I have recently been sent some information about aspartame and formaldehyde that looks like it might be part of one last public relations campaign to claim the chemical is 'safe'. The formaldehyde exposure number cited in the text is off by a factor of over 400,000 and would not be taken seriously by knowledgable scientists. The scientific literature cited has clearly not been read by the author. However, since a few consumers might inadvertently take the text seriously, I have chosen to point out some of the more obvious problems with the text.
A simple MEDLINE search reveals that the levels of formaldehyde they are talking about (30 micrograms after the ingestion of 200 mg/kg/day of aspartame for 11 days) are well within 'safe' levels, even though 200 mg/kg is equal to about 60 Diet Cokes per day(!). The truth is that there is no MEDLINE summary showing an exposure to or an accumulation of 30 micrograms (ug) of formaldehyde in humans after ingestion of 200 mg/kg/day of aspartame. This figure appears to be either fabricated or caused by some serious math errors. The actual figure can be calculated quite easily and is approximately 61.3 milligrams (mg) for ingestion of one liter of diet soda.
The actual measured amount of aspartame in one liter of diet soda is approximately 600 mg. [Ref. 1]. If a 60 kg (132 lbs) woman ingested one liter of diet soda, she would be ingesting 10 mg/kg of aspartame:
600 mg aspartame / 60 kg body weight = 10 mg/kgAspartame breaks down into 10.9% methanol by weight [Ref. 2]. So that the amount of methanol obtained from 600 mg of aspartame is:
600 mg aspartame * 10.9% = 65.4 mg of methanolMethanol converts to formaldehyde in the body. [Note: Methanol from fruit and alcoholic beverages does not convert to formaldehyde because of protective factors/chemicals in the foods. See: www.holisticmed.com.] Methanol [CH(3)OH] has a molecular weight of approximately 32.0. Formaldehyde [HCHO] has a molecular weight of approximately 30.0. Therefore, 65.4 mg of methanol converts to:
65.4 mg methanol * ( 30.0 / 32.0 ) = 61.3 mg of formaldehyde.If we had used a dose mentioned by the author in the industry public relations (PR) article of 200 mg/kg instead of an easily-obtainable dose of 10 mg/kg, the formaldehyde exposure would be 20 times greater or 1,226 mg of formaldehyde. If
we used the length of exposure mentioned in this PR article of 11 days, the exposure to formaldehyde would be a further 11 times greater or 1,226 * 11 = 13,486 mg of formaldehyde.
The author of the PR article was off by a factor of:
(13,486 mg * 1,000 micrograms/mg) / 30 micrograms = 449,533 !Some scientists might argue that only 70 - 75% of the methanol from aspartame is absorbed and of that amount, approximately 90% is converted into formaldehyde during the metabolic process [Ref. 3]. Even if true, it is clear that the exposure to formaldehyde is somewhere from 283,000 to 449,533 times what was mentioned in the PR piece. Using these figures, the exposure to formaldehyde from a 600 mg dose of aspartame would be:
61.3 mg * 72.5% * 90% = 40 mg of formaldehyde
Rather than discussing an unobtainable daily dose of 200 mg/kg, it is preferable to discuss a very easily obtainable dose of 10 mg/kg of aspartame. Actually, a large number of people have reported to this author ingesting far in excess of this amount on
a daily basis. Even the industry's own research shows that higher dosages are easily-obtainable by consumers [Ref. 4].
An exposure to a daily dose of 40.0 mg to 61.3 mg of formaldehyde is clearly enough to cause gradual damage (without even considering aspartame's excitotoxin that would likely worsen the damage as discussed at: www.holisticmed.com discussion).
The daily dose of airborne formaldehyde exposure that was shown to cause irreversible genetic damage [Ref. 5] was:
2.25 ppm formaldehyde (average) » 3.375 mg/m3The genetic damage from formaldehyde exposure at approximately 33.75 mg/day was seen after many years of exposure. The longer the exposure, the more genetic damage.
3.375 mg/m3 * 10 m3/workday = 33.75 mg/day (for a workday/schoolday)
It is important to keep in mind that the health effects of methanol are different in humans as compared to rodents and non-human primates [Ref. 6], so experiments of the health effects of aspartame in rodents and non-human primates might not apply readily to health effects in humans. Methanol is many times more toxic to humans than to rodents.
