A Report on the California Prop-65 Meeting on Aspartame

By Dr. Betty Martini, D. Hum

On November 15, 2016, the California Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Environmental Heath Hazard Assessment's (OEHHA), Carcinogen Identification Committee (CIC) met to decide whether to list aspartame as a carcinogen. Just to be clear, no listing decisions are made at meetings such as this one; instead, the CIC members “prioritize” the substance and that then determines whether or not the substance at issue has a chance at being put on California’s “Prop 65” list of known carcinogens.

Remember, Proposition 65 (or “Prop 65” as it is now popularly called) was the referendum measure passed into law by California voters in November 1986, thirty years ago. Prop 65 requires, among other things, that all known carcinogens be declared (usually on food and drink labels) to consumers. It is so pervasive that even residents in other States will often see Prop-65 warnings about carcinogenicity on food and drink labels or on websites when ordering.

The CIC Voting Process

Some individuals submitted written comments about aspartame prior to the meeting. For those who did, the comments went to the CIC committee and have been posted on the OEHHA website. The first thing the committee members do is vote. It can be no priority or low, medium or high priority. After the speakers present their view, they vote again. This is the process for prioritizing the substance under consideration.

The CIC is a committee of eight and, of those eight, six were present. After the last vote at this meeting, I recall there was medium, medium to high, high to medium, and two highs. It can be checked when added to their website. The vote was declared a draw, although it was actually a win for the people. If the vote had been no priority or all lows, any further consideration of aspartame as a carcinogen would have ended. The vote means they will continue the investigation.

If the CIC gets the real facts, aspartame can be classified as a carcinogen, which is what aspartame is. FDA's Dr. Adrian Gross admitted to Congress on August 1, 1985, that aspartame violated the Delaney Amendment because it causes cancer.

The Speakers

The speakers before the Committee were CSPI (Center for Science in the Public Interest), a Dr. Adamson, Calorie Control Council, and me. We, the speakers, were given five minutes each to speak.

In preparation for my presentation, I made sure to arrive at the Committee meeting first and laid in front of each of the Committee members the reprint of the NHF article, front page and all, that I had written on “Rotgut Aspartame.” (See HFN 31:4, pp. 16-19.) When they opened it, they also saw a paper on aspartame metabolism and methanol I had written called Eat Drink and Be Buried as well as the one I had taken from Dr. Roberts’ book and re-written specially for them on carcinogenic mechanisms. (See http://www.rense.com/general96/posscarcino.htm) They had plenty of time to read it before the speakers took the floor.

I spoke first so Calorie Control and Adamson knew what they were up against. In my own presentation, I explained, among other things, that the Ramazzini studies were so extraordinary that the head researcher, Dr. Morando Soffritti, had received an award – the prestigious Selikoff Award – for his research work. This Award is only granted for groundbreaking cancer research. It was created in 1993 by the Collegium Ramazzini, an academy of 180 internationally renowned experts in occupational and environmental health from over 30 nations. It had been awarded just twice before being presented to Dr. Soffritti. Moreover, his study was peer-reviewed by seven World experts.

Also, I went into so much in my allotted five minutes that I don't know how I did it – even showing them Monte's book, which tells how they blew up his house with him in it. I also showed them pictures from Victoria Inness Brown’s book on her study where the aspartame-induced tumors were so big that the rats used them as pillows.

The front group Calorie Control Council then spoke and gave its usual, self-serving hype as did Dr. Adamson. The only Dr. Adamson I know of is Richard Adamson of American Beverage. American Beverage changed its name from the National Soft Drink Association (NSDA) but could not hide their paper trail. Interestingly enough, the NSDA once wrote a 33-page protest against using aspartame in carbonated beverages, then turned around and lobbied for the manufacturer of aspartame. I wrote an Open Letter to Dr. Adamson (see http://www.mpwhi.com/open_letter_dick_adamson.htm), but he never answered it.

When they stopped Adamson at five minutes, he knew they didn't believe him – he walked away saying "there is the Delaney Amendment"; but they had read my article and knew the FDA said aspartame violated Delaney.

The testimony given by the Center for Science in the Public Interest was helpful in that they knew of the misinformation relied upon by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) aspartame review. A member of the Committee mentioned the rats in the Ramazzini studies had infections, which proved that aspartame is a multi-potential carcinogen.

With all the evidence that has been sent to them, including the entire chapter on cancer Dr. Monte sent them from his book, the CIC has mountains of evidence to support listing aspartame as a Prop-65 carcinogen. On their government web site they even scanned in the Rotgut Aspartame article in living color! 

