Article reference:

Italian Study Links Aspartame To Cancer

Sweetener 'linked' to leukaemias

(original on BBC News)

Fresh doubts about the safety of an artificial sweetener have been raised by Italian scientists who have linked its use to leukaemias in rodents.

Aspartame is 200 times sweeter than sugar and is used throughout the world in low-calorie drinks and foods.

Regulators say existing studies show it is safe, but will look at the European Journal of Clinical Oncology study.

But they said it was unlikely that the sweetener was harmful to humans to the same extent as in rats.

Concerns have been raised about the aspartame in the past, but an analysis of 500 papers by UK regulators in 2002 concluded there was no threat to consumers.

The Food Standards Agency said: "The European Food Safety Authority intends to undertake an urgent assessment of this study to establish whether there are any implications for human health.

"We will study EFSA's opinion carefully and consider what, if any, action may be required."

Dr Elaine Vickers, cancer information officer at Cancer Research UK, said: "If a risk to humans does exist, it will almost certainly be very small.

"However, we welcome the news that the EFSA will undertake an urgent assessment of this work."

The study

Dr Morando Soffritti and colleagues at the Cancer Research Centre in Bologna fed eight-week-old rats varying concentrations of aspartame.

Compared with control rats given no sweetener, many of the female rats in the experiment developed lymphomas or leukaemias - the risk increasing with the dose of aspartame.

The researchers say their study raises concerns about the levels of aspartame to which humans can be exposed and, therefore, "urgent re-examination" of aspartame's safety is needed, "especially to protect children".

The existing European Food Safety Authority safety assessment for aspartame led to the setting of an Acceptable Daily Intake, or ADI.

This is an estimate of the amount of an additive that could be routinely consumed every day over a lifetime with no appreciable health risk.

'Safe' intake

Aspartame's ADI is set at 40 milligrams per kilogram of body weight. This is equivalent to 2,800 milligrams for an average British adult.

For an average three-year-old child the amount is of the order of 600 milligrams.

An adult would have to consume 14 cans of a sugar-free drink every day before reaching the ADI, assuming the sweetener was used in the drink at the maximum permitted level.

In practice, most drinks use aspartame in combination with other sweeteners so that the level is considerably lower, says the FSA.

Previous work by the former Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food and the Department of Health showed that aspartame intakes were considerably below the recommended maximum level, even among children and diabetics who consume large quantities of sugar-free drinks.

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A comment to the BBC
by Betty Martini, long time campaigner against toxic Aspartame:

This entire study is posted on - click on aspartame.

Note the occurrence of brain malignancies is shown in Table 3 of the new aspartame study. "Sparse malignant brain tumors were observed among males and females in the treated groups and none in the controls." We are now taking aspartame brain tumor cases in New York, New Jersey, Mississippi and Madison County, Illinois for litigation.

Also note that the study says: "Since the results of carcinogenicity bioassays in rodents, mainly rats and mice, have been shown to be a consistent predictor of human cancer risk 15-17, the first results of our study call for urgent re-examination of permissible exposure level of aspartame in both food and beverages, ESPECIALLY TO PROTECT CHILDREN."

In Excitotoxins: The Taste That Kills by neurosurgeon Russell Blaylock, M.D., on page 184 is the heading: WHAT DO ANIMAL STUDIES TELL US ABOUT HUMANS? Dr. Blaylock says: "Most of what we know about the damaging effects of excitotoxins comes from experiments on animals other than man. .....But Dr. John Olney had shown that MSG and other excitotoxins produce the same damage to neurons in all animals species tested - dogs, rats, mice, chickens and even primates."

Aspartic acid in aspartame is an excitotoxin or product that literally stimulates the neurons of the brain to death causing brain damage. Dr. Blaylock also makes this statement: "And, it appears that human brain cells are just as sensitive to the damaging effects of excitotoxins as laboratory animals, and in some cases, even more sensitive."

