Betty Martini betty at noel.pd.org
Thu Aug 3 00:05:43 EST 1995

Dear Andre:  NutraSweet is a compound composed of the following chemicals 
by weight:  methanol (10%), aspartic acid (40%) and phenylalanine (50%).
When placed in liquid it can break down into its component parts.  Heat 
will speed its breakdown.  Another breakdown product is diketopiperazine 
(DKP - a brain tumor agent).  Methanol further breaks down into 
formaldehyde and formic acid, both known to cause serious side effects.

The Random House Dictionary defines methanol (also known as methyl 
alcohol) "as a colorless, poisonous liquid used chiefly as a solvent, 
fuel, etc."

Methanol is on the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Community 
Right To Know List, and is reported in EPA's Toxic Substances Control Act 
Inventory. Sax's Dangerous Properties of Industrial Materials states 
methanol is a human poison by ingestion.

The levels of methanol are quite low in a single serving of a product 
containing aspartame, provided that it has not been exposed to heat or 
left for a long time on the shelf.  Because these factors promote the 
breakdown of aspartame into its component parts, researchers are 
concerned that high consumption levels combined with aspartame's unstable 
shelf life may allow methanol to reach toxic levels in some cases.

Human systemic effects from methanol include changes in circulation, 
cough, headaches, nausea and vomiting, optic nerve neuropathy, 
respiratory effects, and visual field changes.  In experiments, it has 
shown teratogenic (birth defects) and adverse reproductive effects.  
Genetic mutations from methanol have been reported in human tissue.  
Methanol is classified as a narcotic.

According to Sax, methanol's main toxic effect is exerted upon the 
nervous system, particularly the optic nerve and possibly the retina 
which can progress to permanent blindness.  Once absorbed, methanol is 
only very slowly eliminated.  Coma resulting from massive exposures may 
last as long as 2-4 days.  In the body, the products formed by its 
oxidation are formaldehyde and formic acid, both of which are toxic.  
Because of the slow elimination, methanol should be regarded as a 
cumulative poison.  Though single exposures to fumes may cause no harmful 
effect, daily exposure may result in the accumulation of sufficient 
methanol in the body to cause illness.  Death from ingestion of less 
than  30 ml (milliliters) has been reported.

Dr. Woodrow Monte, director of the Arizona State University Food Sciences 
and Nutrition Laboratory, is uncomfortable with the methanol content of 
aspartame.  In a l986 interview, Monte called aspartame "a crime against 

Humans are 100 times more sensitive to methanol than animals.  When you 
ingest aspartame, it breaks down into methanol within one hour of 
ingestion.  Methanol forms as soon as aspartame goes into solution and 
increases the longer it is in solution," according to Monte.  

Because heat speeds the breakdown of aspartame into methanol, if 
aspartame is added to coffee or tea at 80 degrees C (145 degrees F) one 
half of the amount breaks down into methanol in 10 minutes, according to 
Monte.  This raises serious concern about aspartame's 1993 approval for 
use in baked goods and other heated products like hot cocoa and tea.  

Although aspartame came about as the result of a search for a drug, and 
its compounds were the basis for a potential prescription medication, the 
petition for approval of NutraSweet was based on the premise that it was 
a food additive.  The FDA followed its precedent of permitting 
manufacturers to conduct their own product safety research.

Monte feels that aspartame was mislabeled from the beginning, "Aspartame" 
is a drug, not a food additive," he said. "One hundred million people 
from little babies to the elderly, are consuming this stuff in megadoses, 
more than they ever would if it were labeled as drug."

Dr. Jacqueline Verrett, a former FDA toxicologist, and member of an FDA 
task force that investigated the authenticity of research done by Searle 
to establish the safety of aspartame says she believes the original 
aspartame studies were "built on a foundation of sand."

She testified in front of a U.S. Senate hearing in 1987 that flawed tests 
conducted by Searle - used as the basis of FDA approval - were a 
"disaster" and should have been "thrown out".  She said she believed the 
studies left many unanswered questions about positive birth defects and 
the safety of aspartame.

Verrett said the team was instructed not to be concerned  with, or 
comment upon, the overall validity of the study.  She said a subsequent 
review discarded or ignored the problems and deficiencies outlined by her 
teams' original report.  She said "serious departure from acceptable 
toxicological protocols" that her investigative team noted in the 
reevaluation of these studies were also discounted.

She warned that any of the improper practices would compromise and negate 
a safety study of a food additive.  Verrett concluded the data in the 
study was worthless, and the safety of aspartame and its breakdown 
products have therefore not been determined.

She emphasized that aspartame exists in the marketplace without basic 
toxicity information.  She said there are no data to assess the 
interactions with DKP, excess phenylalanine, other aspartame metabolites, 
additives, drugs or other chemicals.

