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Acceptable risks?

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles ) | Apr 04, 2003

Maybe you already saw the story mentioned in our News Bytes: Cancer researchers have found evidence that women who use birth-control pills for a decade apparently double their risk of contracting cervical cancer.

Remember the artificial sweeteners called cyclamates? About 30 years ago, evidence emerged that cyclamates might have caused a slight increase in the rate of bladder cancer among laboratory rats who consumed prodigious quantities of the stuff. Notice that there was never a clear correlation; the evidence was inconclusive. And this was for lab rats; there was never any evidence of harm to humans.

Still, because there was a mere suspicion that cyclamates might be unhealthy, they were pulled off the market. You can't buy cyclamates in the US today. But you can buy birth-control pills.

We Americans take good care of our lab rats.

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