There is such sweetener as Saccharin Sodium that being added sometimes in drinks and just sold as sweetener on it's own. I didn't found information about dosages, but but on nih.gov I see this:

There is sufficient evidence that this compound is an animal carcinogen. When heated to decomposition this compound emits very toxic fumes of SOx and NOx.

Also on the sweetener I've seen norm of daily consumption notion.
On the other hand I heard that 2nd generation of sweeteners are safe (aspartame), if so then may there be safe dosages for the 1st generation?

The main question is if dosages they put in food and recommended daily norm on sweeteners are non-carcenogenic?

Also it's not clear what temperatures are required for heating to decomposition? Can it be used in baking?

  • 1
    @Jan just did it.
    – R S
    Dec 14, 2019 at 9:50
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    Answering such questions is ungratifying because rarely one believes it...I really suggest you to just check few other sites using the site:gov operator (mostly studies). Here's one: cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/diet/… . Early research said yes, it is associated with bladder cancer, but newer research says "not sure"...
    – Jan
    Dec 14, 2019 at 9:54
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    Some (mainly older) studies say yes, it's carcinogenic and some (mainly newer) studies say, it's "insufficient evidence" - and such answers may not be convincing for you. I just wanted that you actually find few other studies and check and taste the confusion. You may want to use a date filter (aka after 2010). If you are willing to do this, we can then discuss further. I mean PubChem, full respect, but they on their own are not an absolute reference.
    – Jan
    Dec 14, 2019 at 10:12
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    I agree with @Jan and I am especially surprised to see "It may also cause anorexia." in there. The question also needing to be asked is what temperatures are required for heating to decomposition. Use in foods might not reach those temperatures Dec 14, 2019 at 10:17
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    Are you talking about the stuff in the pink packs? There is some research out of Israel that shows it could produce bad gut bacteria or something like that. You can search for the details of that study. I don’t think cancer was the concern but rather that it might actually contribute to Type 2 diabetes. The pink packs I think. But find the study for proper details.
    – Gordon
    Dec 14, 2019 at 16:45

1 Answer 1


The PubChem article you linked (National Center for Biotechnology Information, n.d.) stated that

When heated to decomposition this compound emits very toxic fumes of SOx and NOx. It may also emit toxic fumes of carbon and COx. (NTP, 1992)

So what is the required heat for decomposition?

Saad, et al. (2014) points out that

Saccharin decomposes at 228°C [442.4°F] in acid (Lide, 1997); > 300°C [572°F] in sodium and calcium salts (Mitchell & Pearson, 1991)

You may be setting an oven at a higher temperature than 228°C/442.4°F and a proper pizza oven should go above 500°C/932°F but you need to remember that the food can't reach those temperatures without burning. In another answer to the same Cooking.SE question we are reminded that

air is a bad transmitter of heat. You can hold your hand in air that is 212℉ / 100℃, but you can’t put it into a pot of boiling water.

With frying temperatures, heating oil above 190°C may result in the oil catching fire (BBC Good Food, n.d.).

With these facts in mind, cooking and baking does not involve heating food to these kinds of temperatures, so therefore this fact is irrelevant to food safety.

As for the carcinogenicity, of Saccharin they also state that

Arnold (1983) studied two generation saccharin bioassays. Results showed that humeral antibody production in rats is seriously affected that may lead toward cancer. In 1977 FDA proposed a ban on saccharin use due to cancer reports in laboratory rats (Arnold, 1984; Tisdel et al., 1974; Schoenig et al., 1985; Taylor et al., 1980).

The results of the study by Arnold (1983) resulted in the prohibition of saccharin in Canada and a proposed ban in the United States. This proposed U.S. ban was withdrawn in 1991, but foods containing saccharin were required to carry a warning label. This warning label was placed on all products containing saccharin to indicate “saccharin is a potential cancer causing agent.”

Supporting evidence for carcinogenicity given by Saad, et al. (2014) includes studies from the 80s and 90s:

Exposure to pure saccharin supported its role in pathogenesis of the liver damage (Negro et al., 1994). Several studies have been done which shows association between bladder cancer and saccharine (Fukushima et al., 1986; Shibata et al., 1989; Cohen et al., 1991; Ito et al., 1983; Fukushima et al., 1983; Fukushima et al., 1986). All of the ingested saccharin after circulation in blood excreted through urine from body (Sweatman et al., 1981).

However, Whitehouse, et al. (2008) points out that (emphasis mine)

A 2007 article by Gallus et al. discussed artificial sweeteners and associated cancer risks. The authors reviewed several case-control studies and found a lack of association between saccharine, aspartame, and other sweeteners and several common neoplasms. They did cite an ecology study that indicated a direct correlation between brain cancer and aspartame consumption. These studies are subject to ecological fallacy and the hypothesis was not confirmed in animal or human studies.

Research since Arnold (1983) showing the safety of saccharin led to the overturning of the decision to warning label products containing saccharin in the US in 2000. A ban on saccharin still exists in Canada; however, Health Canada is currently considering relisting saccharin as a food additive (Whitehouse, et al. 2008)


Arnold, D. L. (1983). Two-generation saccharin bioassays. Environmental health perspectives, 50, 27-36. doi: 10.1289/ehp.835027

BBC Good Food (n.d.). How to deep fry safely. Retrieved from: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/how-deep-fry-safely

Gallus, S., Scotti, L., Negri, E., Talamini, R., Franceschi, S., Montella, M., et al. (2007). Artificial sweeteners and cancer risk in a network of case-control studies. Annals of Oncology, 18(1), 40-44. doi: 10.1093/annonc/mdl346 Free PDF retrieved from https://academic.oup.com/annonc/article-pdf/18/1/40/794927/mdl346.pdf

National Center for Biotechnology Information. (n.d.) PubChem Database. Saccharin sodium, CID=656582. Retrieved from: https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/Saccharin-sodium

Saad, A., Khan, F. A., Hayee, A., & Nazir, M. S. (2014). A review on potential toxicity of artificial sweetners vs safety of Stevia: a natural bio-sweetner. Journal of Biology, Agriculture and Healthcare, 4(15), 1-12. Free PDF retrieved from: https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/fc15/178ca15502d3c0d64e7753eccb88e7bd73db.pdf

Whitehouse, C. R., Boullata, J., & McCauley, L. A. (2008). The potential toxicity of artificial sweeteners. Aaohn Journal, 56(6), 251-261. doi: 10.3928/08910162-20080601-02 Free PDF retrieved from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/5247958_The_Potential_Toxicity_of_Artificial_Sweeteners

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