In her testimony, Verrett elaborated on DKP problems, including 
significant increases of uterine polyps and changes in blood 
cholesterol.  DKP is formed when liquids in particular are pre-sweetened 
with aspartame.  The production of DKP is vulnerable to increase in 
temperature and high temperatures produce increasing amounts of DKP.  She 
reminded members of the Congressional Committee "that is why initially, 
aspartame was not intended or not planned to be used in liquids because 
of this decomposition...it was decided it was too unstable to be used in 
hot preparations, hot liquids, and also in diet drinks.

Senator Howard Metzenbaum (D-OH) chairman of the hearing when Verrett 
testified asked her if she disagreed with FDA's position that tests for 
aspartame safety were credible.  Verrett succinctly said she disagreed.

Dr. H. J. Roberts, a Florida internist and author, cites case studies of 
individuals adversely affected by aspartame use.  In one case described 
by Roberts, the destruction left in the wake of aspartame use was so 
debilitating that a college honor student deteriorated from the brain 
damage and finally had to be institutionalized because her mental 
retardation was so severe.  

Roberts said he treated the 18 year old student in 1986 because of 
"profound intellectual deterioration" that followed her use of aspartame 
products for weight control.

The young woman suffered mental incapacitation that destroyed her 
academic goal when she had a drop of 20 I.Q. points, according to 
Roberts, who said prior to use of the aspartame she had been an 
outstanding student at a major university, as well as a skilled typist 
and pianist.  

Her skills had rapidly declined, according to Roberts by the time of her 
first visit to his office.  Her physical complaints included headaches, 
decreasing vision in one eye, dizziness, intense drowsiness, tremors, 
insomnia, suicidal depression, itching, burning on urination, personality 
change, abdominal pain recurrent nausea, loss of menstrual cycle, and an 
ironic 15 pound weight gain.  

Roberts said extensive neurophysical tests were conducted on the woman 
and no consistent patterns were found for a primary disorder or 

When he noted the woman experienced drowsiness after ingesting aspartame 
drinks and dozed while driving, he advised her to avoid aspartame, and to 
follow an antihypoglycemic diet with medication.  Avoidance of aspartame 
relieved her symptoms, but the apparent brain damage remained, requiring 
her placement in a facility for the mentally retarded.  

In a study investigating the consequences of aspartame on people with 
mood disorders, Ralph Walton, M.D., Robert Hudak, Ph.D. and Ruth J. 
Green-Waite concluded "individuals with mood disorders are particularly 
sensitive to this artificial sweetener (aspartame) and its use in this 
population should be discouraged.

Walton said their study was terminated after only 20 days by the 
Institutional Review Board of Western Reserve Care System, Youngstown, 
Ohio because the reactions (including a detached retina and a 
conjunctival hemorrhage) among the patients with a history of depression 
were so severe they could not "ethically continue the study".

The study included a total of 13 subjects.  Eight of the subjects were 
patients, ranging in age from 24 to 60 years.  All suffered from 
recurrent major depression.  Five healthy hospital employees, including 
the hospital administrator, volunteered as control group for the study.  
Each participant was asked to monitor his or her own symptoms from a 
checklist of headache, nervousness, dizziness, memory problems, binge 
eating, lower back pain, nausea, upset stomach, depression, insomnia, 
uncontrolable temper outburst or other symptoms.

The hospital pharmacy prepared 300 mg. capsules of aspartame for some 
participants and sugar placebos for others. (NutraSweet Co denied the 
request from the researchers to purchase the aspartame for the study, so 
the capsules were provided by Schweizerhall, Inc. of New Jersey).  A 154 
pound person ingested seven of the prepared capsules daily - the 
approximate aspartame equivalent would be 10 to 12 cans of diet sodas.

Although the study was abbreviated because of the severity of the 
subjects' symptoms, the researchers did find the incidence of headaches 
in participants taking aspartame increased and that persons with a 
history of depression demonstrated significant adverse reactions while 
taking aspartame.  They also reported adverse symptoms for the group 
taking aspartame increased significantly.

Walton, then chief of psychiatry, at New York's Jamestown Hospital and 
Chautauqua County mental health commissioner, reported a case study of a 
patient who reacted adversely to aspartame.  His 54 year old female 
patient "suddenly experienced a grand mal seizure followed by profound 
behavior changes."

Some of the personality changes included euphoria, flight of ideas, 
increased motor activity and insomnia.  A history of the woman's eating 
habits revealed she had been accustomed to drinking about a gallon of 
sugar sweetened ice tea daily.  In the weeks before her seizure, she had 
switched from sugar-sweetened tea to an iced tea product containing 
aspartame.  After reviewing her case, Walton advised her to eliminate the 
aspartame product upon which she returned to normal and the symptoms 

Walton questions the reliability and validity of studies for the safety 
of aspartame funded by the NutraSweet's Co.  "I'm absolutely convinced," 
he says, "I know it causes seizures.  I'm convinced also that it 
definitely causes behavioral changes.  I'm very angry that this substance 
is on the market.  I personally question the reliability and validity of 
any studies funded by the NutraSweet Company.  

