The New Mexico legislature is to consider bills intending to ban the controversial artificial sweetener aspartame. House bill 202 was introduced by The Honorable Irvin Harrison while senators Gerald Ortiz y Pino is filing an identical bill in the New Mexico Senate.
This new action may set an important precedent if adopted. Not only are the effects of the artificial sweetener to be examined. The question is whether the FDA can legitimately preempt State authority in health matters even if clearly inactive on a dangerous substance. This looks like it is going to be the real focus of this coming battle.
Lobbyists for the sweetener are apparently swarming the New Mexico legislative halls in an effort to drum up opposition to the measure, but consumer groups and anti-aspartame activists are not idle. Here is the latest information, thanks to Betty Martini.
Bills to ban Neurotoxic Carcinogenic Artificial Sweetener Aspartame Advance in New Mexico Legislature
will precipitate a new era of Consumer Protection in the USA!
The Honorable Irvin Harrison introduced House Bill 202, and the Senate version, as yet unnumbered, was introduced by the Honorable Gerald Ortiz y Pino.
Albuquerque Democrat, Ortiz y Pino, and Gallup Navajo Democrat, Irvin Harrison, have introduced legislation that clearly moves New Mexico forward in terms of protecting citizens' health from this neurodegenerative sweetener, resulting from the complete breakdown in sound approval functions at the US FDA going back to 1981 and 1983, nowhere more clearly exemplified than in the case artificial sweetener, Aspartame.
Regulatory mechanisms at the state level have largely failed, been postponed and even ignored, due to corporate pressure and manipulation, largely by Ajinomoto of Japan, the world's largest Aspartame and Monosodium Glutamate manufacturers. The eventual and inevitable New Mexico ban through legislative means is a vital national and international precedent, one that could precipitate a new era of consumer protection in the United States and in other nations.
I believe that these bills are within the conceptual matrix not only of Governor Richardson's Year of the Child and Healthy Kids legislative initiatives, but also they are consistent within a deeper philosophical context of the Governor's views that because the FDA "isn't doing anything," every state needs to take back and to exercise some of the power ceded earlier to the Federal level, going back to the creation of the Food and Drug Administration in the Roosevelt era.
State statutes on protecting Health, and statutes regarding poisonous and deleterious food additives in the New Mexico Food Act are completely consistent with the 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, as well as numerous US Supreme Court and U.S. Court of Appeals decisions in related matters. Many U.S. Court of Appeals decisions confirm that in health matters, federal and state jurisdictions need not be competitive or exclusionary, since the goal of both is to protect health.
Soft drink companies would be smarter not to fight efforts to achieve freedom from neurotoxic multipotentially carcinogenic sweetener additives, and just immediately switch to a non-toxic harmless natural sweetener like Stevia. Indeed, conversations between Coca Cola's lobbyist and Vice President of New Mexico operations and me occurred January 17, in which I recommended precisely such a course of action to the CEO, President, and Chairman of the Board of Coca Cola, relayed by the lobbyist to them.
We could (but won't) write the predictable Coca Cola advertisement: "America, we have been listening to your concerns for health, and for those reasons, we are switching the sweetener in our "diet" products to Stevia, starting in 2006." By doing so, Coca Cola (or whichever manufacturer implements this bright idea first) would make billions of dollars and win millions of new Patrons.
This evolving possibility and inevitability of soft drink companies to get rid of aspartame, acesulfame K, and sucralose by the world's largest soft drink manufacturers, of course, does nothing to remove, obviate or conceal some other forgotten neurotoxicities in that product, like that of Coke's major ingredient, phosphoric acid, which is also used to prime unfinished steel before it is painted. New Mexicans might wonder "What does phosphoric acid due to one's chromosomes, if it can do that to raw steel?"
Hoping to hide behind their product's FDA approval, industry lobbyists and corporate lawyers will bitterly complain to legislative committees that any state action to ban an incontrovertibly proven neurotoxic multipotential carcinogen like aspartame is automatically preempted by the Supremacy Clause and the Interstate Commerce Clause in the Constitution. They would like us to believe that such action is therefore impossible, and this argument, accompanied by non-credible threats of litigation, worked in 2005 to postpone the EIB's scheduled 5-day hearings on Aspartame in July 2006 until January 2007. Such considerations are incorporated in the Legislative intent sections of the two bills.
