Oregon Is Caffeinating the Pacific Ocean

A new study from Portland State University researchers has shown that the Northwest's fame as a destination for coffee (and caffeinated techies) doesn't come without its environmental costs. Waters off the coast of Oregon were found to have elevated levels of caffeine, a drug that, in the Pacific Northwest, can only be traced to human activity.

The researchers expected to find higher levels near the outflow of waste treatment plants (where the remains of that Trenta end up, at the end of the day), but instead found the spikes of jolt juice lingering in relatively remote locations. Since humans are still the only possible source of the caffeine, the researchers are guessing that big rainstorms that overpower the sewer system and septic tanks in the state parks might be to blame for the findings. Yup, even Oregonian nature lovers are java junkies.

The amount of caffeine that counts as "elevated" is pretty minor, but the study cites some earlier research showing that even small amounts of caffeine can have an impact on marine life. Any fishermen out there noticing a little extra flop in their catch?

Source: BonAppetite

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