Copyright 2005 Richard Keir
There seems to be fairly poor tracking by any formal standards once a product is approved as a food additive. Despite supposedly tracking adverse reactions, reality has been different at FDA. Aspartame is a case in point. Apparent collusion, distorted research reports, lack of funding for independent research, questionable practices in tracking adverse reactions and reporting them. It's a pretty ugly sounding story. It's been said that Aspartame is a contract on humanity. Here's one source you might find puts you off Aspartame for good: http://www.holisticmed.com/aspartame/suffer.faq - "Reported Aspartame Toxicity Effects".
Are estimates (in report above) of real number of toxic reactions accurate? I'm no epidemiologist but what struck me was large number of serious toxic reactions reported by pilots. My conclusion -- I won't use stuff. And there are suggestions that offshoot - Neotame - may be even worse.
Everyone pretty much knows kinds of problems that have been reported with cyclamates and Saccharin. Weirdly - perhaps bad tracking? - actual dangers still seem unclear after many years of use. However, as I read it, they seem to be substantially less toxic than some more recent artificial sweeteners.
Splenda is latest and greatest. Reportedly manufactured from sugar by substituting 3 chlorine atoms for 3 hydroxyl groups, some claim that end product is not what it should be. Apparently if it were made from sugar then when you dissolve it in water (hydrolyze), it ought to produce chlorinated glucose which is a known toxin. Instead it produces chlorinated monosaccharides.
Splenda, or sucralose, is a chlorocarbon. Chlorocarbons have an illustrious history, being known for causing organ, reproductive and genetic damage. Whether sucralose (Splenda) is as safe as manufacturer claims (which is pretty much what manufacturers always claim) remains to be seen. Here is another reference worth taking a look at: http://www.mercola.com/2000/dec/3/sucralose_dangers.htm - "Secret Dangers of Splenda".
Andrew Weil, MD has some pertinent - and more moderate comments on Aspartame and Splenda here: http://www.drweil.com/u/QA/QA106654/ - "Aspartame: Can a Little Bit Hurt". He suggests using "precautionary" principle - which basically says if there are questions about safety of a product, don't use it.
At this point, I think it's my head that's spinning. I'm uncertain whether Splenda is safe, reasonably safe, slightly risky or seriously risky. When I looked at manufacturer's site and a couple other sites that were all enthused about Splenda, I didn't see any answers to points critics are making. Mostly it's all lightness, sweetness and miracle of modern science.