John Myers: Study finds widespread drug pollution in Minnesota lakes

Pioneer Press:

A chemical associated only with X-ray technology is showing up in Lake Kabetogama in Voyageurs National Park and other northern lakes, one of many industrial compounds showing up in samples taken from Minnesota waterways.

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency on Tuesday released the results of its latest survey of 11 lakes and four rivers tested for 125 different chemicals, many of which are suspected of being harmful to the environment and, possibly, to humans.

Several of the compounds are considered so-called endocrine-disrupting chemicals that, in other studies, were shown to cause male fish to develop female characteristics and spurred other disruptions in ecosystems.

The survey shows that even remote Minnesota waters are contaminated by a variety of pharmaceuticals, ingredients of personal care and hygiene products as well as endocrine-disrupting compounds — everything from antibiotics, nicotine, caffeine and antidepressants to medications that regulate diabetes, cholesterol and blood pressure.

The chemical DEET, for example, a common ingredient in most commercial mosquito repellents, was found in 10 of the 11 lakes studied.