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Study Finds Considerable Number of Minnesota Lakes Contain Cocaine, DEET, and Other Chemicals

Matt Cardy, Getty Images

If you were lucky enough to find some open water to fish for the Minnesota fishing opener, this may make you look at your catch a little differently. In a study performed by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, disturbing results show chemicals and substances in many of the state’s lakes that include things like cocaine, DEET, caffeine, and others.

The most commonly-found chemical in the study was DEET, the primary ingredient in many insect repellents. Information shows three in four (76%) of the lakes studied have detectable amounts of the chemical in the water. The MPCA suspects that DEET and many other chemicals like caffeine likely make their way into the water system through runoff and flaws in water treatment systems, as well as some being carried from other places by evaporating and falling as rain in our lakes.

One substance that stood out in the study was the presence of cocaine in 1/3 (32%) of studied lakes. Researchers speculate the drug may have settled into lakes after being airborne. Drug research suggests 156 tons of cocaine each year is consumed in the United States, which puts it on par with some pharmaceutical drug use.

While seeing detectable amounts of a lengthy list of chemicals in our lakes is disturbing, it is pointed out that many are in trace amounts at the moment. Even with that being the case, it is unknown what impact many of these may have or at what rate these chemicals will continue to grow in amount.


[MPR News]

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