On you will see Dr. H. J. Roberts peer reviewed journal article, "Does Aspartame Cause Human Brain Cancer?" (Journal of Advancement in Medicine, Volume 4, Number 4, Winter 1991). Of particular interest in his report is the rising incidence of primary brain lymphoma. He also discusses brain tumors at great length in his medical text on the global plague of Aspartame Disease. Aspartame Disease: An Ignored Epidemic

You will see some brain tumor victims in the aspartame documentary Sweet Misery: A Poisoned World

In the UK this can be gotten from Namaste Publishing, You will also hear and see the testimony of James Turner who with the famed Dr. John Olney, who founded the field of neuroscience called excitotoxicity, tried to prevent approval of aspartame. The FDA would not allow it on the market for 16 years but Attorney Turner explains the political clout that caused approval having to do with the CEO of Searle at the time, Don Rumsfeld, now Secretary of Defense. Don't miss this movie.

Searle, the original manufacturer, also did studies in 6 countries on aspartame sacrificing people in poor villages. Several developed seizures and brain tumors and the studies showed that aspartame destroys the brain and central nervous system. Searle never published the studies but we have the affidavit of the translator. Humans were simply used as guinea pigs. Also, in the secret trade information on you will read in the last paragraph that they had to consider almost complete conversion to DKP, the brain tumor agent, and if they told the FDA they wouldn't approve it. In the movie Atty Turner also tells how Dr. Olney insisted Searle do studies in his lab and they did show that aspartame triggers brain damage. Searle did not give these studies to the FDA. A study in Norway some years ago also showed that aspartame destroys the brain, especially in the area of learning.

Neurosurgeon Russell Blaylock, M.D., author of 'Excitotoxins: The Taste That Kills'
says about aspartame and brain tumors on page 212 - 213:

"It is interesting to note that the first experiments done to test the safety of aspartame before its final approval in 1981 disclosed a high incidence of brain tumors in the animals fed NutraSweet. In fact, this study was done by the manufacturer of NutraSweet, G. D. Searle. In this study 320 rats were fed aspartame and 120 rats were fed a normal diet and used as controls. The study lasted two years. At the end of the study twelve of the aspartame fed rats had developed brain tumors (astrocytomas), while none of the control rats had. This represented a 3.75% incidence of brain tumors in the rats fed aspartame, which was twenty-five times higher than the incidence of spontaneous brain tumors developing in rats (0.15%). "

"The study divided the rats into those exposed to low doses of aspartame and those exposed to a high dose. In the low dose group five of the rats developed brain tumors for and incidence of 3.13%. In the high dose group, seven developed brain tumors (4.38%). This indicates a dose related incidence of brain tumors. The higher the dose of aspartame, the more brain tumors were induced. "

"When Dr. John Olney pointed out these findings to the FDA "Aspartame Board of Inquiry" he was told that the high incidence of tumors was the result of spontaneous development of brain tumors in rats. That is, that some rats develop brain tumors naturally, just as humans do. Dr. Olney is a trained neuropathologist as well as a neuroscientist. He reviewed the incidence of spontaneously occurring brain tumors in rats and found that out of seven studies using a total of 59,000 rats and only 0,08% developed brain tumors - the aspartame fed rats had a forty-seven fold higher incidence. But to be fair, he even accepted G. D. Searle's references for spontaneously developing brain tumors in rats and arrives at a figure of 0.15%. This was still a twenty-five fold higher incidence in the aspartame fed rats than in the controls. "

"It was then observed that when brain tumors develop spontaneously in rats, the rate at which they appear begins to accelerate after two years of age, exactly when the Searle's study ended. Importantly, brain tumors are extremely rare before age one and one-half in the rat. So in truth the incidence of spontaneously occurring brain tumors would be even less than cited above. Yet, the aspartame fed rats developed two tumors by sixty weeks of age and five tumors by seventy weeks."

"In a collective study of 41,000 rats no tumors were seen to occur before sixty weeks and only one by seventy weeks. The fact that 320 aspartame fed rats developed six brain tumors by seventy-six weeks indicates an "incredible and unprecedented" occurrence. Within the final twenty-eight weeks of the study six more brain tumors occurred in the aspartame fed group. Dr. Olney notes that "one must assume that many more (brain tumors) would have occurred after 104 weeks. "

"It became obvious that the G. D. Searle Company was trying desperately to protect their potential billion dollar plus money maker. They claimed that more brain tumors were found because they searched the pathological slides so diligently. But, they searched just as diligently in the control rats and found none. Besides, neuropathologists examining the slides later stated that the tumors were large enough to be seen with the naked eye. "

"Because of the criticism submitted by Dr. Olney, the G. D. Searle company conducted a second study which was designed to be more comprehensive. Instead of a two-year study, this would span the entire lifetime of the rats, from intrauterine life to death. The results of this study can only be characterized as bizarre. This time they reported five brain tumors in 120 control rats (an incidence of 3.13%) and four brain tumors in 120 control rats (an incidence of 3.33%). While this was designed to show that aspartame was not the cause of the brain tumors, if accepted, the study would indicate that both groups had a brain tumor incidence thirty times higher than the known rate of spontaneous brain tumor occurrence in rats."