Exposure to formaldehyde at
levels much lower than the 33.75 mg per day (that causes irreversible genetic damage) has been shown to cause musculoskeletal problems, cardiovascular symptoms, gastrointestinal problems, and a wide range of other chronic toxicity symptoms. Formaldehyde exposure, especially in the presence of co-exposure to an
excitotoxin from aspartame appears to cause gradual neurological damage and immunological system changes. Please see discussions at both: www.holisticmed.com discussion and www.holisticmed.com FAQs
for details and scientific references related methanol and formaldehyde toxicity.
The study by Trocho et al. [Ref. 7] showed that exposure to a single dose of 10 mg/kg of aspartame led to the accumulation of formaldehyde in the body. The accumulation of formaldehyde was seen throughout the body, in the organs (liver, kidneys, brain) and tissues. (See: www.presidiotex.com.)
The level of formaldehyde accumulation was calculated by Trocho et al. to be from 5% of the total methanol levels of aspartame given. For every 600 mg of aspartame (a 10 mg/kg dose in a 60 kg woman), the amount of formaldehyde estimated to accumulate is:
61.3 mg of formaldehyde * 5% = 3.065 mg of formaldehydeThe research on formaldehyde toxicity and damage is based upon exposure only. If formaldehyde from aspartame accumulates in organs and tissues as the Trocho et al. experiment appears to demonstrate, then it is like a ticking time bomb for those who ingest aspartame (even if they have not yet experienced symptoms).
Well, this published MEDLINE study states that the safe level of formaldehyde consumption for humans is 3 mg/kg/day. So someone who weighs 70kg (154 pounds) can safely consume 70 x 3 = 210 milligrams of formaldehyde per day.This is a complete misrepresentation of the formaldehyde research. Formaldehyde is not readily abosrbed from foods [Ref. 8]. But the methanol in aspartame is readily and quickly absorbed and then converted into formaldehyde once in the body [Ref. 9, Ref. 10]. (Methanol in fruits has protective factors/chemicals to prevent conversion into formaldehyde.)
"Ingestion represents a minor route of [formaldehyde] exposure because the dilution factor and the binding to the macromolecules present in food reduce substantially the [formaldehyde] concentration that enters into contact with the gastrointestinal mucosa" (Restani 1991) [Ref. 8]Therefore, any
comparison to formaldehyde in foods, is useless. A closer comparison (but still not ideal) is a comparison to the inhalation toxicity of formaldehyde since formaldehyde is easily introduced into the bloodstream through inhalation or from methanol derived from aspartame ingestion. The toxicity differences between
inhalation of formaldehyde and formaldehyde derived from aspartame appear to relate to:
- Aspartame also breaks down into an excitotoxin that would be expected to increase the toxicity of the formaldehyde and its metabolite, formic acid. Please see discussions at both: www.holisticmed.com discussion and www.holisticmed.com FAQs.
- Inhalation exposure to formaldehyde likely leads to a greater exposure of formaldehyde to organs other than the liver. But the Trocho et al study makes it clear that at least some of the formaldehyde derived from aspartame is distributed to other organs and tissues.
To conclude, the 30
microgram figure was obviously off by a factor of over 400,000. The amount of formaldehyde exposure is more than what has been seen to cause chronic toxicity in independent formaldehyde exposure research. When one considers 1) the total formaldehyde exposure, 2) the long term exposure to and accumulation of formaldehyde, 3) the excitotoxin obtained from aspartame that would likely increase the toxicity of the formaldehyde, 4) the permanent damage that can result from chronic formaldehyde poisoning, 5) the huge numbers of people reporting serious health problems from long-term aspartame use (www.holisticmed.com FAQs), and 6) the fact that independent controlled human studies nearly always find problems with aspartame (even though the experiments are quite short), it is a good idea to avoid any aspartame ingestion.
 Tsang, Wing-Sum, et al., 1985. "Determination of Aspartame and Its Breakdown Products in Soft Drinks by
Reverse- Phase Chromatography with UV Detection," Journal Agriculture and Food Chemistry, Vol. 33, No. 4, page 734-738.
 Aspartame is composed of: C(14) O(5) N(2) H(18) [See Journal of AOAC International, Volume 76, No. 2, 1993: "Determination of Aspartame and Its Major Decomposition Products in Foods."]
