View Full Version : NM EIB October 4 votes 4-2 for 5-day aspartame toxicity hearing July, 2006

12-21-2005, 02:18 PM
NM EIB votes 4-2 for 5-day aspartame toxicity hearing July, 2006,
requesting a Hearing Officer and a medical expert from Environmental
Dept. and legal advice from NM Attorney General: Murray 2005.10.04

I was there at 9:00 AM -- a spacious, new, concrete state library 2
miles west of the Plaza, off Cerrillos Road, in a 20X20 windowless
room with about ten long movable tables and 60 padded chairs. About
three dozen were there at the late start at 9:50 AM. Jim Terr made a
video recording.

Rep. Peter Wirth ( D ) sat in the back, as did Wendy Brown, The New
Mexican, whose top of the page story was on Local News, page C-1.
EIB member Dolores Herrera, who seemed sympathtic towards the petition
on Sept. 6, was absent.
The Board's legal counsel, Mary Smith of the Attorney General's civil
division, did not speak today.

About six citizens made public comments, 1-5 minutes each, in favor of
the EIB's authority to take action about aspartame, and one citizen's
testimony about a friend whose severe neuropathy was "80 per cent
relieved 3 months after giving up heavy use of Diet Coke."

I briefly presented the central fact that aspartame is 11% methanol
(wood alcohol), which the body quickly largely turns into
formaldehyde, so that 6 cans daily diet soda exceeds the EPA limit for
formaldehyde in drinking water 18 times,
and the limit in Maryland by 1800 times,
according to a 468-page EPA formaldehyde review in 1999.

Four states, CA, ME, NJ, and MD,
have limits hugely more stringent than the federal EPA limit.

Gay Dillingham, Chair NM Environmental Improvement Board
Clifford Stroud, Vice Chair
Members: Harold Tso, Dolores Herrera, Gregory Green, Soren Peters,
and Ken Marsh

At 10:19 AM, Steven Douglas Looney, Attorney at Law, Santa Fe,
Sutin Law Firm 505-988-5521 sdl@sutinfirm.com , spoke for 13
minutes, speaking earnestly, clearly, efficiently. My rough notes:

Looney's Sept. 19 legal submission to the EIB,
I'm here pro bono, to benefit New Mexicans,
the NM Food Act gives the EIB the authority to hold hearings,
a NM Supreme Court ruling in July supports this,
basic fundamental due process of law, asking for the right to be
heard, possibly a one-day hearing,
due process means both sides get to be heard,
EIB has charter to determine adulterated substances and
protect the people of New Mexico,
the FDA has never been expressly granted preemption over the states in
food law,
state amd local authorities have the power, acting in co-existence
with federal agencies,
the courts have the final say about existing law regarding preemption,
states can choose to follow but not be limited to federal standards.

At 10:44 AM, Anthony J. "TJ" Trujillo, Esq., Santa Fe, Gallagher and
Kennedy, representing the Calorie Control Council, spoke for 12

CCC represents many food firms and summarizes relevant science,
the EIB had to use "discretion" in choosing to hear any petitions that
impact state and federal law,
the Stephen Fox petition was aimed at the wrong sections of the NM
Food Act,
which could lead to unfair enforcement against local businesses,
NM law "expressly tied" the EIB to the federal FDA,
Ajinomoto (major Japanese world aspartame firm) had also filed a brief
that NM was bound by federal preemption in these matters.

The EIB questioned both attorneys vigorously, debating questions, with
brief comments by Stephen Fox, Don Trigg from the NM AG, and both

whether EIB had the experts or resources or could get them to
investigate aspartame toxicity,
a strong prima facie case of evidence had convinced EIB members
that a hearing was necessary,
whether a 1-day hearing was enough time,
would the EIB only be able to issue a limited aspartame ban in
the original "legislative intents" in the NM Food Act,
whether the EIB would have to consider other similar issues, such as
whether the CCC could cite peer-reviewed studies.

Harold Tso stated bluntly that industry always presumed its own
and that the FDA often had "at best, shady science,"
and if New Mexico had no authority of its own in these matters,
"We should just put President Bush in charge,"

Ken Marsh: the dangers of aspartame not yet proved to us, and no one
in the Environmental Department has the skills, but, nevertheless,
everyone has the right to be heard.

Soren Peters: two day hearing not a reasonable, sufficient duration.

Stevan Looney: one week would be better, but one day is enough for
our experts.

11:10 AM Gregory Green: I don't trust FDA, they are very influenced by
politics and money,
5 day hearing is not enough,
the NM Legislature should set up a real research study for the EIB,
could ask NM Attorney General for a formal legal opinion, which takes
there could be automatic lawsuits against EIB in this,
I'm really concerned, there are a lot of issues.

Gay Dillingham: only an outright ban would lead to a lawsuit,
issue is about the due process to have a hearing,
we can get a neutral experts,
"This is in front of us."

