EPA Proposes to Remove Saccharin from Hazardous Waste Lists
In April 2010, the EPA announced that there is sufficient data to support the removal of saccharin and its salts from the agency’s lists of hazardous wastes, hazardous constituents, and hazardous substances through the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) and the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA). These substances no longer meet the criteria for hazardous waste regulation.
Saccharin is a white crystalline powder that is about 300 times sweeter than sucrose. It is typically available in the acid form (saccharin) or as salts (sodium saccharin or calcium saccharin). The most common uses are in diet soft drinks, table-top sweeteners, syrups, juices, chewing gums, and jellies. It is also used in personal-care products (e.g. toothpaste, mouthwash, dental cleaners, lipstick), pharmaceuticals (e.g. coatings on pills), and electroplating (e.g. brightener in nickel-plating baths).
Saccharin was discovered in 1879 by researchers at Johns Hopkins University. It was of great interest to food manufacturers and consumers, especially those with diabetes, who could use the new ingredient to sweeten their foods and beverages without the calories or glucose reaction associated with many sweeteners. However, a study performed on rats in the 1970’s raised fear that saccharin might be carcinogenic. The study indicated an increase of bladder tumors in some male rats fed high doses of sodium saccharin.
Actually, extensive research on human populations has established no association between saccharin and cancer in humans. In fact, more than 30 human studies have been completed and support saccharin’s safety at normal human levels of consumption. It is one of the most studied food ingredients. Among the five FDA approved nonnutritive sweeteners, saccharin is often chosen to be the safest, and in 2000, the National Toxicology Program (NTP) of the National Institutes of Health concluded that saccharin should be removed from the list of potential carcinogens.
In response to a petition filed by the Calorie Control Center (CCC), the proposed rule cites key public health agency studies such as those by the NTP and the International Agency for Research on Cancer that have reported that saccharin poses no present or potential risk of causing toxic, carcinogenic, mutagenic, or teratogenic effects on humans or other life forms.
The proposed rule would allow generators to dispose of saccharin and its salt wastes as nonhazardous in Subtitle D landfills rather than in a hazardous-waste or Subtitle C landfill. EPA is seeking comments on the proposed rule. Comments should cite Docket ID: EPA-HQ-RCRA-2009-0310 and be submitted by June 21st.
If finalized, this rule would apply only to the RCRA and CERCLA programs. It would not remove saccharin from the EPCRA §313 list that requires annual reporting of environmental releases of toxic chemicals.
For more information visit http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2010/pdf/2010-9167.pdf
Tags: calcium saccharin, cancer, carcinogenic, CERCLA, Comprehensive Environmental Response, crystalline, diabetes, environmental protection agency, EPA, food manufacturers, glucose, hazardous waste, landfill, Liability Act, Personal Care Products, PPCPs, RCRA, Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, saccharin, sodium saccharin, Subtitle C, Subtitle D, sucrose, USEPA