Drugs, chemicals found in MN waterways, including remote lakes and streams

Author:
Updated:
Original:

Pharmaceuticals and dozens of other chemicals have contaminated Minnesota's lakes and streams, even in remote areas of the state, a new study released Tuesday by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) found.

“We have known for some time that these compounds frequently turn up downstream from wastewater treatment plants,” Mark Ferrey, the study's lead author, said in a news release. “And recent research has shown that a surprising number are found even in remote lakes or upstream waters. But we have a lot to learn about how they end up there.”

The chemicals found included antibiotics, nicotine breakdown products, antidepressants, and medicines to regulate diabetes, cholesterol and blood pressure, the MPCA notes.

Ferrey says more research is needed to determine how the chemicals found in this study can impact humans and the environment. The MPCA notes there is growing concern that these chemicals – even at low concentrations – may have a negative effect on fish, wildlife, ecosystems and possibly human health.

The study, conducted in 2013, sampled the surface water of 11 lakes and four streams for 125 different chemicals.

It found 27 chemicals in the lakes studied. It also found 56 chemicals downstream of four wastewater treatment plants, and 33 chemicals upstream of the plants, MPR News reports.

The lakes and streams tested in this study had been sampled previously and the results were largely consistent with a 2008 study of the same locations, the MPCA says.

The insect repellent DEET was detected in 91 percent of lakes, while in the 2008 study DEET was found in 100 percent of the lakes.

The study also found many lakes contain the the x-ray contrast drug iopamidol, with the highest concentration detected in Lake Kabetogama in Voyageurs National Park, located near International Falls.

The MPCA says the chemicals were all found in very low amounts, but to avoid contaminating the state's waterways further it is advising people to avoid flushing unwanted medicines down the toilet – some pharmaceutical contamination of surface water is due to wastewater.

Next Up

coronavirus, covid-19, icu

Minnesota's COVID-19 hospitalizations increase by 27.5% in 24 hours

Bring Me The News confirmed that the dramatic increase is not a numbers error.

fire, flames

Lives saved as passerby, city workers rescue from 3 from Golden Valley fire

The Golden Valley Fire Department responded to the fire Wednesday morning.

Caribou Coffee Holiday 2020

Caribou Coffee rolls out holiday cups, menu early

The holiday season is underway at some Twin Cities stores, with a nationwide rollout planned for Nov. 5.

Malik Beasley

Charges: Timberwolves' Beasley pointed assault rifle at family on a home tour

The family was on the Parade of Homes tour when Beasley allegedly pointed the gun at them, telling them to get off his property.

aldi grocery store

Aldi is opening its first store in Winona next month

The new store is part of Aldi's $5 billion expansion across the U.S.

coronavirus, COVID-19 test

COVID-19: Minnesota planning rapid testing for young adults

Health officials are in the planning stages of launching a rapid testing option for 18 to 35 year olds.

grocery shopping

Money Gal Coaching: 15 money-saving tips you should consider

Kelly Blodgett started Money Gal Coaching after paying down nearly $50K in debt in 18 months.

Vikes

Coller: What's left to watch for Vikings fans?

Matthew Coller writes a weekly Vikings column for BMTN, with more of his work found at Purple Insider.

trick-or-treating, Halloween

Traditional trick-of-treating a no-no, but MDH say there are ways to make it safer

There are safer ways to do trick-or-treating than going door-to-door, health officials say.

Related