|Our Troubled Waters|
The first forum– Our Troubled Waters – was held at
Willey Hall on the University of Minnesota’s West Bank on March 6 from 10 a.m.
to 12:00 p.m.
Kathy Lee, program manager with the US Geological Survey gave a presentation about the contaminants researchers have measured in
the effluent from wastewater treatment facilities. Dr. David Wallinga, Food and
Health Director at the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, discussed
the known health effects of those contaminants, and Representative Paul Gardner described policy initiatives to reduce the negative effects on Minnesota’s
An emerging water quality concern is the detection of
chemicals from pharmaceuticals and personal care products that are not
effectively treated by wastewater treatment plants or septic systems. Some of
these chemicals may mimic or block normal hormonal function in animals and
humans, and others disrupt the neurodevelopment of fetuses, babies, and young
children. Many of these compounds are being found in our streams, lakes and
aquifers and have also been found in treated drinking water in homes throughout
A study along the Mississippi River from Bemidji to the Iowa
border found feminization (presence of female egg yolk protein) of male fish at
approximately 50% of all sampling sites that correlated to detected levels of
endocrine disrupting compounds.
Concerns about health risks of these varied chemicals
include a lack of understanding about the risks of cumulative lifetime
exposures and concentrations in sensitive subpopulations such as children, as
well as the effects of complex mixtures and possible synergistic effects of
these compounds. Growing evidence indicates that chemical mixtures can act
collectively to cause adverse effects, even when each component is below its
individual effect level.
Individuals can make a difference in keeping these compounds
out of wastewater and water resources by making informed choices about products
to use and by properly disposing of unused pharmaceuticals.
Resources for this forum are listed below.
Safe Drug Disposal Act
03/03/10 Strib article on Drop off Program for Unwanted Pill
Minnesota research probes enocrine disruptor threat
Reconnaissance of Organic Wastewater Indicators in Minnesota Water Resources
Water Resources of Minnesota
New Report Demonstrates Reductions in Toxic Chemical Exposure Would Make Americans Healthier, Wealthier
Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families
The Health Case for Reforming the Toxic Substances Control Act: Executive Summary
Pretty Scary: Heavy Metals in Face Paints
Pharmacetical Wastes in Health Care Facilities
http://www.healthystuff.org/Water is Life: Protecting a Critical Resource for
Where Does Your Water Come From?
To the Source: Moving Minnesota's Water Governance Upstream
This Citizens League 2009 report states that the principal causes of water impairments are widespread 'nonpoint sources' of pollution, coming from behaviors on the land across the state. We are all contributors to this type of pollution and, rather than relying on government to solve our water issues (something it cannot do alone), we all need to be part of the solution. "[T]he people and organizations that contribute to water problems must play a central role in the actions and decision making to address these problems. Minnesota needs a model of water governance that takes advantage of the imagination and capacity of the public to confront these challenges."
Minnesota Research on Endocrine Disrupting Compounds (EDCs)
EDCs: What is their impact on humans?
A key recommendation is that Minnesota redesign government roles and responsibilities to promote a collaborative model with the public and among government entities, including state and local entities.
Facts Sheets below---Groundwater Sustainability,
Groundwater Quality and the Value of Water
Groundwater Quality Fact Sheet
Groundwater Sustainability Fact Sheet
Value of Water