Unlawful amounts of dangerous chemicals have been found in the water supply of Germany's North Rhine-Wesphalia. Experts indicate the problem has been ongoing for years.
Experts testing various bodies of water in Germany's state of North Rhine Westphalia (NRW) have found that there is an unusually high amount of poisonous chemicals present. According to The Local (via Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung) , of 37,000 water samples taken from ponds, lakes and rivers, thousands tested positive for "a so-called biocide"; the worst case being cited as being 50 times more than legal limits.
Testing has been ongoing since 1992, but over 650 results showed the biocide's presence since 2008. Biocides are often pesticides.
Last year 220 samples were over the limit. According to The Local, one of the regions tested was the Ruhr Valley, which supplies much of North Rhine-Westphalia's drinking water.
Biocides are used as pesticides in agriculture and also in household cleaning products. As the chemicals are washed away, they end up in water supplies.
The Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks (SCENIHR) says on its website, "In contrast to the surveillance on the use of antibiotics used in human and animal health care, the use of biocides is not regularly monitored, and the amounts of products applied or used remains largely unknown."
NRW Environmental Ministry told German media the source of the biocide needs investigation and that test results are "absolutely not ideal."
These test results are published at a time when Germany is experiencing other environmental problems. Recently, it was reported "nearly all" of its marshes have been obliterated and "will take years" to be restored. Local media indicates 95 percent of the country's marshes are considered destroyed due to agricultural practices.