According to CSPI (Center for Science in the Public Interest) executive director Michael F. Jacobson, studies conducted by the U.S. government have found evidence suggesting that ingesting aloe vera extracts caused intestinal cancers in male and female laboratory rats. As a result CSPI is now (August 2013) giving all aloe vera an “avoid” rating in its Chemical Cuisine guide to food additives.
However, as usual for this type of “breaking news” there is more-to-the-story. The International Aloe Science Council (IASC) has responded to CSPI’s recent news release telling consumers to avoid ingesting aloe vera orally, with what IASC executive director, Devon Powell, called “some simple facts.” Obviously CSPI has chosen to fail to mention these facts which, in my opinion, are very important for the public to understand.
The powerful laxative effect from ingesting unpurified aloe vera products would make it obvious if that’s what people were consuming. Decolorized or purified whole leaf aloe vera juice is devoid of the toxic chemicals that have caused so much concern, yet CSPI seems willing to make uninformed and sensational comments that will only serve to confuse and frighten customers despite the facts. ~IASC executive director Devon Powell
Recently published studies on consumer products showed no carcinogenic effects
Several manufacturers of aloe vera products for oral consumption published studies on their products to demonstrate their safety. Each of these studies concluded that there were no carcinogenic effects in mice or rats. “These studies provide significant data demonstrating that aloe vera products manufactured according to IASC standards for aloin content are safe,” said Powell.
Purified (decolorized) aloe vera: no known carcinogenic concerns according to internationally recognized cancer organization
The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) recently published aloe vera carcinogenicity information, and determined that unpurified whole leaf aloe vera juice is possibly carcinogenic to humans due to its aloin content. The IARC report also noted that purification by decolorization removes the toxic latex constituents of concern.
The vast majority of aloe vera products for oral consumption are decolorized, or purified
Decolorization, or purification, is the process of removing laxative constituents from aloe vera raw materials during processing. The IASC has produced a video on the process of decolorization. This process uses an activated charcoal filtration step to ensure that aloe vera juice finished products are virtually free of toxic constituents found in aloe vera latex.
The NTP test article is chemically distinct from what is found in consumer products for oral consumption
The IASC tested the aloe vera study material used by the National Toxicology Program (NTP) in their animal studies and, as expected, found the major aloe vera latex laxative component, aloin, present in substantial quantities of a few percent of the total. This is not the ingredient that consumers ingest from the vast majority of commercially available aloe vera products. Additional details on the NTP study can be found by reading the IASC’s position paper or by contacting the IASC.
IASC Certified Products are tested and controlled for aloin content
The IASC created and manages a third-party certification program that ensures the content and purity of aloe vera products. Products in the program are analytically tested for aloin content to ensure compliance with a maximum limit of 10 parts per million. Consumers can look for the IASC seal to purchase IASC certified products. Speaking on the IASC’s third-party certification program for aloe vera products, Mr. Powell said, “The vast majority of certified aloe vera products contain less than 1 ppm aloin. The IASC does not certify unpurified aloe vera products and discourages their use. Although unpurified products are not as widely available we encourage customer awareness and avoidance of them.”
IASC’s formal position: August 23, 2013 – Aloe vera products made to IASC standards are safe: IASC responds to CSPI’s press release.
More Information – Health Benefits of Aloe Vera