Just weeks after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency finally got around to removing saccharin from its very outdated list of “hazardous substances,” President Barack Obama used the low-calorie sweetener as an example while discussing his plans to launch a government-wide review of federal regulations. In an article recently published in the opinion pages of The Wall Street Journal, Obama said he intends to issue an executive order initiating a review to “make sure we avoid excessive, inconsistent and redundant regulation.” The EPA’s long-time listing of saccharin – which is widely used for example to sweeten diet soda, sugar-free chewing gum, low-calorie juice, and toothpaste – was used by the president as an example of costly or “dumb” regulations. Until last month, the sweetener remained on the EPA’s hazardous list despite reviews that gave saccharin a clean bill of health in the late 1990s (by the National Toxicology Program and the International Agency for Research on Cancer). “For instance, the FDA has long considered saccharin, the artificial sweetener, safe for people to consume,” said Obama. “Yet for years, the EPA made companies treat saccharin like other dangerous chemicals. Well, if it goes in your coffee, it is not hazardous waste. The EPA wisely eliminated this rule last month.”
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