Talk:Aspartame/Archive 3

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Conspiracy Theories

Seriously? I thought it was a scientific proven fact that when aspartic acid is metabolized, it creates Methanol, a very toxic substance.

Given that information alone, I would suppose that Aspartic acid is dangerous. I seriously think that this article needs to be rewritten, and all bias needs to be removed. If you are going to include in an article that something metabolizes into one or more toxic chemicals, then include a Controversy section that explains that aspartame "has been the focus of vocal activism, conspiracy theories and hoaxes regarding postulated risks of aspartame." You directly contradict the information included in the article.

Please think this over, and correct the inconsistencies. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:01, 6 November 2009 (UTC)

Reliable sources

Wikipedia:Reliable sources (medicine-related articles) directs Wikipedia editors to "Make readers aware of any uncertainty or controversy" in regard to sources. The current article makes two references to a controversial safety evaluation by Burdock et al (2007): "A 2007 safety evaluation found that the weight of existing scientific evidence indicates that aspartame is safe at current levels of consumption as a non-nutritive sweetener.[1]".

This study was sponsored and funded by Ajinomoto, a major manufacturer of Aspartame. The safety review, in part, takes aim at an earlier independant study by the Ramazzini Foundation which found aspartame to cause cancers in rats. The controversy around this industry-funded review is demonstrated in correspondence between the lead publisher of the 2007 Safety review (Magnusson), and the lead author of the Ramazzini study (Soffritti) which was published in a leading journal, Environmental Health Perspectives. Soffritti reveals the sponsor of the study and proceeds to illustrate what he claims are numerous erroneous statements.

I added an addition which highlighted that the study was controversial, and funded by Ajinomoto, so that the sentences mentioning this study were as follows: "A controversial[2] 2007 safety evaluation sponsored and funded by Ajinomoto (a major manufacturer of aspartame) found that the weight of existing scientific evidence indicates that aspartame is safe at current levels of consumption as a non-nutritive sweetener.[1]"

This was reverted multiple times by Verbal claiming that it is not NPOV, and against consensus. As it is an NPOV addition that simply adds facts which are encouraged by Wikipedia I propose making these edits once more to this article. If any interested editors would like to recommend changes to this please advise on how best to provide context for this review.

can you post links to the reference that makes the study 'controversial' please? Dbrodbeck (talk) 13:18, 24 November 2009 (UTC)
sorry about that! or (talk) 13:28, 24 November 2009 (UTC)
A letter to the editor of a journal is first off, not NPOV, and secondly it does not meet WP:MEDRS. I am going to revert for now until a new consensus arises, if at all. Dbrodbeck (talk) 13:38, 24 November 2009 (UTC)
You are confusing things here. The reference is illustrative of the controversy (two of the lead researchers disputing studies in a respected journal is a Reliable Source). The question of NPOV is applied to Wikipedia content, so if you feel my addition is NPOV please explain how, and offer suggestions of an improvement. Ultimately this disclosure around the industry-funded study needs to happen - if you can suggest a better way of phrasing it please let me know.Fxsstm (talk) 14:05, 24 November 2009 (UTC)
As well as not being a RS for this article, it is undue and fringe, and we've been here before. Please self revert and stop editwarring. Verbal chat 14:57, 24 November 2009 (UTC)
That the study is controversial and funded by a vested interest is proved by valid sources (the two scientists at the heart of the matter, and in an authoritative journal), and certainly not undue and fringe. You continue to mis-apply Wikipedia rules and engage in Wikiawyering rather than work towards ensuring the source is given appropriate context. I have already asked you to explain your initial edit-warring behaviour on your talk page.Fxsstm (talk) 22:03, 24 November 2009 (UTC)

Proposed changes to indicate review is controversial and industry-funded

I propose making changes to the lead paragraph so that the industry-funded study is properly disclosed to readers, and the controversy around it. The disclosure of industry funding for the study is given by one of the lead authors (Magnusson) in this authoritative journal: and there should be no reason to hold Wikipedia content to a lesser standard. There is also no better source for the scientific controversy around the 2007 study than this correspondence, which shows a leading aspartame researcher dismissing the validity of Magnusson et al's safety review in an authoritative journal of their peers:

"A controversial 2007 safety review, sponsored and funded by Ajinomoto group (a major manufacturer of aspartame) found that the weight of existing scientific evidence indicates that aspartame is safe at current levels of consumption as a non-nutritive sweetener."

Could any interested editors provide feedback on these changes, or advise how they would prefer the additional information to be supplied / structured.Fxsstm (talk) 02:35, 26 November 2009 (UTC)

You're not listening to the comments above. The sources may not even be valid for this purpose. Please deal with that matter before making such a proposition. You're also treating this article as if it were the Aspartame controversy article. It isn't. The controversy gets scant mention here for a reason. We have a whole article dealing with the controversy.
This proposition is related to this section at the controversy article: Talk:Aspartame_controversy#Controversial_article_vs._article_about_controversy. Readers who wish to deal with this matter can do it there. -- Brangifer (talk) 03:30, 26 November 2009 (UTC)
Your attempts at conflation are not helpful here. We are not discussing the Aspartame controversy here, we are discussing the fact the cited 'safety review' referenced twice in this article is controversial, and funded by a company with a major interest in aspartame. I've asked for input on how we work up a consensus to include important facts, but you seem unable to discuss the actual issue at hand. What is your issue with the proposed change, and what elements would you like changed with the specific proposal? Instead of stifling discussion by attempting to direct users elsewhere, how about proposing your own version of the edit? -- Fxsstm (talk) 07:35, 26 November 2009 (UTC)
So you're basically suggesting that you introduce wording that poisons the well? No, you need to listen to the comments made by others above before going down this road. They are suggesting that the sources may not even qualify as legitimate sources to be used. Deal with that first. When you have reached a consensus among the editors on this page that allows for use of those sources, first then can you proceed with your proposal on how to do it. Right now your proposition is faulty for another reason, and that is that you are calling the article controversial, when it is an article about a controversy, which is another matter. The first is your opinion, and that's editorializing. The link I provided above is to the other discussion where that needs to be dealt with. YOU need to deal with this there:
Readers who wish to deal with this matter can do it there. -- Brangifer (talk) 05:14, 28 November 2009 (UTC)
Many studies and reviews are labelled controversial throughout Wikipedia - your accusations fall flat. I provide a valid source as evidence this review is controversial within its own field of research. Please raise what issues YOU have with it here, propose a modification, and cease your efforts to stifle talk discussion by attempting to direct it to other pages. That's really quite rude. -- Fxsstm (talk) 13:50, 28 November 2009 (UTC)

