With everything from the quickly approaching trick-or-treating on Halloween night to recent bans on large size sodas in New York City, sugar is on the brain of late. Both of these items contain an ingredient, not metabolized by the body, that is now showing up in measurable levels in Lake Erie.
Lake Erie has long been the target of pollutants research, but now Mercyhurst University scientists added sucralose to the list. Sucralose is an artificial sweetener that chemistry professor Amy Parente said 95 percent of which that is ingested ends up being excreted into the water.
Although the chemical is not toxic to humans, its effect on the environment is unknown. The Mercyhurst researchers are striving to understand what these impacts could be including altered water taste and biological health effects. The university’s statement also pointed out that sucralose could trick organisms in the environment into thinking the food supply is adequate, leading to decreased foraging that would have benefited them later down the road.
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Featured image via Mercyhurst.edu.