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NewsBites March 2011 Issue

Saccharin off EPA Toxic List

I f you remember the great saccharin scare of the late 1970s, it may come as a sweet surprise to learn that the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has removed the artifcial sweetener from its list of hazard- ous substances. The switch clears the last offcial blemish from saccharin’s reputa- tion, with the FDA having given it an OK in 2000. Following studies linking saccharin with cancer in rats, the EPA’s Carcinogen Assessment Group listed the sweetener as a possible human carcinogen in 1980. Now, in response to a petition from an artifcial- sweetener trade group, the agency has reversed that listing, saying there’s insuffcient evidence that saccharin causes cancer in humans. Although not as popular in the US in part because of lingering can- cer fears, inexpensive saccharin remains the largest-volume artifcial sweetener in the world, primarily used in Asia.

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