Reference for the article's last sentence


I agree that there's no real controversy about aspartame and its use, but the article's last sentence (the one Fxsstm removed) is either incorrect or not properly sourced since the reference used for it isn't an article but a "Letter to the Editor". I don't know how others feel about that, but as letters usually aren't reviewed I think we should either cite the study itself (if there's a study mentioned in this letter) or remove the sentence.--Six words (talk) 18:39, 24 November 2009 (UTC)

A very SHORT letter. I wonder how much more there is if you're logged in (and have paid them). --King Öomie 18:48, 24 November 2009 (UTC)
Well I guess it's a bit longer than just a headline, but it's behind a paywall. I did a little research and apparently it's a comment on this article. Pehaps this would be a good source for our article, but I don't have a subscription so I can't check that. --Six words (talk) 19:37, 24 November 2009 (UTC)
[1], [2], [3]- let's get this moving along. --King Öomie 21:17, 24 November 2009 (UTC)
The sentence is incorrect, therefore it should be removed (which interested editors here would certainly do if one was now added). A credible paper would hardly conclude that there was no controversy on an issue like aspartame, considering the history of independant scientific studies pointing to its carcinogenic potential.Fxsstm (talk) 22:23, 24 November 2009 (UTC)
Okay, yeah, let's not be basing the likelihood of anything on your opinion on the controversy. --King Öomie 22:30, 24 November 2009 (UTC)
I'm not sure how your comment moves anything along? The sentence makes a false statement claiming to cite a study which is in fact a letter to an editor. Considering there is legitimate scientific disagreement on the safety of aspartame, it would be hard to imagine a credible paper attempting to now conclude there is no controversy. That is not the purpose of scientific / medical research.Fxsstm (talk) 22:36, 24 November 2009 (UTC)
Of course the sentence is ludicrous and should be removed. It's quite obvious what the mistake is (misuse of the word 'controversy' to mean something like 'scientific consensus'), so it should go, or be reworded. Greenman (talk) 22:57, 24 November 2009 (UTC)
That ref isn't good enough to document a POV (that no controversy exists) that is absurd. There is a controversy in the real world, but not within mainstream science and medicine. Only a few fringe altie MDs push the POV, and their syncophants believe it. This has been discussed above: Talk:Aspartame#Introduction_to_the_controversy. -- Brangifer (talk) 04:01, 25 November 2009 (UTC)
We are talking specifically about the sentence at the end of the article. It makes an incorrect statement and claims to refer to a study which is not cited correctly. I'm not exactly sure what you're trying to communicate on this issue, but at this stage it seems the consensus is to remove this sentence, unless you are volunteering to find an authoritative study which asserts there is no controversy. Considering the history of this article, and the aggressiveness with which other editors demand citations, it seems sensible to remove this unsubstantiated claim. Also, considering you appear to be a long-term, interested editor, I would urge you to read the Ramazzini studies so that you are aware of the legitimate scientific disagreement around aspartame's safety. Your continued attempts to paint legitimate scientific disagreement as mere pseudo-science and 'conspiracy theories' is your own POV and not backed by the evidence.Fxsstm (talk) 05:17, 25 November 2009 (UTC)
Are you talking to me or someone else? I agree that this ref isn't good enough. On that we agree, on the rest of course not. If we are reaching a consensus, the edit can be removed, but I suggest that we are certain there is a consensus. -- Brangifer (talk) 05:48, 25 November 2009 (UTC)
I was addressing you. Considering the initial revert of my edit was a mistake, I've asked Dbrodbeck if he could make the change. -- Fxsstm (talk) 06:02, 25 November 2009 (UTC)
What part of "don't edit war" don't you understand, and what part of "achieve a consensus first" don't you understand? Wait until you're totally certain, then let an uninvolved (in the reverting) editor do it. Be patient. Things will work out. -- Brangifer (talk) 06:11, 25 November 2009 (UTC)
Apologies if I did not follow Wikipedia protocol (I assumed because Dbrodbeck mistakenly reverted my edit, asking him to fix this was okay). As an experienced editor please try to be civil to new users like myself.Fxsstm (talk) 07:03, 25 November 2009 (UTC) -- Fxsstm
My apologies. I guess I was still irritated by your comments about me. Just to make it clear, I don't think the Ramazzini study is pseudoscience, nor that all opposition to Aspartame is a result of conspiracy theories. -- Brangifer (talk) 15:10, 25 November 2009 (UTC)

Question to all: Do we have a consensus to remove the edit and its source from the article? Note that the source is used in at least two places. Please express your view as "remove" or "keep". -- Brangifer (talk) 05:48, 25 November 2009 (UTC)