The molecular weights are:
 Kavet, Robert, Kathleen M. Nauss, 1990. "The Toxicity of Inhaled Methanol Vapors," Critical Reviews in Toxicology, Volume 21, Issue 1, page 21-50.
C : 12 * 14 = 168The total molecular weight of methanol is approximately 32.0 as described above. Therefore, aspartame breaks down into:
O : 16 * 5 = 80
N : 14 * 2 = 28
H : 1 * 18 = 18
Total = 294
(32.0 / 294) * 100 = 10.9% methanol
 Porikos, Katherine P., Theodore B. Van Italie, 1984. "Efficacy of Low-Calorie Sweeteners in Reducing Food Intake: Studies with Aspartame" IN Stegink, L., Filer L., 1984. "Aspartame: Physiology and Biochemistry," Marcel Dekker, Inc., N.Y., page 273-286.
 Shaham, J., Y. Bomstein, A. Meltzer, Z. Kaufman, E. Palma, J. Ribak, 1996. "DNA--protein Crosslinks, a Biomarker of Exposure to Formaldehyde--in vitro and in vivo Studies," Carcinogenesis, Volume 17, No. 1, page 121-125.
 Roe, O., 1982. "Species Differences in Mehtanol Poisoning," CRC Critical Reviews In Toxicology, October 1982, page 275-286.
 Trocho, C., et al., 1998. "Formaldehyde Derived From Dietary Aspartame Binds to Tissue Components in vivo," Life Sciences, Vol. 63, No. 5, pp. 337+, 1998
 Restani, Patrizia, Corrado Galli, 1991. "Oral Toxicity of Formaldehyde and Its Derivatives," Critical Reviews in Toxicology, Volume 21, Issue 5, pages 315-328.
 Haggard, H., L. Greenberg, 1939. "Studies in the absorption, distribution and elimination of alcohol IV. The elimination of methyl alcohol," Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therap., Volume 66, pages 479-496.
 Stegink, Lewis, 1984. "Aspartame Metabolism in Humans: Acute Dosing Studies," IN Stegink, L., Filer L., 1984. "Aspartame: Physiology and Biochemistry," Marcel Dekker, Inc., N.Y., page 509-553.
Mission Possible is currently seeking case histories for class action on aspartame-triggered seizures, brain tumors, eye deterioration and blindness. For more information, contact:
Mission Possible International,
9270 River Club Parkway,
Duluth, Georgia 30097,
Some common products that contain aspartame are Gatorade, all diet soft drinks, sugar-free gum, Celestial Seasonings herbal teas (under natural flavorings -- thanks to the FDA).
Artificially Sweetened Times--revised and updated for the holidays
The Artificially Sweetened Times, a popular 24-page aspartame expose', is being revised and updated--just in time to be included with holiday mailings to friends and family. Now in its fifth printing, The Artificially Sweetened Times is the ideal tool for those who are aware of the dangers associated with aspartame consumption to alert those close to them that the artificial sweetener is really a neurotoxic drug responsible for the nation's epidemic of "Rumsfeld's disease." The text describes in detail the power politics that lead
to aspartame's FDA approval even though every safety study conducted proved the substance was dangerous and carcinogenic. It also explains how aspartame, which is 10 percent methanol, causes damage to the body, how to overcome aspartame addiction and begin reversing the symptoms of Rumsfeld's disease. Since we are culturally addicted to sweet foods and drinks,
the editors at The Artificially Sweetened Times included a short and fascinating history of "sweet slavery" and compiled a healthy sweetener use guide.
The revisions for the fifth printing are exciting. Activists in New Mexico have gotten the attention of their government and hearings are being scheduled to discuss the ban of aspartame within the state of New Mexico. The plan is to show Rumsfeld's disease survivors and their dependants how to introduce aspartame toxicity
information in their state governments so we, the people, can eventually accomplish the removal Donald Rumsfeld's weapon of mass misery from all products sold within each of the 50 states.
And, by the way, former and current Defense Secretary Rumsfeld's role in the aspartame approval process is covered in detail by The Artificially Sweetened Times.
