Lake Erie facing a new pollutant challenge

Lake Erie is Ohio's most valuable natural resource but our "Great Lake" is facing a new challenge.

It's a type of pollution that could find its way into the food web and put you at risk.

WKYC'sCarl "Big Daddy" Bachtel investigated this microplastics mystery.

Lake Erie isfacing great challenges -- blue green algae, Asian carp, the eDNA, lamprey populations.

All these are keeping fisheries biologist AnnMarie Gorman and the crew at Fairport Fisheries Station busy. Now, a manmade pollutant is rearing ugly, tiny head.

Theyare finding small, particulates of plastics and they're at concentrations that are much higher than in the oceans. The tiny particles of plastic are nearly invisible in water. Scientists think they're what's left after larger plastic trash, like bags or bottles, break down over time.

But there's other sources.

Researchers at Cleveland Metroparks Watershed Stewardship Center show that some facial scrubs contribute micro-pollutants.

They havethese small, perfectly round beads that people use to exfoliate their skin, but often times they're made of oil-based products, so there's actually these microplastics in our beauty supplies.

They're too small to be filtered out in sewage treatment, so they end up in the lake.


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