"But the story gets even more interesting, Dr. Olney hypothesized that one possible cause of the tumor induction was a by-product of aspartame metabolism called diketopiperazine (DKP). When nitrosated by the gut it produces a compound closely resembling a powerful brain tumor causing chemical - N-nitrosourea. "

"The G. D. Searle company conducted a separate study to test the carcinogenicity of diketopiperazine (DKP). The results of this study were not submitted to the FDA until after aspartame had already been approved for general use by the American population. This study was not a lifetime study but rather a 115 week study which consisted of feeding rats their normal feed mixed with DKP. There were 114 control animals and 216 that supposedly ate the DKP. (Not all of the animals were even examined for tumors.) There were two brain tumors in the controls (1.62% incidence) and three (1.52% in the DKP groups. But strangely enough, the incidence of brain tumors found in both groups were sixteen times higher than would be expected from spontaneous occurring tumors. That did not make sense."

"So how can we explain these strange findings? It is instructive at this point to know that in l975 the drug enforcement division of the Bureau of Foods investigated the G. D. Searle company as part of an investigation of "apparent irregularities in data collection and reporting practices." The director of the FDA at that time stated that they found "sloppy" laboratory techniques and "clerical errors, mixed-up animals, animals not getting the drugs they were supposed to get, pathological specimens lost because of improper handling, and a variety of other errors, (which) even if innocent, all conspire to obscure positive findings and produce falsely negative results."

"The drug enforcement division carried out a study under the care of agent Jerome Bressler concerning Searle's laboratory practices and data manipulation (known as the Bressler Report ("Note from Martini - this FDA audit is on ") He found that the feed used to test DKP had been improperly mixed so that the animals would receive only small doses of the chemical to be tested. (I have seen a photograph of the feed mix and can attest to the "sloppy" method used.) The commissioner also charged G. D. Searle company with "failure to maintain control and experimental animals on separate racks and failure to mark animals to ensure against mix-ups between experiments (animals fed aspartame and DKP) and controls." This vital and telling report was buried in a file cabinet, never to be acted on by the FDA."

"Such poor techniques would explain why both control animals and those eating aspartame had exceptionally high brain tumor rates, since they, most likely, were both eating the aspartame feed. What is ironic is that the FDA would accept studies from a company with an obvious heavy financial interesting in having aspartame approved. But even more amazing is that they would depend on the same company to provide studies that they, FDA, knew beforehand were highly questionable and possibly fraudulent upon which they would make such an important public safety decision."

"Thus far, no independent studies have been done to examine this vital issue. As a neurosurgeon I see the devastating effects a brain tumor has, not only on its victim, but on the victim's family as well. To think that there is even a reasonable doubt that aspartame can induce brain tumors in the American population is frightening. And to think that the FDA has lulled them into a false sense of security is a monumental crime." (end of quotes from book)

The FDA never wanted aspartame approved, they wanted Searle indicted for fraud. Searle was even excising these brain tumors from the rats and then putting them back in study. When the rats died they simply resurrected them on paper.

FDA Toxicologist and Task Force member, Dr. Adrian Gross stated (Wilson 1985):

"They (G. D. Searle) lied and they didn't submit the real nature of their observations because had they done that it is more than likely that a great number of these studies would have been rejected simply for adequacy. What Searle did, they took great pains to camouflage these shortcomings of the study. As I say filter and just present to the FDA what they wished the FDA to know and they did other terrible things for instance animals would develop tumors while they were under study. Well they would remove these tumors from the animals."

FDA Lead Investigator and Task Force Team Leader, Phillip Brodsky described the 1975 FDA Task Force members as some of the most experienced drug investigators. He went on to state that he had never seen anything as bad as G. D. Searle's studies (Graves 1984; page S5499 of Congressional Record 1985a).