  • remove Fxsstm (talk) 07:03, 25 November 2009 (UTC)
  • Remove Reword, it seems to be a comment / letter to the editor in regards to this and as such fails short of RS as anything but opinion. Unomi (talk) 08:03, 25 November 2009 (UTC)
  • Remove, as explained above. I don't see the second use of the source though that BullRangifer mentions, but we're referring to its misuse at the bottom anyway. Greenman (talk) 11:50, 25 November 2009 (UTC)
  • You're right about the "second" use. I was thinking of another ref. Forget my comment in that regard. -- Brangifer (talk) 15:10, 25 November 2009 (UTC)
  • Kill the last sentence entirely. The point is already made in the article Dbrodbeck (talk) 12:30, 25 November 2009 (UTC)
Agree, so removeKnorrepoes (talk) 07:25, 26 November 2009 (UTC)
  • Remove, per my comments above. I doubt that User:Kingoomieiii would object, unless I'm reading them wrong. It looks like we're agreed on this, so anyone remove it. -- Brangifer (talk) 14:58, 25 November 2009 (UTC)
  • Keep, Adrienne Samuels is an authority on the subject and thus meets RS. QuackGuru (talk) 17:15, 28 November 2009 (UTC)
  • Keep, I agree with QuackGuru, and would add a suggestion that everyone reads the article themselves and looks Adrienne Samuels up on google scholar, to see just how much specialist material she has written for a variety of authoritative journals including the New England Journal of Medicine. Killdec (talk) 21:05, 1 December 2009 (UTC)
Comment A google scholar search of her as author + aspartame gives four hits; all of them are comments (letters to the editor), not peer-reviewed articles on the subject. --Six words (talk) 21:40, 1 December 2009 (UTC)
See below, her expertise seems to be in research design, and her letter pertains the quality of research undertaken. Unomi (talk) 22:32, 1 December 2009 (UTC)
  • Remove, see WP:ELREG. Indeed not, Brangifier; I was responding above to what looked like an argument from incredulity. Beyond that, the letter itself is only a reliable source of the author's opinion. --King Öomie 21:23, 1 December 2009 (UTC)
comment- I specifically oppose the use of the word 'concludes' in the sentence. It's the conclusion of her letter, but as the last point in the paragraph, it appears to the reader that her comment is the conclusion to the issue itself. --King Öomie 22:52, 1 December 2009 (UTC)
I have changed concluded to argued, I agree that 'concluded' was a poor choice. Unomi (talk) 23:43, 1 December 2009 (UTC)
  • Remove, unless someone provides evidence she's an authority on aspartame.--Six words (talk) 21:40, 1 December 2009 (UTC)
Comment: Her letter concerns itself with her area of expertise, namely research design, her critiques of research design have been published in the Accountability in Research journal. As such her views of the quality of research undertaken regarding Aspartame can be considered relevant. Unomi (talk) 22:32, 1 December 2009 (UTC)
The reference meets RS but does it meet MEDRS. QuackGuru (talk) 15:27, 2 December 2009 (UTC)

Samuels A. Letter to the editor content.

Can anyone confirm that this is the actual content of the letter to the editor? Unomi (talk) 17:16, 28 November 2009 (UTC)

Unless the author has changed their stance significantly since this, it seems that the source that QuackGuru is defending so valiantly is actually arguing that there is no legitimate controversy, as there is no credible evidence for it being regarded as benign. Unomi (talk) 17:28, 28 November 2009 (UTC)
That the rmforall link is a faithful copy of the Nature letter has been confirmed. If we, as QuackGuru argues, consider Samuels A an expert in the field and her letter to be an RS then the sentence needs to read something akin to 'Adrienne Samuels, an expert in the field, states that there is no controversy as "The so-called aspartame-industry 'science' is flawed to the point of being worthless." and as such the prevailing body of research points towards aspartame being toxic. As I am fairly sure that QuackGuru will reverse her/his stance regarding this source upon taking the time to read it, the point will likely prove moot. Unomi (talk) 07:45, 29 November 2009 (UTC)
I think you're right about Adrienne Samuels' position towards aspartame, but for me the question is: is she really an authority in the field? If she is we can't simply ignore her opinion because we don't like it.--Six words (talk) 09:35, 29 November 2009 (UTC)
I agree that we should have a look at how Adrienne is referred to:
  1. The authors of Excitatory Amino Acids in Neurologic Disorders acknowledge Dr. Samuels makes an important point about the potential hazards of ingestion of glutamate and glutamate agonists. We certainly did not intend to underestimate the importance of this mode of exposure of central neurons to potentially toxic concentrations of glutamate agonists. In fact, we made the point that perhaps the best evidence that excessive activation of glutamate receptors causes a clinical syndrome is in the case of shellfish poisoning due to the ingestion of mussels contaminated with the glutamate-like agonist domoic acid
  2. A few of the many experts who have spoken out against thedamage being caused by aspartate and glutamate include Adrienne Samuels, Ph.D., anexperimental psychologist specializing in research design
  3. Her work, in the field, has been published and cited [4][5] in other research in the field.
I believe it would be unlikely that she will be accepted as an authority despite of the above, based upon her stance in relation to aspartame. My own view is that her opinion does carry some weight and strikes me as informed by the body and quality of research in the field. Unomi (talk) 11:04, 29 November 2009 (UTC)
If you claim this letter is unreliable then this letter would also be unreliable. QuackGuru (talk) 19:38, 29 November 2009 (UTC)
You will note that I did not find it unreliable, merely unreliable as anything but what should be an attributed opinion, this reflects my own personal belief that we should indeed inline attribute everything. I did find that the Samuels letter did not support the line as it was written, I have since submitted a proposal for a line which I believe could be considered supported by the contents of the letter. The article as a whole would be cluttered with {{medrs}} tags, including the 1999 FDA newsletter blurb. I can understand that you wish to see the Samuels letter used in the article, how do you feel about my proposal? Unomi (talk) 21:08, 29 November 2009 (UTC)
We have two choices. We can keep both letters or delete both letters. QuackGuru (talk) 21:10, 29 November 2009 (UTC)
As you feel so strongly about it, and since I myself hold no strong opinion regarding its removal, I have changed the article text to correctly reflect the contents of the source. Unomi (talk) 21:23, 29 November 2009 (UTC)
You strongly wanted the reference removed. QuackGuru (talk) 16:58, 30 November 2009 (UTC)
I stated, and believe, that a letter to the editor reflects opinion. As such I was opposed to the strong and non-WP:ASF wording of the sentence the letter was purported to support. Upon reading your regard of Samuels A as an authority in the field I was moved to investigate and reflect, my preliminary findings are above. I agree with you that Samuels A. as an published expert in research design is qualified to have their opinion in their field of expertise given some room in the article. Unomi (talk) 07:26, 1 December 2009 (UTC)
I replaced the reference with a more reliable reference. QuackGuru (talk) 02:23, 3 December 2009 (UTC)

Please semi-protect this article


There is far too much IP vandalism going on. -- Brangifer (talk) 05:57, 1 December 2009 (UTC)