11:17 AM Clifford Stroud moves, and Harold Tso seconds,
the EIB discusses, and by 11: 23 AM, votes 4 to 2 to pass the motion,
with Ken Marsh and Gregory Green against, to wit:

The EIB will hold a 5-day hearing on aspartame toxicity in July, 2006,
and request a neutral Hearing Officer and a medical expert to provide

I wasn't clear if the NM Attorney General would also be asked to
provide a formal legal brief.

This felt to "our side" like a major victory.

Far from being ignored, deflected, ridiculed, dismissed, or dropped,
the reality of aspartame toxicity has become a legitimate social
issue, to be given a thorough examination in a five-day public hearing
in 9 months.

This will continue to appear in mainstream media,
and many more citizens will review the copious information on the Net.

Already, we have substantial support by citizens, legislators, medical
experts, and media.

Stephen Fox deserves credit for his persistent, effective leadership,
which has resulted in the first broadly based political initiative
anywhere on Earth.

At the break, Gregory Green explained to a few of us that his negative
vote was because he wasn't sure the specific motion was the best
course of action, but that, as "a '60's liberal", he was very
aware of the need for effective action on this issue.

The EIB members can no longer accept private communications in this
matter, now that a formal hearing is scheduled. Contact:
Barbara Claire barbara.claire@state.nm.us
Administrator, Boards & Commissions
New Mexico Environment Dept. 1190 St. Francis Dr. N2150
Santa Fe, NM 87502 (505) 827-2425 Fax: 827-2836

To receive electronic notification of Board Meetings and Agendas for:
*ENVIRONMENTAL IMPROVEMENT BOARD www.nmenv.state.nm.us/eib (http://www.nmenv.state.nm.us/eib)
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12:33 pm: Hearing on aspartame ban to be held in July

By Wendy Brown The New Mexican October 4, 2005
The state Environmental Improvement Board plans to hold a five-day hearing
in July to determine whether to ban the sugar substitute aspartame.

The board made the decision Tuesday after a hearing in which lawyers
for Stephen Fox, a Santa Fe gallery owner
who believes aspartame is poisonous and should be banned,
and the Calorie Control Council, an industry trade group,
duked it out over whether the board has the authority to hold a hearing
on banning the substance.

Before making a motion to grant the hearing,
Cliff Stroud, the board's vice chairman, said he believes that if the
board does not have the authority to listen to people about concerns
with the food supply, then the system is broken.

Board members Stroud, Gay Dillingham, Harold Tso and Soren Peters
voted in favor of holding the hearing, while Greg Green and Ken Marsh
voted against the proposal.
Board member Dolores Herrera was not present at the meeting.

Look for full details in tomorrow's The New Mexican.


Board to weigh debate on sweetener
( 25 comments; last comment posted Today 09:15 pm )
By Wendy Brown The New Mexican October 4, 2005

Santa Fe gallery owner Stephen Fox has asked the state
Environmental Improvement Board to find that the sugar-substitute
aspartame is poisonous and should be banned in New Mexico.
But first the board must decide whether it has the authority to make
such a ruling.

The board plans to undertake that decision today,
when board members will hear 30 minutes of legal arguments between
Stevan Douglas Looney, an Albuquerque lawyer representing Fox,
and Anthony J. Trujillo, a Santa Fe lawyer representing the Calorie Control Council, a trade organization for the low-calorie and
reduced-fat food industry.

Today's hearing will not address the validity of arguments for or
against banning the popular sweetener,
which can be found in roughly 6,000 products and is sold under the
brand names of NutraSweet and Equal.
It will only address whether the board has the authority to hold
another hearing about banning the substance.

Looney said his client only wants a chance to be heard.
"That's all we're asking for," Looney said.
"It's a very fundamental due-process right -- the right to be heard.
I'm surprised that anyone would argue against it."

Looney said the state Environmental Improvement Act and the state Food
Act are the documents that give the board the legal authority to ban

Both Acts give the EIB responsibility to protect consumers
and make rules regarding food protection, he said.

Trujillo, however, said the state Acts are limited in focus
and can't override federal law.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved aspartame
for all food and drink products in 1981.

Opponents say research has linked aspartame
to brain tumors, lymphoma, leukemia, seizures, allergic reactions,
headaches and dizziness.

State law allows the board to make food regulations,
Trujillo said in his written brief, but only if they are consistent
with federal law.

"The New Mexico Food Act is intended to enforce federal law,
not depart from it," he said.

Also, if the board decided to hold a hearing on whether to ban
aspartame, the board would have to sift through hundreds of scientific
studies about the subject, Trujillo wrote.

"As a matter of policy, the EIB should consider whether it should
undertake such a task, and, moreover, open the door to consideration
of the myriad other substances added to food over which there may be
some controversy." Trujillo wrote.

In all, 18 people submitted written legal arguments to the board.

Dr. C. Grant LaFarge of Santa Fe wrote a letter asking the board
to hold a hearing on whether to ban aspartame,
as did Santa Fe lawyer Bruce Garber.

