Researchers at the University of Utah and IsoForensics, Inc. in Salt Lake City have demonstrated that water can potentially be used as a tracer to determine the travel habits of individuals.
Because of the natural geographic variability in the hydrogen and oxygen isotope content of water, proteins within hair should contain evidence of these ratios and therefore act as signatures as to where someone has traveled. The current study has shown that the geographic source of tap water, bottled water, beer, and soda can be distinguished simply by measuring the isotope ratio of the water within these drinks.
In our opinion if the technology pans out for real-world use, IsoForensics has a bright future with dictatorship governments, security and intelligence services, armed forces, and maybe even some legitimate forensic causes such as war-crime investigations or even anthropology studies.
Abstract in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry: Links between Purchase Location and Stable Isotope Ratios of Bottled Water, Soda, and Beer in the United States
Image credit: David Hannah
*This blog post was originally published at Medgadget*