You can request for this article to be protected if you want to. BejinhanTalk 06:01, 1 December 2009 (UTC)
Go to WP:RFPP to request page protection. BejinhanTalk 06:11, 1 December 2009 (UTC)
(edit conflict)To clarify, you can request protection at WP:RFPP in the future. However, I've taken a look at this and the level of vandalism doesn't seem to be terribly high, with only three recent cases from two IP addresses. Protection isn't necessary just now. Hersfold (t/a/c) 06:13, 1 December 2009 (UTC)
Okay. I was under the impression that this was escalating, but (fortunately!) may have been mistaken. Let's see what happens. The IPs may still be in need of warnings or blocks as necessary. I haven't checked right now. -- Brangifer (talk) 08:01, 1 December 2009 (UTC)

More Letters

Some more letters that were published in relation to the Humphries et al (2008) review have been made available:

There is a little for everyone, including this:

Unomi (talk) 15:21, 2 December 2009 (UTC)

Not MEDRS letter. QuackGuru (talk) 15:26, 2 December 2009 (UTC)


Three sentences in the lead about the safety concerns is a weight violation. Given the current size of the lead, there is no need to mention the controversy at all. This article is about aspartame, not conspiracy theories. At most, there could be direction to the controversy article, which I believe is how this was handled recently. Keepcalmandcarryon (talk) 20:39, 2 December 2009 (UTC)

There is no mention of conspiracy theories in the lead? You are using emotional, loaded terminology when we are actually discussing scientific opinion. A significant issue related to the food additive aspartame is concern over its safety. The consensus has been to include a summary of research on this issue, but that research up until now has only included a favourable safety review. To provide balance, including the most significant long-term medical studies is entirely appropriate. -- Fxsstm (talk) 00:23, 3 December 2009 (UTC)

"Two long-term studies on aspartame led the researchers to conclude in a 2007 review[original research?] that aspartame was a multipotential carcinogenic "at a dose level close to the acceptable daily intake for humans"[3].[Unreliable medical source?]" This reference is not in the body which is a lead violation. QuackGuru (talk) 01:51, 3 December 2009 (UTC)

Instead of removing significant scientific opinion from the lead, which is appropriate, perhaps help improve the article by including it in the body? I have included this in the controversy section to address your concerns. I am reluctant to expand on it, as it is dealt with on the aspartame controversy page, but if the consensus is that a summary of scientific opinion on aspartame health effects should be included on this page (which I do) then for balance it is important to reference this significant scientific opinion in addition to the other recent opinions referenced in the article. -- Fxsstm (talk) 14:21, 3 December 2009 (UTC)
Keepcalmandcarryon and I think it is undueweight. I added a newer source to the body. According to you, editors should discuss before making major changes but you did not follow your own advise. QuackGuru (talk) 16:27, 3 December 2009 (UTC)
See also the comments by 2/0 in the controversy discussion. Wikipedia has an entire article about the aspartame controversies, which make up relatively little of what aspartame is all about. This article should focus on what aspartame is, chemically; its history; its production; its uses. Yes, there should be a mention of its safety profile, which should emphasise that governments, international bodies, regulatory agencies, scientific agencies and individual scientific research overwhelmingly support its safety. Individual anti-aspartamome activists should not confuse Wikipedia with a forum for their beliefs, which are decidedly WP:FRINGE. Keepcalmandcarryon (talk) 17:52, 3 December 2009 (UTC)
Why has any mention of the controversy now been removed from the lead? A search for aspartame returns almost nothing BUT the controversy, so to claim it's not important is a little skewed. Greenman (talk) 18:40, 31 December 2009 (UTC)
Do you have a specific proposal for the lead. Do you have a reliable MEDRS source that describes the controversy? QuackGuru (talk) 18:49, 31 December 2009 (UTC)
Exactly what it was is fine for now. It cannot be "overweight" as the main reason everyone visits this article is to read about the controversy, and the vast majority of sources are about that topic. Willing it away doesn't change that fact. Greenman (talk) 00:00, 2 January 2010 (UTC)
I did not mention "overweight". I suggested a specific proposal to expand the lead. If the vast majority of sources are about controversy then you should have no problem writing a proposal using reliable sources. QuackGuru (talk) 01:44, 2 January 2010 (UTC)
OK, if you're happy it's not overweight (the term undueweight was used above, but with people making changes all the time it's hard to follow exactly what that referred to, perhaps another aspect), I've restored the lead. Any objections to the lead as it is, let's discuss first. Greenman (talk) 11:18, 2 January 2010 (UTC)
I previously requested a reference but the first part of the sentence is unsourced text. QuackGuru (talk) 22:11, 2 January 2010 (UTC)
It's okay. Read my edit summary. -- Brangifer (talk) 22:48, 2 January 2010 (UTC)
It seems it is okay? Let's see what others think. QuackGuru (talk) 22:52, 2 January 2010 (UTC)
The controversy article has the references for that uncontroversial statement, and the section in this article does too. -- Brangifer (talk) 23:10, 2 January 2010 (UTC)
As you should well know, QG, you don't need a medrs to point out a controversy. There are however medrs sources which question its safety, the Soffretti study, a recent review in the european journal of clinical nutrition, as well as of course, Searles own studies, lest we forget. We also have the GAO87 report which states in as plain language as anyone could ever want, that the history of aspartame is rife with controversy. Unomi (talk) 14:11, 2 January 2010 (UTC)
If that source is used the text in the lead must be rewritten to match the source. OR is not allowed on Wikipedia. QuackGuru (talk) 22:17, 2 January 2010 (UTC)

After Greenman's latest restoration of the lead, we have the article as it should be. LEAD requires mention of significant content, and since we have a section with refers to a fuller discussion of the controversy in its own article, that section must be mentioned in the lead. We're now doing that in a short and sweet manner. Let's close this thread and move on. -- Brangifer (talk) 21:50, 2 January 2010 (UTC)

I have added to the lead; my problem was not so much with the last sentence of the lead as with the omission of so much else. Keepcalmandcarryon (talk) 15:20, 4 January 2010 (UTC)
I fixed a bit of the last sentence so that it was more clear as to who actually held which opinion and who said the quote. ScienceApologist (talk) 22:12, 11 January 2010 (UTC)

About the section of Compendial status....


