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Why is Lake Michigan considered the deadliest Great Lake?

A combination of factors means none of the lakes are safe, but Michigan has the dubious award of most dangerous.

ESTES PARK, CO - AUGUST 16: Kit Jordan, a fly fishing guide with Sawatch Fly Fishing Guides, center, helps members of the Haiflich family learn how to fly fish at Sprague Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park on August 16, 2022 near Estes Park, Colorado. Despite the heavy downpours that took place in the Park the family, which came from Indiana for vacation, had a great time fishing for Brook and Brown trout. (Photo by Helen H. Richardson/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
Helen H. Richardson/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty ImagesGetty

With the peak of Summer passed and the return to school upcoming chances are that your vacations are nearing an end. There are plenty of places to visit inside the US to enjoy for activities like swimming, canoeing, or kayaking. You may have visited some of the Great Lakes in the north of the county but have been blissfully unaware of the dangers these natural beauties hold.

So far in 2022, there have been a combined 95 deaths in all of the lakes. The vast majority of these deaths have been caused by drowning though there are a number of unexplained cases too. 38 drownings have occured in Lake Michigan alone.

Why are there so many accidents at the boating hotspot called the playpen in Chicago?

Lake Michigan has been responsible for around 45 percent of Great Lakes drownings this year, more than double the death toll of any other Great Lake,” Amber Twardy of ABC57 News explained, “Other Great Lakes have similar dangers to those of Lake Michigan, but fewer sandy beaches for people to visit with millions of tourists visiting the lake each year.”

Punters visiting Lake Michigan also have to contend with strong currents and riptides which make swimming in it dangerous.

Why are all the Great Lakes so dangerous?

Pollution in the lakes is extremely rife. According to the Rochester Institute of Technology, more than 22 million pounds (nearly 10 million kilogrammes) of plastic pollution is dumped in them each year. Of particular concern for humans is that these same lakes provide drinking water for 40 million people.

The danger of ingesting microplastics in drinking water is they can cause cancer as well as a multitude of harmful chemicals.

“Harmful effects on cells are in many cases the initiating event for health effects,” said Evangelos Danopoulos, of Hull York Medical School, UK, and who led the research published in the Journal of Hazardous Materials. “We should be concerned. Right now, there isn’t really a way to protect ourselves [from microplastics].”


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