You won't believe some shocking results from recent tests about the land of 10,000 lakes.

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (PCA) released a report this week saying surprising chemicals were found in dozens of bodies of water.

Minnesota has more lakes than any other state; the PCA randomly chose 50 lakes across the state for testing -- some large, some small.

The lakes were randomly chosen to represent every area of the state and were tested for 127 different chemicals. What researchers found was shocking. The most commonly-found chemicals included:

  • The insect repellent known as DEET (in 76 percent of the lakes)
  • Cocaine (in 32 percent of the lakes)
  • Estrogen and various residual antibiotic medicines (in 11 lakes).

While the insect repellent did not necessarily surprise the researchers, it was alarming to be found in such large quantities. It's not known to destroy ecosystems or to be especially harmful, but it can be toxic to some species of freshwater plankton.

What did stun the researchers was the presence of estrogen and antibiotics (most likely from medications) and the cocaine. How did it get there? Officials with the PCA believe the estrogen and other drugs slip through many city and county water treatment systems and end up in the lakes.

As for the cocaine, reports indicate some 157 tons are consumed in the U.S. each year.   As unbelievable as it may sound, researchers say the residual smoke and particles of the drug are carried by the wind or attatch to dust particles and end up in the lakes! Officials stress that more caution needs to be applied to how pharmaceuticals are disposed of.  And while the debate goes on about how to deal with them, these officials  know one thing for sure: 10 years ago such chemicals and drugs were not in the lakes of Minnesota and now they are.

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