Dulcin (4-ethoxyphenyl urea), is an artificial sweetener about 250 times sweeter than sugar discovered in 1884 by Joseph Berlinerbau. It was first mass produced about seven years later. Despite the fact that it was discovered only five years after saccharin, it never enjoyed the latter compound’s market success. Still, it was an important sweetener of the early 20th century and had an advantage over saccharin in that it did not possess a bitter aftertaste.

Early medical tests marked the substance as safe for human consumption, and it was considered ideal for diabetics. However, an FDA study in 1951 raised many questions about its safety resulting in its removal from the market in 1954 after animal testing revealed unspecified carcinogenic properties.

Dulcin is also known by the names sucrol and valzin.


Goldsmith, R.H. 1987. A tale of two sweeteners. J. Chem. Educ. 64: pp. 954-955.

Hodges, L. 1973. Environmental pollution: a survey emphasizing physical and chemical principles. Holt, Rinehart and Winston Inc., New York.

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