Also found were caffeine and a metabolite of nicotine and the ingredients of personal care products such as:
The researchers point to pit latrines, septic tanks and leaking sewer lines as the pollution's likeliest points of origin, noting that just one-third of the state is served by municipal wastewater treatment systems.
Samples drawn near a golf course on a seaside resort, pointed to pesticide applications as another contamination source.
Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) pollution, meanwhile, likely entered the groundwater as runoff from highways, parking lots, airport tarmac, and other solid surfaces.
Reverse osmosis systems for treating drinking water are widely used in the Riviera Maya, "but this technology is unlikely to remove all micro-contaminants," the study says.
While the levels of pollution found are not considered a health threat today, "the data provided in this study raise some concerns about the potential for human exposure from the consumption of contaminated drinking water."
The researchers note the area has "a general lack of expertise and equipment for monitoring or tracking sources of pollution," and "few administrative links between those responsible for water and coastal management and the labs that generate the (monitoring) data."
|Contact: Terry Collins|
United Nations University