Michigan waterways contain a lot more than meets the eye.
The Detroit Free Press reports that artificial sweeteners, cocaine, nicotine, antibiotics, pesticides, nonstick compounds and a lot more were found in water samples in the corridor between Lake Huron and Lake Erie, including the Detroit River and Lake St. Clair, according to a study by Wayne State University and the University of Florida.
"There is definitely a lot we don't know on the human health end," Michael Murray, an adjunct professor in the University of Michigan's School of Environment and Sustainability tells the Freep. "But I think for a lot of chemicals, we know even less on the ecological end, fish and wildlife."
The Freep writes:
Known as contaminants of emerging concern, many are only detectable now because of advances in the sensitivity of laboratory technology. While some of the detected chemicals are known to cause public health or environmental harm, for the majority, it remains unstudied and unknown.
Contaminants of emerging concern are known to enter the environment through runoff from residential, agricultural, industrial or military sites; particularly in significant rain events that lead to combined sewer overflows. Many of the compounds, such as prescription drugs, aren't fully broken down by humans, are secreted in their waste, and wastewater treatment plants aren't optimized to remove them — and there are no regulatory requirements that they be removed.
Samples were collected in the spring and fall of 2018 and 2019 at six sites: The mouth of the Clinton River, Lake St. Clair Metropark, Northeast Belle Isle, Southwest Belle Isle, the mouth of the Rouge River near Zug Island and the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge/Trenton Channel.