Minnesota streams are full of drugs

What's that floating in the water?
What's that floating in the water?

The land of 10,000 lakes has some seriously nasty stuff in its rivers and streams, according to a new study by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.

The biggest chemical culprits: antibiotics and attention-deficit medication, as well as antidepressants.

For all you silver-lining finders about to say that at least our fish must be healthy, happy, and focused, think again: The drugs and chemicals do have an effect on fish, but nothing quite so tidy. Many of the chemicals mimic hormones and turn different parts of fish DNA on and off.

Researchers say it's not entirely clear how all the chemicals are getting into the streams, since they were found both downstream and upstream of wastewater treatment plants. Septic systems and runoff from farms are two likely sources.

But researchers want to look into the possibility that the chemicals are part of the entire water cycle -- that it's raining powerful chemicals and pharmaceutical residues from the sky.

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