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Scientific Muckrackers, Don't Stop Now

Scientific Muckrackers, Dont Stop Now
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hansenSo last week was all about how the White House appointed George Deutsch, a 24 year-old, all-but-diploma Aggie/Bush loyalist/NASA PR flack, to wiretap climate scientists' phone calls from reporters and browbeat NASA scientists in the basement under Tom's Restaurant - or was it Guantanamo, how should we know? - until they cried 'big bang theory.' That is until super-scientist James Hansen (pictured left) used his Chuck Norris karate skills and escaped with help of a certain NY Times science writer and an Aggie-traitor/activist blogger, leaving the poor flack bleeding on the floor, crying for his mommy. Unfazed by it all like a true ninja, James Hansen called Deutsch just a "bit player" in the Bush administration's attempt to cover-up the science on global warming.

Now the muckrackers are at it again, giving us the lowdown on aspartame, which was approved by the FDA in 1981 for use as an artificial sweetener in products such as NutraSweet and Equal, and is consumed in huge quantities in diet colas. Before you chug another Diet Coke, you should know that aspartame has been linked to cancer in rats and aggravation of depression and bipolar disorder in humans. Hogwash, you say. The FDA wouldn't have let this product be sold to consumers for the last 25 years if it were really bad for you, right? Melanie Warner of the NY Times writes that of 166 aspartame studies published between 1980 and 1985, all 74 studies that were financed by the industry said that aspartame is safe, while 84 out of 92 independently funded studies "identified adverse health effects." Coincidence? Well, what if we told you that from 1977 to 1985, the company that created aspartame, G. D. Searle & Co. (now part of Pfizer), was headed by none other than Donald 'Weapons of Mass Destruction' Rumsfeld? The conspiracy theory is in fact all old news. The new twist is that last July, Italian scientist Dr. Morando Soffritti (pictured right) published the results of an intensive seven-year study on 1900 rats, which found unusually high rates of cancer in rats that consumed the human equivalent of four to five diet colas sweetened with aspartame per day. According to the NY Times article, the FDA intends to thoroughly review the study this year. But given the games that the Bush administration has been playing with scientists and the coincidence that the former CEO of Searle is none other than our own Secretary of Defense, what are the chances that the FDA is going to review these new results with unbiased scientific scrutiny? Who's going to hold their feet to the fire this time, bloggers?

Submitted by elementlist on Feb 14, 2006
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