Chemicals taint Minnesota lakes, rivers

Two new studies released by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency confirm that a wide variety of unregulated chemicals – from insect repellants to cocaine and prescription medicines — are ending up in Minnesota’s lakes and rivers.

Some of the chemicals can interfere with the functioning of hormones in animals and people.

“What these studies really are measuring is the footprint of our society and how we live,” said MPCA Commissioner John Linc Stine. “Our lakes and rivers are reflecting the chemicals we use and put into our bodies. These chemicals have very beneficial uses, but unfortunately they tend to stick around in the environment after their first use.”

The two latest studies provide statistical evidence of just how widespread the chemicals are in Minnesota’s surface waters. In 2010 and 2012, the MPCA sampled lakes and rivers using funds from the state of Minnesota and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, part of nationwide EPA surveys to find out what’s in the nation’s waters.

Read an MPCA news release about the two reports. Download the lakes report. Read a Star Tribune article on the lakes report.