I always thought twice before adding those little pink packets to my iced tea because a little voice in my head was telling me they were bad. No proof, just something I had heard somewhere.
As it turns out, saccharin WAS on EPA's hazardous constituent list. It's been on the list since 1980. The substance was put on the list because the EPA's Carcinogen Assessment Group listed it as a "potential human carcinogen."
Today the EPA announced the sweetening substance is being taken off that list.
After being petitioned by the Calorie Control Council, a group that represents the low-calorie food and beverage industry, the EPA looked at the evidence and decided saccharin and it's salts "are not reasonably expected to be human carcinogens."
So saccharin, the artificial sweentener that is 300 times more sweet than sucrose, is off the EPA's hook.
Turns out this notion that saccharin is bad for you has been around for more than a century.
According to a historical article on the FDA's website, back in 1907, President Theodore Roosevelt was prescribed a diet that included saccharin to cut down on his weight.
When a vice president of a food manufacturing firm raised health concerns about saccharin with the president, Roosevelt retorted:
"Anybody who says saccharin is injurious to health is an idiot."