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9:37am, September 10, 2011

Water pollution: How sweet
A team of chemists in western U.S. states has identified a new marker of water that’s been tainted by human wastes: the artificial sweetener sucralose. In a paper posted online August 31 in Environmental Science & Technology,the researchers report finding sucralose in the water entering 15 of 19 drinking water treatment plants that they studied — and coming out in the finished water from 13 of 17 such plants. Sucralose was also detected in tap water samples downstream of eight of 12 plants. The pollutant’s persistent presence in water is “cause for concern,” the scientists say, arguing that long-term impacts of chronic exposure aren’t known. —Janet Raloff

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