Deadline Detroit | Michigan waterways contain cocaine, antibiotics and pesticides, study finds


Detroit River

Michigan’s waterways contain a lot more than meets the eye.

The Detroit Free Press reports according to a study by Wayne State University and the University of Florida.

“There’s definitely a lot we don’t know about human health,” Michael Murray, adjunct professor at the University of Michigan’s School of Environment and Sustainability, told the Freep. “But I think for a lot of chemicals we know even less about the ecological end, fish and wildlife.”

The Freep writes:

Known as contaminants of concern, many of them are only now detectable due to advances in the sensitivity of laboratory technology. While some of the chemicals detected are known to cause harm to public health or the environment, for the majority they remain unstudied and unknown.

Emerging contaminants of concern are known to enter the environment through runoff from residential, agricultural, industrial or military sites; especially during major rain events that lead to combined sewer overflows. Many compounds, such as prescription drugs, are not fully broken down by humans, are secreted into their wastes, and wastewater treatment plants are not optimized to remove them – and there are no regulatory requirements to their elimination.

Samples were collected in the spring and fall of 2018 and 2019 at six sites: mouth of the Clinton River, Lake St. Clair Metropolitan Park, northeast Belle Isle, southwest Belle Isle, the mouth of the Red River near the island of Zug and the Detroit River. International Wildlife Refuge/Trenton Channel.


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