EPA: Saccharin no longer considered a hazardous substance
December 14th, 2010
03:59 PM ET

EPA: Saccharin no longer considered a hazardous substance

Saccharin is in a lot of products you might use everyday.  It's in items like sugar-free gum, diet soda and mouthwash.  It's even in some of your pills. But now there's one less place where you can find the popular artificial sweetener. The Environmental Protection Agency is taking saccharin and its salts off its list of hazardous substances. According to the agency, the crystalline powder "is no longer considered a potential hazard to human health."

Saccharin was first listed as a hazardous waste in 1980 after studies in rats showed the sweetener caused higher rates of bladder cancer. The EPA subsequently determined it to be a "potential human carcinogen". Yet two decades later, the National Toxicology Program and International Agency for Research on Cancer reversed that classification after scientists failed to link saccharin consumption to cancer in humans.

Saccharin was removed from their listings of hazardous substances. The EPA has now followed suit, after a petition was filed earlier this year by the Calorie Control Council, an advocacy association that claims to represent the low-calorie food and beverage industry.

According to the EPA, saccharin is three hundred times sweeter than sugar. Today's decision is not expected to impact consumers. Indeed, the EPA says the only anticipated change will be in how waste from saccharin and its salts are managed, now that they are not considered to be hazardous.

The EPA's full list of hazardous substances is available online.

soundoff (154 Responses)
  1. tina k

    I don't trust anything the EPA says as ong as they continue allowing gmo's in our foods and don't stop Monsanto from corrupting our foods for the sake of money in pay offs to keep them quiet. They just want us al unhealthy and fat so pharmaceutical companies can maintain their businesse!!

    December 15, 2010 at 06:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Dan

    I'm still going to avoid it...even if it doesn't cause cancer I have never known anyone to lose weight drinking diet soda.

    December 15, 2010 at 08:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Frogface

    THIS JUST IN – Falling off a cliff is no longer considered hazardous to your health.

    December 15, 2010 at 08:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Abbie

    And, who would trust the "wisdom" of the EPA? Look at their other genius conclusions that have killed thousands, and draw your own conclusions. If you trust the government, then you have bigger problems than whether to use chemicals in your coffee. . . .

    December 15, 2010 at 08:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. mary derricotte

    EPA a wink and a nod to the junk food industry. Well I'm in my 50's and my friends a dying before their parents. I suggest things, such as birth control pills and all types of exposure to 20th centuary products have turned around the gains of modern medicine and the quality of life. We now can look foward to medications a cancer.

    December 15, 2010 at 08:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Mike Distance

    So even though it was on the hazardous list it was still in foods and products?
    It seems pretty clear to me that the opinion of this group has no bearing on anything.

    December 15, 2010 at 08:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. mim

    Saccharin not hazardous? Oh, and my name is Cinderella.

    December 15, 2010 at 08:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Larry


    kilroy, your science is WAY off. What you eat isn't going to affect your metabolism. Your body doesn't "fire up" the metabolism when you ingest calories. Your body "fires up" the metabolism when you expend energy.

    Sorry Maria, You're wrong about this. Digesting food takes energy. Sleeping even expends energy.

    December 15, 2010 at 09:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Johnny Debt

    Just waiting for them to announce that cigarettes are actually good for you! 🙂

    December 15, 2010 at 09:03 | Report abuse | Reply
    • dom625

      That will be the day that I throw a HUGE smoking party! And I will be blowing my smoke into all of the uppity non-smokers' faces!

      December 15, 2010 at 09:32 | Report abuse |
  10. Keith Redpath

    If I recall when Saccharin was deemed dangerous, they told us that if the average healthy person were to drink 10 cases of diet pop (which at that time obviously had Saccharin in it) per day for some 50 years, that it would increase the health risk by less than one percent....I am sure that whatever they are using now is sooooo much better for us.

    December 15, 2010 at 09:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Nancy's Son

    I'm not buying this article. My Mother used sweet&low regularly since it was introduced to the market. She never smoked a day in her life and died of cancer of the lungs, intestine, bladder and liver. I cannot believe that this artificial sweetner has been proclaimed safe. This is an outrage.