Corporate lobbyists are already working against these bills, even having contacted numerous members of the NM Senate to ask them to not sign the bill as co-sponsors! We expect these same corporate minions to bring fat stacks of legal arguments to committee members similar to those already submitted to Mr. Trigg, Chief of Administrative Division in the Attorney General's office, by one of several lawyers working for the world's largest Aspartame and Monosodium Glutamate manufacturer, Ajinomoto of Japan, with the hope of overwhelming and intimidating committee members, as they have so far successfully done in many other states.
However, those corporate theories will be soundly refuted by more compelling stacks of medical commentaries by leading physicians, and of legal arguments by, for example, Jim Turner of the Washington D.C. law firm of Swankin and Turner, the consumer lawyer whose efforts precipitated President Nixon's 1969 order to the Commissioner of the FDA to rescind the approval for CYCLAMATES, yet another neurotoxic carcinogenic artificial sweetener. Turner is co-author of The Chemical Feast (1970).
For Molecular Biologist Professor at University of Chicago's comments on aspartame: www.wnho.net/molecular_biologists_aspartame_commentary.htm
Lobbyists will fight this legislation right up to the ink drying as (we hope) they are signed by Governor Richardson. For much more detailed information on corporate efforts to ruin pro child health and nutrition legislation that cites specific examples of what lobbyists have done and where and when, revealing their vicious tactics in toto, please read the extraordinary compilations thereof by Hastings College of Health Policy Law Professor Michele Simon, for example:
Some of Coca Cola's actions have resulted in their products being banned by Universities in New York and in Michigan:
For the very best analysis on how aspartame violates both federal and state statutes on adulteration, by Dr. Betty Martini, Honorary Doctor of Humanities, please go to:
For more information on the Ramazzini Foundation for Oncology study proving carcinogenicity, go to the website for the United States National Institute of Health, where it has been posted since mid-November 2005, with seemingly little comprehension of this in any branch of government.
Other key documents are located at the extensive website for the World Natural Health Organization, www.wnho.net, click on aspartame. Particularly noteworthy are the medical texts and commentaries by H.J.Roberts, M.D., Author of Aspartame Disease: An Ignored Epidemic, as well as his article, Aspartame Disease: An FDA Approved Epidemic.
If you have ingested aspartame in "diet" beverages, "sugarless" gum, blue packet of Equal, "low fat" yogurt, and at least 6000 other food products, or in hundreds of pharmaceutical preparations, vitamins, aspirin, and if you want to begin the long process of detoxifying, at the www.wnho.net site, please read Neurosurgeon Russell Blaylock's article "What to do if you have used Aspartame." Blaylock is also author of Excitotoxins: the Taste that Kills.
To learn more of the Governor's thinking on these matters, please contact Billy Sparks, Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To learn about possible Congressional action regarding the FDA rescinding its approval of Aspartame, not only in food but also in hundreds of pharmaceutical preparations for children and for adults, please contact:
U.S. Congressman Tom Udall, (202) 225-6190
U.S. Congressman Lane Evans, Chairman of House Veterans Committee
Voice - (202) 225-5905
U.S. Senator Jeff Bingaman
Toll-free (in NM): 1-800-443-8658
DC: (202) 224-5521
The New Mexico Senate version of the bill to ban aspartame will be filed today; for more information or to obtain the bill number, please contact the Senate Clerk at (505) 986-4714.
[We owe Senator Ortiz y Pino and Representative Irvin Harrison a tremendous debt of gratitude for their insights and courage. Irvin was the sponsor of last year's Nutrition Council bill in the House, as House Bill 721, which was also President Pro Tem Senator Ben Altamirano's Senate Bill 525.]
USE THIS ADDRESS to find the identical text of the bill in both House and Senate versions
Senator: Gerald Ortiz y Pino
District: 12 County(s): Bernalillo
Capitol Office Phone: 986-4380
Representative: Irvin Harrison
District: 5 County(s): McKinley & San Juan
Capitol Office Phone: 986-4464
To keep up-to-date with what is going on in New Mexico you can join the aspartame information list on www.wnho.net front page banner, click on aspartame for other recent reports. Also check out www.dorway.com on aspartame.
