The Artificial Sweetener Sucralose in U.S. Drinking Water Systems.
Environ Sci Technol. 2011 Aug 31. Epub 2011 Aug 31. PMID: 21879743
The artificial sweetener sucralose has recently been shown to be a widespread of contaminant of waste water, surface water and ground water. In order to understand its occurrence in drinking systems, water samples from 19 U.S. drinking water treatment plants (DWTPs) serving more than 28 million people were analyzed for sucralose using LC-MS/MS. Sucralose was found to be present in source water of 15 out of 19 DWTPs (47-2900 ng/L), finished water of 13 out of 17 DWTPs (49-2400 ng/L) and the distribution system water of 8 out of the 12 DWTPs (48-2400 ng/L) tested. Sucralose was only found to be present in source waters with known waste water influence and/or recreational usage, and displayed low removal (11% average) in the DWTPs where finished water was sampled. Further, in the subset of DWTPs with distribution system water sampled, the compound was found to persist regardless of the presence of residual chlorine or chloramines. In order to understand intra-DWTP consistency, sucralose was monitored at one drinking water treatment plant over the 11 month period from March 2010 through January 2011, and averaged 440 ng/L in the source water and 350 ng/L in the finished water. The results of this study confirm that sucralose will function well as an indicator compound for anthropogenic influence on source, finished drinking and distribution system (i.e., tap) water, as well as an indicator compound for the presence of other recalcitrant compounds in finished drinking water in the U.S.