Industry Shenanigans

It was not known if the committee knew Dr. Soffritti had done three studies, each proving aspartame is a carcinogen. The study was so well done that the aspartame people must have scratched their heads trying to figure out how to mislead the public. They argued that the lab rats had had respiratory disease; but Dr. Soffritti told them, "of course the rats had respiratory disease because it was a life study; respiratory disease is part of the dying process and the rats were dying." Industry tried whatever they could do to deceive the public. Finally the head of EFSA, Dr. Herman Koeter, resigned and said industry pressured them to hijack science.

Next, they said they had a study that proved aspartame didn't cause cancer. It turned out to be a food questionnaire sent to elderly people ten years earlier asking if they remembered what they ate last year. How many seniors can precisely list what they ate in a year? Aspartame was mentioned once when it asked what sweetener they put in tea and coffee. They also asked their “subjects” if they had had a hysterectomy or had eaten cornbread or brownies. In truth it was just a silly "Cornbread Brownie Study" and of no value to any serious researcher.

In defending the indefensible, industry has had to use fiction for over 30 years. You must realize you cannot make a poison safe. In original studies, the researchers for the manufacturer of aspartame, G. D. Searle & Company, actually removed brain tumors from rats, and when the rats died, they resurrected them “on paper.” The FDA tried to have them indicted for fraud, but curiously enough both U.S. prosecutors hired on with the defense team and the statute of limitations for prosecution then expired. The FDA then revoked the petition for approval of aspartame. But Donald Rumsfeld, twice U.S. Secretary of Defense, once president of G. D. Searle and a member of the Reagan transition team, got aspartame approved by political chicanery. The then-FDA Commissioner, Jere Goyan, was fired in early 1981 at 3:00 a.m. by “someone” from President Reagan's transition team and prevented from signing the revoked petition into law by Executive Order. Aspartame was approved for sale in the U.S. in July 1981.

With such a history of shenanigans, how would you get this chemical poison approved in another country? In England it was approved through a business deal and Parliament had a huge fight over it. (See http://www.wnho.net/how_aspartame_got_approved_in_england.htm) In fact, it was also rubberstamped around the World. Now that you have it in England and the population has become sick on it, how does industry do a “review” when independent studies have shown the real facts and harm from aspartame consumption? You can't without cheating.

Mark Gold of the Aspartame Toxicity Center independently analyzed the European Commission Scientific Committee on Food (SCF) opinion on aspartame and exposed such cheating. You can access Mr. Gold’s analysis at http://www.holisticmed.com/aspartame/scf2002.html.
 
But the plot thickens. OLAF – the European Anti-Fraud Office mandated by the European Union with investigating fraud against the EU budget, corruption and serious misconduct within European institutions – found that only one individual (and not the SCF) wrote the opinion on aspartame. An interesting follow-up analysis, which discusses OLAF’s findings, can be accessed at http://www.holisticmed.com/aspartame/scf2002-postscript.htm.

Once OLAF exposed the European Commission Scientific Committee on Food, the SCF became inactive. Now we have EFSA. The conflict of interest is obvious.

Yet, even EFSA is tainted. An EFSA spreadsheet boldly plagiarized a manufacturer-funded review by lifting large sections of the manufacturer-funded review and copying the text with minimal word changes to produce EFSA’s own review. (See http://holisticmed.com/aspartame/EFSA-Draft-Plagiarism.htm)

Aspartame Must Be Banned

Until aspartame is banned the lies will continue. The FDA initially tried to prevent approval; but today they are just an extension of industry. In 2009, nine FDA scientists wrote Congress and the President and said the FDA was broken. Then, the FDA called me and when I told them people were sick and dying all over the World, I was told: "So what, we have to depopulate."

FDA lead scientist Dr. Adrian Gross told the United States Senate in 1985 that the FDA should not have been able to set an allowable daily dose for aspartame because it causes cancer. There simply is no safe dose.

After the meeting, a CIC official told me that "because they voted so high, they now have to investigate further to classify it as a carcinogen." If the CIC vote had been "low or no priority," then the process would have stopped there. I guarantee you if I had not come, it would have stopped because of Calorie Control and Dr. Adamson.

I am delighted with Prop 65 clearly trying to label products accurately, and look forward to their continued investigation of aspartame with the real facts, void of industry brainwashing. About six years ago aspartame was banned in Romania because it was causing so much cancer. It is past time to do the same in the United States and elsewhere.


Dr. Betty Martini is the founder of the worldwide volunteer force, Mission Possible World Health International, which is committed to removing aspartame from our food supply. She has an honorary Doctor of Humanities degree for the work she has done as well as 22 years of experience in the medical field. She speaks frequently on talk programs throughout the country and the World. The web address for Mission Possible is www.mpwhi.com.