Sample copies $2 each; a bundle of 100 copies is $35 (includes shipping). Call (208) 255-2307 for more information. The Artificially Sweetened Times can be purchased with check or money order by writing The Idaho Observer, PO Box 457, Spirit Lake, Idaho 83869 or with a credit card via PayPal at
An electronic version of the publication is also available online for free at www.vaclib.org
Good luck to all in the new year,
The Idaho Observer/The Artificially Sweetened Times
Aspartame and Vision Degradation
The specific statute Stephen Fox found that gives legs to the whole New Mexico campaign, and perhaps in your state as well, is as follows:
“A food shall be deemed to be adulterated:
- if it contains any poisonous or deleterious substance which may render it injurious;
- if it contains any added poisonous or added deleterious substance which is unsafe, and
- if it consists in whole or in part of …decomposed substance, or if it otherwise unfit.”
Such a statute may also be used against the use of Fluoridation of water as the most municipalities widely use hydrofluorosilicic acid (a waste byproduct from fertilizer manufacturing), which is unlicensed as a medicinal substance and has never been tested for purity and consistency and has no Drug Identification Number; is manufactured and packaged in unsanitary conditions is adulterated with arsenic and mercury and is non-compliant with the prescribed standard for fluoride drugs? See: Questions For Water Fluoridation
WILL N.M. BE FIRST STATE TO BAN ASPARTAME?
Dr. Carolyn Dean, MD, ND and
December 29, 2005
One of the most rewarding things about being part of the ever-growing health freedom movement, is that there is always an upside to what often looks like a bleak and losing battle against the
monolith we call “modern medicine”. In addition, some of the people you meet, even if only by phone or by e-mail, turn out to be spectacular human beings that reaffirm your faith in your fellow man. In short, ordinary people can do extraordinary things when put to the test.
If you recall, back in August, Elissa and I wrote two articles “Diabetics to be Tracked Down by Government Agents” and “The Bitter Truth About Regulation of Sugar Substitutes” which pretty well covered the sorry tale of how sugar and sugar substitutes can ruin your health, if not kill you, outright. These articles also covered the dirty and downright corrupt politics behind how and why the FDA and other government agencies protect both the sugar industry as well as Big Pharma.
We barely scratched the surface of this saga of blatant corruption in high places. For more up-to-the-minute details on the horrors of aspartame, the center of the fake sugar controversy, the focus of today’s story, and what ordinary people in New Mexico are doing about it, you may what to check out detailed information gathered by my friend, Dr. Betty Martini, head of Mission Possible at the
wnho.net. You may also want to peruse one of the
key pages on this site that provides a document listing 92 symptoms caused by aspartame that had to be pried out of the FDA’s own records by Freedom of Information Act means. This should show you that the FDA is not ignorant of the real facts about aspartame.
At the time we wrote those two previous articles, we were not aware of the high drama going on in New Mexico. The man most responsible for this hullabaloo, that has been going on since 1999, is an art gallery owner, Stephen Fox, who, along with his fellow citizens, just got fed up enough about aspartame in the food supply to take action. Fox, after doing his legal homework, sat down with a pencil and wrote legislation to
create a state Nutrition Council with statutory powers to challenge the FDA if it mistakenly approves known carcinogens and neurotoxic food additives. The 2005 version of the bill passed the state Senate by an overwhelming 32-1 but after corporate lobbyists arm twisted their way through the cloakroom, it was killed in the House by a filibuster on the last day of the session. [See the video on Aspartame "Sweet Misery"]
Fox and his army of outraged citizens, doctors, lawyers, activists and victims, armed with the knowledge that New Mexico has the legal authority to ban aspartame, have just turned up the volume and expanded the campaign. PLEASE NOTE FOLKS, your state may also have the same legal power to ban aspartame, so you can learn from what Fox is doing and start your own campaign to make your state’s public servants do a proper job of protecting your food supply. In fact, when we interviewed Fox, he said he would be more than
happy to help activists in other states and provinces in their battle to remove aspartame from the marketplace. We already know people who are going to take him up on his generous offer. You can reach Fox at stephen @ santafefineart.com .
The 2006 campaign to get rid of aspartame is now expanding on two fronts. On the first front, another Nutrition Council bill has been introduced with the political support of Governor Bill Richardson, who has enthusiastically placed it on the agenda for the 2006 short session, which he controls, doubly endorsing it with an Executive Message.
