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Letter from Joshua Lederberg to Morton Mintz, Washington Post

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  • Medicine


STANFORD UNIVERSITY MEDICAL CENTER STANFORD, CALIFORNIA 94305 . (415) Xl-1200 STANFORD UNIVERSITY SCHOOLOF MKDICINE DEC 18 1969 Department of Gcnctiw Personal Morton Mihtz, Washington Post Your overview article on cyclamates a few weeks ago was superb! - Have yo11 followecl tllc atrocious way that N,li'UiiE handled this business in the last few Heeks. (C&EN at least printed a raft of letters in reply, atrtl also invited me to do d guest editorial which quite contradicted their own production -- But see how they subtitled,d in the table of contents for that issue!) To the point: the response in Nature is merely synptontaticcof the way that Finch C;r Co. managed the announcement and the ban. They did their best to make it appear as a piece of arbitrary bureaucracy, and as far as I can tell made no effort to explain or justify the scientific reasoning that would lead any knowleeclgeable person to take very seriously "cancer in six rats at high doses". You and I and very few others have tried to disseminate this reasoning. Hut it is coming home to me that it was a malfeasance of office for the JJllii' not to do SO itself. And of course when Finch comes out later and sugt?;ests dropping the Delaney amendment, you can see what *s behind it. Nany of my professional colleagues are still upset with some residual confusion. Iiarring LlirS, which they rarely read or trust, few of the medical journals Jbnve had anythins to say on the subject. S9 this is another segment of the cor:lqunication svstem that has flunked. ,I do ur$;e you to keep tilis up --e.g. you mir~ht interview J.iJ. Ueisburger at Nat. Cancer Inst. vllo is one of the most !inowledgeal;le people around on the subject of carcinogenicity testing. It takes more than I can put into Qhe kind of column I can do to get the main ideas across -- foti example extrapolating the dose-response curves from experi- mental to population exposure levels needs some graphics. But I would not forget about

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