Posted: 15 October 2005
From the October, 2005 edition of The Idaho Observer
Enviro health board determines its standing to hear claims that the FDA approved artificial sweetener is a poisonous food additive and its marketplace presence in violation of statutes.
SANTA FE, New Mexico The Environmental Improvement Board (EIB) voted 4-2 October 4, 2005, to proceed with hearings that could lead to a ban of aspartame in New Mexico. Before the board was the question, "Did the EIB have the authority to hold a hearing to determine whether or not to ban for sale in the state of New Mexico a federally-approved food additive?"
Before making a motion to grant the hearing, EIB vice-Chairman Cliff Stroud commented that the system would be broken if the board did not have the authority to listen when people have concerns about the food supply. The board's decision came after a meeting in which the attorney for Santa Fe art gallery owner Stephen Fox argued that the board does have the statutory authority to ban aspartame in New Mexico. Fox's arguments were countered by a brief submitted by attorneys for aspartame producer Ajinomoto and the Calorie Control Council (CCC) - a national trade group that promotes the use of aspartame. The five-day hearing on the subject of aspartame is scheduled for next July.
Fox has been prepping the groundwork for over two years. With the help of Mission Possible, Fox, who had previously spearheaded an attempt to create a nutrition council for New Mexico, kept the subject of aspartame toxicity in front of key people in New Mexico government.
Though his attempt to pass a bill was unsuccessful last year, Fox discovered that the state has already empowered the EIB to reexamine consumer protection issues including food quality. Laws authorizing the state to protect its people from harmful substances in commerce have been on the books since 1941. Several states passed similar laws about that time to be in harmony with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which was formed in 1938.
Fox has made such an impression that New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson told Albuquerque Journal reporter Jackie Jadrnak October 5, 2005, that he doesn't think the federal government is doing enough to protect the public from the dangers of aspartame. When asked if he thought aspartame was harmful, Jadnrak quoted him as saying, "Yes, from what I have learned." And, boy has he learned. Utilizing every avenue and resource at his disposal, Fox called all of his friends to call all of the public officials and newspaper reporters he could think of. One would be hard-pressed to find one state-level politician or newspaper editor who has not been exposed to evidence indicating the neurotoxic properties of the artificial sweetener aspartame.
Off the record comments from board members overheard by witnesses attending the Oct. 4 meeting indicate a high level of disgust for the federal regulators who approved aspartame. The sordid story of aspartame approval and the mountains of evidence proving its debilitating and often fatal side effects can be found at http://www.dorway.com and http://www.wnho.net. A more concise peek into aspartame politics and public health is found in the 24-page booklet, "The Artificially Sweetened Times" published by The IO (see page 24). Though the neurotoxic drug, which is 10 percent methanol, achieved FDA approval in 1980, the FDA has published a list of 92 symptoms of aspartame poisoning that include weight gain, blindness, insanity and death.
Santa Fe attorney T.J. Trujillo, representing the interests of the CCC, commented Oct. 5, 2005, that he and his clients are still exploring whether or not they have legal means to block next July's hearings. Betty Martini of Mission Possible asked, "Why would the Calorie Control Council choose to block the hearings? Wouldn't it be in the interest of aspartame producers and consumers to publicly prove the safety of this product? What are they trying to hide?"
"FDA spokeswoman Kimberly Rawlings said officials there are aware of the New Mexico board's action and are keeping an eye on what happens next," Jadnrak wrote. Aspartame is currently found in an estimated 7,000 commonly available products ranging from diet foods, diet sodas, sports drinks, baked goods, candy, chewing gum, vaccines and children's vitamins. The implications of a statewide ban on aspartame, which is within the realm of possibility now, are huge with regard to interstate commerce. A ban could also be a huge boost for states' rights and a blow to federal regulatory authority. "This is truly a victory for our side," said Fox. "Especially encouraging are the favorable comments from public officials and the press," he added. It's true that New Mexico's public officials and press are convinced that aspartame is dangerous and now it is the proponents of aspartame who are forced to defend their position. Eight months is a long time. For certain, the subject is too important to just go dormant until July, 2006. Fox has vowed to make sure he does not lose his current momentum and that the hearing next summer will be spectacular. Already, the nation's most dedicated anti-aspartame activists plan to testify in favor of an aspartame ban.
Fox can be reached for comment by calling (505) 983-2002 or by emailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org
THE DOORS ARE OPENING
What Fox has discovered is an effective means to work within the system to facilitate change. The tendency is to lobby for the passage of new laws to correct something in government. But that process is extremely slow, frustrating and, for those who have less money than lobbyists representing the interests of influential industries, usually futile. But, if you can find existing laws, the legislative process can be bypassed and agencies can exercise existing authority. For instance, most states do have laws protecting the quality of municipal water supplies. That means toxins such as fluoride cannot be added to the water lawfully. Demonstrating the toxicity of fluoride is pretty easy since it does not have FDA approval and a strong lobby in the Environmental Protection Agency is opposed to water fluoridation. Achieving a statewide ban, while not being easy, is at least doable. Activists in Hawaii accomplished a fluoride ban in water within the city and county of Oahu.
At this time, states are responding to concerns about public school students' access to vending machine drinks and junk food. Arkansas is the only state to ban vending machines in public schools. In 2004, vending machine restrictions were passed in Colorado, Louisiana, Tennessee and Washington. The following states will consider school vending machine restrictions this year: AZ, CA, CT, FL, HI, IL, IN, IA, KS, KY, MD, MI, MS, MT, NB, NH, NJ, NM, NY, ND, OK, PA, RI, WV, and VA. Most will mistakenly favor allowing "sugar-free (aspartame-laden)" drinks and snack foods unless you provide the state or school administrators with correct information. Go to the National Conference of State Legislators website at http://www.ncsl.org for the text of the actual bill(s) being proposed in your state.
Stephen Fox opened the door in New Mexico. Between now and July, we can swing the aspartame door wide open so that the states will begin confining the use of aspartame to insecticide or raise public awareness so high people stop consuming it.
THE POISONOUS PROOF
Elizabeth Fonda died in Las Vegas at the age of 49 October 1, 2005. She weighed 60 pounds at the time of her death, which was officially determined to be from complications associated with her chronic multiple sclerosis. According to her daughter Colleen Thompson, Fonda's health problems began about 20 years ago not long after she began drinking an average of 8 to 12 diet soft drinks each day. Since contacting Mission Possible, Thompson has been attempting to convince the state of Nevada that her mother died of aspartame poisoning. An autopsy would not only prove the role aspartame played in her mother's death, it would also help to prove the innocence of Diane Fleming. After a sham trial, Fleming was convicted of fatally poisoning her husband Chuck with an unopened gallon of methanol containing windshield washer fluid. She is currently serving a 30-year prison sentence (30 and 20 being served concurrently) when forensic data can prove when Chuck actually poisoned himself to death with aspartame (The Idaho Observer, April 2004).