No sources provided

This possibly controversial edit did not provide any sources. QuackGuru (talk) 08:00, 23 April 2010 (UTC)

Correct. Additionally, the language seemed to ascribe a certain mainstream quality to the anti-aspartame conspiracy theories. I've rewritten with a quote from a media source; there are many others that also describe the anti-aspartame movement as the domain of conspiracy theorists (including, if I'm not mistaken, the New York Times). Keepcalmandcarryon (talk) 15:07, 23 April 2010 (UTC)

"after its initial approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1974."

This part of the sentence is possibly misleading. I thought the FDA no longer questioned its safety. We need a reference to sort this out. A reader may think the FDA currently questioned the safety of aspartame. QuackGuru (talk) 15:58, 23 April 2010 (UTC)

Duplication of sentence themes

There are two sentences in the beggining:

"Its use in food products was approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration in 1980."

"...internet hoaxes since its initial approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1974."

The dates should probably be changed to whichever it actually is, just saying... --Cayden Ryan (talk) 16:24, 20 May 2010 (UTC)

Metabolism and phenylketonuria

The first paragraph of this section seems to contradict the Wikipedia article it cites. Obviously a primary source should be used instead, but should the entire paragraph be removed or should it make reference to the corresponding section of the Controversy page? Kelly Sater 02:50, 8 June 2010 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Khsater (talkcontribs)

Recent changes

To Verbal, please enumerate what problems you see with my changes. If you do not specify them here, I shall revert. Please note: the study was funded by the aspartame industry, and the hoax data is not encyclopedic (names private citizens, not covered in major media, not covered in scientific literature). TickleMeister (talk) 13:19, 18 June 2010 (UTC)

And why on earth have you reverted the migraine data, which is extremely well sourced? Please do not perform mass reversions or abuse Twinkle. TickleMeister (talk) 13:22, 18 June 2010 (UTC)
I have not had time to review all your edits. Please justify them here. The removal of sources and text goes against the consensus that was hammered out previously. I have objected to these changes, now please show consensus has changed if you wish to remove this information. I will add back the migraine data once I have reviewed the sources. Thanks, Verbal chat 13:27, 18 June 2010 (UTC)
The above comment was meant for the Aspartame controversy talk page, where the migraine data is already discussed. The request to discuss your edits still stands, thanks. I am reviewing both pages. Verbal chat 13:30, 18 June 2010 (UTC)
You seem to have wp:OWN issues. You are the one reverting, so raise your objections here, and I'll address the concerns. There is no way to "justify" my changes. You need to specify why this medicine-related article is full of crap sourcing that fails wp:MEDRS and contains nonsense about cranks' webpages. TickleMeister (talk) 13:32, 18 June 2010 (UTC)
Headaches are already mentioned in the current text. What does your edit add, and why do you think it is supported by the WP:MEDRS you wish to add. Verbal chat 13:37, 18 June 2010 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────The headache issue is mentioned in passing, and your version even denies it's an issue. My insert on headaches is gold plated encyclopedic content. The sourcing is superb. TickleMeister (talk) 13:40, 18 June 2010 (UTC)

I'm afraid I'll need more than your word. Also, see the archive discussions here and at the other article. Verbal chat 13:42, 18 June 2010 (UTC)
Whaaat? You'll need more than my word for studies published in Medline? WTH are you on about? Do you know anything about sourcing for medicine-related articles? If not, please go away. Reverting unless you can give better arguments than this. TickleMeister (talk) 13:50, 18 June 2010 (UTC)
Please stop your personal attacks, it's easier if you just stick to justification of your edits than ad hom. WP:CIVIL and WP:AGF are cornerstone policies of editor interaction. Please justify your edits, thanks. Verbal chat 13:58, 18 June 2010 (UTC)
Fine. I inserted data about headaches, giving solid sources. You removed it. What more is there to say? TickleMeister (talk) 14:00, 18 June 2010 (UTC)
  • Reverted to my version because arguments are missing/weak. As I said on the Talk:Aspartame controversy page, [6] is not a RS for a science/medicine article. See wp:MEDRS. If you find a scientific or mainstream press article that discusses these so-called hoaxes, we can look at the issue again. TickleMeister (talk) 14:28, 18 June 2010 (UTC)
  • You can keep claiming that, but you will keep being wrong. The Snopes link isn't intended for use as an RS for a medical claim, so MEDRS doesn't apply. The link states that is the official position of the FDA that aspartame is safe (the FDA, by the way, is an RS, conspiracy theories nonwithstanding) --King Öomie 16:27, 18 June 2010 (UTC)
Snopes is a wp:SPS, published by the Mikkelsons, a married couple. No matter what reputation it has, its fact checking and reliability cannot rise to the level of encyclopedic, especially on a science/medicine page. If you need a source for the hoax data, use Time (which is what the Mikkelsons use anyhow). TickleMeister (talk) 22:13, 18 June 2010 (UTC)
Snopes has been found to be a WP:RS. You'll have to overturn that consensus if you disagree I'm afraid. Verbal chat 14:37, 19 June 2010 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Never mind, I added it back in using Time as the source. diff. There is absolutely no need for more detail than that on this chemistry page. Interested readers can get the gory details of what someone once wrote on Usenet about aspartame from the source, Time. TickleMeister (talk) 22:30, 18 June 2010 (UTC)

  • Verbal removed Mercola's book as a source for a historical fact (what Jerome Bressler said in a FDA report). It is RS for that fact (Dr Mercola is an osteopathic physician who runs his own clinic, inter alia). He also removed well-sourced statement that the study cited in the lead was funded by an aspartame manufacturer. he has not contested the soutce here, just went right ahead and deleted the fact and the source. How about that? Tendentious much? Reverted. TickleMeister (talk) 08:32, 19 June 2010 (UTC)
Well, you don't need Mercola to comment on the initial studies. GAO/HRD-87-46 stands up pretty well:

The task force concluded that its investigation had uncovered evidence that Searle’ practices were in violation of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. They said “the results were so serious in some studies as to make it difficult, if not impossible, to draw conclusions regarding the full toxic potential of the products from the data.” (See app. III for the task force’ findings and CFSAN’S comments.)

