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SACCHARIN DOES NOT CAUSE CANCER

The position of The National Cancer Institute is that no data associate reasonable doses of any of the artificial sweeteners on the market in the United States with cancer. For their fact sheets on artificial sweeteners see

http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Risk/artificial-sweeteners .

The following report was written in December 2000, just after the US Congress finally removed saccharin from a list of substances that cause cancer.

Starting next month, you won't see warning labels stating that saccharin causes cancer in laboratory animals. Two weeks ago, The United States Congress passed a health spending bill that removed saccharin from a list of foods that cause cancer. How could Congress have passed a law in 1977 declaring saccharin a cancer causing agent when there was no data to support such nonsense?

More than 36 long-term studies have tested whether saccharin causes cancer. Only three have shown an increased incidence of cancer of the bladder, and those were in double generation studies. The animals were given the amount of saccharin found in between 1200 and 1800 soft drinks a day. There were no cases of bladder cancers in those guinea pigs or rats. Then their offspring were also given 1800 soft drinks a day, and 50 percent of the male offspring developed bladder cancer.

When an animal takes in that much saccharin, its urine is loaded with saccharin sand. Ammonia, which is found in everyone's urine, causes the massive amounts of saccharin to enter the bladder cells and causes changes in the cells that can start tumors. Studies at Johns Hopkins show that large doses of sugar or salt can cause the same changes in bladder cells as the saccharin. So, in 1977, almost all serious experts in the field publicly stated that saccharin was safe, but the politicians passed a law stating that saccharin may cause cancer. They should have required a warning label stating that drinking 1800 soft drinks a day may cause bladder cancer, but so would the same amount of sugar or sand. It took 24 years for congress to correct their mistake.

Tordoff, Appetite 1989;12:1-56 (4 articles) American Council on Science and Health.

Updated 10/27/09

June 1st, 2013
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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