Manure and fertilizer threatens drinking water and lakes for thousands of Minnesotans

Manure and fertilizer threatens drinking water and lakes for thousands of Minnesotans
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(NaturalHealth365) Minnesota is known as the Land of 10,000 lakes. Sadly, official state data shows thousands of them are polluted with fertilizer, manure, and other environmental toxins from nearby agriculture and farming practices.

Now, an investigation from the Environmental Working Group (EWG) reveals just how dire the polluted lake and waterway system is all over the midwestern state.

Drinking water threatened by manure and fertilizer contamination, thousands of people at risk

Every two years, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency updates their list of impaired waterways that do not meet water quality standards. Its latest 2020 list includes over 3,100 polluted lake, creek, river, stream, and other waterway systems.

Confirmed contaminants include:

  • Perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS): this is one of the most abundant environmental toxins that can bioaccumulate in the body, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) claims that the effects of PFOS isn’t known in humans, but animal studies show this toxin can lead to health issues such as reproductive and developmental problems.  Click here to learn more about the real threat of PFOS.
  • Mercury: this is a well-known toxin that can lead to serious health problems affecting the nervous, digestive, and immune systems, as well as the eyes, skin, lungs, and kidneys. Mercury is classified as “a threat” to fetal development according to the World Health Organization (WHO), and is considered by the WHO as “one of the top ten chemicals or groups of chemicals of major public health concern.”  Click here to discover the truth about mercury.
  • E. coli: outbreaks of this notorious bacteria are commonly linked to agricultural run-off, and in Minnesota there’s no exception. This harmful bacteria is commonly found in manure which then leaks into local waterways. As you may know, severe E. coli infections can lead to intense abdominal cramps, bloody diarrhea, and vomiting. In some people, such as elderly or immune-compromised individuals, this type of infection can be deadly!

In addition, Minnesota state data reveals many of these waterways are lacking in important nutrients and dissolved oxygen – an environmental threat that has been directly connected to exposure to fertilizer and other agricultural chemicals.

Corroborating this data is a new investigation from EWG. Researchers recently mapped where 49 million tons of manure are produced each year from the state’s 23,000 animal feedlots and applied to cropland as fertilizer.

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The investigation revealed that run-off from excessive exposure to farm and agricultural agents are contributing to the rapid decline of Minnesota water and groundwater aquifers (where most Minnesotans get their tap water).

Earlier research from EWG suggests at least half a million Minnesotans consume tap water containing elevated levels of nitrate, a byproduct of nitrogen which is a key ingredient in fertilizer. Furthermore, water polluted with phosphorus (another key ingredient in fertilizing products) is highly susceptible to toxic algae growth, outbreaks of which occur more and more frequently across the state and threaten human and animal health.

Farm run-off affects a HUGE percentage of Minnesota waterways.  Here’s how to protect yourself and your family against potentially contaminated water

As noted back in 2016 by Minnesota Public Radio, at least 40 percent of Minnesota waterways tested for impurities and contamination have been found to be polluted by farm run-off, including fertilizer, bacteria, and manure. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency estimates this could be as high as 56 percent of all waterways in the state.

Whether you live in Minnesota or another state (especially a state with a large agricultural industry), it’s important to know there are things you can do to provide your family with cleaner, safer water.  Investing in a high quality water purification system could be the most important step, and it can provide a great return on your investment over the long-term.

Remember, many environmental toxins bioaccumulate in the body, so reducing your daily exposure ought to be a top priority.

Sources for this article include:

EWG.org
EPA.gov
CDC.gov
Mayoclinic.org
WHO.int
ASM.org
NDSU.edu 
EWG.org
MPRnews.org
State.mn.us


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