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Trace chemicals found in Lake George

Trace chemicals found in Lake George

Chemicals show human influence on lake, Lake George Association says
Trace chemicals found in Lake George
Lake George as seen from the second story of Fort William Henry in Lake George village on May 30.
Photographer: Erica Miller / Gazette Photographer

LAKE GEORGE -- Lake George may be renowned for its purity and clarity, yet, there are traces of caffeine in the water.

Coffee drinkers aren't the only ones to blame. There are traces, too, of nearly any chemical or compound people either swallow, drink, or slather on their skin.

A new, year-long study conducted by the Lake George Association found that the chemicals are present in traces -- what one researcher termed "one drop in 35 swimming pools -- and were found by using the very latest in measuring technology. While the levels are far below anything considered harmful, the association things people should still know about their presence. 

"Caffeine indicates failing municipal wastewater systems or failing private septic systems," said C. Walter Lender, executive director of the Lake George Association. "We could all do a little better, and that's what we're going for."

In addition to caffeine, the chemicals found in traces include lidocaine, atrazine, metolachlor, DEET, oxybenzone, benzothiazole, benzophenone, 2-hydroxybenzothizole, and sucralose.

Some of those chemicals are found in medicines, pesticide compounds, sunscreen and even tires, according to researchers.

"There's still human influences on the lake that people need to think about," Lender said.

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