GENTECH archive 8.96-97


6th Grader Conducts Experiment on NutraSweet, part 2

METHOD: I did my own experiment on aspartame.  On January 21, l997, I
bought a new case of Diet Coke from the supermarket.  I put 7 cans in the
refrigerator, 7 cans in my room at room temperature (about 69 degrees) and
I put 7 cans in a BOEKEL incubator (80 Watts, 120 AC volts, 75 Amps,
catalog # 131500) and set the temperature at 40 degrees Celsius which is
104 degrees Fahrenheit.  I left them in there for 10 weeks (70 days).  I
had a thermometer next to each group of cans and I checked the
temperatures daily.  I took the remaining three cans and brought them to
Winston Laboratories in Ridgefield, New jersey to test for a beginning
level of aspartame.  When I got the test results back, they revealed that
there was normally 0.06 per cent of aspartame in the can of diet soda.

I chose that temperature because in l985 the National Soft Drink
Association reported a similar experiment in which diet soda stored at
that temperature turned into formaldehyde.  In that experiment they
explained that 104 degrees Fahrenheit was equal to a daytime temperature
in Phoenix, Arizona over the summer.  The National Soft Drink Association
recommended that aspartame not be approved for use by people in soda.
They published this experiment and their recommendation in the
Congressional Record.

On April 1, I took the cans of aspartame out of the refrigerator, out of
my room and out of the incubator.  That day I brought the samples to
Winston Laboratory for analysis.

I was going to do a taste in my sister's fourth grade class, but the
school nurse said that I couldn't because of all the bad things people say
about aspartame, so instead I tested the samples on a group of adults.

I performed a double blind experiment.  My mother helped to label each
sample with a number. I conducted the experiment but I did not know which
sample each person was drinking.  I put all of the cans in a cooler and
covered them with ice sos that they would be served at the same
temperature.  I gave each person a small cup of the soda from the
refrigerator, from the incubator, from my room, and from a new can of soda
fresh from the supermarket.  I asked them to rate the taste on a scale of
one to four, four being the worst and one being the best.  The actual
results are to be found in table#1.  

Table #2 contains the results of the testing conducted on the samples
analyzed by Winston Laboratories.  In the sample that was in the
refrigerator all that was left of the 0.06 per cent of the aspartame was
0.058 percent.  That extra aspartame had turned into 0.001 percent DKP and
53.5 parts per billion of formaldehyde  In the sample from my room, all
that was left of the 0.06 percent aspartame was 0.051 per cent.  The extra
aspartame had turned into 0.002 percent DKP and 231 parts per billion of
formaldehyde.  In the sample that was in the incubator all that was left
of the 0.06 percent aspartame was 0.026 percent.  The extra aspartame had
turned into 0.010 percent DkP and 76.2 parts per billion in the

DISCUSSION:  There was an obvious preference for the newly purchased
sample of Diet Coke.  The scores for the sample in the refrigerator and
room temperture were similar but were not as high as the new soda.  The
score for the incubator sample were very low.  Nearly everybody hated the

There are taste differences.  Ten people preferred the new soda to the
other three samples.  With 1 being the best and 4 being the worst, their
average score for the new soda was 2.0.

The aspartame contained in diet soda stored over time can break down into
formaldehyde and DKP, two very dangerous poisons.  Taste tests revealed a
noticeable difference among tasters.  The higher the heat of storage, the
worse the taste.

Diet soda stored for ten weeks loses flavor.  Aspartame in that soda
breaks down into two products, formaldehyde and DKP.  The warmer the
temperature, the greater the loss of aspartame and the greater the
increase in DKP.

Temperature creates two effects.  First, the higher the temperature of
storage, the higher the level of DKP in the soda.  Second, room
temperature seems to create the highest levels of formaldehyde in soda. 
At very high temperatures, the formaldehyde breaks down.  However, even
stored in a refrigerator at cold temperature, the aspartame breaks down
into formaldehyde. 

After diet soda containing aspartame is purchased it should not be stored
in the heat or under any condition for a long  period of time.  Further
research should be performed with more samples at different temperatures
for different time periods so that safety levels can be determined.

Concerning aspartame, the FDA says, "we believe that based on all the
information that we received to date that this is a safe product."  I
say, "Decide for yourself."     Jennifer Cohen

End of report

Bravo, Bravo, Jennifer.  You did an experiment no scientist has done.  You
showed the world that even in the fridge formaldehyde and DKP are
breakdown products! Your report was faxed to Dr. H. J. Roberts who gave
you two gold stars and a local newspaper has already asked to publish it.

Bravo also to the Nurse at Oradell Public School who refused to allow
children to taste Diet coke because of its dangers.  For those who are not
familiar with DKP, it is a brain tumor agent. 

And for those who wish to read about the original studies and the brain
tumors discussed by the late Dr. Adrian Gross, the FDA toxicologist who
tried to stop the approval of this poison here are the web sites:    1976 Gross to Sharp Memo (FDA)    l987 Oct Letter to Metzenbaum    l987 Nov Letter to Metzenbaum  l986 Wall Street Journal on
                                     Prosecutors who had been asked to
                                     indict Searle  Original Metzenbaum Bill l985 that
                                     if passed would have required
                                     replication of original studies by
                                     National Institutes of Health  

Thank you, Jennifer!

Betty Martini
Mission Possible

P.S.  Jennifer is babysitting all summer long to pay the lab bill of
$1350.00 for analyzing the Diet coke.  
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