The dream of pure and clear water in our American rivers and lakes has been atomized by the conclusions of the study published by the US Geological survey (USGS) and the US EPA in the Environment Science and Technology journal.
This research was a follow-up of the previous USGS study which analyzed 139 streams across the U.S. in 2000. The previous study already raised concerns about the potentially harmful effects of chemical compounds in our waterways for the aquatic ecosystem and human health. But the emergence of new chemicals triggered the complementary study.
They tested water samples from 38 waterways from rural and urban areas for the presence of 719 chemicals. They found 406 different chemical compounds in our waters. In all of the sites, the chemicals were numerous and intermingling with each other.
The ten chemicals most-frequently detected include 8 pesticides, caffeine, and metformin — a drug used to treat type-2 diabetes. They also found the infamous Triclosan and carbamazepine which are already partially banned and closely monitored in the U.S. Most of these contaminants could have adverse effects on aquatic species and potentially harm human health.
It’s important to note that they tested only 719 compounds from the 85,000 manufactured chemicals currently in production.
Our rivers and lakes contain a scary number of pesticides and pharmaceuticals. And we have to wonder for how long we will be able to eat the fish from our waters if nothing is done to better control the wastes ending up in our waterways.