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U.S. Removes this Sweetener from Hazards List

The U.S. government has removed the artificial sweetener saccharin, long believed to be a potential cancer-causing substance, from its list of hazardous substances. The EPA removed saccharin from the list after being petitioned to do so by the Calorie Control Council, an association that represents low-calorie food sellers.

Saccharin has been deemed safe by the World Health Organization and the Scientific Committee for Food of the European Union, and is approved in more than 100 countries around the world.

According to MSN:

“Saccharin was already delisted as a potential carcinogen by the National Toxicology Program's Report on Carcinogens in 2000, which led to the removal of its warning label.”

Here’s a bit of history on this: In 1969, studies seemed to indicate that an artificial sweetener called cyclamate caused cancer in laboratory mice. The FDA banned cyclamate that very same year.

The concern over cyclamate and cancer after the 1969 studies resulted in saccharin being tested for safety for the very first time, nearly one hundred years after its introduction into the human diet. The FDA also proposed a ban on saccharin, but in the face of public opposition, Congress intervened and allowed saccharin to be sold as long as it carried a warning label (as noted above, the warning label was eventually removed during the Clinton administration.)

It’s an interesting coincidence that 1969 was also the year that the G.D. Searle, the manufacturer of aspartame (NutraSweet) first applied for an FDA patent. It has been suggested that negative studies regarding both cyclamate and saccharin were put into the public spotlight with help from G.D. Searle.

Somewhat ironically, considering its reputation, saccharin is probably actually the safest artificial sweetener on the market. But considering it has a bitter aftertaste, is derived from toluene, and is not a natural food, I believe even it should be avoided.

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