The board also received written arguments in favor of holding a
hearing and banning aspartame from as far away as Washington, D.C.,
West Palm Beach, Fla., and London.

In addition, New Mexico state Reps. Harriet Ruiz, (D)Albuquerque
and Peter Wirth,(D) Santa Fe, as well as state Sen. Rod Adair,
(R)Roswell, wrote the board letters in favor of holding a hearing on

Martin J. Hahn, a lawyer with the Hogan & Hartson law firm of
Washington, D.C., however,
submitted a legal brief recommending that the board drop the matter.

Hahn, who represents the aspartame manufacturer Ajinomoto USA Inc.,
said if the board does ban the sweetener,
courts would likely overturn it on U.S. constitutional grounds.

Aspartame is found in so many products that a ban only in New Mexico
would unduly burden interstate commerce and wreak havoc on the U.S.
food-and-beverage industry, Hahn said in his brief.

"If states were allowed to ban food additives at their discretion,
the likely result would be an absurd patchwork of inconsistent state
laws causing thousands of popular food products to be banned in some
states and legal in others." Hahn wrote.

Parties interested in the subject submitted written opinions in
September, but the board's legal counsel, Mary Smith of the Attorney
General's civil division, did not weigh in on the matter.

Sam Thompson, spokeswoman for the AG's office,
said Smith plans to attend the hearing and will give the board her
opinion at that time.

Contact Wendy Brown at 986-3072 or wbrown@sfnewmexican.com

(October 4 2005 Tuesday: ( 25 comments; last comment posted Today
09:15 pm )

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Rich Murray, MA Room For All rmforall@comcast.net 505-501-2298
1943 Otowi Road Santa Fe, New Mexico 87505 USA
group with 149 members, 1,229 posts in a public, searchable archive
http://RoomForAll.blogspot.com http://AspartameNM.blogspot.com

Dark wines and liquors, as well as aspartame, provide similar levels
of methanol, above 100 mg daily, for long-term heavy users. Methanol
is inevitably largely turned into formaldehyde, and thence largely
into formic acid. It is the major cause of the dreaded symtoms of
"next morning" hangover.

Fully 11% of aspartame is methanol --
1,120 mg aspartame in 2 L diet soda, almost six 12-oz cans,
gives 123 mg methanol (wood alcohol).
If 30% ofthe methanol is turned into formaldehyde,
the amount of formaldehyde, 37 mg, is 18.5 times the USA EPA limit
for daily formaldehyde in drinking water,
2.0 mg in 2 L average daily drinking water, and,
185 times the New Jersey limit,
615 times the California and Maine limits,
1850 times the Maryland limit.

The 1999 July EPA 468-page formaldehyde profile admits that four
states substantially exceed the federal EPA limit:

Environmental Protection Agency 2.00 mg in 2 L daily drinking water
California and Maine----------- 0.06 mg
Maryland----------------------- 0.02 mg
New Jersey--------------------- 0.20 mg

faults in 1999 July EPA 468-page formaldehyde profile:
Elzbieta Skrzydlewska PhD, Assc. Prof., Medical U. of Bialystok,
Poland, abstracts -- ethanol, methanol, formaldehyde, formic acid,
acetaldehyde, lipid peroxidation, green tea, aging: Murray 2004.08.08

ATSDR: EPA limit 1 ppm formaldehyde in drnking water July 1999:
Murray 2002.05.30 rmforall

However, famous Americans who drink a dozen cans daily of diet sodas
for years include John Edwards, vice-presidential candidate, Joe
Trippi, Howard Dean's campaign manager, and Harvey Weinstein, movie

Both President George W. Bush and Governer Bill Richardson of New
Mexico are users.

NM EIB votes 4-2 for 5-day aspartame toxicity hearing July, 2006,
requesting a Hearing Officer and a medical expert from Environmental
Dept. and legal advice from NM Attorney General: Murray 2005.10.04

New Mexico EIB should use its authority to ban aspartame, a methanol
(formaldehyde) source, Gail Chasey Beam, NM CPAC:
California, Maine, Maryland, New Jersey set stronger limits than the
EPA, 468-page 1999 EPA formaldehyde profile, Murray 2005.10.02

complete info on NM EIB aspartame ban meeting, Oct. 4, Santa Fe,
Leland Lehrman, www.MotherMedia.org: (http://www.MotherMedia.org:) Murray 2005.09.30

Aspartame -- the shocking story, Pat Thomas, The Ecologist, 2005
Sept., p. 35-51, full text: Murray 2005.09.30

Aspartame disease: an FDA-approved epidemic, H. J. Roberts, MD 2004:
Murray 2005.09.30

USA National Institutes of Health National Toxicology Program aids
eminent Ramazzini Foundation, Bologna, Italy, in more results on
cancers in rats from lifetime low levels of aspartame (methanol,
formaldehyde), Felicity Lawrence, www.guardian.co.uk: (http://www.guardian.co.uk:) Murray
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