Dr. Betty Martini, D.Hum, founder, Mission Possible International,
9270 River Club Parkway, Duluth, Georgia 30097
Aspartame Toxicity Center, www.holisticmed.com/aspartame
See how aspartame was approved, Sweet Misery: A Poisoned World, www.docworkers.com
Here is a Washington Post article that tells where the FDA is directed: No legal action if a drug has been FDA approved, even if the drug harmed people.
FDA Tries to Limit Drug Suits in State Courts
Agency's 'Federal Preemption' Policy Included in Labeling Guidelines for Medications
By Marc Kaufman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, January 19, 2006; Page A02
People who believe they were injured by drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration should not be allowed to sue drug companies in state courts, the agency said yesterday in a formal policy statement.
The FDA's controversial assertion of "federal preemption" was included as a preamble to long-awaited guidelines designed to make drug labeling information more accessible and readable for doctors and consumers. Agency officials said that though the preemption policy does not have the weight of law or formal regulation, they hope state judges will accept their position.
"We think that if your company complies with the FDA processes, if you bring forward the benefits and risks of your drug, and let your information be judged through a process with highly trained scientists, you should not be second-guessed by state courts that don't have the same scientific knowledge," said Scott Gottlieb, the FDA's deputy commissioner for medical and scientific affairs.
The new labeling rules require drug makers to highlight the most important advisory information in the "package insert" issued with every prescription and to cut back on the often-technical legal language that officials said is included more to protect drug makers from lawsuits than to inform doctors and patients. Gottlieb said drug industry officials convinced the agency that they deserved more broadly stated FDA support because the new, more streamlined labeling would make them more vulnerable to lawsuits.
While the new labeling guidelines were widely applauded yesterday, the claim of federal preemption was quickly attacked by trial lawyers and members of Congress as another effort by the Bush administration to limit the public's ability to bring and win lawsuits.
Without state product liability laws, the critics said, drug companies could escape responsibility for injuries and deaths caused by drugs such as Merck & Co.'s Vioxx, which an FDA medical officer estimated had killed as many as 55,000 Americans.
"Eliminating the rights of individuals to hold negligent drug companies accountable puts patients in even more danger than they already are in from drug company executives that put profits before safety," said Ken Suggs, president of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America.
"The fact that the drug industry can get the FDA to rewrite the rules so that CEOs can escape accountability for putting dangerous and deadly drugs on the market is the scariest example yet of how much control these big corporations have over our political process," he said.
Anticipating that the FDA would make the preemption claim, the National Conference of State Legislatures, a bipartisan group that represents state legislators, said last week that the agency was seizing authority that it did not have. Yesterday, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) expanded on that criticism.
"It's a typical abuse by the Bush Administration -- take a regulation to improve the information that doctors and patients receive about prescription drugs and turn it into a protection against liability for the drug industry," he said in a statement.
The Bush administration has intervened in a number of state liability cases against drug and medical device manufacturers with friend-of-the-court briefs supporting the companies. Yesterday's policy statement was just a way to make the same points on a broad and general basis, Gottlieb said.
The drug labeling guidelines were first proposed as a new regulation in December 2000 and have been subject to years of debate and public hearings. The new guidelines -- which will go into effect on June 30 -- were announced yesterday by Surgeon General Richard H. Carmona and top FDA officials, who called them a major public health advance.
"Americans are overwhelmed with the complexity of health information. We have hit a point of information overload, and the public health message is being diluted," Carmona said. "This is of great concern when it comes to making sure a patient knows how to use prescription drugs safely and effectively. This problem is compounded by prescription medication information that reads more like legal disclaimers than useful or actionable health information."
The new labeling -- the first revision of its kind in 25 years -- is required for all new drugs that come on the market and those approved in the past five years. Officials said the new "highlights" section and a table of contents that organizes the information will help avoid some of the estimated 300,000 preventable drug-related complications reported in hospitals, many of which are the results of confusing medical information.
Although the new labeling will make it easier for doctors to digest information about the drugs they prescribe, consumers may not find it much more accessible. The patient information leaflets written in laymen's language that patients receive with their prescriptions are commercially produced and not approved or scrutinized by the FDA.
Sidney Wolfe, director of Public Citizen's Health Research Group, said patients should get the new, FDA-approved labeling information as well.
"It is time to end the double standard where doctors and other health professionals are informed by FDA-approved labeling, but patients are treated like second-class citizens, receiving whatever the out-of-control purveyors of patient information leaflets choose to dispense," he said.
--- end of Washington Post article ---