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There may be sweet news for saccharin

Saccharine July 18, 1997
Web posted at: 8:49 p.m. EDT (0049 GMT)

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The National Toxicology Program announced plans Friday to review data that could lead to the removal of saccharin from the federal government's official report of potential cancer-causing substances.

Saccharin is an artifical sweetener that is 200 to 500 times sweeter than sugar. The Calorie Control Council, an industry group that supports saccharin, is seeking its "de-listing."

Since 1981, saccharin has been listed in an "anticipated" human carcinogen category, based on evidence that included a Canadian study on rats.

These animal tests led the U.S. Food and Drug Adminstration to request a partial ban on the sweetener in 1977.

Although Congress voted to allow it to be sold, foods containing saccharin must carry the warning: "Use of this product may be hazardous to your health. This product contains saccharin, which has been determined to cause cancer in laboratory animals."

According to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, the recommendation to keep saccharin on the carcinogen list or remove it will occur at a peer-reviewed committee meeting at the end of October.

The review will be done under revised criteria and procedures that have been broadened by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The department will review the committee's recommendations and make a final decision. It would not become official until 1999, when the new list goes to Congress.

If saccharin is removed from the carcinogen list, its warning label could be dropped as well.


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