The artificial sweetener aspartame gained FDA approval in 1981, and was perhaps the most hotly contested FDA approval in history, for good reason. The toxic additive has been silently destroying people's health ever since.
The first video above -- which contains highlights of Cori Brackett's documentary film Sweet Misery -- is an excellent summary of the problems with aspartame. I strongly urge you to watch it, or read through the transcript, as it offers additional and supporting information to what I'll discuss below. You can also obtain the entire DVD if you enjoy these clips.
By 1984, three years after its initial approval for use in tabletop sweeteners and dry food, US consumption of aspartame had already reached 6.9 million pounds per year. This number doubled the following year, and continued to climb well into the 90's.