Saccharin Has Been Cleared of Cancer Link Raised by High-Dose Studies in Rats
Saccharin is a no-calorie sweetener 300 times sweeter than table sugar. It has been used as a no-calorie sweetener in foods and beverages for more than 100 years. Saccharin was used heavily during the sugar shortages of the two world wars, particularly in Europe.
Today saccharin is used in a wide range of low- and no-calorie and sugar-free foods and beverages, including tabletop sweeteners, baked goods, jams, chewing gum, canned fruit, candy, dessert toppings and salad dressings as well as cosmetic products, vitamins and pharmaceuticals. It is also used in tabletop sweeteners under the brand names Sweet n’ Low®, Sugar Twin® and Necta Sweet®.
Saccharin has been the subject of extensive scientific research and is one of the most studied ingredients in the food supply. Extensive research on human populations confirms saccharin is safe for use by all populations, including children, and women who are pregnant or lactating. It is permitted for use in food and beverages in more than 100 countries around the world, including the United States. Saccharin has been reviewed and is regarded as safe by the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA), the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Today, health authorities around the world agree that saccharin is safe for human consumption. However, saccharin safety was questioned in the early 1970s after studies in male rats fed high doses of saccharin (equivalent to hundreds of cans of diet soft drinks a day for a lifetime) showed increased incidence of bladder cancer. Subsequent studies showed that the factors causing the cancer in rats were specifically related to male rat urinary physiology and not applicable to humans. In addition, epidemiological studies also found no association between saccharin consumption and urinary bladder cancer in humans. These factors, plus research conducted over the past 25 years that overwhelmingly demonstrates that saccharin does not cause cancer in humans, resulted in saccharin being “delisted” from the U.S. National Toxicology Program’s Report on Carcinogens in 2000.
Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI)
The US FDA has set the ADI for saccharin for children and adults at 5 mg/kg body weight. This means a 150-pound (68 kg) person can safely consume 340 mg of saccharin every day over his or her lifetime without adverse effects. The amount of saccharin in beverages sold by The Coca-Cola Company in the U.S. ranges from 7 mg per 12-fl. oz. serving in Diet Fanta Wild Cherry frozen carbonated beverageto 95 mg per 12-fl. oz. serving in Tab.*
*Amounts as of May 2012; rounded up to the nearest 5 mg.
Saccharin is not metabolized by humans. It passes through the body unchanged.
For more information about saccharin, see Saccharin.org