In the l987 proceedings of the First International Meeting on Dietary 
Phenylalanine and Brain Function, he also presented eight other seizure 
cases, along with case studies of mania, panic attacks and weight gain 
induced by aspartame use.  

In No-Nonsense Nutrition For Kids Annette Natow and Jo An Heslin write 
"animal and human studies have shown that aspartame caused chemical 
changes in the brain.  More research is needed to determine if aspartame 
is a health hazard.  

The questions about the validity of the Searle research and tests of 
aspartame date back to 1976 when FDA was uncertain about the animal test 
data provided by Searle.  The FDA administrators asked Sam Skinner, 
former U.S. attorney in the Northern District of Illinois, to convene a 
grand jury to investigate discrepancies in the animal test data provided 
by Searle.

On January 10, 1977, FDA chief counsel Richard Merrill, sent a 33 page 
letter to Skinner repeating the request for the grand jury investigation 
"into apparent violations of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act .. 
and False Reports to the Government Act.. by G. D. Searle Co.

The letter also charged that Searle concealed material facts and made 
false statements in reports of animal studies conducted to establish the 
safety of the food additive aspartame.  The studies cited for 
investigation had been conducted in 1972, and five year statutes of 
limitation for criminal prosecution were due to expire on October 10 and 
December 8, 1977.  

The statues of limitation ran out before any criminal charges were ever 
filed.  In 1977 Skinner was offered and accepted a job with Sidley and 
Austin, the law firm that represented Searle.

And ----- I could go on and on and on.  The story of aspartame just keeps 
on getting worse.  Remember that Congressional Hearings on Safety were 
held when aspartame was in only 600 products.  People were already going 
blind like Joyce Wilson who testified before she died.  Today aspartame 
is in 5000 products and climbing.  Three world-wide organizations, 
Mission Possible, The Aspartame Consumer Safety Network and Worldwide 
Pilot Hotline continue to warn the world and take case histories.  We're 
running out of space to stack case histories of horrible side effects and 
disease.  Databases are running over!  Do you really want this drug in 
your food.

Truckloads of cases of diet soda were sent to the Persian Gulf and sat in 
the 120 degree Arabian sun for as long as 8 weeks on pallets.  One 
soldier said they drank them all day.  Desert Storm Syndrome symptoms are 
identical to aspartame poisoning - slurring of the words from the 
methanol, chronic fatigue syndrome (methanol breaks down the immune 
system), headaches, depression, mood changes, vision problems, confusion, 
memory loss, etc.  6000 perished!

Why are so many of you fighting for this poison?.  I personally have 
friends and relatives who almost died on this stuff.  Why would anyone 
want a drug in their food and drink just because its sweet.  The studies 
Searle did are just plain hideous with rats dying and being resurrected, 
monkeys having grand mal seizures.

An article in the CFIDS Network News (Sept 94) is titled NUTRASWEET:  

It says:  Suspect "methyl alcohol intoxication" in:

1.  Recurrent headaches
2. Mental aberrations
3.  Seizures
4. Suicidal tendencies
5. Behavioral disorders
6.  Birth defects
7. Childhood CNS illness
8. Urinary bladder disturbances
9. Skin lesions

"Because of the damage done to the brain and other organs by the end 
products of methyl alcohol intake, the only way to avoid these deadly 
side effects is by AVOIDING THIS LETHAL SUBSTANCE! (Reprinted from 
Winston-Salon CFS Support Group Newsletter, June l994)

Folks this is not even a diet product.  The Congressional Record of 1985 

"Aspartame has been demonstrated to inhibit the carbohydrate induced 
synthesis of the neurotransmitter serotonin (Wurtman affidavit).  
Serotonin blunts the sensation of craving carbohydrates and thus is part 
of the body's feedback system that helps limit consumption to appropriate 
levels.  Its inhibition by aspartame could lead to the anomalous result 
of a diet product causing increased consumption of carbohydrates."

Translation:  If you want to get fat use aspartame!

Methanol poisoning symptoms are lethargy, confusion, leg cramps, back 
pain, severe headaches, abdominal pain, impaired articulation, fainting, 
visual loss and labored breathing just to name a few.  

Please tell me what use aspartame has?  It is a chemical poison.  It is 
not a diet product and will seriously damage a diabetic - they are going 
blind from the methyl alcohol converting to formaldehyde in the retina of 
the eye.  Wood alcohol has killed and blinded thousands of skid row drunks!

