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Lake Superior and other bodies of water around Minnesota have been found to contain a disturbing amount of chemicals, including prescription drugs and even cocaine. A recent study by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has found that local lakes and rivers are chock full of DEET, BPA, prescription and even illegal drugs. The 10-year study examined surface waters from the Minnesota area, finding contaminants even along untouched shorelines.

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The investigation, which was led by researcher Mark Ferrey, tested waters that were near wastewater treatment plants and developed areas, as well as water near untouched shores. Water from 50 Minnesota lakes were collected and analyzed by a lab in Vancouver.

Of the 50 lakes tested, researchers found 47 to contain at least one of a list of 125 contaminant chemicals, with insect repellent DEET being the most common at 76 percent. BPA, the chemical found in plastics, was found in 43 percent of the tested lake. But most surprising finding was that cocaine and the antidepressant amitriptyline were found in one-third of the lakes tested. The researchers don’t think that cocaine is being dumped into Minnesota’s waterways, but instead note that the substance can attach to particles 2.5 microns in size, being easily carried through the air.

The levels of these chemicals are not yet alarming, but researchers worry that hormone-disrupting chemicals, at any level, could affect not only the drinking water, but the ecosystem and wildlife of the water system.

Via Discovery News

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