Then Mercyhurst University student Erica Cox holds a water sample collected from Lake Erie near Presque Isle, Penn. on Oct. 9, 2012. (Amy Parente)
WELLNESS-The quest for low calorie sweeteners has led to the creation of chemicals that sweeten drinks and foods but that simply don’t break down in our bodies which is why these chemicals don’t fatten the people up that are consuming them. The problem is that much of these compounds go right through the consumer and into our water supply.
The world’s rivers and lakes are loaded with artificial sweeteners such as Splenda, Sweet’N Low and Aspartame in a converted form. These sweeteners are a dangerous problem facing our environment today for two main reasons. First we are drinking this water as it comes around for a second time through the water cycle and second, the fish are living in these chemicals and there is evidence that they are taking these chemicals into their tissues.
The Canadian Journal Plus One published the study proving that these 4 sweeteners cyclamate, saccharin, sucralose, and acesulfame not only pass through humans without being properly broken down, but also through advanced wastewater systems that are designed to remove chemicals from our water. After this sewage is treated, much of it is released back into our water supply through rivers and tributaries. It turns out that this fresh water is now anything but.
In the study, researchers collected water from homes near the Grand river, which empties into Lake Erie and found all of the above mentioned sweeteners coming out of the tap. We have all heard about antidepressants in our water supply and how that is affecting the fish’s ability to reproduce. In regards to sweeteners in the water scientists still don’t know the full impact in regards to the health of the fish. Nor do they know exactly how damaging it will be to humans to eat these fish that are contaminated with chemicals used to sweeten foods.
The idea of our water supply being contaminated with the chemicals and sweeteners that we consume should not surprise us. We live in a delicate ecosystem and everything we eat and drink will eventually become a part of that system.
While it is tempting to compartmentalize everything and think we can keep certain parts separate from others, it doesn’t work that way in nature, nor in our bodies. If someone gets an infection in their toe for example, rest assured that over time it would infect their entire body.
The earth is the same way. We can’t pollute and destroy certain parts of the world and think it will stay isolated to that part. Earth is a big ecosystem with the entire planet being interconnected through an intricate web of waterways and jet streams in the air and the ocean. Science is helping us grasp this idea of an interconnected earth.
(Christian Cristiano is an acupuncturist in LA, TV host of Wellness for Realists and writes on wellness regularly for CityWatch. Christian can be reached at 323.935.3420. twitter: @CristianoWFR)