EPA Removes Saccharin from Hazardous Substances Lists

by | Dec 16, 2010

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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has removed saccharin and its salts from its list of hazardous substances.

According to an EPA statement, “Saccharin is no longer considered a potential hazard to human health.” The delisting of saccharin allows generators to manage saccharin and its salt wastes as non-hazardous waste.

Saccharin is found in diet soft drinks, chewing gum and juice. It was also used in early sugar substitutes, as it is approximately 300 times sweeter than sucrose or sugar.

Saccharin was considered a potential carcinogenic substance in the 1980s, but in the late 1990s, the National Toxicology Program and the International Agency for Research on Cancer re-evaluated the available scientific information on saccharin and its salts and concluded that it is not a potential human carcinogen.

In 2000, the National Toxicology Program removed saccharin from its list of carcinogens, known as the Report on Carcinogens (ROC). The agency based its finding on the assumption that the bladder tumors in rats arise by mechanisms not relevant to humans, plus the lack of an observed cancer trend over 80 years of use.

Sodium saccharin was listed as a carcinogen under California’s Proposition 65 in 1988, and was subsequently delisted in April 2001 based upon NTP’s findings.

EPA considered delisting saccharin based upon a petition it received from the Calorie Control Council, a food trade association, to remove saccharin and its salts from inclusion as hazardous substances under CERCLA and RCRA. The Calorie Control Council cited the removal of saccharin as a potential human carcinogen by the National Toxicology Program and International Agency for Research on Cancer as justification to remove saccharin and its salts from hazardous listings.

EPA reviewed the evaluations conducted by the National Toxicology Program and the International Agency for Research on Cancer concerning the carcinogenic and other potential toxicological effects of saccharin and its salts. Based on the conclusions by these public health agencies that saccharin and its salts are not reasonably expected to be human carcinogens, as well as EPA’s own assessment of the waste generation and management information, EPA issued a proposed rule in April granting the Calorie Control Council’s petition.

EPA proposed the removal of saccharin and its salts from the lists in April and did not receive any comments opposing the proposal.

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