The task force report issued in 1976 recommended that:

  • the Department of Justice institute grand jury proceedings against Searle,
  • FDA establish regulations outlining good laboratory practice,3 and
  • FDA centers determine whether to take administrative and/or regulatory actions on each of the Searle products investigated.

[3] It is fascinating that Searle's studies were so poorly managed that it precipitated a change in how FDA did business. Not to mention the grand jury investigation that 'lapsed'. Unomi (talk) 16:14, 19 June 2010 (UTC)

I agree, that is a much better source to use. Verbal chat 16:34, 19 June 2010 (UTC)
  • Thanks, Unomi, I've added it as a primary source with the Mercola book as a secondary. TickleMeister (talk) 01:18, 20 June 2010 (UTC)

Reliability of Mercola book as source

The issue is now on the RS Noticeboard. TickleMeister (talk) 11:08, 20 June 2010 (UTC)

The text is now supported by a RS so there is no need to include a contested, fringe source. Also, please don't make misleading edit summaries as in your last edit. The contested source had already been removed, your edit was clearly a revert. Please justify and get consensus for your changes here. Thanks, Verbal chat 11:18, 20 June 2010 (UTC)

Edit war

Verbal, you are kneejerk reverting without making any concrete objections to content here. I will have to go to ANI if this continues. PLEASE LIST YOUR OBJECTIONS TO MY VERSION HERE. Thank you. TickleMeister (talk) 11:24, 20 June 2010 (UTC)

The burden is on you to get support for your contested and controversial changes, that are also being discussed at WP:FTN and Talk:Aspartame controversy. Please justify them here, don't force your changes to the long standing version, and please remain civil (for eg, please don't use all caps and don't create section names that assume bad faith). Verbal chat 11:56, 20 June 2010 (UTC)
There is no longer any discussion at FTN, and nor is that the appropriate forum to discuss my edits. I am not an aspartame hater from the alternative medicine universe. I am a scientist. I am totally opposed to fringe theories in WP. You have not justified the use of 'controversial' in relation to my changes. Which ones are controversial, other than my removal of the screeds of information about an anonymous hoax? TickleMeister (talk) 12:59, 20 June 2010 (UTC)
It takes two to tango (or editwar). I'd suggest you both follow WP:BRD trough instead of simply reverting each other. Your edits have been reverted so there's obviously someone disagreeing with them, now discuss why you think that "your" version is better than the other (not the other way round). I don't know if I've got enough time to take part in the discussion, but I'll try. Based on the differences in your last revert I'll start with your changes in the lead and once we're done with those we can gradually work through the rest:
The edit regarding PKU looks OK to me.
"[I]n 1977 an FDA report by Jerome Bressler [...]" vs. "[I]n 1977 a report by the FDA's Jerome Bressler [...]". The latter implies that the report wasn't an FDA report but a report done by someone who after/before writing it started working/worked for the FDA, which AFAIK isn't true, so I'd revert that change, too.
Your next edit doesn't look NPOV because you mention the study was funded by Ajinomoto but you don't mention that Ajinomoto neither chose the panel members nor were they told who funded the study.
"However, seven members of the expert panel out of ten had conflicts of interest, [...]" You make a POV edit like this one and think tagging it with "citation needed" is enough? Nope.
I don't think anyone disagrees with your edit about the UK Food Standards Agency.
--Six words (talk) 14:29, 20 June 2010 (UTC)
Thanks for the attempt to help, but I think you've mixed up my edits with those by others ... and also missed all the most contentious points, other than the Ajinomoto funding issue. I really don't want to get into the claim and counterclaim minutiae about whether or not the study participants knew who funded the study. You can see from the source [7] that they probably had an excellent idea who was behind it. The bottom line is that it was industry funded, and that is extremely important. TickleMeister (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 14:37, 20 June 2010 (UTC).
I think 6words is correct about the funding. I started to restore some of the non contentious edits, but then I realised this might be considered a revert so I have stopped for now. That you think it is important is fine, but to put that in the article without solid sources violates several content policies. I will restore the removed refs that replaced cn tags, and then stop. Verbal chat 15:22, 20 June 2010 (UTC)
Verbal, I think we need to wait for more input here. You say the funding issue is inadequate sourced, despite the very well known and trusted medical portal webMD carrying a news article highlighting the funding issue, and quoting Michael F. Jacobson, PhD, executive director of the consumer group Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), as having grave concerns about it. You see, I think that that more than justifies mentioning the funding. Now we need to see if others have other opinions. TickleMeister (talk) 15:27, 20 June 2010 (UTC)
That source then goes on to dismiss those concerns, as the scientists were unaware of the funding and the review was peer reviewed. Is CSPI a good source? We do not do criticism by innuendo. If anyone objects to my last two edits, restoring non contested sources (I believe) I will self revert. Thanks, Verbal chat 15:29, 20 June 2010 (UTC)
{ec}I didn't get edits mixed up, I simply used your last edit and looked at the differences - it's your edit, so whether you introduced those changes or someone else did, it seems that you think they should stay. Also, I didn't miss "all the most contentious points", but chose to start at the top (i.e. the lead), discuss those changes, and then, after consensus is build on them, discuss the other changes. If you know of a better way to discuss things in a structured way, I'm open for suggestions.
The source doesn't say that the panel members probably knew who was behind the study, it cites someone saying that (exec. director of CSPI) and someone else denying it (the panel's coordinator). If you find it is extremely important to say it was industry funded, WP:NPOV demands that you do it in a neutral way. The source says it was industry funded but the expert panel didn't know who was behind it, so that's what our article has to say, otherwise you'd imply they were reaching their conclusions based on who funded them (you even named the company, so it's hard to believe this isn't what you wanted to imply). The source also says it was published in a peer-reviewed journal (Critical Reviews in Toxicology - that's a pretty good one), so making it sound like this was some specious study is certainly not NPOV.
I'm trying to help so the two of you can reach a consensus both of you can live with, but it's quite hard to do so if you're not willing to discuss in the first place. In case you're not familiar with WP:BRD I suggest you read it, if you already have, you should follow it. Either that, or I'll ask an admin to set back the whole article the way it was before this edit war started and protect it until consensus is reached (I'd really like to avoid that) Article has been protected while I was writing this.
btw: Please sign your posts.--Six words (talk) 15:45, 20 June 2010 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────As I said, we can get into the whole issue of whether or not the panel knew exactly which company was funding it if you like, in the article. They certainly knew it was industry funded, not so, or are you disagreeing with that? Burdock Group, who picked the panel, is a consulting firm serving the food, dietary supplement, and cosmetics industries. Let's not act dumb here, ok? TickleMeister (talk) 15:57, 20 June 2010 (UTC)

