Environmental Improvement Board: Petition to Outlaw Aspartame Snubbed

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A July 7, 2006 article by Diana Heil quoted ACSH's Dr. Ruth Kava on the failure of an effort to ban the sweetener aspartame in New Mexico:

Dr. Ken Stoller, a Santa Fe pediatrician, lamented the outcome: "Today, the EIB, succumbing to pressure from Ajinomoto [the world's largest aspartame manufacturer], decided not to hold a hearing on aspartame even though they had twice previously voted to hold this hearing...The poisoning continues"...

Aspartame, one of five approved artificial sweeteners in the U.S., is widely consumed by diabetics and dieters. Ruth Kava, a nutritionist with the American Council on Science and Health, which receives corporate funding, said it's a good alternative to sugar for everyone except those with the genetic disorder phenylketonuriais a genetic disorder, which is characterized by an inability of the body to use an important amino acid.

"I don't understand why people are getting so fearful of products that really have no dangerous health effects whatsoever," she said in an interview Thursday.

Kava said consumers get confused by the methanol ingredient in aspartame, but must remember that only in large doses is methanol toxic. The amount of methanol in aspartame-sweetened foods and beverages is well below the levels that cause any harm, she co-wrote in a recent article reviewing all artificial sweeteners.

"Many people do not realize that methanol is a common constituent of foods and beverages and that people routinely consume small amounts of it without ill effect," the article in the journal Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety says. "Methanol is found in many fruits and vegetables."

For a layman's version of ACSH's take on sweeteners, see our publication Sugar Substitutes and Your Health.

For more on Santa Fe aspartame critic, homeopath, and purported receiver of messages from space aliens Ken Stoller, see this article about ACSH's Todd Seavey interviewing some alternative medicine aficionados in that city.