The purpose of the bill is the same as the last one - to establish, by statute, a state agency called the Nutrition Council with the statutory power to challenge the FDA if it approves known carcinogens and neurotoxic food additives.
On the second front, there is a hearing, scheduled for July 2006, convened by the New Mexico Environmental Improvement Board (EIB) and the State’s Attorney General, a plan that was conceived after much public pressure from Fox and company. As you would expect, corporate lawyers from the makers of aspartame have threatened litigation to prevent the hearing from taking place, though, at the moment, Governor Richardson
is standing firm that there needs to be a fair hearing.
One wonders on what grounds such a lawsuit would be based? Is it the need to prevent public servants from doing their job to protect the public? Or, more to the point, the need to protect Big Pharma’s profits over the lives and health of innocent consumers?
Elissa’s and my fellow health freedom activist, Jim Turner, who has been the principle critic of aspartame from his earliest days as one of Ralph Nader’s Raiders and author of The Chemical Feast: The Nader Report on Food Protection and the FDA, has already provided New Mexico officials his official legal position on aspartame in the marketplace, which you can read in its entirety. In it, Turner reviews his 35-year history spent fighting this poison. He states that aspartame violates both federal and New Mexico food
adulteration statutes and that the FDA approval process was so flawed as to be legally void. [Read]
Another high-profile attorney, Edward M. Johnson, now retired after an illustrious career which
resulted in his being listed for the past 15 years in “Who’s Who in American Law”, also weighed in on this campaign. Johnson, noted for his expertise in several related areas of law including the relationship between federal and state statutes as well as now being an owner of a distributorship of health and wellness products, not to mention being a victim of aspartame-caused brain tumors, offered his legal position to state officials which also includes the comment, “The banning of aspartame is not only well within your powers, but is in fact a long overdue service to New Mexico’s consumers who are ingesting this product unknowing its toxicity.”
“You are to be commended for having moved this rule change along this far to take this much needed step of banning aspartame in New Mexico in order to protect the health, safety and welfare of the citizens of the State of New Mexico. Other states will follow New Mexico’s example.” [Read]
H.J. Roberts, M.D. F.A.C.P., F.C.C.P. one of America’s premier physicians, and author of four books on the dangers of aspartame, has written directly to Governor Richardson several times about the need to curtail and ban aspartame’s use. In a phone interview for this article, Dr. Roberts told us, “Aspartame should not have been approved in the first place. It was approved arbitrarily and unilaterally on the advice of in
house FDA scientists. However, the General Accounting Office and a public board of inquiry both agreed that it should not be approved. After more than 20 years of clinical encounters and research and newer information, we now know that it constitutes an imminent public health hazard. New Mexico should be given credit for a lot of courage in looking into this matter because the Federal Government has not pursued it in any way it should have considering the large number of complaints.” sunsentpress.com
As to be expected in a David versus Goliath fight of this magnitude, lots of people get involved
and, by coincidence, the clamor about the evils of aspartame is now being heard 'round the world'.
In September 2005, The Ecologist, a major British scientific publication, published a 17-page cover story on the tangled web of deceit surrounding the approval of aspartame by the FDA and other regulatory bodies worldwide.
In addition, the publication of a 2005 Italian study on the carcinogenicity of aspartame, prompted British MP, Roger Williams, a scientist, after a year of looking into the safety of aspartame, to state what he found “truly horrified” him. What he told his colleagues on the floor of Commons was that “sound science and proper regulatory and political independence had been notable by their absence from approval of
The specific statute Stephen Fox found that gives legs to the whole New Mexico campaign, and
perhaps in your state as well, is as follows:
“A food shall be deemed to be adulterated
- if it contains any poisonous or deleterious substance which may render it injurious;
- if it contains any added poisonous or added deleterious substance which is unsafe, and
- if it consists in whole or in part of …decomposed substance, or if it otherwise unfit.”
What now remains to be seen is if New Mexico officials will buckle under the weight of corporate manipulation and/or outright intimidation. The following letter sent to Dr. Betty Martini, by New Mexico’s Chief Deputy Attorney General, Stuart M. Bluestone, outlines the authority of the Attorney General’s Office, and gives some assurances. We do hope this is the case.
“Dear Dr. Martini:
Thank you for your letter raising concerns about
aspartame and/or the presence of
mercury/thimerosal in vaccines. We respect your
sincerity and appreciate you taking the time to
write us about public health issues.
