Thursday, October 18, 2007


This Day in the History of Overreactions

On this day in 1969, the United States government banned cyclamates, a non-caloric sweetener discovered in 1937. It was often used in combination with saccharin. I liked it. The ban was based on concern raised by one experiment showing bladder tumors appeared in laboratory rats fed large doses of cyclamate. Following new experiments, in June 1985, the National Academy of Sciences affirmed the FDA's Cancer Assessment Committee's latest conclusion: "the totality of the evidence from studies in animals does not indicate that cyclamate or its major metabolite cyclohexylamine is carcinogenic by itself." Cyclamate is now considered safe for use in more than 50 countries.

One of the most banal things you could say in the early 70s was that the rats in the cyclamate experiments were fed more cyclamates than one could ever ingest. No freakin' kidding. On the other hand, Gatorade never tasted very good after they took out the cyclamates.


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