Mon, 3 May 1999 13:39:19 +1200

I am looking for some help regarding aspartame, which is
reportedly used in diet products such as dietcoke and nutrasweet.

As a science fiction (film) writer, media researcher and former
journalist I have an interest in science and the way it is reported in
the media. I can see that commercial interests might not serve the
people or science, but there are too many rumours around. Those
that might have reason to be scared of what those interests are
doing, seem unable to prove their points, but the scared feeling it
produces in the recipients of their messages, always remains
behind. Often that is the only thing people will remember of the

At the moment here in New Zealand an email scare is going around
re. dangers of a chemical called aspartame. The original message,
which I received at home on Saturday morning, is said to come
from Nancy Markle and was based on or given as a talk at the
World Environmental Conference.

Aspartame is said to contain a deadly poison, during the article
several items are mentioned, which causes cancer, multiple
sclerosis and a range of other diseases. I understand it seems to
work as a trigger device. It does not seem to be too dangerous on
its own, but it is when mixed in with something else and the article
claims that aspartame, made by Monsanto, is used in 200, maybe
even in 5 000 different products. Apparently Monsantos pushes it
passed the FDA and Congressional hearings.
The claims include: aspartame changes the brain's chemistry, the
methanol in it converts to formaldehyde in the retina of the eye.

There is no scientific evidence attached, just claims. Of course
certain people would like to attacks scientists or Monsantos,
because of the GM foods. A search on the web didn't teach me
any more. There was just one site that said that there were many
sweetener. As I am not a scientist I cannot judge this, not do I
know where to begin looking for information that I can both
understand and judge its value. I'm looking for serious information
on this. If so many people get so many serious diseases someone
must have done some research on this. I hope one of you can point
me in the right direction.

I was wondering if any of you could help out. Does anyone know
who Nancy Markle is or the World Environmental Conference?

What worries me is the claim that aspartame does not have any
nutritional value, doesn't even help you get slimmer (apparently it's
just the opposite and it makes you craves for carbohydrates), and
that it is used in other, supposedly sugar- free, products. The
article quotes the ambassador of Uganda as saying that his sugar
industry adds aspartame.

I can email anyone who's interested the article as I received it.


Janine R. Baalbergen
Student Master of Arts
School of Communications
Auckland Institute of Technology
State Insurance Building rm 1414
Wakefield Street
Auckland New Zealand
Ph. 64 9 307 9999 ext 8406