Researchers Find The Perfect Way To Trace The Path of Treated Sewage - Follow The Artificial Sweeteners
Scientists have found elevated concentrations of four sweeteners - cyclamate, saccharin, sucralose, and acesulfame -- in water samples collected along the length of the Grand River in Ontario, Canada. Used in diet drinks and processed foods, the sweeteners got into the Grand by way of the 30 sewage treatment plants that empty into the river and its tributaries. The research supports a growing concensus by scientists that drinking water is being spiked with an array of toxic compounds that pass through even the most advanced treatment systems.
According to one study, 50 chemicals capable of interfering with hormones is permitted in packaging in the United States and the European Union which makes its way to drinking water.
Antidepressants, antibiotics, steroids and fragrances are among the products that have been detected in surface waters. Some of the contaminants have been found in fish tissue. Some compounds not only get through sewage plants, they also survive purification of drinking supplies and have been measured in trace amounts in municipal tap water.
That was true of the sweeteners, which were detected in samples collected from homes in cities that draw supplies from the Grand, which empties into Lake Erie.
The researchers, from Environment Canada and the University of Waterloo, sampled the Grand at 23 locations along more than 150 miles from the river's headwaters to its mouth.
They found lower concentrations of cyclamate and saccharin than acesulfame and sucralose, which are tougher to remove.
SUCRALOSE Splenda/sucralose is simply chlorinated sugar; a chlorocarbon. Common chlorocarbons include carbon tetrachloride, trichlorethelene and methylene chloride, all deadly. Chlorine is nature's Doberman attack dog, a highly excitable, ferocious atomic element employed as a biocide in bleach, disinfectants, insecticide, WWI poison gas and hydrochloric acid. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, 11 to 27 percent of ingested sucralose is absorbed by the human body (FDA 1998). Research published by the manufacturer of sucralose (Roberts 2000) shows that when 8 healthy male adults where given sucralose (in 1 mg/kg amounts), between 10.4% and 30.6% of the sucralose was absorbed. In addition, 1.6% to 12.2% of the sucralose accumulates in the body.
ACE-K Acesulfame-K(Potassium) represents one of the food additives used for sweetening aliments and drinks. It is approved by the FDA, but there are several potential problems correlated with consumption of this food additive. Even though there are many studies that attest its safety, acesulfame potassium is still suspected of causing benign thyroid tumors. In rats, the development of such tumors took only 3 months, a period in which the concentration of this additive in the consumed food was between 1 and 5 percent. This is a very short period of time, so the substance is believed to have significant carcinogenic properties. Methylene chloride, a solvent used in the manufacture of acesulfame potassium, is the substance that may give the food additive its potential carcinogenic characteristics.
SODIUM CYCLAMATE Sodium cyclamate is approved as a sweetener in over 55 countries including the UK, Switzerland (Assugrin brand), Brazil (Assugrin brand), Bulgaria (Suitli brand), Argentina (Chuker brand), Russia (Novasweet brand) and Canada (Sugar Twin and Sweet'N Low). The former FDA Commissioner banned the sweetnener in the U.S. in 1980. Besides a general sweetener it is also used in energy drinks, coffee, fruit juices, flavored water, cars, almond tea, black tea, soybean milk, canned food, jams, jellies, pickles, ketchup and feed, seasoning, cosmetics, syrup, icing, toothpaste, mouthwash, lipstick and many other consumer products. It causes cancer of the bladder, liver, colon, prostate as well as male reproductive effects.
Acesulfame proved to be especially persistent. It was measured in elevated concentrations along the river’s entire length. That, the paper’s authors concluded, makes it the best candidate for tracing wastewater contamination.
The researchers made no attempt to gauge the ecological effects of sweetening a river, which they said are largely unknown.
But, they wrote, “We demonstrate here that aquatic organisms likely experience long-term exposure to significant concentrations" of artificial sweeteners if they are downstream of urban wastewater discharges.
Karen Foster is a holistic nutritionist, avid blogger, with five kids and an active lifestyle that keeps her in pursuit of the healthiest path towards a life of balance.