In the Congressional Record on page S 5492 it says:  "the extensive 
deficiencies in the stability studies conducted by Searle to demonstrate 
that aspartame and its degradation products are safe in soft drinks 
intended to be sold in the United States, render those studies inadequate 
and unreliable."  Can this be any clearer!  Somebody needs to change 
Medline and expose the truth.  

Dr. H. J. Roberts wrote to Newt Gingrich on June 2 asking for new 
congressional hearings.  He said: "I also am concerned about two other 
suspect aspartame related problems on which I have published in detail - 
name the acceleration of Alzheimer's disease, and the initiation of brain 
cancer.  The latter was demonstrated in several animal studies long 
before the arbitrary approval of aspartame for human use.  My just 
published book, DEFENSE AGAINST ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE, reviews considerable 
evidence for this "Alzheimer connection."

Folks this 20th century disease is now the 4th leading cause of death and 
Dr. Roberts believes its NutraSweet accelerating the disease - even in baby-

I have only seen two successful uses for aspartame:

1.  As biochemical warfare (as evidenced by those with Desert Storm 
2.  Rat poison.  It was particularly good at killing rats in the 
original  studies  - and giving them brain tumors.  

How many of you want your children to consume this poison.  It was only a 
couple of weeks ago that a child development organization called to say 
learning disabilities are now at 50%.  This has sacrificed the brains of 
our children.  The packet I sent them on aspartame including Dr. Roberts 
lengthy report on learning disabilities has been duplicated and sent to 
their 10,000 offices.  

And a note to you our there who keep saying the aspartame tests were safe.
Please show us some not financed by Searle/Monsanto.  This says it all:

Dr. John Olney informed Searle that aspartic acid caused holes in the 
brains of mice he was testing.  Ann Reynolds, a researcher hired by 
Searle, confirmed DR. Olney's findings in a similar study.  A large task 
Force was formed, headed by FDA lead investigator, Philip Brodsky.  Here 
are excerpts from the conclusions of their summary:

"We have uncovered serious deficiencies in Searle's integrity in 
conducting high quality animal research to accurately determine or 
characterize the toxic potential of its products."

"We have found instances of irrelevant or unproductive animal research 
where experiments have been poorly conceived, carelessly executed or 
inaccurately analyzed or reported."  "The cumulative findings of problems 
within and across the studies we investigated reveal a pattern of conduct 
which compromised the scientific integrity of the studies."

1.Documents supplied by Sen. Howard Metzenbaum's office (February 6, l986)
2.Letter from Richard A. Merrill, Chief Counsel, Department of Health, 
Education and Welfare, Food and Drug Administration, to Honorable Samuel 
K. Skinner, U. S. Attorney, Northern District of Illinois requesting that 
Skinner's office convene a Grand Jury investigation into G. D. Searle Co. 
for submitting false reports (January 10, l977)
3.  Memorandum from Charles P. Kocoras, First Assistant U.S. Attorney, to 
Samuel K. Skinner, U. S. Attorney, regarding G. D. Searle Co. (April 13, 
4.  Testimony of Dr. Jacqueline Verrett, Food and Drug Administration 
Toxicologist before the U.S. Senate Committee on Labor and Human 
Resources, regarding "NutraSweet Health and Safety Concerns,"  (November 
3, 1977)
5.  Walton, R. G., Hudak R.;Green-WaiteR. J. "Adverse Reactions to 
Aspartame: Double-Blind Challenge in Patients from a Vulnerable 
Population."  Biological Psychiatry 34 13-17 (1993)
6. Walton, R. G. "Seizure and Mania After High Intake of Aspartame" 
Psychosomatics.  (March l986)
7. Roberts, H. J. Aspartame (NutraSweet) Is It Safe?  The Charles Press 
8. Nalow, A., Heflin, J.A. No-Nonsense Nutrition for Kids N.Y. 
McGraw-Hill (l985)
9.  Congressional Record - Senate  May 7, 1985

For those who want instructions for the auto-responder please email me to 
access more information on aspartame.  We hope you will print out our 
warning flyer being distributed throughout the world, and warn everyone 
who know and meet.  

                 Betty Martini     Operation Mission Possible         

Betty Martini
Domain:  betty at pd.org
UUCP:  ...!emory!pd.org!betty

On Wed, 2 Aug 1995, Andre' van Schaik wrote:

> Betty Martini <betty at noel.pd.org> wrote:
> snap snap
> >Methanol toxicity 
>  ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
> >mimics MS and Dr. Roberts mentioned he tells physicians not to make the 
> >diagnosis until he gets the patient off of NutraSweet.
>                                             ^^^^^^^^^^
> I might have missed something obvious, but what is the link between
> NutraSweet, or Aspartame and methanol?
> Andre

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