The saying ‘go jump in a lake’ was once a colorful way to tell someone off. Nowadays, if you advise someone to jump in a lake, you just might be charged with attempted assault.
Recent research shows some pretty shocking things are ‘mysteriously’ wandering into our nation’s water supply. But it’s not the lake monsters you have to worry about. It’s the water pollution and chemicals that are inundating the ecosystem.
Let’s start with the most interesting one – cocaine. Apparently, there are acceptable levels of ‘free floating’ cocaine within the atmosphere which eventually come back down and end up within the water table. Just when you thought science was boring. Trace amounts of cocaine were one of the relatively innocuous ingredients. Not surprisingly, the list gets much more alarming.
Endocrine-disrupting compounds, personal care products, pharmaceutical agents, endocrine-active compounds, Bisphenol A, and the insect repellent DEET are among some of the pollutants listed in recent surveys conducted in the Great Lakes and Minnesota (the state of 10,000 lakes). Logic would dictate that the lakes located near the larger urban areas would have a higher prevalence of water pollution. Instead, elevated levels of alarming agents were found in the majority of lakes. In order to make sense of how disturbing this is, let’s take a look at a few of these water pollutants and their potential for harm.
Endocrine-disrupting compounds and endocrine-active compounds have the potential to alter or impair vital processes within your body. The endocrine system regulates sleep, hydration balance, temperature, metabolism, immune response, and reproduction. In what world should those compounds be allowed in the lakes? Not this one. It will be difficult to stay alive with mutations in all of those categories. This action is not limited to human beings. All the other organisms within the ecosystem are also affected by this sort of water pollution. That means that the fresh fish you catch and eat is not quite as healthy as you think.
Then there is Bisphenol A, which is suspected to cause cancer, increase the risk of heart attack, affect hormone levels, and cause changes in behavior and brain function. Don’t forget, this risk extends not only to adults, but also to children, infants, and potentially fetuses.
DEET was a widely used insect repellent for decades. The side effects of DEET include rash, seizures, twitching, and confusion and brain cell death. It specifically kills neurons in your brain. It is difficult to understand how these menacing chemicals ‘accidentally’ get into the majority of the lakes. Something is suspect.
The waterways are being laced with toxic chemicals along with agents that specifically alter neurological or endocrine processes. If no one is confessing, then it is necessary to consider what parties might profit from you not knowing (or caring) about it. Our taxes pay for sewage treatment and water processing. So how is it that all the chemical waste, personal products and toxic agents end up contaminating countless lakes? Who isn’t doing their job?
Next in the line of culprits we have big business, which is not known for its scruples and is quick to pay off, cover up, and deny, deny, deny. Why care about dumping or toxicity laws when you can simply afford to pay a fee? The odds are that illegally dumping chemicals has been going on for decades. It is impossible to catch everyone responsible for such water pollution, because being unethical in business is nothing new. Anything for the almighty buck it seems. Suspicions were raised involving the endorsement and then restriction of DEET by governmental regulation agencies. Big business is big money, and big money holds big swaying power when it comes to regulation.
It seems a safe assertion that humanity has an affinity for polluting the world. The unsavory collective practices of the past have finally caught up with us. The real question is, will we ever learn from past mistakes and start to change?
It doesn’t take long to realize that the continuous accumulation of these nefarious substances puts everyone at risk. Perhaps there is a diffusion of responsibility. Apparently, everyone thinks that someone else will deal with the consequences.