[PHNUTR-L] New study reignites aspartame cancer concerns
fivestar at nutritionucanlivewith.com
Tue Jun 26 10:14:23 PDT 2007
Colleagues, the following is FYI and does not necessarily reflect my own
opinion. I have no further knowledge of the topic. If you do not wish to
receive these posts, set your email filter to filter out any messages
coming from @nutritionucanlivewith.com and the program will remove
anything coming from me.
New study reignites aspartame cancer concerns
By Stephen Daniells
26/06/2007 - Concerns over the safety of aspartame could be reignited
after a new study with rats linked regular intake of the sweetener with
increased risk of leukaemia, lymphomas and breast cancer.
The study, by the European Ramazzini Foundation of Oncology and
Environmental Sciences in Italy, also reports that when exposure to the
sweetener starts during foetal life, the potential carcinogenic effects
This has led some consumer groups, particularly in the US, to call for a
review of the safety data on aspartame and for consumers to avoid
products that contain the ingredient.
However, food regulatory bodies on both sides of the Atlantic appear
unmoved by the new science. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has
stated that it is currently reviewing the news, but notes that the
research is at odds with its own studies.
Indeed, FDA spokesman Michael Herndon told Reuters: "At this time, FDA
finds no reason to alter its previous conclusion that aspartame is safe
as a general purpose sweetener in food."
The safety of aspartame was first called into question in 2005 when
Ramazzini researchers claimed that aspartame consumption by rats leads
to increase in lymphomas and leukaemias in females at dose levels "very
near those to which humans can be exposed".
The new study, published in the journal Environmental Health
Perspectives, is said to support and expand on this initial study.
"The results of this carcinogenicity bioassay not only confirm, but also
reinforce the first experimental demonstration of APM's multipotential
carcinogenicity at a dose level close to the acceptable daily intake
(ADI) for humans. Furthermore, the study demonstrates that when lifespan
exposure to APM begins during foetal life, its carcinogenic effects are
increased," wrote lead author Morando Soffritti.
In terms of world consumption, the artificial sweetener represents 62
per cent of the value of the intense sweetener market, and is believed
to be found in around 6,000 products worldwide, including carbonated and
powdered soft drinks, hot chocolate, chewing gum, candy, desserts,
yogurt, tabletop sweeteners, and some pharmaceutical products, such as
vitamins and sugar-free cough drops.
For the new study, the researchers added aspartame (greater than 98.7
per cent purity, less than 0.3 per cent diketopiperazine, and less than
0.5 per cent L-phenylalanine) at concentrations of 2000, 400, or 0 ppm,
which simulated an assumed daily aspartame intake of 100, 20, or 0 mg/kg bw.
Groups containing up to 95 male and female Sprague-Dawley rats, a strain
of rat with cancer susceptibility reportedly similar to that of humans,
were fed the diets, starting at the 12th day of foetal life.
"The results of the study show: a) a significant dose-related increase
of malignant tumor-bearing animals in males, in particular in the group
treated at 2000 ppm; b) a significant increase of the incidence in
lymphomas/leukemias in males treated at 2000 ppm and a significant
dose-related increase of the incidence of lymphomas/leukemias in
females, in particular in the group treated at 2000 ppm; c) a
significant dose-related increase of the incidence of mammary cancer in
females, in particular in the group treated at 2000 ppm," stated the
"On the basis of the present findings, we believe that a review of the
current regulations governing the use of aspartame cannot be delayed.
This review is particularly urgent with regard to aspartame-containing
beverages, heavily consumed by children," they concluded.
No one from EFSA was available for comment prior to publication, but
after evaluating the first Ramazzini study in May 2006 the authority
issued its opinion that there was no need for a further safety review of
aspartame nor a revision of the acceptable daily intake (40 mg/kg body
In the US, consumer group the Center for Science in the Public Interest
(CSPI) called on the FDA to immediately review the study.
"Because aspartame is so widely consumed, it is urgent that the FDA
evaluate whether aspartame still poses a 'reasonable certainty of no
harm,' the standard used for gauging the safety of food additives," said
CSPI executive director Michael Jacobson.
But, according to Reuters, FDA spokesman Michael Herndon said the agency
had not yet reviewed the study.
"However, the conclusions from this second European Ramazzini Foundation
are not consistent with those from the large number of studies on
aspartame that have been evaluated by FDA, including five previously
conducted negative chronic carcinogenicity studies," Herndon said in an
e-mail to the news agency.
An epidemiological study in Italy concluded that there was no indication
of an association between sweetener consumption and cancer risk (The
Annals of Oncology, doi:10.1093/annonc/mdl346).
Moreover, a US study sponsored by the National Cancer Institute
involving 340,045 men and 226,945 women, ages 50 to 69, found no
statistically significant link between aspartame consumption and
leukaemia, lymphomas or brain tumours.
Source: Environmental Health Perspectives
Available on-line 13 June 2007, doi: 10.1289/ehp.10271
"Lifespan Exposure to Low Doses of Aspartame Beginning During Prenatal
Life Increases Cancer Effects in Rats"
Authors: M. Soffritti, F. Belpoggi, E. Tibaldi, D. Degli Esposti, M.
Kathrynne Holden, MS, RD < fivestar at nutritionucanlivewith.com >
"Ask the Parkinson Dietitian" http://www.parkinson.org/
"Eat well, stay well with Parkinson's disease"
"Parkinson's disease: Guidelines for Medical Nutrition Therapy"
More information about the PHNUTR-L