February 24, 2009

Aspertame (think: Donald Rumsfield profiteer) update

New Mexico Senate
Santa Fe, New Mexico
The Honorable Frank Torti, M.D.

February 12, 2009

Acting Commissioner,
United States Food and Drug Administration
5400 Fisher's Lane
Rockville, Maryland

Dear Dr. Torti:

I am the New Mexico sponsor of the enclosed Senate Memorial 9, 2009, asking the Food and Drug Administration to rescind its approval for the artificial sweetener, aspartame.

You may know that the FDA, to its credit, turned down G.D. Searle's application for aspartame's approval from 1966 to 1981, at which point, approval was forced through the FDA at the insistence of Searle's CEO, Donald Rumsfeld.
Numerous physicians' petitions as well as many private petitions have been filed with FDA since 1981 asking for the rescinding of aspartame's approval. These have all been routinely ignored and responded to with industry assurance about how many industry financed "tests" aspartame has been through, all of which showed "aspartame to be safe."
FDA used to keep records on consumer complaints on aspartame, accruing a minimum of 92 alleged symptoms from ingesting aspartame, ranging from headaches, blurred vision, skin rashes, epilepsy and multiple sclerosis to that ultimate symptom, DEATH.

Dr. Torti, this chemical has produced a massive mountain of medical and neurodengenerative evidence, which I believe would lead you to order it removed from the market. While it is too late to do this now as a "precaution"; it is even more imperative to do this as a means of preventing further medical harm to future victims.

This Memorial is advancing in the New Mexico Senate, after being cosponsored by ten of my colleagues. A similar version of the Memorial has also been introduced by Hawaii Senator Chun Oakland, and is cosponsored by ten members of the Hawaii Senate. That resolution will create an evidentiary repository for Hawaii victims, especially those with diabetes and epileptic seizures, now statistically epidemic in Hawaii, with links to aspartame.In January 2009, Hawaii Senator Kalani English introduced SB576 in that state. It would ban aspartame entirely in Hawaii. This bill is cosponsored by an astonishing 14 members of the 25 member Hawaii Senate. At the same time, Representative Mele Carroll has introduced HB669, also banning aspartame's sale and use in Hawaii.

I realize a permanent FDA Commissioner has not yet been selected by the Obama Administration, but when one is appointed, I will send a similar letter to him/her to again request this action in order to protect the American public from further harm from a chemical that the FDA has known for 43 years is metabolized as methanol, formaldehyde, aspartic acid, phenylalanine, and the proven carcinogen, diketopiperazine.This regulatory failure of epic proportions entirely resulted from the actions of Donald Rumsfeld when he was with the original patent holder for aspartame. There is sufficient evidence to warrant such a rescinding, a situation not unlike that in 1969 when President Richard Nixon similarly ordered the FDA to take away the approval for another group of carcinogens, cyclamates, which occurred very quickly.

Our concern must be the overarching concerns of preventing further neurodengenerative and carcinogenic damage to hundreds of millions of Americans, who have no other government entity to trust and depend on than the United State Food and drug Administration!
I believe that President Obama, Congressman Bart Stupak, and Congresswoman Rosa Delauro all want to see the rebuilding of an FDA that merits the restored trust of the American people. I certainly want to see this come about, and I hope you do as well.Rescinding aspartame's FDA approval would be a major credible first step in the right direction.

Sincerely yours,
Gerald Ortiz y Pino
New Mexico State Senator
District 12Albuquerque

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