We at the Attorney General’s Office are lawyers,
not scientists or public policy makers. Policy
decisions based on the review of available
evidence are made by the Governor’s appointed
policymakers, e.g., the Environmental Improvement
Board or the Board of Pharmacy. Of course, the
Legislature and the Governor also ultimately
determine public policy for our State.
We may provide legal advise, subject to federal
and state laws, constitutional provisions and
court cases, to elected and appointed state
officials. We always try to do the best job we
can to provide objective legal opinions. As we
review the relevant governing laws, please be
assured that we will be mindful of the important
need to protect the public health, safety and welfare.
Thank you for contacting us.”
HOW YOU CAN HELP RIGHT NOW!
While it is sometimes hard to believe, the most powerful political force in the world is the will of the people. When enough people demand justice, politicians, public servants, and even those who
run global corporations, can be brought to their senses to act in the public interest.
THE NEW MEXICO ACTION MATTERS TO ALL OF US.
Ordinary citizens of New Mexico found a law on the books that establishes that the state has the authority to protect the public from unsafe foods.
Ordinary citizens of New Mexico are promoting a bill to establish a permanent agency to watchdog the food supply.
Ordinary citizens of New Mexico have successfully petitioned the Environmental Improvement Board and the Attorney General’s Office to hold honest public hearings on the safety of aspartame.
So what is the problem? There will be two meetings in the first weeks of January in Santa Fe, New Mexico that could dramatically alter future events, or, for that matter, put an end to what the ordinary citizens of New Mexico have expressly stated as their will. One meeting is with the Attorney General’s Office and the Environmental Improvement Board and the other with the Pharmacy Board. At those meetings we hope that the Attorney General’s Office makes a recommendation that the July hearing goes forward as planned. So, if we are to act, it must be now to make sure this happens.
Once the July hearing is secured, it’s up to the people to keep the heat on to make sure it will be fair and impartial and no funny stuff goes on behind closed doors among the power brokers. Since what happens in Santa Fe in July has national and international ramifications, it is up to all of us to lend a hand to those in New Mexico who have done a spectacular job bringing the aspartame scandal to public view.
Consequently, we ask you to spend a few minutes to send this article to all your friends and urge them to join you in deluging the capital of New Mexico with e-mail messages from all over in support of the ordinary people of New Mexico.
Please have these e-mail messages sent to:
Governor Bill Richardson c/o Chief of Staff Dave
Contarino at: dave.contarino @ state.nm.us
Please thank the Governor for putting Senate Bill 525 to create the Nutrition Council on the Call and giving it his Executive Message.
Please tell him you support states' rights to regulate harmful products especially now when it is obvious the FDA has failed in its regulatory responsibilities on a number of drugs and other products such as aspartame.
The Honorable Patricia Madrid
ewood @ ago.state.nm.us
Deputy General, Stuart Bluestone
sbluestone @ ago.state.nm
sbluestone @ ago.state.nm.us
Please tell both Ms. Madrid and Mr. Bluestone that you support their desire to defend New Mexico's right to challenge the safety of an FDA-approved product such as aspartame, particularly when it is so obvious it should never been approved at all.
ACT FOR HEALTH FREEDOM NOW:
Go to www.friendsoffreedominternational.org view and purchase the new movie on Codex and Free
Trade called "We Become Silent" by Kevin Miller
Also purchase " Death by Modern Medicine." Proceeds from the sale of these products are crucial to help us fund our health freedom action. For state action go to: www.nationalhealthfreedom.org.
© 2005 Carolyn Dean - All Rights Reserved
Dr. Carolyn Dean is a medical doctor, naturopathic doctor, herbalist, acupuncturist, nutritionist, as well as a powerful health activist fighting for health freedom as president of Friends of Freedom International. Dr. Dean is the author of over a dozen health books, the latest of which is "Death By Modern Medicine."
Elissa Meininger, is Vice President of Friends of Freedom International and co-founder of the Health Freedom Action Network, a grassroots citizens' political action group. She is also a health freedom political analyst and can be heard on the natural health radio show SuperHealth, broadcast weekly on station WKY (SuperTalk AM 930) in Oklahoma City.
E-Mail: holeopharm @ pol.net