And don't think that Searle didn't get caught. When they were found removing the brain tumors their excuse was that the rats couldn't breathe well. But how many brain tumors did they remove before they were caught? FDA toxicologist, Dr. Adrian Gross, gave several reasons why Searle's misconduct invalidated their experiments and one was: "It is highly unlikely that the FDA Investigative teams found all of the problems with G. D. Searle's studies. G. D. Searle seemed so intent on covering up their misconduct, that it is quite likely that they were able to hide many of the problems from the FDA."

But Searle needed help to coverup the issue so on August 4, l976 they met with the FDA and convinced them to allow them to hire a private agency, University Associated for Education in Pathology (UAREP). As described by Florence Graves (1984, page s5500 of Congressional Record 1985a):

"The pathologists were specifically told that they were not to make a judgment about aspartame's safety or to look at the designs of the tests. Why did the FDA choose to have pathologists conduct an investigation when even some FDA officials acknowledged at the time that UAREP had a limited task which would only partially shed light on the validity of Searle's testing? The answer is not clear."

In other words, UAREP was sworn to silence, and how much did they get to be quiet? They received a half a million dollars!!!

Searle was intent on getting aspartame approved. They had invested 19.7 million dollars in an incomplete production facility and 9.2 million dollars in aspartame inventory. On Dec 8, 1975, stockholders filed a class action lawsuit alleging that G. D. Searle had concealed information from the public regarding the nature and quality of animal research at G. D. Searle in violation of the Securities and Exchange Act (Farber 1989, page 48).

Aspartame also triggered mammary, uterine, ovarian, pancreatic, testicular and thyroid tumors just for starters, not just brain tumors. There were also pituitary adenomas.

About the review of aspartame by the European Union. Felicity Mawson, Mission Possible UK, and myself flew to Brussels to meet with the EU before this was done. I provided them all the damning research on aspartame they had not seen including the Board of Inquiry Report of the FDA revoking the petition for approval because of it not being safe and triggering brain tumors. (Arthur Hull Hayes over-ruled the Board of Inquiry and went to work for the PR Agency of the manufacturer.) I also gave them Dr. Woodrow Monte's journal article, Aspartame: Methanol and the Public Health, as well as Dr. John Olney's testimony to the Board on what aspartame would do to the brains of our children. I showed them the 1038 page medical text by Dr. H. J. Roberts of the global plague of Aspartame Disease. They were not even interested in opening the front cover. They already knew what they intended to do. I gave them reports on flawed industry research and how it was done. What the EU did was eliminate the damaging research and used the flawed industry studies. They had industry people on the committee and didn't even read their own research. It was as if they were making it up as they went along. You will find the excellent rebuttal to the EU report at:

This study has shown: "In our experimental conditions, it has been demonstrated, for the first time, that aspartame causes a dose-related statistically significant increase in lymphomas and leukaemias in females at dose levels very near those to which humans can be exposed. Moreover, it can hardly be overlooked that at the lowest exposure of 80 ppm, there was a 62% increase in lymphomas and leukaemias compared to controls," ........

Today pop machines and vending machines contain products with aspartame. Our children are using these products and the problems Dr. John Olney discussed in his report to the Board of Inquiry of the FDA are now being observed in our children globally. For a CD of this report and the Board of Inquiry Report as well as congressional records email Bob Flint, Mission Possible Maine, These FDA reports would never be released even under Freedom of Information. Dr. Roberts attempted to have his congressman get the 20% of the FDA audit, Bressler Report that was omitted according to Jerome Bressler himself. He discussed this with Doctors Roberts and Blaylock as well as myself.
Help get the whole truth to the public and save the children!
Dr. Betty Martini, Founder, Mission Possible International, 9270 River Club Parkway, Duluth, Georgia 30097
770 242-2599 and
Aspartame Toxicity Center,


The Aspartame industry says since their sweetener was "safely used" by many people, the study showing association with cancer in rats might as well be disregarded. Here is Betty Martini's comment to that.

