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Food Chem Toxicol. 1985 Apr-May;23(4-5):507-19.

The genotoxicity of sodium saccharin and sodium chloride in relation to their cancer-promoting properties.


The literature indicates that sodium saccharin is non-reactive to DNA and inactive as a gene mutagen in vitro. At elevated dose levels it is capable of producing structural disturbances in eukaryotic chromosomes in vitro, and it shows intermittent activity as a very weak germ-cell and somatic-cell mutagen in vivo. Its possible mode of action in these respects is speculated on and related to its ability to promote bladder tumours in rats at elevated dose levels. A review of the toxicology of sodium chloride reveals a profile of genotoxic activities almost identical to that of sodium saccharin. It is suggested that the recorded genotoxic and cancer-promoting activities of these chemicals will only become apparent at elevated dose levels that define them as significant contributors to the biological medium (solvent) rather than as trace xenobiotic toxins (solutes). The possible activity of acid saccharin, or of its potassium, calcium and ammonium salts, as ionic genotoxins requires urgent evaluation.

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