A three-year study by the University of Minnesota, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and the Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa has found pharmaceuticals and other chemicals in 28 lakes in northeastern Minnesota. Some of the lakes in the study have little or no human development. The study was published in the journal Science of the Total Environment.

In total 160 different chemicals were tested in fish sediment and water in 28 different lakes. In all 117 chemicals were detected including, including antibiotics, hormones, antidepressants, cancer drugs, cocaine, DEET, insect repellent and plasticizers .

Seth Moore, director of biology and environment for the Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa and one of the lead researchers spoke with MPR.com and said "There was not a single location where we found absolutely nothing .There were always at least a handful of chemicals in sediments and fish tissues and in waters."

These particular chemicals that were found are often in lakes that receive water from wastewater treatment plants. But some of these lakes are in very remote areas where there is little or no human development like you see in more populated lakes.

Researchers are suggesting from these findings that the contaminants are being transported by rain, snow and dust particles. The levels that were discovered are unlikely to pose a health risk to humans, but could affect the reproductive development of fish and wildlife.

Researcher Mark Ferrey, an environmental scientist with the MPCA said to MPR.com "These findings show the far-reaching impact humans’ use of chemicals is having on the environment. We like to go out to our very remote lakes and outstate areas and think that they are completely pristine, but even there, we see the footprint of our chemical society.

Findings like this really make you think of what chemicals must exist in very populated lakes. Thankfully we have these studies being conducted all the time, but with the amount of lakes we have in Minnesota alone it is impossible to test them all every season. This is a wake up call to all of us to do our best to lower our carbon footprint for future generations of humans and wildlife.

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