Widespread contamination in 11 lakes and 4 rivers, was discovered by Minnesota’s Pollution Control Agency. Over 90 percent of cases contained DEET.
In the 11 lakes examined researchers found 27 chemicals, all were contaminated with some form of chemicals. Contamination could have been expected in and around lakes neighboring urban or industrial development, considering the usage associated with human activities. Cleaning products, chemical fertilizers and medical waste are all a possible source of chemical poisoning in water, either caused by direct contact like dumping, or through the earth’s underground water connections.
Antibiotics, and metformin, a substance used in medical treatments for diabetes were also found. A contrast substance used in X-rays called Iopamidol, was one of the surprise chemicals found, as scientists discover more and more new intruders in Minnesota’s waters.
Iopamidol cannot be bought or sold without a medical license, and the general public cannot access it so it does present scientist with a peculiar problem in identifying how it made it into the ecosystem.
One of the ways more secluded waters could have been polluted is thru weather, circumstances could have created a situation where evaporated water from a contaminated source, spread as rain or snow. Illegal dumping or purposed contamination cannot be yet taken into consideration as factors without serious evidence.
It is planned, that future research will also concentrate on samples of air and water, in order to either eliminate or confirm the possibility, that pristine waters were corrupted by natural events.
Unfortunately there is not enough research to set a statistical trend, or identify for sure the main polluting agents. Minnesota’s Personal Care Assistance, asks all residents to not dispose of medical or chemical waste without consideration to the environment. Such waste is to be disposed either using special containers or licensed collecting agents.
DEET or diethyltoluamide is a yellowish oil found most commonly in insect repellents. While it was approved by the FDA for use, on skin and clothing, it can cause irritation if kept for longer than necessary on the skin, especially on damaged or sensitive areas.
A study conducted on Evergreen National Park employees concluded that DEET exposure for long period of time can cause insomnia and mood disturbance. DEET is known for its ability to persist throughout the food chain.
Image Source: smithsonianmag.com