Many studies have been performed on saccharin since 1977, some showing a correlation between saccharin consumption and increased frequency of cancer (especially bladder cancer in rats) and others finding no such correlation.
Saccharin is the oldest commercial artificial sweetener, its sweetness having been discovered in 1879 by Ira Remsen, a professor at Johns Hopkins University, and Constantine Fahlberg, a research fellow working in Remsen's lab.
Blends of saccharin with other sweeteners are often used to compensate for each sweetener's weaknesses.
In 1911, Food Inspection Decision 135 stated that foods containing saccharin were adulterated.
At the time, saccharin was the only artificial sweetener available in the U.S., and the proposed ban met with strong public opposition, especially among diabetics.
Saccharin is a synthetic organic compound that tastes hundreds of times sweeter than cane sugar (sucrose) and is used as a calorie-free sweetener.
The controversy continued with the prohibition of saccharin during the Taft administration.
Saccharin salt formed with sodium, and to a lesser extent with calcium, is used as a sweetener in foods and beverages and as a flavoring agent in toothpaste, pharmaceuticals, and other items.
Various accounts place saccharin between 200 and 700 times sweeter than sucrose.
A small number of soft drinks are sweetened with saccharin, the most popular being the Coca-Cola Company's cola drink Tab, introduced in 1963 as a diet cola soft drink.
Saccharin goes directly through the human digestive system without being digested.
Harvey Wiley was one particularly well-known figure involved in the investigation of saccharin.
Wiley, then the director of the bureau of chemistry for the United States Department of Agriculture, had suspected saccharin to be damaging to human health.
Saccharin is roughly 10 times sweeter than cyclamate, while cyclamate is less costly to produce than saccharin.
Saccharin provides the desired sweetness without high calories and other physical characteristics of sugar traced to deleterious health consequences.
During World War I, the United States experienced a sugar shortage; the prohibition of saccharin was lifted to balance the demand for sugar.
The widespread production and use of saccharin continued through World War II, again alleviating the shortages during war time but immediately slowing at the war's end (Priebem and Kauffman 1980).
Throughout the 1960s, various studies suggested that saccharin might be an animal carcinogen.
Saccharin was an important discovery, especially for diabetics.
Pure saccharin is not soluble in water, but if the molecule is combined with sodium or calcium as a salt the salt is very soluble.
Concern peaked in 1977, after the publication of a study indicating an increased rate of bladder cancer in rats fed large doses of saccharin.