Aspartame Makers Tell A Whopper, Says Mission Possible

A three year Italian study on Aspartame in rats revealed a connection between the artificial sweetener and leukemia,lymphoma and malignant brain tumors. It conclusively proved that aspartame is a carcinogen, say the study's authors. A neurosurgeon calls to get it out of the schools. These claims rebut those of Aspartame manufacturers.

ATLANTA July 22, 2005 -- The European Ramazzini Foundation of Oncology and Environmental Sciences Cancer Research Centre in Bolonga, Italy, just released their three year study confirming the link between aspartame and lymphomas and leukemias.

The report by Morando Soffritti "Aspartame induces lymphomas and leukemias in rats" is in the European Journal of Oncology for July, 2005. Dr. Soffritti and his team carefully set the conditions whereby genetically-uniform test rats were treated equally with the exception of being divided into groups given varying levels of the toxic chemical sweetener.

Rats are deemed appropriate subjects for testing aspartame on humans because both humans and rats metabolize the methyl ester in aspartame into methyl alcohol, then formaldehyde then formic acid - all deadly poisons. The carcinogenicity of substances in rats and mice is a consistent predictor of cancer risk in humans exposed to those substances.

The study commenced with 8 week old rats and continued until the last one died at 159 weeks. Their physical status and behavior were examined three times daily and detailed records of their growth were kept. Every two weeks each of the 3,600 rats were "clinically examined for gross changes." As each rat died, a complete autopsy was performed. Organs, tissues and bones were preserved for further study.

"In our experimental conditions, it has been demonstrated that APM [aspartame] causes a dose-related statistically significant increase in lymphomas and leukemias in females at dose levels very near those to which humans can be exposed," the authors wrote in their conclusion. The number of cancers that developed in rats given zero aspartame was zero.

Increases of lymphomas and leukemias at the lowest exposure level was 62 percent and "an increase in the incidence of these types of neoplasias was also observed in males exposed to the highest dose," as stated in the study.

Neurosurgeon Russell Blaylock, MD, one of the world's leading authorities on aspartame neurotoxicity, extensively reviewed the Soffritti report. "This study confirmed the previous study by Dr. Trocho and co-workers (1998), which also found the formaldehyde breakdown product of aspartame to be damaging to cellular DNA and that this damage was cumulative. The type of damage was a duplicate of that associated with cancers. These two studies strongly indicate that drinking a single diet cola sweetened with aspartame every day could significantly increase one's risk of developing a lymphoma or leukemia," Blaylock said.

"This study should terrify mothers and all those consuming aspartame sweetened products," he continued. "This was a carefully done study which clearly demonstrated a statistically significant increase in several types of lymphomas and leukemias in rats. Both of these malignancies have increased significantly in this country since the widespread use of aspartame."

"They also found an increased incidence of malignant brain tumors, even though it was not statistically significant. This does not mean there is no association to brain tumors, since ONLY the animals exposed to aspartame developed the tumors. With children and pregnant women drinking the largest amount of diet colas, this puts their children at the greatest risk of developing one of these horrible diseases. Their found that even lower doses of aspartame could cause these malignancies, yet, the higher the dose, the more cancers that were seen," said Blaylock.

"Since aspartame can increase obesity and may even cause the metabolic syndrome that affects 48 million Americans, there is no reason to ever consume this product. At the least, it should be immediately banned from all schools," said Blaylock.

Aspartame was approved for use in dry goods in 1981 under extremely controversial circumstances. The artificial sweetener is currently found in more than 6,000 products-soft drinks, chewing gum, candy, desserts, table sweeteners and even pharmaceutical drugs and is responsible for more than 80 percent of consumer complaints filed with the FDA each year. The FDA itself has published a list of 92 potentially adverse reactions to aspartame that includes weight gain, blindness, chronic headaches, insanity and death.

Soffritti et al conducted this study because they wanted to determine whether or not the ADI for aspartame (50 and 40 milligrams per kilogram of body weight per day in the U.S. and Europe respectively) was an appropriate limit. Their report concludes with these words: "Results of our study call for urgent reexamination of permissible exposure level of aspartame in both food and beverages, especially to protect children."

Here comes the Whopper. Makers and sellers of aspartame tried to rebut this impeccable European research saying: "With billions of man-years of safe use, there is no indication of an association between aspartame and cancer in humans."

For the rest of the story go to:

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Dr Betty Martini
770 242-2599