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After exposing the animals to sucralose (0.0001-5 mg L-1), they found that,
"The sucralose concentration was a significant positive predictor for ORAC, TBARS and AChE in the daphnids. Moreover, the AChE response was linked to both oxidative biomarkers, with positive and negative relationships for TBARS and ORAC, respectively."
They concluded from these observed effect that,
"These joint responses support our hypothesis and suggest that exposure to sucralose may induce neurological and oxidative mechanisms with potentially important consequences for animal behaviour and physiology."
Like so many novel patented chemicals released onto the market without adequate pre-approval safety studies, we do not know if this preliminary toxicological research will be applicable to human exposures. In fact, there are only 318 study citations (as of 5/10/14) on this chemical in existence since it first began to be researched in the 70's. This most recent study is the first in existence to look at its effect on the enzyme acetylcholinesterase, which is found in all animals. This information deficit is all the more remarkable when you consider there are over 7,000 published studies in existence on either turmeric or its primary polyphenol curcumin, which is still not readily administered by the conventional medical establishment mostly due to 'safety concerns,' despite what the voluminous positive data on its relevance to over 600 health conditions indicates.
When it comes to the accumulating research on sucralose's potential adverse health effects, the precautionary principle dictates that when an avoidable chemical exposure has a suspected risk of causing harm to the public or to the environment, in the absence of scientific consensus that the action or policy is harmful, the burden of proof that it is not harmful falls on the manufactures, regulators and/or marketers who are claiming it to be safe. Given the significant body of research on sucralose's possible non-safety, the choice is clear. The use of time-tested, natural non-caloric or low-caloric sweeteners is best, especially considering that one can derive profound health benefits from natural sweeteners like honey and stevia.
[i] Lindsay Soh, Kristin A Connors, Bryan W Brooks, Julie Zimmerman. Fate of Sucralose through Environmental and Water Treatment Processes and Impact on Plant Indicator Species. Environ Sci Technol. 2011 Jan 14. [Epub ahead of print].
[ii] Mead RN, Morgan JB, Avery GB Jr, Kieber RJ, Kirk AM, et al. (2009) Occurrence of the artificial sweetener sucralose in coastal and marine waters of the United States. Mar Chem 116: 13–17.
[iii] Review Artificial sweeteners--a recently recognized class of emerging environmental contaminants: a review.
[iv] Fate of sucralose through environmental and water treatment processes and impact on plant indicator species.
Soh L, Connors KA, Brooks BW, Zimmerman J
Environ Sci Technol. 2011 Feb 15; 45(4):1363-9.
[vi] GreenMedInfo.com, Sucralose's (Splenda) Harms Vastly Understimated: Baking Releases Dioxin, Nov. 2013