Cocaine, antidepressants found in roughly one-third of Minnesota lakes, study finds
Study: Our lakes are on drugs.
The ice just now receding from Minnesota's lakes looks like it's on drugs. So maybe it shouldn't come as a surprise to learn that our lakes are, in fact, full of them.
A study put together by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (read it here) found that traces of cocaine are present in about one-third of Minnesota lakes, and about 30 percent contain the antidepressant Amitriptyline. Less intoxicatingly, more than three-fourths contain the insect repellant DEET.
But before you head to your nearest lake and start snorting, understand that you'll drown before you get a buzz. From an MPR report:
All of these chemicals are found at very low levels, often a few parts per trillion.
What's a part per trillion? Think of a football field-sized swimming pool four stories deep. Add one drop of water. That's one part per trillion.
Nonetheless, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency researcher Mark Ferrey told MPR that even "vanishingly small" amounts of commonly-found-in-lakes chemicals like DEET, Bisphenol A, and caffeine can affect the genetics and behavior of wildlife in ways that are deleterious to their reproduction.
But unfortunately, given the quantities of cocaine and pharmaceuticals Americans consume (and then pass into sewage treatment facilities), there probably isn't much that can be done to get them out of our lakes.
"Maybe we shouldn't be too surprised that we're seeing cocaine in our environment like we see some of the other pharmaceuticals as well," Ferrey told MPR.
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