Insecticides are are making it into rivers and the Great Lakes, according to study

Feb 6, 2018

Insecticides are being found in rivers across the Great Lakes region, and researchers say contaminants have even made it to the Great Lakes.

The study comes from the US Geological Survey and shows insecticides used on farms, lawns, and gardens are leaching into streams, lakes, and rivers across the region.

Michelle Hladik is a researcher with the Survey. She said researchers measured Great Lakes tributaries for insecticides over the course of a year.

“There is a potential to have chronic effects on aquatic organisms and in this case we’re talking about aquatic insects, so small, aquatic organisms that would be the most likely to have effects from these compounds.”

Hladik said this is the first data on insecticides in the region's water.

“There is concern about these insecticides. A lot of the concern is for pollinators but there is also a concern for aquatic organisms which we were more concerned about with this study and taking stream measurements.”

Hladik said the good news is the insecticides do appear to break down over time.

“We don’t expect at this point that once they get to the Great Lakes that they will continue to build up. It’s more like a continual input into the system.”

Hladik said researchers studied water in both agricultural areas and near urban centers. She said near farmland insecticide levels increased during the spring and summer months.

Now she said research will begin to determine where the insecticides are coming from and what the long-term impacts of exposure could be.