    December 15, 2010 at 09:12 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jhamil

      You truly don't understand cancers, do you?

      December 16, 2010 at 00:08 | Report abuse |
  12. Confused

    Interestingly enough, back in the early days of my bladder cancer diagnosis – I did extensive research into artificial sweeteners and looked at aspartame and the other ones that were on the market. I used to use Equal – for coffee, iced tea. Probably used it for about 15 years or so, but not overly excessive – since I never have been a huge coffee drinker (two cups a day, and usually only in the colder months of the year) and due to the way caffeine was affecting me with my summer time Ice Tea consumption, I eventually switched to Gatorade. Anyway, diabetics were the test group that were studied the closest on the saccharin usage, since they of all test groups have been using saccharin the longest. Guess
    what my research found? There was no significant or above average prevalence of bladder cancer among diabetics than any other tested demographic group – and the conclusion was reached that there was no evidence to suggest that saccharin users were any more likely to get bladder cancer than any other group.

    What disturbs me about this story – however, is that when I did do my research – I never stumbled across any mention of this 1980 study or decision to insinuate that saccharin was ever thought to be connected to bladder cancer. I did my research on well known and widely used medical websites, so if this declaration was issued way back in 1980 – why didn't I see any mention of it?

    December 15, 2010 at 09:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Mulholland

    Well I still won't be using it. Regardless of what some gov't bureaucracy says, the stuff is still not good for you. Any type of soda is bad for you anyways and the only sweeteners you should be using are honey, agave or molasses and sparingly. Sucrose (table sugar) is horrible for you and any type of artificial sweetener is just slow working poison as well whether the gov't admits it or not.

    December 15, 2010 at 09:24 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jhamil

      Based on what? Do you have anything other than anecdotal evidence to back up that claim? or is that just how you "feel"?

      December 16, 2010 at 00:09 | Report abuse |
  14. numbnut

    This article is a bit confusing. As a reader, we connect Sacharin with injesting. I think they are trying to tell us that the EPA is saying it is not a hazardous substance for the environment. So, my take is they are going to dump loads of this crap in waste dumps, and they are saying we should be okay from it. I still don't agree with what they are doing. Where the hell is Erin Brockovich?

    December 15, 2010 at 10:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. razzlea


    December 15, 2010 at 10:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. bittersweet

    Strangely enough, when I heard that saccharine had been taken off the hazardous ingredient list, I was 1 week away from surgery to biopsy and remove a bladder tumor.This is the second time in 2 years. The only sweetener I use is Sweet 'n Low which is mainly saccharine. I have used it for years, and never really knew about the findings of an increased risk of bladder cancer. Makes me wonder--

    December 15, 2010 at 13:17 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jhamil

      Well obviously it caused cancer! Do you drive a car? Do you use a phone? Do you watch tv? Do you (obviously) use the internet? Well those caused cancer too! Admit it, the evidence for those causing your cancer based on use were as solid as artificial sweetening agents. But no, of all the things you do on a daily basis (all with the equal chance of causing cancer based on your flimsy standards for risk) it was sweeteners that did it. Sounds rock solid!

      December 16, 2010 at 00:12 | Report abuse |
  17. dave

    I would say that it would be hard to get 100% accurate test done on something like this when the very air you breath is polluted. Its everything all at once. Go to a crystal clear spring and drink the water and then drink the water in a plastic bottle eat a normal apple and then eat a organic grown apple I can tell the difference

    December 15, 2010 at 15:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Frank

    Well you all know who control the EPA, pharmaceuticals, American government, Hollywood, and news media, don't you? They are behind this.

    December 15, 2010 at 17:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. dave

    Can't make money on healthy people so we will just drag it out like we do with tech so we make more money

    December 18, 2010 at 14:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. dave

    Hey any of you wonder why we can comment on consumer products and stuff but can't on wikileaks articles think about it

    December 19, 2010 at 01:26 | Report abuse | Reply
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