CSPI Newsroom
Return to the Center for Science in the Public Interest

For Immediate
Release:
May 15, 2000

For more information:
202/332-9110

  “Saccharin Should Not Have Been Delisted”

Michael F. Jacobson, executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, had the following comment about the Department of Health and Human Services decision to remove saccharin from the National Toxicology Program’s (NTP) list of cancer-causing chemicals. Jacobson spoke at the 1997 meeting of the NTP’s Board of Scientific Counselors, which voted 4-3 not to delist saccharin.
     “The government is making a serious mistake in delisting saccharin. Studies indicate that saccharin causes cancer in the urinary bladder, lungs, ovaries, uterus, and other organs in animals and also increases the potency of other cancer-causing chemicals. Furthermore, the best human study, conducted by the National Cancer Institute, correlated bladder cancer with exposure to saccharin (and other artificial sweeteners). Delisting saccharin will probably mean that more people — including children — will consume more foods with saccharin and have an increased risk of cancer. The delisting of saccharin sets a dangerous precedent for delisting other chemicals that cause cancer in animals, but have not been proven to do so in humans.”

     “Dr. Olden’s statement that ‘decades more data from observations of humans’ shows that saccharin is safe is remarkably unscientific, because no better human studies have been done than the 1980 National Cancer Institute study.”

Other scientists who opposed the delisting of saccharin:
Richard Clapp, D.Sc., associate professor, Department of Environmental Health, Boston University

Devra Davis, Ph.D., director, Health, Environment, and Development Program, World Resources Institute

Samuel Epstein, M.D., professor of environmental medicine, School of Public Health, University of Illinois Medical Center, Chicago

Emmanuel Farber, M.D., Ph.D., professor of pathology, University of South Carolina School of Medicine and chairman of the National Academy of Sciences’ 1978 “Panel I: Saccharin and its Impurities”

William Lijinsky, Ph.D., former director, chemical carcinogenesis program, Frederick Cancer Research Center

Melvin D. Reuber, M.D., consultant in human and experimental oncology and pathology; former staff pathologist, National Cancer Institute; former chief, pathology laboratory, Chemical Carcinogenesis Program, Frederick Cancer Research Center