- Associated Press - Tuesday, June 2, 2015

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - A new study by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has found widespread contamination by pharmaceutical drugs and other chemicals in the state’s lakes and rivers.

Researchers with the agency sampled 11 lakes and four rivers across the state for 125 different chemicals. The lakes also had been sampled in 2008 and the rivers had been sampled the following year.

The study’s findings point to the need for more research on how these chemicals might be affecting fish and other aquatic species, according to study author Mark Ferrey, who added that the newest samples show a mix of chemicals seminal to earlier findings.

“We’re starting to get a feeling for the signature of chemicals that we frequently detect in surface water, whether it’s the lakes or rivers or streams,” he said.

The scientists found 27 chemicals in the lakes they studied, which included both heavily developed lakes and untainted water in northern Minnesota. When studying rivers, they found 56 chemicals downstream of four wastewater treatment plants and 33 chemicals upstream of the plants.

Commonly found chemicals included DEET, disinfectants, antibiotics, hormones and pharmaceutical drugs, Minnesota Public Radio News (https://bit.ly/1Frvsth ) reported.

More than 90 percent of the lake samples used in the study contained DEET, the active ingredient in insect repellent. The scientists also detected significant amounts of iopamidol, which is used in X-rays, and the diabetes drug metformin, both of which are drugs they hadn’t seen before.

The information indicates more research needs to be done, because there haven’t been enough studies conducted to prove a statistical trend, Ferrey said.

“I think what we’re seeing as a result of these studies gives us pause enough and gives us concern enough that more study down the road is certainly warranted,” he said.

The agency plans to examine the environmental impact through further study this summer.

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Information from: Minnesota Public Radio News, https://www.mprnews.org

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