What I think they did or didn't know is beside the point, we're using reliable sources here, not our own opinions. Even if they knew industry funded the study, they didn't necessarily know what outcome the funder preferred (hint: you can either show your product is better than your competitor's, or you can cast doubt on the safety of his product). Also, WP:NPOV isn't just a suggestion, it's policy.--Six words (talk) 16:09, 20 June 2010 (UTC)
I fully agree with 6words on this. We're not here to engage in WP:OR or fight for "teh WP:TRUTH". The source and policy, and the disputed edit, don't match. Verbal chat 16:23, 20 June 2010 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Ok, so here's the situation: there are numerous peer-reviewed studies raising legitimate concerns about aspartame and its metabolites. I added about 20 of them as sources for my recent edits on the 2 pages about this chemical (all of these edits were removed without discussion). On the other hand, we have one study —funded by industry through a corporation (Burdock) that works for the food industry, and which hand-picked the consulting experts for the task— that virtually exonerates the chemical of all blame (an astonishing outcome, given all the other studies). Our articles on aspartame have taken this one controversial study (yes, it is controversial as shown in the WebMD report, and yes, WebMD is a RS, and the controversy is also mentioned here and here and [Unreliable fringe source?] here] etc) and elevated it into the lead in both articles, without any comment as to its industry funding, or controversial nature. To make matters worse and even less npov, the study is also used in multiple places throughout the two articles to pooh-pooh other studies that raise concerns about aspartame.

So is there a solution to this obviously flawed situation in our aspartame articles? Yes, there is a simple solution to this problem:

  1. Remove mention of this study from the leads. This does not materially alter the articles in any way. Or, if it must remain in the leads (why?), add text that draws on the section discussing the study (see next point) to make clear that the study is controversial.
  2. Put the study into its own section, with its own subheader, and fully explore the issue. Detail the origins, the findings, and the controversy, all sides and all opinions. That should satisfy everyone, and the readers can draw their own conclusions. As an inclusionist, this is my preferred route. TickleMeister (talk) 23:19, 20 June 2010 (UTC)
I'll try and have a look at the sources you introduced, but it may take a while and I don't know if I can get copies of all of them. Meanwhile we can discuss your issues with this study. You say it's controversial and that's true to a certain extend: it's controversial the same way vaccinations (some believe they cause Autism) and the HIV-Theory (some say there is no HI virus or if there is, it doesn't cause AIDS) are controversial. But it's also true that these opinions are fringe views, i.e. that the majority of scientists in the field don't share those views. You make it sound like this was the only study saying that aspartame is safe (and you're also implying that they only came to this conclusion because the study was industry funded), but it isn't, it's just the latest (or at least the latest I know of). The study is saying the same thing previous studies said and presenting the majority view on the subject, so it should been given due weight. Instead of removing the study, we could change the lead to say that several high quality studies have concluded that aspartame is safe for human consumption and cite all of them, so readers don't get the impression this conclusion is based on this one "controversial" study. I read the links you provided to prove the study is controversial (not the one to "natural news" - I don't accept "natural news", "", "huffington post" and similar sites as arguments in debates about scientific subjects), and then tried to find out what the SPECT scans of Ms Cormack showed, but I couldn't find anything. The story started more than two years ago, so shouldn't the results be all over the internet by now? (Rhetorical question.) I also checked if/how the aspartame study was criticised in other scientific journals (looked at the the articles that cited it according to ISI WoK) - out of 16 citations only one was criticising the study, not what I would expect if it was controversial. Given that, I don't think there's enough material to give this "controversy" a section of its own. --Six words (talk) 17:12, 21 June 2010 (UTC)
The fact that a study was funded by an industry does not detract from its credibility provided it has been accepted by the academic community. TFD (talk) 19:46, 21 June 2010 (UTC)
To reply to 6W: the sources I used were all studies that you can access via PubMed. You mostly don't require access to full text to use them in wikipedia as sources. Regarding "controversial": your opinion on whether it is controversial or not does not matter. We have proof that it is controversial from the RS. I also don't care for your statement about what the "majority of scientists" think. It's not our job here to come to conclusions about the chemicals safety. If there are studies showing it is safe, then fine, we mention them. If there are other studies raising doubts, then they must be mentioned too.
A general comment on some of the opinions I'm seeing here from opposing editors: there is altogether too much censoring and filtering of information on the aspartame pages, almost as if agendas are being followed here. You have to understand that true neutrality does not attempt to suppress controversy and adverse findings about a chemical, simply because of a hatred for pseudoscience or homoeopathy (I hate it too), or a misguided urge to protect this page from either the followers of fringe medicine adherents, or believers in alternative medicine (of which I am not one). You must understand that by over-zealously watchdogging a page like this, with a non-neutral agenda of this kind, you are actually harming the encyclopedia. I would ask the editors here to accept that I am working in good faith on the articles, motivated mostly by my own very negative experience with the chemical (severe migraines that stopped completely once I quit consuming aspartame, but which return when I consume it again). If I can have these experiences, then so can many others (I am a human primate, last time I looked). Of course, we also know that from all the studies showing an unarguable link between aspartame and headache. Now it's worth mentioning that although numerous studies exist that make the link, the aspartame pages only had one passing and highly equivocal mention of it. When I added a stronger mention, with numerous sources, it was immediately reverted. This is the sort of non-NPOV editing that has made the aspartame articles seriously unbalanced and in need of attention (I may have to ask for admin intercession to force neutrality onto the page of there is a total lack of willingness to compromise). So I ask my interlocutors here to allow me to make modifications without constant reverts. When the page is unlocked, I'll start with adding new medical material with scientific sources. Hopefully these changes, which are not political, will not meet unreasonable resistance. Once I've added all the science, I'll move on to the more controversial areas, like the funding issue. Does this sound reasonable? TickleMeister (talk) 01:09, 22 June 2010 (UTC)
Sorry, but what you think makes something controversial doesn't really matter either. Nor does it matter what random people on the internet think. Believe it or not, it's about what the experts think. The study you so strongly oppose is a review (as are previous studys saying aspartame is safe), and it is published in a high profile, peer-reviewed journal, that makes it a very strong source. You say that your opinion on aspartame comes from personal experience and those of others - that's anecdotes. Anecdotes aren't RS.
That you think the pubmed abstracts are enough to know what an article really says is a little worrying, but I start to feel that you don't want any discussion of the material anyway, you're just looking for people to agree with you. Sorry, can't do that.
Since you've already met "resistance" to your changes, a better way to go would be to discuss changes (and sources) here before you edit the article, this way there's no need to ask an admin to "force neutrality onto the page" (no administrator would do that anyway, as they're not allowed to judge on content issues).
To say it again: your personal experience doesn't trump what science says! --Six words (talk) 07:47, 22 June 2010 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────That's a very aggressive and personal response that adds nothing to the page and does not really discuss issues, so I won't respond other than to say 1) there is a RS that shows a controversy and 2) the fact that industry-funded studies give this chemical a clean bill of health, and non-industry funded studies frequently don't, are facts that will make their way into these aspartame articles, in one way or another. I may be shouted down here at first by a cabal who apparently OWN the page, but outside opinions can be recruited, and they will be if necessary. I suggest you take a more collegial tone with me and try to work with me for a good outcome, rather than assume the page is correct as is and cannot be improved. TickleMeister (talk) 13:23, 22 June 2010 (UTC)

