ERNST & YOUNG
The artificial sweetener aspartame has a history fraught with controversy, evidence of harm and lawsuits, yet since 1981, the product has retained its status as “FDA Approved”. This wasn’t always the case; between 1975 and 1980, the FDA maintained the position that the available evidence showed aspartame to be a dangerous chemical and denied requests from the G.D. Searle company to approve the product as a food additive. A criminal investigation against Searle later ensued regarding falsified laboratory data discovered within records of the initial aspartame studies. Despite the list of serious side effects, a number of suspicious political moves preceded the FDA’s approval of aspartame in 1981, shortly after Ronald Regan took office and allowed Donald Rumsfeld, CEO of G.D. Searle and a member of his transition team, to appoint Dr. Arthur Hull Hayes Jr. as the new commissioner of the FDA.
Initial Studies Led to an FDA Ordered Criminal Investigation
G.D. Searle initially applied for FDA approval of aspartame in 1973 after spending millions of dollars conducting more than 100 studies which supposedly supported the safety of the chemical. Prominent independent experts disagreed and filed formal objections to aspartame’s approval based on toxicity concerns. The FDA initiated an investigation into the laboratory practices utilized by G.D. Searle supported studies and found a host of inaccuracies, manipulated data, shoddy procedures and more. This led to the first formal FDA request to the U.S. Attorney’s office to initiate a criminal investigation of any manufacturer in the year 1977. Almost immediately thereafter, Searle hired Donald Rumsfeld as the new CEO of the company in the hopes of turning things around. The tactic proved successful, and a number of skillful political moves allowed the statute of limitations to run out before the criminal investigation could be completed.
Aspartame Received FDA Approval in 1981
Shortly after Ronald Regan’s inauguration in 1981, Rumsfeld, who was still serving as CEO of G.D. Searle while simultaneously working as a member of Regan’s transition team, was given the liberty to appoint Dr. Arthur Hull Hayes Jr. as the new FDA commissioner. This move effectively eliminated FDA opposition which, up until that point, maintained the clear position that aspartame was a dangerous neurotoxin not fit for consumption. Dr. Hayes was able to utilize his role as commissioner to override the sentiment of the approval board and effectively grant his stamp of approval on the use of aspartame as a food additive.
Independent Studies Showed Serious Side Effects and Diseases Resulting From Aspartame Use
In a 1996 survey, 166 studies conducted on aspartame’s safety between the years 1980 and 1985 were closely examined to reveal the shocking fact that all 74 studies funded by the aspartame industry showed no evidence of harm, while 84 of the 92 independently conducted studies revealed correlations with any or all of the following side effects and/or the development or worsening of numerous diseases including:
- Attention deficit disorder, depression, anxiety, memory loss and other psychological disorders;
- Chronic fatigue syndrome, lupus, arthritis, fibromyalgia and/or multiple sclerosis;
- Diabetes, insulin resistance, heart disease and/or weight gain;
- Headaches, seizures, coma, vision loss, brain cancers and/or sudden death.
In recent years, the number of independent studies confirming the harmful effects of aspartame have only increased while marketing tactics have help the industry maintain an image that allows them to continue to sell aspartame containing products to an unaware public. Even the FDA itself has acknowledged that the “long term, chronic use of aspartame” has resulted in the more than 90 documented side effects; they also maintain a sizeable database of consumer complaints from those who have reported varying degrees of aspartame poisoning.
EPA Releases a “Dangerous Chemicals” List Which Includes Aspartame
In an attempt to educate parents looking for ways to minimize their child’s risk of developing autism, learning disorders and other neurological issues, the EPA released of list of “dangerous chemicals” to avoid in 2011. Along with Bisphenol A, cadmium, numerous pesticides and insect repellents (including DEET) and the class of fire retardants known as PBDEs, aspartame found its way onto the list. Children are especially vulnerable to the effects of aspartame poisoning as their blood-brain barrier is not as effective as an adult’s at preventing toxins from damaging sensitive brain tissue.
Lawsuits Dating Back More than Ten Years
During the year 2004, at least four separate lawsuits against manufacturers of aspartame and corporations who utilize the product in foods and pharmaceuticals were filed in California courts. The suits alleged racketeering charges, fraud, false advertising, unfair competition and more in the initial petitions. Additional class-action lawsuits are said to be gaining steam throughout the country against those that promote aspartame as safe, and some liken the situation to that of the tobacco industry before the widely publicized tobacco settlements finally came to fruition back in the late 1990s. Although it is unfortunate that so many unknowing individuals have undoubtedly been harmed by the long term ingestion of aspartame, class action lawsuits may prove to be the most effective means to bring an end to the sale of this dangerous consumer product which only remains popular due to fraudulent marketing campaigns and received its FDA approval as a result of corrupt political moves.
Who Can You Trust with Your Case?
Have you or a loved one been injured due to negligence? We want to help. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you believe you have a case; time is an important factor. Interested in learning more? Get in touch with us so we can better evaluate and serve your needs in getting the justice your loved one deserves. You may very well be entitled to compensation.
Call For a Free Consultation