Studies find chemicals widespread in lakes and rivers

Prescription medicines and personal care products are ending up in Minnesota’s lakes and rivers, according to recently released Minnesota Pollution Control Agency studies. The mosquito repellent DEET was the most often detected, along with chemicals used in antidepressants and antibiotics.

The chemicals were all detected at very low concentrations, in the low parts per trillion. But, the MPCA says, the findings are concerning because even at low levels, several of the chemicals are known to interfere with hormone function in fish and other aquatic organisms.

Reports on the studies and summary information are available on MPCA’s webpage. The two reports are titled “Pharmaceuticals and Endocrine Active Chemicals in Minnesota Lakes” and “Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products in Minnesota’s Rivers and Streams“.

What you can do. Don’t flush prescription drugs (chemicals) down the drain.  Prescription drugs have the potential to harm water resources and the source of our drinking water (groundwater and the Mississippi River).  Proper disposal not only keeps dangerous drugs from being abused but also prevents harm to our local water resources and wildlife.   Safely and properly dispose of your prescription drugs by following recommendations in the MPCA fact sheet Pharmaceutical Waste: Disposing of unwanted medications or contact Anoka County Integrated Waste Management at 763-323-5730.

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