Wikipedia is a collaborative environment, meaning you have to gain concensus by persuasion, not by violating policy like declaring you will recruit people to try to force your version of the article in (thus violating WP:meat) or by calling other people names, i.e. a 'cabal' (thus violating WP:NPA and WP:AGF). It would be wise for you to discuss things, and if you cannot gain consensus, to move on to other topics rather than violate policy to force your version of the article in that could lead you to being sanctioned.Yobol (talk) 13:31, 22 June 2010 (UTC)
Asking for extra opinions, and RfCing are completely legitimate tactics. I have not used them yet, but it's disturbing to see you attempt to twist this into me threatening to forum-stack. I am not seeing a healthy diversity of opinion here, so it may be necessary. There is no collaboration evident on this page, for example some very reasonable and well sourced changes I made were instantly reverted. I have also had messages on my Talk page that affirm that this has been a battleground where no real consensus exists. In a battleground you have winners and losers, so rather than a 'cabal' I'll rephrase that to 'winners'. As for discussion, that's what I'm attempting, but all my proposals above have been ignored in favor of the two personal attacks posted today. So it looks like discussion and co-operation are going to be an uphill battle.
I was trying to give you some friendly advice. I'm glad to see you will follow WP policies. Turning this into a WP:battle will not help you, this article, or this project at all. Of course any of the WP:DR options are at your disposal if you choose to use them, but turning this content dispute into a personal matter as you seem to be doing just because you cannot convince others to that your changes are justified is not healthy. Yobol (talk) 14:12, 22 June 2010 (UTC)
Your seemingly deliberate misinterpretation of my reference to other voices coming to the party as an veiled meatpuppet threat was anything but "friendly". Now you imply I am trying to turn the aspartame pages into battlegrounds, which they have been in the past (and still are by the looks of it). Is that more friendliness? The Pièce de résistance is your final sentence, in which you say I am personalising my edits. That's a very friendly accusation, I'm sure. I guess wp:AGF is an early casualty. If you have no content matters to discuss, please stop this interchange. I'm not going to be further baited. Bye. TickleMeister (talk) 14:22, 22 June 2010 (UTC)
If charging that there are 'cabals' and 'winners' trying to thwart you isn't exactly what WP:Battle was written for, I don't know what is. I'm sorry you're taking everything as a slight against you, it was certainly not intended as such. Good luck in your future editing. Yobol (talk) 14:31, 22 June 2010 (UTC)
Thanks TickleMeister for your attempts to improve the article, and persistence in the face of resistance. It can be frustrating dealing with editors who revert seemingly valid changes without discussion, or make personal attacks, but it's a fact of life in controversial articles like these. Often the reasoning is that, of, say, 10 changes made, 2 are contested, and then that's used as justification for the whole lot being reverted. To understand their position, many contributions are spent protecting articles like these from nonsense changes, so when someone constructive comes along it's easy to unthinkingly revert if you see one thing you object to. I hope you aren't scared off by what can seem like a cabal, but really is a kind of groupthink. I'd suggest making one change at a time. Discuss on talk, make the least controversial improvement, and give everyone time to come up with a reasonable objection. Slow, frustrating, but it's the only way to get through. It also makes it clearer than to all editors who is being constructive in their objections, if there's only one issue at a time to consider. Greenman (talk) 21:57, 22 June 2010 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Thanks for this truly encouraging and friendly comment, Greenman! You are of course quite right, and I shall be doing as you say. I intend referring editors to individual sections of the working copy of the page for their comments. This stops me cluttering up this Talk page with draft edits and allows me to show the edit without starting an edit war on the actual article page. TickleMeister (talk) 01:21, 23 June 2010 (UTC)

  1. ^ a b Magnuson BA, Burdock GA, Doull J (2007). "Aspartame: a safety evaluation based on current use levels, regulations, and toxicological and epidemiological studies". Crit. Rev. Toxicol. 37 (8): 629–727. PMID 17828671. doi:10.1080/10408440701516184. 
  2. ^ "Correspondence". Enivronmental Health Perspectives. 116 (6). 2008. Retrieved 2009-11-14. 
  3. ^ "GAO/HRD-87-46" (PDF).