Chemical beverage signatures allow geographical tracking of people by what they’ve been drinking

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Your beer can tell you where you’ve been, according to a new study by researchers in Utah. No, not because of the strength of your hangover — it’s all about chemistry.

Beer, bottled water and soda have a natural chemical signature related to geographic location, and drinking them leaves a chemical fingerprint in your hair. The fingerprint could be used to track your travels over time, according to the study, published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

It works by measuring different isotopes of oxygen and hydrogen. The proportion of those isotopes varies according to geographic differences like altitude and latitude — it’s different in Denver compared to Dallas or Des Moines, according to the American Chemical Society. The differences yield an “iso-signature” that can be tied to specific regions.

Full story: Chemical Beverage Signatures Allow Geographical Tracking of People By What They’ve Been Drinking – Popular Science