Aspartame suits filed

SACRAMENTO -- April 6, 2004, Lawsuits were filed in three separate California courts against twelve companies who either produce or use the artificial sweetener aspartame as a sugar substitute in their products. The suits were filed in Shasta, Sonoma and Butte County, California.

The suits allege that the food companies committed fraud and breach of warranty by marketing products to the public such as diet Coke, diet Pepsi, sugar free gum, Flintstone's vitamins, yogurt and children's aspirin with the full knowledge that aspartame, the sweetener in them, is neurotoxic.

Aspartame is a drug masquerading as an additive. It interacts with other drugs, has a synergistic and addictive effect with MSG, and is a chemical hyper-sensitization agent. As far back as 1970, Dr. John Olney founded the field of neuroscience called excitotoxicity when he did studies on aspartic acid, which makes up 40% of aspartame, and found it caused lesions in the brains of mice. He made world news on the aspartame/brain tumor connection in l996. Dr. Ralph Walton, Professor and Chairman of the Department of Psychiatry, Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine has written of the behavioral and psychiatric problems triggered by aspartame-caused depletion of serotonin.

Aspartame causes headache, memory loss, seizures, vision loss, coma and cancer. It worsens or mimics the symptoms of such diseases and conditions as fibromyalgia, MS, lupus, ADD, diabetes, Alzheimer's, chronic fatigue and depression.

Aspartame liberates free methyl alcohol. The resulting chronic methanol poisoning affects the dopamine system of the brain causing addiction. Methanol, or wood alcohol, constitutes one-third of the aspartame molecule and is classified as a severe metabolic poison and narcotic. Recent news is full of reports of world-class athletes and other healthy consumers of aspartame suddenly dropping dead. Sudden death can occur from aspartame use because it damages the cardiac conduction system.

Dr. Woodrow Monte in the peer reviewed journal, Aspartame: Methanol and the Public Health, wrote: "When diet sodas and soft drinks, sweetened with aspartame, are used to replace fluid loss during exercise and physical exertion in hot climates, the intake of methanol can exceed 250 mg/day or 32 times the Environmental Protection Agency's recommended limit of consumption for this cumulative poison."

The effects of aspartame are documented by the FDA's own data. In 1995 the agency was forced, under the Freedom Of Information Act, to release a list of ninety-two aspartame symptoms reported by thousands of victims. This is only the tip of the iceberg. H. J. Roberts, MD, published the medical text "Aspartame Disease: An Ignored Epidemic" -- 1,000 pages of symptoms and diseases triggered by this neurotoxin including the sordid history of its approval.

Since its discovery in 1965, controversy has raged over the health risks associated with the sugar substitute. From laboratory testing of the chemical on rats, researchers have discovered that the drug induces brain tumors. On Sept 30, l980 the Board of Inquiry of the FDA concurred and denied the petition for approval. In l981, the newly appointed FDA Commissioner, Arthur Hull Hayes, ignored the negative ruling and approved aspartame for dry goods. As recorded in the Congressional Record of 1985, then CEO of Searle Laboratories Donald Rumsfeld said that he would call in his markers to get aspartame approved. Rumsfeld was on President Reagan's transition team and a day after taking office appointed Hayes. No FDA Commissioner in the previous sixteen years had allowed Aspartame on the market.

In 1983, aspartame was approved for use in carbonated beverages. Today it is found in over 5000 foods, drinks and medicines.

Neurosurgeon Russell Blaylock, MD, author of Excitotoxins: The Taste That Kills wrote about the relationship between aspartame and macular degeneration, diabetic blindness and glaucoma (all known to result from excitotoxin accumulation in the retina).

All of these neurodegenerative diseases are worsened by aspartame. In addition, we now have evidence that excitotoxins play a major role in exacerbation of MS and other demyelinating disorders including trigeminal neuraliga. Blaylock says that new studies show excitotoxins trigger significant elevation of free radicals in the lining (endothelial cells) of arteries, which means that aspartame will increase the incidence of heart attacks and strokes (atherosclerosis).

In original studies, aspartame has triggered brain, mammary, uterine, ovarian, testicular, thyroid and pancreatic tumors.

Defendants in the lawsuits include Coca-cola, PepsiCo, Bayer Corp., the Dannon Company, William Wrigley Jr. Company, ConAgra Foods, Wyeth, Inc., The NutraSweet Company, and Altria Corp. (parent company of Kraft Foods and Philip Morris).

Plaintiffs have asked for an injunction to stop companies from producing, manufacturing, processing, selling or using aspartame.

Plaintiffs in all three cases are seeking a jury trial.

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