GATINEAU, Quebec — A long-term study by scientists with Environment Canada and the University of Waterloo found that Ontario's Grand River contains high levels of artificial sweeteners, some in higher concentrations than anywhere else in the world, according to an article by The Globe and Mail.

Acesulfame, saccharin, cyclamate and sucralose, the four artificial sweeteners detected, are used as sugar substitutes in diet drinks and foods, the article reported.

Since the sweeteners impart no calories the digestive system does not break them down, and they exit the body intact and linger in wastewater even after it goes through treatment plants, noted the article.

According to the article, the sweeteners are even present in water from household taps in the area.

While the sweeteners are safe for human consumption, their impact on the environment is not known, the article noted.

Read the full article here.