at least one study, the Aspartame 52 weeks monkey study, the protocol was written after the study had been initiated.” (Gross 1985, page S10835)

    “It is significant to note that the Searle employee responsible for reviewing most of the reproduction studies had only one year of prior experience, working on population dynamics of cotton tail rabbits while employed by Illinois Wildlife Service. In order to prepare him for this title of ‘Senior Research Assistant in Teratology’ (fetal damage) Searle
    bought him books to read on the subject and also sent him to a meeting of the Teratology Society.
    This qualified him to submit 18 of the initial tests to the FDA, in addition to training an assistant and 2 technicians. He certainly must have kept them busy because Searle claimed that 329 teratology examinations were conducted in just 2 days. He estimated that he himself examined about 30 fetuses a day, but officials for the Center for Food and Applied Nutrition could never determine how that was possible.”

    “In each study investigated, poor practices, inaccuracies, and discrepancies were noted in the antemortem phases which could compromise the study.”

    “Presenting information to FDA in a manner likely to obscure problems, such as editing the report of a consulting pathologist. Reporting one pathology report while failing to submit, or make reference to another usually more adverse pathology report on the same slide.” (Schmidt 1976c, page 4-5 of US Senate 1976b)

    Animals were not removed from the room during the twice per month exterminator sprayings. (Gross 1985, page S10836 of Congressional Record 1985b)

    Often the substance being tested which was given to the animals was not analyzed or tested for homogeneity. “No records were found to indicate that any treatment mixtures used in the studies were ever tested or assayed for pesticide content . . . Running inventory records for either treatment mixtures or the test compounds used in treatment mixtures are not maintained.”

    In the Aspartame (DKP) 115 week rat study the written observations of the pathology report was changed by the supervising pathologist, Dr. Rudolph Stejskal even though he was not physically present during the autopsies and could not have verified the observations of the pathologist who did perform the autopsies. The pathologist who did perform some of the autopsies had no formal training for such procedures.

    “Contrary to protocol, slides were not prepared of this [unusual lesions from the Aspartame (DKP) study) tissue for microscopic examinations . . . .”

    “In the Aspartame 46 weeks hamster study, blood samples reported in the submission to FDA as 26 week values (for certain specified animals) were found by our investigators as being, in fact, values for different animals which were bled at the 38th week. Many of the animals for which these values were reported (to the FDA) were dead at the 38th week.” (Gross 1985, page S10838) “It is apparent from the report, that the Appendix portion contains all the individual (animal) values of clinical lab data available from the raw data file. A selected portion of these values appears to have been used in computing group means (which were reported to the FDA). It is not clear what criteria may have been used for selecting a portion of the data or for deleting the others in computing the means (reported to the FDA).” (Gross 1985, page S10838 of Congressional Record 1985b)

    “Searle technical personnel failed to adhere to protocols, make accurate observations, sign and date records, and accurately administer the product under test and proper lab procedures.”

    [There were] “clerical or arithmetic errors which resulted in reports of fewer tumors.”

    [G.D. Searle] “delayed the reporting of alarming findings.” FDA Toxicologist and Task Force member, Dr. Andrian Gross stated:”They [G.D. Searle] lied and they didn’t submit the real nature of their observations because had they done that it is more than likely that a great number of these studies would have been rejected simply for adequacy. What Searle did, they took great pains to camouflage these shortcomings of the study.
    In conclusion: The economic impact of banning Aspartame is outweighed infinitely by the invaluable improvement in the health of your constituents. I ask that you protect and serve your constituents, yourselves and your families by banning Aspartame from your jurisdiction. The leadership you would exemplify would set a much overdue president and positive impact it can/will have on other jurisdictions is incalculable.

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