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Senior Toxicologist CFSAN and FDA and DHHS
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The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is the principal federal agency responsible for protecting the health of all Americans and providing essential human services, especially for those who are least able to help themselves. The HHS is responsible f... more.
Acting Director of the Division of Health Effects Evaluation
U.S. Food and Drug Administration
Director of the Office
Acting Director of Division of Health Effects Evaluation
FDA Center for Food Safety
Professor K. Kojima, Professor of Environmental Hygiene, Emeritus, College of Environmental Health
Member of FAO and WHO Joint Expert Committee On Food Additives
"We have attempted to get the studies, and thus far have not been successful," concedes David Hattan of the FDA's Division of Health Effects Evaluation, speaking of the research published in "small regional journals in South America.
Snopes bases its decision on the 1999 testimony of David Hattan, Ph.D., acting director of the Division of Health Effects Evaluation in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition.
The myth actually prompted such a wild fire that Dr. David G. Hattan, Director of the Division of Health Effects Evaluation of the FDA (PDF Warning), was forced to publicly respond.
He assured the public that, despite legitimate and multiple attempts to prove otherwise, aspartame does not cause Alzheimer's disease.
David Hattan, Ph.D., acting director of FDA's division of health effects evaluation, says there is no "credible evidence," to support, for example, a link between aspartame and multiple sclerosis or systemic lupus.
Some Internet reports claim that patients suffering from both conditions went into remission after discontinuing aspartame use. "Both of these disorders are subject to spontaneous remissions and exacerbation," says Hattan. "So it is entirely possible that when patients stopped using aspartame they might also coincidentally have had remission of their symptoms." It is true, says Hattan, that aspartame ingestion results in the production of methanol, formaldehyde and formate--substances that could be considered toxic at high doses. But the levels formed are modest, and substances such as methanol are found in higher amounts in common food products such as citrus juices and tomatoes. Other circulating reports claim that two amino acids in aspartame--phenylalanine and aspartic acid--can cause neurotoxic effects such as brain damage. "This is true in certain individuals and in high enough doses," says Hattan. He explains that a very small group of people who have the rare hereditary disease phenylketonuria, estimated at 1 in 16,000 people, are sensitive to phenylalanine. Regarding seizures, Hattan cites animal and human studies showing that the sweetener neither causes nor enhances the susceptibility of seizures.
Productliability | Guerrero Law Firm | San Francisco Attorney | 415-543-6462
As David Hattan, Acting Director of the Division of Health Effects Evaluation in the United States Food & Drug Administration (USFDA) Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, points out, aspartame has been studied continuously since 1978: