From: Emily Sohn, Discovery News
Published May 22, 2009 09:51 AM

Sweeteners Linger in Groundwater

After tickling the tongue, artificial sweeteners pass through our bodies and end up in wastewater virtually unchanged. Some sweeteners are particularly widespread in the environment, according to a new study, making them ideal markers for following pollution from treatment plants and other sources into the environment.

"Groundwater can be polluted by several sources, and it's sometimes not clear where that pollution comes from," said Ignaz Buerge, an environmental chemist at the Swiss Federal Research Station in Schloss. "We now have a marker of domestic wastewater which can be used in tracing pollution."


Contaminated groundwater is both an environmental and public health issue. Once run-off gets into the environment, though, it can be hard to know whether it came from industry, agricultural fields, traffic, homes or other sources. Scientists have been looking for marker molecules that might help them track down and possibly reduce some of these inputs.

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