Fifteen state senators sponsored a bill to rid New Mexico of what some have called "Rumsfeld's Disease."

A senate bill to rid New Mexico of what has been called “Rumsfeld's Disease” was introduced Thursday by Sen. Gerald Ortiz y Pino, D-Albuquerque, as 15 other senators from both sides of isle also signed on, supporting legislation to ban the deadly artificial sweetener, aspartame.

Linked to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld for his efforts in the 1970s for putting the sweetener on the market, New Mexico is the first state to consider banning the artificial additive linked to numerous ill-health affects, including cancer.

If passed, no food containing any amount of the sweetener could be manufactured, sold or delivered in Mew Mexico, beginning July 1.

After the bill was introduced Thursday morning, Sen. Ortiz y Pino, appearing on Greg Szymanski's radio show, The Investigative Journal, said he needs support from six more senators for passage if the anti-aspartame legislation makes its way for a vote during the short 30-day legislative session.

The Albuquerque democrat also said the bill needs to be put on the “governor's call list” in order for it to be heard, remaining optimistic since Gov. Bill Richardson has expressed strong concern about the health hazards of aspartame in the past.

“I decided to introduce this bill, despite strong opposition by lobbyists because it is the right thing to do and many of my constituents feel the artificial sweetener is dangerous,” said Sen. Ortiz y Pino while appearing on The Investigative Journal.

“I am very optimistic that the banning of aspartame will be passed into law since 15 senators signed on with me to support the bill. I know of one other who has said he join us, leaving only six more votes to get it passed in the senate if it comes to a vote this session.”

Besides the senate bill, New Mexico's House of Representatives has also introduced a similar bill, House Bill 202, calling for the same ban on aspartame.

The House version of the bill was introduced by Gallup democrat, Irvin Harrison, who claims the measure, if passed, “means a vital national and international precedent would be set, one which could precipitate a new era of consumer protection in the United States and other nations.”

New Mexico resident and Santa Fe art gallery owner Stephen Fox has been one of the main activists pushing to raise public awareness and outlaw the use of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved additive.

Fox and many others trying to ban aspartame have for years been trying to warn unsuspecting users of the dangers, saying aspartame contains “poisonous and deadly toxins.”

Before legislation was introduced, Fox tried to get aspartame banned through the state's Environmental Improvement Board (EIB), but after pressure from aspartame lobbyists, postponed any action on Fox's request until July.

The New Mexico Legislature established the EIB in 1978 to handle rules on the state's food and water supply, liquid waste, air quality and radiation control. However, any action by the legislature to ban aspartame would supersede an EIB ruling.

Although the EIB said in October that it had the necessary power to handle Fox's petition, on Nov. 9, the board backtracked, asking in writing for Attorney General Patricia Madrid's opinion on whether state law gives it the authority to regulate aspartame and whether the board could carry out Fox's request to outlaw or put warning labels on products that contain the sweetener. The board has not received an answer from Madrid.

Regarding the adverse health affects from aspartame, a recent report from a highly respected international medical team has now linked the toxins in aspartame to lymphomas and leukemias.

The report by Morando Soffritti "Aspartame induces lymphomas and leukemias in rats" is in the European Journal of Oncology for July, 2005. Dr. Sofritti is a member of the European Ramazzini Foundation of Oncology and Environmental Sciences Cancer Research Centre in Bologna, Italy.

As reported, Dr. Soffritti and his team carefully set the conditions whereby genetically-uniform test rats were treated equally with the exception of being divided into groups given varying levels of the toxic chemical sweetener.

According to health experts, rats are deemed appropriate subjects for testing aspartame on humans because both humans and rats metabolize the methyl ester in aspartame into methyl alcohol, then formaldehyde then formic acid - all deadly poisons.

Neurosurgeon Russell Blaylock, MD, one of the world's leading authorities on aspartame neuro toxicity, extensively reviewed the Soffritti report.

“This study confirmed the previous study by Dr. Trocho and co-workers (1998), which also found the formaldehyde breakdown product of aspartame to be damaging to cellular DNA and that this damage was cumulative,” said Dr. Blaylock. “The type of damage was a duplicate of that associated with cancers. These two studies strongly indicate that drinking a single diet cola sweetened with aspartame every day could significantly increase one's risk of developing a lymphoma or leukemia.“This study should terrify mothers and all those consuming aspartame sweetened products. This was a carefully done study which clearly demonstrated a statistically significant increase in several types of lymphomas and leukemias in rats. Both of these malignancies have increased significantly in this country since the widespread use of aspartame.

“They also found an increased incidence of malignant brain tumors, even though it was not statistically significant. This does not mean there is no association to brain tumors, since ONLY the animals exposed to aspartame developed the tumors. With children and pregnant women drinking the largest amount of diet colas, this puts their children at the greatest risk of developing one of these horrible diseases. Their found that even lower doses of aspartame could cause these malignancies, yet, the higher the dose, the more cancers that were seen.

“Since aspartame can increase obesity and may even cause the metabolic syndrome that affects 48 million Americans, there is no reason to ever consume this product. At the least, it should be immediately banned from all schools.”