After the WHO reclassified aspartame, ten more chemicals were identified as “possibly carcinogenic.”


Ten other 'possibly carcinogenic' substances following WHO's re-classification of aspartame

A sweetener used in a slew of everyday products, from diet soda to yogurt, is “possibly carcinogenic to humans,” World Health Organization bosses ruled today.

Aspartame — added to Diet Coke, extra chewing gum and Muller Diet yogurt — is now classified as a 2 billion cancer risk, meaning there’s limited but inconclusive evidence.

But WHO bosses also claimed that aspartame poses no risk of cancer at current consumption.

Only people who consume excessive amounts are at increased risk, researchers conclude.

Nearly 100 products have been ranked the same as aspartame, from common sunburn treatments, foods and jobs.

The IARC classified the risk as 2B - meaning there is limited or inconclusive evidence - and puts it in the same category as gasoline engine exhaust, lead and the occupational hazard of being a hairdresser - where workers are regularly exposed to chemicals

The IARC classified the risk as 2B – meaning there is limited or inconclusive evidence – and puts it in the same category as gasoline engine exhaust, lead and the occupational hazard of being a hairdresser – where workers are regularly exposed to chemicals

Aloe vera has been used as a traditional medicine for centuries and is widely used in skin care, medicine and nutritional supplements.

The NHS even recommends using the plant to relieve painful sunburns.

However, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) categorized the plant as a 2B risk after a two-year rat study found that those who drank water with aloe vera extract were more likely to develop colon cancer.

The bracken fern, which is native to Britain and common in forests, moors and hills, poses the same risk, according to the WHO.

This is because animal studies suggest that it increases the risk of colon and bladder cancer.

Other items that fall into the same category include gasoline, some types of human papillomavirus (HPV), and progesterone-only contraceptives.

The 2B rating only relates to how strong the evidence is regarding a particular substance causing cancer, not how much risk it poses.

Traditional pickled Asian vegetables also belong to the same group, as studies have linked the food to stomach and esophageal cancer.

In addition, progesterone-only contraceptives such as the minipill fall into the same category, as studies have suggested that it slightly increases the risk of breast cancer.

Perineal use of talc-based body powder has been linked to ovarian cancer, leading officials to conclude there is limited evidence that it may increase the chance of developing cancer.

In addition to these posts, some jobs also carry the same risk.

Working in the dry cleaning, textile and printing industries carries the same risk due to exposure to chemicals.

A Danish study suggests that liver and gallbladder cancers are more common in laundry workers, while those who work with textiles are more prone to throat and mouth cancer.

The IARC classifies items as carcinogenic to humans using a four-point scale, with group 1 meaning there is “sufficient evidence of cancer in humans, such as smoking and alcohol.”

Group 2A includes things where there is “limited evidence of cancer in humans” but ample evidence in animal studies, such as emissions from deep-frying and night shifts.

Group 2B includes things that show “limited evidence” of cancer in humans and “less than adequate” evidence of cancer in animals.

In group 3 there is ‘insufficient evidence in humans’ and animal studies, such as drinking coffee and paracetamol.

Aspartame – everything you need to know

What is Aspartame?

Aspartame is an artificial sweetener first developed in the 1960s that is about 200 times sweeter than sugar.

This means it takes less grams per gram than sugar to achieve the same sweet result, making products containing it lower in calories.

Also, unlike sugar, it does not raise blood sugar and thus can be used as an alternative source of sweets for diabetics.

Chemically it consists of three substances aspartic acid (40 percent), phenylalanine (50 percent) and methanol (10 percent).

What is it found in?

In a wide variety of products that market themselves as “diet” or “sugar-free.”

The best-known examples are the diet soft drinks from soft drink giant Coca-Cola, Diet Coke and Coke Zero, but also sugar-free gums such as Extras.

Other examples are low-fat yogurts.

Is there aspartame in Coke Zero and Pepsi Max too?

Yes. Both products list aspartame in their ingredients list.

Other soda brands such as some Fanta flavors, Lucozade, and Dr Pepper also contain the artificial sweetener.

What are the dangers?

Aspartame has been linked to numerous common medical problems, including headaches, dizziness, and upset stomach.

However, blind trials, where participants don’t know if the product they’re consuming contains the sweetener, have been unable to replicate this.

But there have been broader health concerns for years, including that they cause cancer, alter the gut biome, cause depression and, paradoxically, even contribute to obesity by increasing people’s appetites.

However, health and nutrition regulators have repeatedly declared them safe for use after a “rigorous safety assessment.”

There is one exception, and that is for people with phenylketonuria, a rare hereditary condition.

People with phenylketonuria cannot process phenylalanine, an amino acid that is one of the building blocks of aspartame.

When people with phenylketonuria consume phenylalanine, it can build up in their blood and eventually damage their vital organs.

For this reason, aspartame must be listed as an ingredient on products containing it.

Only about one in 10,000 people has the condition.